Whether you need a new outfit for a special dinner or you’re searching for the perfect souvenir to bring home, there are plenty of places to shop in the Valley. For high-end name brands, head to Scottsdale where glitzy malls offer valet service and five-star dining. At the other end of the spectrum, the Melrose District in Phoenix has a quirky vibe and is known for its vintage furniture and home décor stores. You’ll also find antiques, Southwestern foods, and authentic Native American arts and crafts, if you know where to look in the Valley.
Scottsdale Fashion Square
At 1.9 million square feet, Scottsdale Fashion Square is one of the largest shopping malls in the Southwest, with more than 200 stores and restaurants. A number of those stores, including Vuitton, Cartier, and Gucci, are sole representatives of their brand in Arizona and host exclusive events at the upscale indoor mall. Others, like online sensations UNTUCKit and Morphe, opened their first physical locations here.
While Scottsdale Fashion Square is the place to go for high-end brands such as Prada and ZARA, you can also find Skechers, Anthropologie, H&M, and other popular stores. Between visits to your favorite retailers, watch for the statues, sculptures, and architectural elements on the mall’s Art Walk, or check out the rotating art experience at Wonderspaces.
Other perks at Scottsdale Fashion Square include valet parking and concierge service. The mall has also partnered with several local hotels and resorts to offer exclusive savings to their guests, as well as a welcome gift redeemable at the mall’s concierge desk.
Biltmore Fashion Park
The city’s original destination for luxury brands and fine dining, Biltmore Fashion Park was one of the last outdoor shopping malls to open when it debuted in 1963 before the rise of mega indoor malls. While other outdoor malls struggled to compete with their indoor counterparts, Biltmore Fashion Park survived because it was where the wealthy and the well-known shopped. It didn’t hurt either that the mall had valet service and upscale restaurants. People dressed up—and some still do—to stroll the mall’s central garden on their way to Williams Sonoma, Jo Malone London, Ralph Lauren, and other prestigious stores.
Today, outdoor shopping malls are making a comeback in the Valley. But even though you’ll find bigger and sexier outdoor malls such as Kierland Commons, SanTan Village, Desert Ridge Marketplace, and Tempe Marketplace throughout the Valley and Biltmore Fashion Park has been overshadowed by nearby Scottsdale Fashion Square, it has a charm these newer malls lack.
Old Town Scottsdale
Scottsdale’s historic downtown area has a little of everything from boutique and consignment stores to restaurants and winery tasting rooms. Plan to spend a day here shopping for Native American jewelry, arts, and crafts at Gilbert Ortega Native American Galleries, Grey Wolf Native American Gallery, Sewel’s Indian Arts, and others. Or, browse upscale furniture stores displaying design magazine-worthy pieces as well as the more than 100 art galleries in the area.
But Old Town is more than fine art and fine furnishings. Fashion boutiques, gift stores, and consignment shops line the pedestrian-friendly streets, interspersed with some of Scottsdale’s best restaurants, cocktail bars, and tasting rooms. There are even several museums in the area, too, including Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Historic Downtown Glendale
White picket fences, mature shade trees, gaslight-lined streets, and bungalows set the stage for some of the best antique and vintage fashion shopping around. Try on vintage clothing and accessories at Pink House Boutique or The Cottage Garden Shops. Or, rummage through antiques and collectibles at Memory Lane Trinkets and Treasures and Spinning Wheel Antiques. The occasional specialty store, like Bears & More and The Astrology Store, round out the retail offerings.
Parking is free, and you can easily walk the 10 blocks that make up this historic area. (Download a walking map here.) When you work up an appetite, stop for lunch at The Spicery in Our 1895 Home or A Touch of European Café. In the evening, Haus Murphy’s serves the Valley’s best German food and has been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
One of the nation’s largest, self-guided art walks, First Fridays in downtown Phoenix runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. While it’s an excellent opportunity to scour galleries for collectible art, you can also purchase handcrafted jewelry, decorative tote bags, leather-bound journals, artwork, and other small—and more affordable—pieces from street vendors.
Also, several stores stay open for First Fridays. For example, Hazel & Violet demonstrates how it prints the posters, cards, coasters, calendars, and stationary it offers for sale on First Fridays, and Puppet Pie allows visitors to try their hand at puppetry as well as purchase puppets. You can also make gift shop purchases at the downtown museums that stay open, including the Phoenix Art Museum and Heard Museum. Don’t forget to bring a few extra dollars to tip street performers.
This mile-long stretch of Seventh Avenue is the place to go in Phoenix for vintage finds, especially midcentury modern furniture. Check out Retro Ranch for vintage furniture, clothes, and accessories or Modern Manor, which not only sells vintage furniture but houses a restaurant and bar. Twigs and Twine, Time Bomb Vintage Phoenix, and Jane Mid Century Modern are popular stops, too, and the third Thursday through Sunday of each month, you can explore Sweet Salvage, a vintage marketplace.
Because auto repair shops, restaurants, and LBGTQ-friendly bars separate the vintage shops, the Melrose District is best explored by car. (It’s also fun to drive under the district’s iconic arch and across its rainbow crosswalks.) Plan your day to include lunch at Short Leash Hot Dogs & Rollover Donuts or the Fry Bread House. Extend your shopping day with a visit to Biltmore Fashion Park just 4 miles east on Camelback Road.
Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market
Open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., rain or shine, the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market brings together more than 100 vendors during the fall, winter, and spring (roughly half that during the summer) to sell produce, food products, and handmade arts and crafts. If you live in the Valley, it’s one of the best places to get straight-from-the-farm fruits and veggies as well as fresh meats, but even if you’re visiting, you can purchase local honey, jars of salsa, locally-roasted coffee, and other food items. In addition to food, vendors sell artisan soaps made with indigenous ingredients, potted cacti, decorative vases, candles, and more.
While most of these vendors accept cards, you may want to bring some cash just in case.
You can find Native American arts and crafts at stores throughout the Valley, but if you want to make sure you’re purchasing the real deal, you’ll want to go to the gift shop at the Heard Museum. All products—from jewelry to pottery, baskets, textiles, and kachina dolls—are guaranteed to be authentic, and a separate book store at the museum specializes in Native American topics, including art.
For the opportunity to purchase directly from a Native American artist and watch artist demonstrations, mark the first weekend of March on your calendar. The museum’s Indian Fair & Market showcases more than 640 Native American artists from more than 100 tribal affiliations throughout the United States and Canada, selling every form of artwork imaginable.