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10 Best Shopping Destinations in Tucson for Serious Shoppers



Tucson seems to have an affinity for one-of-a-kind, locally-made products that you simply won't find anywhere else. One of the best places in town to shop for Tucson-made goods is the Mercado San Agustin, located in the city's historic westside. Shoppers can stroll from stall to stall, where local vendors sell everything from fresh Mexican sweet bread to Southwestern art. 

Need some new reading material? Bookmans Entertainment Exchange has been a Tucson favorite for decades, offering customers the opportunity to trade in the old for the new. This dog-friendly bookstore chain has three locations around town.

If high-end fashion is more your speed, head to La Encantada, Tucson's Spanish-style, upscale shopping district where the price tags are as high as the summer temperatures. Another spot for high-end fashion is the Foothills Mall. Along with chic boutiques, it features a nice smattering of outlet stores.

Of course, any shopping expedition in Tucson would not be complete without a stop at some of the city's oldest and beloved shopping districts. Don't miss the Fourth Avenue Shopping District, conveniently sandwiched between the University of Arizona and downtown Tucson. It features dozens of eclectic shops selling local art, fashion, books, furniture and decor. It's also full of unique eateries and cafes. 


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Bookmans


This popular regional chain poses the question: "Why buy new?" Why, indeed. Alt Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, you'll find an assortment of gift items, antiques, musical instruments, cds, vinyl records, dvds, and of course, scores and scores of books. Spend the afternoon browsing the bookshelves, or meander into the antique alcove for that next great find. There are plenty of unique gift items too. Bookmans is dog-friendly, so bring your favorite four-legged pal on your next shopping trip. There is also free Internet and comfy chairs to enjoy some web surfing. With three locations around town, finding yourself near a Bookmans location is never hard.




Located on Tucson's scenic far northwest side, the Foothills Mall offers a diverse selection of shops and department stores in an attractive setting. There are more than 90 stores for window shopping, browsing or bargain hunting, including a handful of popular outlet stores. There is a Barnes & Noble, AMC and IMAX movie theaters, Aeropostale, Bath & Body Works, Chic, The Children's Place Outlet, Dress Barn and Dress Barn Outlet, Kirland's Home, Famous Footwear, Old Pueblo Chocolate Factory, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Zales the Diamond Store Outlet and Nike Factory Store. The Foothills Mall is also home to popular eateries like the Thunder Canyon Brewery.


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North Tucson


Tucson Mall is the city's leading retail destination and the largest shopping center in Southern Arizona. Major department stores include Macy's, Dillard's, JC Penney's and Sear's. There is also a Forever 21, American Eagle Outfitters, Banana Republic, Gamers Warehouse, Foot Locker, REI, dELiA's, BevMo and many more. For a local treat, make sure to stop by the Tubac Olive Oil Company store for locally made olive oil and food products. Tucson Mall is also home to a large selection of eateries, including the California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, Mimi's Cafe, Red Robin, Shane's Rib Shack and the Olive Garden.


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Park Place Mall is a two-story mall located in midtown Tucson. The mall features over 100 stores and services to choose from, including a Macy's, Dillard's, Sear's, Abercrombie & Fitch, Charlotte Russe, Charlotte Russe, Chico's, Toy Planet, Coldwater Creek, Z Gallerie, Foot Locker, Victoria's Secret, Total Wine & More, Guess, H&M, Old Navy, Spencer's, Things Remembered, Van's and Zale's Jewelers. The mall is also home to a Century 20 movie theater, a children's play area and large food court. Several popular restaurants are also located in the mall exterior, including Applebee's Neighborhood Grille, Chipotle, Red Lobster and Cold Stone Creamery.




Buffalo Trading Post is the sophisticated "older sibling" to Buffalo Exchange, Tucson's popular buy-sell-trade clothing boutique. The store specializes in clothes and fashion accessories for sophisticated women, carrying brands like Coldwater Creek and Chicos. Looking to add a bit of cowboy chic to your wardrobe? You'll find a good selection of fashionable jeans, boots, hats and other cowboy wear. For men, the store carries vintage Hawaiian shirts and Western wear. Mexican imports, cute outdoor furniture and mid-century housewares. The store is located at the Cat Mountain Station in far west Tucson, which makes it a convenient stopping point if you're on the way to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Old Tucson Studios.




La Encantada is one of Tucson's most upscale shopping and dining districts. Spanish-style architecture, manicured courtyards, and sweeping staircases make for a gracious shopping expedition at this foothills-area destination. Anthropologie, Cole Haan, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, Bluemercury, St. John, Lucy, and Louis Vuitton are just some of the names you'll find here. La Encantada frequently hosts live music and other events. There is a weekly "Meet Me at La Encantada" walk, run, and/or strength conditioning activity appropiate for all age groups and abilities. Even if you don't come to shop or exercise, La Encantada is also a popular dining destination.


Old Town Artisans


You're sure to find some great gift ideas among the shopping areas in this 1850s adobe building. Each room offers unique items from specialty vendors, and regions around the world are represented, especially the southwestern US, Latin America and Mexico. Browse through a large collection of local and regional art, jewelry, Navajo rugs, clothing, ceramics and metalwork. After shopping, sit in the shade of an ancient mesquite tree and sip a cool drink from the Southwestern cantina. Old Town Artistans is well worth a stop if you're visiting the historic parts of downtown Tucson. Old Town Artisans is also home to La Cocina, a popular Mexican and American food restaurant.


Lost Barrio


The Lost Barrio--as the name implies--is a small, colorful shopping district tucked away in a nondescript warehouse district south of the University of Arizona. This small but vibrant shopping district features 13 locally owned stores carrying fine custom and imported furniture, accessories, jewelry, imports, rugs, vintage clothing, and much more. You'll find an eclectic selection of home decor, many imported from Mexico and other countries, as well as locally produced pieces. There's also Tooley's, a small café offering a healthy breakfast and lunch menu. The Lost Barrio is a great alternative to chain stores. It's well worth a stop if you're near downtown Tucson.




Over 100 shops line the streets of Fourth Avenue in Tucson, including boutiques, art galleries, bookstores, sundry shops, and more. This is your one-stop destination for funky fashion, unique decor and gift items, and that perfect souvenir from your Tucson sojourn. Lively and colorful, Fourth Avenue remains one of Tucson's favorite shopping destinations for both locals and visitors. Along with great shopping, you'll also find plenty of dining options, including cafes, restaurants and bars. While Fourth Avenue attracts the city's teeming college student population, it's also a fun destination for visitors. Its location between the University of Arizona and downtown Tucson makes it a convenient stopping point.




Mercado San Agustin is a charming marketplace and outdoor shopping center located in Tucson's historic west side. The shopping center is patterned after a traditional outdoor Mexican marketplace, but this local shopping destination is 100 percent Tucson. It features a rustic courtyard with greenery, shaded seating, and dozens of locally-owned shops. You'll find southwestern furniture, handmade jewelry, fashion apparel, a Mexican bakery, and cozy lunch and dinner spots. It's the perfect place to find a unique southwestern souvenir that you'll only find in Tucson. The market regularly hosts special events, including live music, food festivals, arts and performance shows, and a regular farmer's market.


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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.

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