With a twice-yearly artisan market attended by thousands and a storied street known for its quirky local boutiques, Tucson is a haven for one-of-a-kind finds
The main draw to this northeast Tucson art space is the work of award-winning painter (and gallery owner) Diana Madaras. But the gallery showcases the creations of nearly two dozen talented artists. Browse paintings depicting Southwest scenes in saturated colors—a coyote mid-howl or bright, blooming cactus flowers—and sculptures of galloping horses. Invest in an original work, or take home prints on postcards and tableware.
Madaras Gallery 3035 N. Swan Rd. (520) 615-3001 madaras.com
Why I Love Where I Live
MSA Annex—situated catty-corner from Mercado San Agustin—links shipping containers together for a modern take on an open-air mall. Why I Love Where I Live is the spot where Tucson fans buy merch to publicly declare their affection for the city. The store's desert-themed shirts and saguaro-embroidered baseball caps have become the hip uniform for Tucson's most ardent supporters.
Why I Love Where I Live MSA Annex 267 S. Avenida Del Convento, Building 2 (520) 422-5770 whyilovewhereilive.com
About two miles east of the Mercado district and smack-dab in the middle of Fourth Avenue, Pop-Cycle features repurposed, upcycled and vintage goods. You'll see candles made out of Coca-Cola bottles, worn-in (in a good way) cowboy boots and reclaimed-wood serving trays in bold colors. Don't miss the kids' section, where onesies sport graphics that range from sweet to sassy.
Mother-daughter duo Bonnie and Crystal Flynt brought the feel of a French boutique to the Sonoran Desert, and each item in their store feels like a found Parisian treasure. Bon, located in Tucson's Five Points neighborhood sells specially selected and often imported home goods such as fragrant goat's milk soaps and plant-based cookbooks, and delightfully feminine apparel like classic Repetto ballet flats. Très chic.
After wandering the 49-acre botanical gardens at Tohono Chul, stop for a souvenir at one of three stores on property. Pick up birdwatching and regional cookbooks at La Fuente at the park founder's original home. At La Galeria, peruse American Indian jewelry and Oaxacan folk art. Or bring a bit of Tohono Chul home with you at La Entrada, which sells the low-water-use plants and cactuses that make Tohono Chul so lush.
At the architecturally cool Mercado San Agustin—a retail, dining and residential hub—you'll find Mast, a beloved shop with handcrafted jewelry and buttery-soft leather goods made by the store's three owners.
Look for chunky chain-link bracelets with saguaro cuffs, trendy leather bucket bags with intricate stitching, and dangly tassel earrings perfect for an evening at the outdoor concerts often held in the Mercado's courtyard.