Arizona’s Eclectic Shopping Destinations

By: Edie Jarolim

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July 2, 2011

Throughout Arizona, unique shopping venues are as colorful as their wares.

About the author

Edie Jarolim

Edie Jarolim

Edie Jarolim is the author of three travel guides, including "Arizona for Dummies," and one dog guide, "Am I Boring My Dog?" Her book, "Getting Naked for Money: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All," is a memoir about her career as a guidebook editor for Frommer’s, Rough Guides, and Fodor’s and as a Tucson-based freelance travel writer. Her articles about Arizona have appeared in numerous national publications, including "National Geographic Traveler," "Sunset," and "The Wall Street Journal."

Sometimes you want to sightsee. Sometimes you want to shop. In Arizona, you don’t have to choose between the two. Many unique Arizona shopping districts are destinations in themselves or are located in places offering other appealing activities. Here are a few of the state’s retail specialties.


Take a stroll into the past in Glendale’s Old Towne and Catlin Court districts, where many of the 70 antiques and specialty shops reside in century-old bungalows on leafy, picket fenced-lined streets. Phoenix’s Melrose District on 7th Avenue includes Melrose Vintage and Home Again Furnishings & Antiques among its retro-chic boutiques. The shops and galleries in the historic section of downtown Miami – of Globe/Miami mining town fame – sell everything from Depression-era glass to Western collectibles.

Arts & Crafts

In Tucson’s historic Old Town Artisans complex, the emphasis is on Mexican and Arizona crafts, from jewelry to home decor. You’ll find some similar items in the converted warehouses of the nearby Lost Barrio, as well as larger home furnishings from far-flung places – for example, doors from a Tibetan temple. Several boutiques in Patagonia showcase the work of local artisans, including Global Arts Gallery, which also offers an array of imports. Many of the jewelers, potters and ceramicists who settled in the hillside town of Jerome when it was nearly abandoned now have bustling shops there that highlight their wares.

The San Xavier Plaza outside the San Xavier del Bac Mission in Tucson sells friendship bowls made by the Tohono O’odham people, while the gift shop at Kitt Peak National Observatory, also on tribal land, offers intricately woven baskets. The largest concentration of Hopi crafts can be found in Second Mesa, both in the Hopi Cultural Center and in such shops as Tsakurshovi (pick up a Don’t Worry Be Hopi T-shirt there). Shopping on the vast Navajo lands is more dispersed, but pockets include the gift shops at the hotels in and around Canyon de Chelly National Monument, especially the Thunderbird Lodge; and those in the town of Kayenta, near Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, as well as those at the site itself.

Fine Art

You’d be hard pressed to find a street in Old Town Tubac that doesn’t host several high-quality art galleries, and the Tubac Center of the Arts showcases juried work in all genres. Among the concentrations of fine art purveyors in Tucson, the El Cortijo complex stands out for its range – everything from Western watercolors to contemporary glassware – as well as for its graceful white stucco building. Part of the downtown Phoenix Arts District, the pedestrian-friendly Roosevelt Row is lined with studios and galleries of both emerging and established talent. The prestigious Cowboy Artists of America group got its start in Uptown Sedona – in a bar, naturally – which is also home to the Sedona Arts Center and several of the town’s top galleries.

Sporting Goods

Flagstaff is a prime skiing spot, as well as the gateway to the Grand Canyon and other spectacular Northern Arizona playscapes. It’s no surprise, then, that downtown Flagstaff is chock-a-block with places to get gear, including Babbit’s Backcountry Outfitters, focusing on camping supplies, and Aspen Sports, offering everything from snowboards to fishing rods. You don’t have to just gaze at London Bridge from the shores of Lake Havasu City when stores like Arizona WaterSports and Nautical Sports Center can help get you outfitted for splashy river adventures.

Western Gear

The Old West is still alive in downtown Wickenburg, where shops include Ben’s Saddlery and Shoe Repair, outfitting horses as well as humans, and Buckshot Babe’s, with gifts for cowgirl wannabes. Many shops on Courthouse Square in downtown Prescott are devoted to contemporary Western items such as clothing and jewelry, while several on nearby Cortez Street are past-oriented – for example, Newport’s Antiques, Books & Collectables with one of the state’s largest collections of Zane Grey books.

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