10 Best Shopping Destinations in Phoenix: From Bargain Basement to Upscale Chic
By Patricia Escarcega
Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson Local Expert
Phoenix has enjoyed a shopping renaissance of sorts, with a spate of new venues turning the city into one of the best shopping destinations in the Southwest, especially for bargain hunters. Visitors will enjoy taking in the amenities at the city's newest shopping centers as well as enjoying well-established shopping destinations.
For the best in upscale shopping, head to the Biltmore Fashion Park, where high-end names like Saks Fifth Avenue and Escada have been in residence for decades. Biltmore Fashion Park is also home to the newly opened UNION, an independent concept featuring 18 small, locally-owned boutiques.
Bargain-hunters who still want the latest in first-run fashion will appreciate the recently opened Tanger Outlet stores on Phoenix's westside. This sprawling shopping complex features 80 shops, including Gap Outlet, Coach and Calvin Klein.
For families, Desert Ridge Marketplace in north Phoenix features outdoor fireplaces and water features, along with a rock-climbing wall, entertainment center, Dave & Buster's, movie theater and an interactive splash pad for the kids.
For some of the best upscale shopping and bargain-hunting, head to the Phoenix Premium Outlets, home to dozens of high-end brand names. This open-air shopping venue is landscaped with palm trees, desert flora, water features, and offers guests a children's play area and food court.
Looking for a break from shopping malls and outlets? Check out the Melrose Shopping District in central Phoenix, where you'll find some of the city's best vintage and antique shops.
Tempe Marketplace is an open air shopping center located in Tempe, just east of Phoenix. This popular shoppping destination features more than 1.3 million square feet of retail space. Dramatic lighting, outdoor fireplaces and unique water features set the stage for a fun, youthful and interactive shopping experience in a vibrant setting. Tempe Marketplace is located on Loop 101 & 202, a short drive from the surrounding communities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert. Retail stores include Barnes & Noble, JCPenney, GAP, Best Buy, Old Navy, G by Guess, and Target, along with a selection of specialty boutiques. Restaurants include Cadillac Ranch, California Pizza Kitchen, Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill and more. ((480) 966-9338)
Westgate City Center
Westgate City Center is the Westside's premier entertainment district, offering a lively outdoor setting with unique water features. Restaurants, boutiques, nightlife spots, and a movie theatre make this one of the most vibrant attractions in town. The entertainment complex is anchored by Jobing.com Arena, home of the Phoenix Coyotes, and right next door is the massive University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the Arizona Cardinals. Popular restaurants include Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, Calico Jack's Cantina, Kabuki Japanese Restaurant and The Yard House, to name a few. ((623) 385-7502)
Arrowhead Towne Center
Catering to residents in the west metro area, this refurbished shopping center creates a welcoming atmosphere with sleek wood accents, tiled floors, and plenty of seating. It's also ideal for a quick errand or wandering about for a while, looking for bargains. Anchor stores include Sears, JCPenney, Dillard's, and Macy's; other retailers range from Charlotte Russe to Claire's Boutique. A movie theater, a kids' play area, a food court, and several full-service restaurants complete the picture. The food court even has a colorful carousel. Outside, you'll find a sprawling greenbelt area, perfect for taking a relaxing shopping break with the whole family. (623-979-8928)
The Shops at Norterra
The Shops at Norterra is a 350,000-square-foot shopping center with more than 40 diverse shopping, dining and entertainment venues. The shopping center is located in scenic north Phoenix at the northeast corner of I-17 and Happy Valley Road, next to the USAA corporate campus. Stores include Christopher & Banks, Coldwater Creek, Dick's Sporting Goods, Fans and Fashionistas, Jos. A. Bank, Men's Wearhouse, Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, Best Buy, Charming Charlie, Claire's Boutique, Dick's Sporting Goods, Exquisite Swimwear, Sour Apple Gallery, Sunglass Hut, and T Mobile. Restaurants include Ah-So Sushi, Bevmo, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipotle, Elevate Coffee Company, Johnny Rockets, Mellow Mushroom, Olive Creations and more. (2460 W. Happy Valley)
Chandler Fashion Center
Anchored by Nordstrom, Dillard's, Macy's and Sears, Chandler Fashion Center also boasts 180 additional stores and eateries, including Coldwater Creek, Aeropostale, Godiva Chocolatier, Harry & David, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Abercrombie & Fitch, L'Occitane, J. Crew, J. Jill, and Barnes & Noble. In the midst of hitting the retail jackpot, take time to refuel at P.F. Changs, Mrs. Field's, McDonald's, Cold Stone Creamery, California Pizza Kitchen or Benihana. Upscale and family-friendly, this shopping center also features a 20-plex Harkins theater, a community room/conference facility, full-service concierge desk, City of Chandler visitor's information and valet parking. Visitors will also enjoy the Dancing Waters, a display of water, light and music. (480-812-8488)
Desert Ridge Marketplace
It would be hard to imagine not finding what you need at this 110-acre outdoor mall, which occupies more than a million square feet of retail space. Naturally, the complex offers places like American Eagle Outfitters and Old Navy, but there's also a Pier 1 Imports, Kohls, and Target. A movie theater, rock-climbing wall, and entertainment center provide other leisure-time possibilities, and restaurants peppered throughout the property guarantee that hunger is never an issue. Outdoor fireplaces and unique water features deliver an interactive shopping, dining and entertainment experience in a bustling outdoor setting. A great destination for shopping, casual shopping and entertainment. (480-513-7586)
The Tanger Outlet Center in west Phoenix offers shoppers a vast selection of brand name factory outlet stores, including Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Calvin Klein, GUESS Factory Store, H&M, Levi's Outlet, Michael Kors, Nike Factory Store, Tommy Hilfiger, J Crew and many more. Tanger Outlet malls are known for their first quality, in-season name-brand stores, so if you're looking for the latest in fashion, home decor, jewelry and gifts, you are likely to find it at this Wega-outlet shopping destination. The Tanger Outlets are located next to the Westgate Entertainment District at the 101 and Glendale. ((623) 877-9500)
Biltmore Fashion Park
A desirable shopping destination for decades, Biltmore Fashion Park hosts an upscale contingent of shops in a gracious setting. Down pathways, amid landscaped beds and fountains, shoppers browse the offerings, which include Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ralph, Waterworks, and Escada. Along with fantastic shops, the complex features a number of well-received restaurants, both mid-range and more elaborate in intent. The opening of UNION Biltmore has brought a welcome new dimension to the the fahsion park. The new locally-owned independent concept offers shoppers an exciting mix of 18 small, distinctive boutiques ranging in size from 200-500 square feet, as well as the new casual eatery, Trattoria del Piero. (602-955-8400)
Phoenix Premium Outlets
Phoenix Premium Outlets is the newest shopping destination in the Phoenix metro area. This upscale outlet center is home to over 90 stores including Coach, Armani, Michael Kors, DKNY, Elie Tahari, Adidas, Banana Republic, Tommy Bahama, BCBG Max Azria, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Charlotte Russe, Columbia Sportswear, Converse, Dress Barn, Elie Tahari, Gap, Rawlings Sporting Goods, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and more. The outdoor outlet center is mere minutes away from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in the nearby suburb of Chandler, adjacent to the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino. Groups receive added incentives, so plan ahead and bring your favorite shopping buddies. (480 327-6645)
Phoenix is home to many of the southwest's swankiest malls and shopping centers, but it's also home to some excellent antique and vintage shopping destinations. The Melrose Shopping District (which is loosely based around Central Avenue and Indian School Road) is one of the city's best places to find unique, vintage finds. The small but thriving shopping district is home to dozens of independently owned boutiques and specialty shops, many of which specialize in antique and vintage furniture, clothing, books, music and gifts. From midcentury modern furniture to retro duds, come here when you're looking for a one-of-a-kind treasure. The Melrose District is also home to eateries, diners, bars and nightlife. (602-552-2825)
About Patricia Escarcega
Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and is working on a novel about growing up in the 1990s.
Read more about Patricia Escarcega here.