Michelle Begay displays some of the exceptional turquoise jewelry sold at the Hubbell Trading Post.
© Jerry Jacka
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Holiday Shopping Guide
by Keridwen Cornelius
Arizona is renowned for its natural wonders, but shopaholics will be thrilled to learn that many of the state's treasures can be found in its shops. The confluence of cultures here means that the Grand Canyon State is the ideal place to find a variety of Indian handicrafts, Mexican imports and works of art created by a wealth of talented local artisans. Following are some of Arizona's unique shopping hotspots, from the definitive source for native art and jewelry to a homegrown bookstore to a shop specializing in native plant seeds.
Los SombrerosTamales are a Southwest holiday tradition. Many families make them from scratch, but if you don't have the time or the inclination, check out the "Twelve Tamales of Christmas" from Los Sombreros Café and Cantina in Scottsdale. The dozen includes traditional flavors like green corn and red chile beef to more unusual tamales filled with chocolate or smoked chicken. No matter which type you choose, you can bet these tamales offer more enjoyment than twelve drummers drumming.
Information: 480-994-1799; www.lossombreros.com.
Changing HandsDuring a time when chains dominate the book business, Tempe's Changing Hands should be called the "little bookstore that could." This socially responsible bookstore started out in a 500-foot space in 1974 and has grown into a Valley legend. Now occupying more than 15,000 square feet, Changing Hands hosts author events and book signings with national award-winning authors such as Garrison Keillor, James Owens, Barbara Kingsolver and Valerie Bertinelli. The bookstore also offers writing workshops, the "Free Books for Schools" program and support to more than 200 local, national and international charitable and service organizations.
Information: 480-730-0205; www.changinghands.com.
Hubbell Trading PostIn 1878, John Lorenzo Hubbell purchased this trading post in Ganado. The Hubbell family operated the post until 1967, when it became a National Historic Site. Today, with the help of the non-profit organization, Western National Parks Association, the post continues the trading tradition Hubbell started. You can find Native American arts and crafts, including authentic Navajo rugs, blankets, jewelry and baskets, as well as exhibits on the trading post's history.
Heard MuseumThe shop at the world-class Heard Museum is one of the best places in the state to buy native jewelry, kachinas, pottery, art, baskets and textiles. You'll find Hopi, Zuni, Navajo and other handicrafts here. "It's a hands-on extension of the museum," says buyer James Barajas, who stresses that every piece is just as authentic as those you'll find in the museum.
2301 N. Central Avenue., Phoenix; 602-252-8344; www.heard.org.
CosantiArcosanti, an experimental town 65 miles north of Phoenix designed by Paolo Soleri, is one of Arizona's quirky, lesser-known sights. You can learn about this work in progress by touring Cosanti, an Arizona Historic Site in Paradise Valley that doubles as Soleri's home and sculpture studio. While you're there, be sure to pick up one of the elegantly whimsical bronze or ceramic Soleri windbells. Prices start at about $26 and proceeds keep the Cosanti and Arcosanti facilities running.
6433 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, Paradise Valley; 800-752-3187; www.cosanti.com.
Glendale AntiquingHistoric Downtown Glendale is actually comprised of two sister districts: Catlin Court—a neighborhood of flowerboxed, picket fenced bungalows-cum-specialty shops—and Old Towne, with its bevy of brick antique stores. Browse the assortment of small pieces at Gatehouse Antiques, the country collection at Apple Tree and pretty much everything at the sprawling Antique Treasures of AZ. The area is especially atmospheric during the holiday season, when it's decked out in millions of Christmas lights.
Gatehouse Antiques: 7023 N 57th Drive, Glendale; 623-435-1919.
Apple Tree Country Shop: 5811 W. Glendale Avenue, Glendale; 623-435-8486.
Antique Treasures of AZ: 7025 N. 57th Drive, Glendale; 623-931-8049.
Native Seeds/SEARCH retail store and B&B CactusHow does your garden grow—with Havasupai Striped Sunflowers, Blue Speckled Tepary Beans and Navajo Hubbard Squash? Native Seeds/SEARCH is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting plants native to the American Southwest and Northwest Mexico. Their retail shop in Tucson sells more than 350 varieties of arid plant seeds. Also in Tucson, B&B Cactus Farm sells a variety of cacti and succulents and since prickly pear doesn't fit easily into carry-on luggage, they'll ship your purchases anywhere in the U.S.
Native Seeds/SEARCH: 526 N. 4th Avenue, Tucson; 866-622-5561; www.nativeseeds.org.
