Pilgrim Surf + Supply
     

Pilgrim Surf + Supply

Brooklyn, New York

Okay, so it's not really close to any surfing — unless you're thinking of throwing your board in the East River — but that doesn't stop Pilgrim Surf + Supply from being worth a visit. This Williamsburg shop stocks a surprisingly robust selection of boards, as well as trunks, hoodies, shirts, pants, jackets, bags, and other essential gear. And should you feel like a bit of spontaneous shopping when you're closer to the shore, stop by their new shop in Amagansett, which offers just as impressive a selection with an even beach-ier vibe.

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Excelsior
     

Excelsior

Milan, Italy

Okay, so only four of its seven floors are of interest to guys, but when you consider that's more than half of the 43,000 square feet, we figure that's plenty. Excelsior is a must-see megastore near the Duomo, offering a third floor with an amazing sneaker selection, excellent suiting — this is Milan, after all, and outstanding leather goods, a ground floor overflowing with the latest gadgetry and fine fragrances, a mezzanine "food court" that will have you rethinking your concept of the term, and a bottom floor grocery store that puts your local Whole Foods to shame. Just don't forget to bring your wallet — odds are you won't be leaving empty-handed (or empty-stomached, for that matter).

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Groove Merchant Records
     

Groove Merchant Records

San Francisco, California

It's not the place to go buy the latest and greatest releases. Nor is it a place to go buy CDs, DVDs, or other hard plastic discs. But if you're looking for vinyl, Groove Merchant Records is the place to be. This collectors haven has been operating in the Lower Haight for over two decades, dedicating itself to finding the best rare and obscure vinyl from around the world, then tossing it onto the shelves for your amusement. As you might imagine, the staff — including owner Chris Veltri, aka Cool Chris — are highly knowledgeable and friendly, so even if you're new to record buying, you'll feel right at home.

Photos: Sean O'Sullivan
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Topo Designs Store
     

Topo Designs Store

Denver, Colorado

We've long been fans of Topo Designs' gear, and finally there's a place to browse their whole catalog at once. The new flagship Topo Designs Store gives you an opportunity to browse their range of bags, apparel, and accessories, from accessory pulls and wallets to klettersacks and duffel bags. Also on offer are some choice outdoorsy magazines, as well as a range of camping and outdoor equipment and a solid selection of sunglasses. And as you might expect from an outdoor-focused company, the store itself is easy on the environment, as it's built from two recycled shipping containers, giving it an appropriately rugged feel.

Photos: Dave Lehl, James Florio
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Third Coast Surf Shop
     

Third Coast Surf Shop

St Joseph, Michigan

Sure, Michigan might not be the first place you think of for a surfboard shop, but anyone who's ever been out on the Great Lakes can attest to the surfing being just fine — if you know where to find it. Third Coast Surf Shop seeks to outfit these hardy lake surfers, offering a full compliment of wetsuits, leashes, wax, racks, carriers, surfboards, paddleboards, skateboards, magazines, books, surfing DVDs, and self-branded shirts, hoodies, sandals, and hats. In addition, the company runs another location in New Buffalo, so you have more than one place to get geared up.

Photos: Josh Nowicki
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Love Hate Tattoo Studio
     

Love Hate Tattoo Studio

Miami Beach, Florida

Most people might know it better by the name of the TV show it was featured on — Miami Ink — but by any name, the artists at Love Hate Tattoo Studio are some of the best in the business. Owned by Ami James and Chris Nunez, this shop is located just where you'd expect — in South Beach — and is home to a dozen artists, each with their own strengths. While they still handle walk-ins, they're rather popular (as should be expected), so it's probably best to make an appointment if you plan on getting work done while you're in town.

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Turntable Lab
     

Turntable Lab

New York, New York

Opened in 2001, Turntable Lab isn't just a store — it's a destination for DJs and music lovers alike. Set in the East Village, this tiny store offers an excellent of turntables (of course), speakers, and other audio equipment, as well as a vast collection of vinyl, ranging from new releases to undisputed classics. Having trouble making a decision on your purchase? Not to worry, as the store also boasts some of the most knowledgeable staff around. Oh, and be sure to keep your eyes open for well-known musicians — after all, they have to shop somewhere, too.

Photos: Peter Hahn
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Muléh
     

Muléh

Washington, DC

Did you know that Muléh means "to come home" in Javanese? Neither did we, until we made a stop by this Logan Circle shop. The name comes from owner Christopher Reiter, who returned to the states after four years in Southeast Asia to create a store that reflected the design sensibilities of the region. Inside, you'll find intriguing, original furnishings, including couches, chairs, tables, beds, dressers, and lighting, all with a distinctly Asian flair. Have a lady in your life? They also have a selection of women's fashion designed in NYC, LA, Paris, and Milan, and for out-of-towners, there's an outpost in Chelsea, as well.

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Analog Tattoo
     

Analog Tattoo

San Jose, California

If you're just looking to get a tiny, silver dollar-sized star, heart, or some other clichéd mark on your body, there are plenty of shops you can go to. But if you're looking for an actual piece of art, on a scale commensurate with its quality, try getting an appointment at Analog Tattoo. Staffed by world-renowned tattooists, this shop specializes in large-scale projects like sleeves, back, shoulder, and side pieces — but is of course capable of cranking out terrific smaller work as well, provided they like you. As with any great shop, you might have to wait a while to get in, but in the end, it's well worth it.

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Grange Hall
     

Grange Hall

Dallas, Texas

It doesn't matter what sort of gift you're looking for — artwork, fragrances, flowers — you're likely to find something at Grange Hall. This curious Uptown shop offers a bit of European flavor in the middle of Texas, with unique objects that can border on the bizarre but tend to fall on the right side of the weird line by adding a touch of whimsy to the proceedings. Oh, and the store is also home to Urban Flower, arguably the best flower shop in the city and supplier to many of the area's best hotels/restaurants/party hosts.

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Agora
     

Agora

Athens, Georgia

It doesn't really matter what it is you're looking for — or if you're looking for anything at all, for that matter — Agora is worth the stop. Located in downtown, not far from the 40 Watt Club, this locally-owned co-op features vintage and antique goods from nearly 50 sellers. In addition to the expected clothing, the shop also offers mid-century modern furniture, LPs, turntables on which to play those LPs — including some great console-style players — jewelry, art, and knick knacks. As with all vintage shops, the selection can be hit or miss depending on what you're looking for, but expect far more hits that misses — enough so that we'd also make you you leave extra room in your vehicle for hauling your unexpected bounty home.

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Roost
     

Roost

Chicago, Illinois

If you're expecting to find chicken coops and other farm-related items at Roost, you might be disappointed. But then again, you might not. This killer Andersonville vintage store stocks all sorts of items, from carefully-curated and displayed knick knacks on the first level to a full on retro furniture explosion on the second level. The prices aren't cheap, but neither is spending all weekend driving around to yard sales trying to find just one thing worth buying. Trust us. We've tried. And the only thing worthwhile we ever seem to bring home is a six-pack to calm our nerves.

Photos: Bourgeoisbee
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