The Top Body Mod Shops of SD

    When you’re looking to get something as permanent as a tattoo or piercing, it’s important to find a reputable parlor so there are no regrets. Body modification can be a big investment financially and physically, so it’s worth it to seek out the best of the best. Luckily for UCSD students, there are plenty of local shops that can cater to each and every body modification need. The following four are some of the highest-rated and can all be found within a reasonable distance from campus.

    First on the list is Funhouse Tattoo. Located in the tattooing hotbed of Pacific Beach, as with most of these locations, it is still one of the most highly rated parlors around. Funhouse has a wide range of specialties, ranging from traditional tattooing in the well-known Americana to black and gray portrait realism. The price, as with most tattoo parlors, depends on whether the tattoo is in color, what part of the body it’s going on and how sensitive the subject is. For Funhouse, the price often runs between $140 and $150 per hour. Currently, they have a running deal with Yelp for a $150 voucher as an extra bonus. They take walk-ins, but appointments are the best way to go.

    Tattoo Royale is another parlor in Pacific Beach, but it stands out for its consistently high five-star rating. With three artists boasting a combined 60 years of experience, Tattoo Royale offers a wide range of expertise and styles. From detailed, color portraiture blossoming with a frame of full-hued flowers to whimsically styled black and gray cartoons, the artists at Tattoo Royale can really bring a vision to life. The artists’ galleries are extensive and are available on the parlor’s website. Pricing varies along with the conditions of application, as with Funhouse Tattoo. The beautiful craftsmanship and years of experience these artists provide is also worth the money. One of the artists, Guf, also has a T-shirt line for clothing to match a new tattoo. Tattoo Royale prefers appointments, but walk-ins will likely be accommodated.

    A tattoo parlor located outside the body-art hotspot of Pacific Beach is Mission Beach Tattoo, the self-described first-ever tattoo and piercing shop in Mission Beach. According to the parlor’s site, many other shops have come and gone during the 15 years, but Mission Beach Tattoo has thrived. The artists at the parlor have a knack for Americana tattoos, but what really makes them stand out is the quality of their piercing service. With knowledgeable staff and fair prices, Mission Beach Tattoo comes highly recommended for anyone in search of a piercing. They are willing to bring the price down if you bring your own jewelry, though it typically ranges from $20 to $40. Consultations are free, and no appointment is necessary.

    The final location on the list is back in Pacific Beach — Sideshow Tattoo and Piercing. Sideshow’s knowledgeable staff is more than willing to answer any questions about piercing services, and the clean working environment provides a safe place to make clients comfortable. As for tattoos, Sideshow’s seven artists offer traditional and custom work both in color and black and grey. A middle-range tattoo runs about $75, and a piercing about $40. Sideshow takes walk-ins, and for anyone craving some ink in the middle of the night, the parlor is also open later of any of the shops, closing in the wee hours of two in the morning.

    When asked, Sideshow’s own Keith, a tattoo artist for over 19 years, said the best tip he could offer was, “Don’t pick out your tattoo while you’re drunk.” He went on to explain that if you’re seeking the best tattoo, you should be willing to go for something more impressive and labor-intensive.

    “More impressive tattoos are usually a lot longer-lived and appreciated more later in life than small, cheap tattoos — the wearer gets tired of those pretty quick,” he said.

    In addition to that, the artists advise someone seeking their first tattoo to do their own research. Call ahead to whatever parlor you choose, and make sure they have the best artists and resources to suit both your artistic vision and your bank account so you don’t find yourself regretting a decision.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $210
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $210
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal