AOL PICK from our Editors
Despite the recent housing bust, consumerism is alive and well in Phoenix. This city is a shopper’s Shangri-La. The basic breakdown for where to find what goes like this: Scottsdale for high fashion; Central Phoenix for vintage; Uptown Phoenix for hipster goods; East Valley for mall fare; and Glendale for antiques. For a concentration of neighborhood boutiques, stick to the Melrose District; for a massive collection of upscale retail stores, head for Scottsdale Fashion Square. And for classy souvenirs, keep the excellent gift shops at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the Heard Museum and Taliesin West in mind.
Neighborhood: Camelback Corridor
This upscale mall is not nearly as big as Scottsdale Fashion Park, but its landscaped outdoor setting is much more pleasant. Among the retailers that surround the mall’s long, grassy courtyard are Ann Taylor, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Brooks Brothers, Coach, lululemon athletica, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue and Williams-Sonoma. The fashion park’s biggest draw is the always-hopping Apple Store. Dining options include Stingray Sushi, Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar, Dr. Andrew Weil’s True Food Kitchen and Christopher’s & Crush Lounge. (The latter is owned by Christopher Gross, a James Beard Award winner for best Chef in Southwest.) Biltmore Fashion Park is pet friendly, and one of its newest additions is the Arizona Humane Society Petique, where you can pick up a dog bed, leash or new pet. And in spring and fall, you can bring your dog to Movies in the Park, a free film series that screens classic American films on the lawn.
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Located next door to Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in North Scottsdale, this Main Street-style mall is the picture of a master-planned, mixed-use development. It opened in 2000, and what it lacks in character, it makes up for in cleanliness and convenience. The mall is managed by Westcor, the same outfit that operates Scottsdale Fashion Square and Biltmore Fashion Park; Kierland Commons houses many of the same stores. The highlight of the many culinary offerings is Zinc Bistro, a café with Parisian décor and open-air seating. (Try the oysters or one of the cheese boards.)
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Because Phoenix boomed in the 1950s and 1960s and has long been a popular destination for retirees, the city is treasure trove for mid-century fashions and furnishings. And the Melrose District, located on a bend of 7th Avenue three miles north of downtown, is where you find them. You don’t have to sport rockabilly bangs and pedal-pusher jeans to stroll this historic neighborhood of thrift shops, vintage boutiques and home décor stores, but doing so might give you street cred with the retro set. Once you work up an appetite, stop at MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain, where waitresses bedecked in ’50s outfits serve Reuben sandwiches and cherry Cokes. Resume shopping at the vintage store next door, which showcases furniture, fashions and a sterling collection of Lucite purses.
With 2 million square feet of retail space, Scottsdale Fashion Square is the largest shopping mall in the American Southwest. But don’t expect Spencer’s or show up jonesin' for Orange Julius. This three-story mega mall houses tony stores like Barneys New York, Burberry, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co. If you like to daydream at designer stores but do your real shopping at more accessible retailers, that’s cool, too: choose from Anthropologie, 7 For All Mankind, H&M, Guess and many dozens more. Inside the mall is a seven-screen theater showing mainstream movies; outside the mall is Harkins Camelview 5, a local art house cinema that shows independent and foreign films, and hosts the Scottsdale International Film Festival every October. Dining options beyond the food court include Modern Steak, Marcella’s Italian Kitchen and Fred’s at Barneys New York.
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