B&B Cactus Farm: 11550 E. Speedway, Tucson; 520-721-4687; www.bandbcactus.com.
Old Town ArtisansOld Town Artisans is a cluster of eight arts and craft shops housed in a 150-year-old adobe building in Tucson's El Predisio Historic District. Muchas Cosas offers gourd masks, ornaments and cookbooks, plus stuff for "kids, cowgirls and pets." Old Town Pot Shop sells regionally handcrafted glass and metalwork. Tolteca Tlacuilo features thousands of imports including Day of the Dead figurines from Mexico.
201 N. Court Ave, Tucson; 520-623-6024; www.oldtownartisans.com.
Gem, Mineral and Fossil Shows in Tucson and QuartzsiteThe Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase—the largest in the world—runs for several weeks in February and features hundreds of displays scattered bazaar-style throughout the city. It culminates in the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, and together the events attract tens of thousands of people from around the globe. You can buy meteorites, lustrous gems and minerals, jewelry and fossils—from tiny stones to whopping slabs of rock imprinted with Cretaceous creatures. Around the same time are three gem shows with a more mom-and-pop feel in Quartzsite, most notably the Pow Wow Gem and Mineral Show in late January. Year round, the T-Rocks shop in Quartzsite sells bucketfuls of multicolored rocks and minerals.
Contact the Tucson Convention & Visitor's Bureau: 520-624-1817; www.visittucson.org.
Quartzsite Chamber of Commerce: 928-927-5600.
Singing Wind BookshopThe last thing you'd expect to find on a working ranch in a wide expanse of cactus and creosote is a bookstore. But the setting is apropos for the Singing Wind Bookshop, "headquarters for books about the Southwest." It's packed with books about everything from Indian rock art to ghost towns to the Jewish Western experience. Owner Winn Bundy opened the shop in 1974 in a space just off her living room, and she'll give you a personal tour of the eccentrically arranged tomes for sale.
700 W. Singing Wind Road, Benson; 520-586-2425.
Ogg's HoganThis family-owned Prescott shop specializes in Indian artifacts and authentic Old West collectibles. You'll find turn-of-the-century saddles, horsehair bridles, spurs, campfire cookware, Yavapai baskets and native pottery shards.
111 N. Cortez Street, Prescott; 928-443-9856.
Tlaquepaque, Crystal Castle and Sedona Arts CenterSedona's most famous shopping area is Tlaquepaque, a Spanish colonial shopping village accented with fountains and sycamores. Check out Environmental Realists, which carries handicrafts with a twist, like compass-embedded walking sticks. El Prado by the Creek sells a barrage of copper wind sculptures and surprisingly comfortable river rock furniture. Across the street is Crystal Castle, the source for exotic crystals that purportedly promote metaphysical healing. For local art, visit the nonprofit Sedona Arts Center—a multimedia homage to Arizona: photographs of Sedona, Native American portraits, adobe wall hangings and abstract onyx sculptures.
Tlaquepaque: 336 Highway 179, Sedona; 928-282-4838; www.tlaq.com.
Crystal Castle: 313 Highway 179, Sedona; 928-282-5910.
Sedona Arts Center: 15 Art Barn Road, Sedona; 888-954-4442; www.sedonaartscenter.com.
Basement Marketplace, Flagstaff's Old Town ShopsFor everyone who's ever asked, "Where can I get a sequin-trimmed denim bag, an aromatherapy facial and a steaming plate of brisket?"—your quest is over. The Basement Marketplace—a trendy boutique that sells clothing and accessories for men, women and the home—shares its space with both the Red OTS Aveda Salon & Spa and Bigfoot Bar-B-Q, the award-winning purveyor of all things smoked, grilled and marinated.
Basement Marketplace: 120 N. Leroux Street, Flagstaff; 928-556-3081, www.basementmarketplace.com.
Red OTS Salon Spa: 928-779-3355, www.red115.com.
Bigfoot Bar-B-Q: 928-226-1677, www.bigfootbbq.com.
Tsakurshovi, Second Mesa (Hopi Reservation)A wise man once said, "In every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double." The solution is to head to Tsakurshovi at Second Mesa, a traditional Hopi shop that sells kachinas, baskets, jewelry and music but is most famous for their exclusive "Don't Worry, Be Hopi" T-shirts. Owners Joseph and Janice Day will offer their wealth of knowledge about Hopi arts and crafts and tips for shopping on the Hopi reservation.
Second Mesa: 1.5 miles east of the Hopi Cultural Center, near the junction of Highway 87 and Highway 264; 928-734-2478.