Shoppers come in two types: Those who love the hunt for a specific item, and those who delight in the unadulterated pleasure of a leisurely browse. Happily, Scottsdale’s shopping scene appeals to both groups, with a collection of boutiques and shops that cater to souvenir hunters as well as more relaxed browsers. Spend some time in Old Town and Cave Creek to find traditional Southwestern products, like Native American crafts and jewelry, Mexican ceramics, and authentic cowboy boots and hats. If you’re in looking to do some serious shopping—or in search an air-conditioned getaway in the summer—Scottsdale Fashion Square mall has 250 stores and restaurants to keep your credit cards busy. Scottsdale is also home to one of the country’s top art markets, and its galleries feature exceptional Western and Native American paintings and sculpture, as well as contemporary pieces. (Check my top art galleries page for specific recommendations.) Here are five great areas to get started.
Old Town and the Arts District
The covered walkways and Old West façades in this pedestrian-friendly quarter serve as a fitting backdrop to Southwest souvenir hunting. Try on a pair of hand-crafted boots at Saba’s, find Navajo rugs and turquoise jewelry at Gilbert Ortega Galleries, and peruse the numerous Western and contemporary art galleries. The new star is modern artisan boutique JAM.
Scottsdale Fashion Square
Biltmore Fashion Park
This midcentury landmark opened in 1960s, and it’s still one Phoenix’s favorite shopping destinations. Residents love to stroll the outdoor mall’s arcades, and its central lawn is a popular spot for families—especially during the fall movie night series. Be sure to stop in at Union, a curated collection of small, locally owned shops.
For an out-of-mall shopping experience, head north to the small desert enclave of Cave Creek. The town’s main street is lined with retail options that span the gamut from kitschy Frontier Town to authentic gems, such as Watson’s Hat Shop. Other musts: the Southwestern jewelry at Western Delights, arts and antiques at The Town Dump, and brightly painted Mexican pottery and furniture at Retablo.
Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter
Two big developments vie for shoppers in North Scottsdale. One is Kierland Commons, which features an “urban village” of small gardens, restaurants with outdoor seating and big-name shops such as BCBG and J. Crew. Just across the street, Scottsdale Quarter competes with its own lineup of trendy boutiques, including Intermix, Suitsupply and West Elm.