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Tucson and Southern Arizona Shopping
Despite the waves of modernity that continue to wash over it, southern Arizona always emerges with reverence for its cultural influences and attention to detail, making it one of the best places to shop in the Southwest—even if you're just browsing.
With its proximity to Mexico, its numerous artisan and Indian communities, a prominent wine region, and a storied past, this booming area is bursting with rare culinary and curio items, home and garden decor, fine art, folklore, and clothing. Tucson is a wealth of wares, but a great way to find some firsthand bargains and have some fun is to go straight to the source—like Amado, Tubac, and Bisbee for resident fine art and serious souvenir shopping; Tombstone, where Old West kitsch and curios are alive and well; Sonoita, Elgin, and Willcox for some of the state's award-winning wines. The shopping list goes on, but your bucks can stop right here. There are many southern Arizona specialties to leave room for in your suitcase, or for which to bring an extra bag altogether.
Events to Shop
Tubac Festival of the Arts. This rural artisan extravaganza in February brings artists from around the country to exhibit their eclectic, fine, and tourist-oriented art. 520/398–2704. www.tubacaz.com/festival.
Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. Shop like a rock star in February at this two-week gem and mineral show—the world's largest—exhibiting precious stones, fossils, and jewelry from around the globe. 520/322–5773. www.tgms.org.
Native and Mexican influence: Given the influences of the area, "ethnic" art is always in, especially pottery, baskets, rugs, furniture, and Mexican crafts including signature folk art depicting skeletons of the dearly departed honoring El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). Check out Del Sol in Tucson or visit San Xavier Plaza at Mission San Xavier del Bac (1950 W. San Xavier Rd., Westside, 520/294-2624) on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation.
Consumables: For flavorful finds, wines from regional vineyards such as Callaghan Vineyards and Keeling Schaefer Vineyards are a winning gift, as are local seasonings from Santa Cruz Spice Factory, near Tubac.
Fashionable Finds: Not so much into local flare or things that don't relate to fashion? Make your way to outdoor mall La Encantada where you'll find upscale chains and designer brands, as well as a selection of restaurants.
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