10 Best Christmas Shopping Destinations in Tucson

Everyone knows that Tucson is a ruggedly beautiful city known for its pristine deserts and cultural attractions. But did you know this desert metropolis is also a shopper's paradise?

If you don't believe us, check out La Encantada. Located in the city's swanky foothills area, this two-story, open-air plaza is a great place to shop this holiday season. You'll find independent boutiques and high-end retailers like Tiffany & Col, Louis Vuitton, Cole Haan, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, Bluemercury, Apple and St. John.

One of the biggest shopping destinations in the city is Tucson Mall, home to major department stores like Macy's, Dillard's, JC Penney's and Sear's. Now, if you're looking for a truly unique gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or family member, Tucson has several independent shops where you can find uncommon wares.

For the favorite kid in your life, stop by Yikes Toys and Gift-O-Rama. It's home to a well-curated selection of novelty gifts, educational toys and books. 

If you're looking for a unique Tucson-made gift, head to the city's historic west side to browse the wares at Mercado San Agustin, which is the city's only public market. The shopping center preserves the look and feel of the city's earliest markets, and features an eclectic selection of locally made artisanal products and goods. 


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, Aéropostale, 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.

Yikes Toys

This independent Tucson toy store is not just for kids. Adults will delight in the novelty gifts and specialty items to be found at Yikes Toys and Gift-o-Rama. Spend the afternoon browsing the racks and see what unique treasure you dig up. You'll find everything from classic children's books to obscure musical instruments. Voted best toy store in Tucson 2013 by Tucson Weekly, Yike has garnered a lot of dedicated fans over the years. Check out the seasonal displays that celebrate every special occasion on the calendar. Colorful, fun and whimsical, Yikes Toys is the ideal shopping destination for toy-lovers of all ages.

Located in a convenient midtown Tucson location, El Con Mall has gone through its share of ups and downs over the years. The good news that the shopping center has recently gone under extensive renovation, and the facelift has been good for business. You'll find big anchor stores like Target, Home Depot. JC Penneys, Burlington Coat Factory and even a new Walmart. The shopping center is also home to the popular Century 20 El Con movie theatre. If you get hungry, there are plenty of dining options. There's an In-N-Out Burgers, Chik-Fil-A, Claim Jumper Restaurant, Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill, and a Starbucks for a quick shopping pick-me-up.

Lost Barrio

The Lost Barrio--as the name implies--is a small, colorful shopping district tucked away in a nondescript neighborhood 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. It's the ideal spot to shop for rustic and unique Southwestern and Mexican home decor. The shops situated in the Lost Barrio include Southwest Furniture & Design, Colonial Frontiers, Old Brazil, La Casa Mexicana, Petroglyphs, Eclectic Flea, Rustica and Eastern Living. There's also a good breakfast and lunch spot called Tooley's Cafe.

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. Old Town Artisands is home to an eclectic range of art galleries, including the Old Town Pot Shop, La Zia, Dawn Steward couture jewelry, and Shelago's Artwerks USA. After shopping, sit in the shade of an ancient mesquite tree and sip a cool drink from the Southwestern cantina.

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.

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. This open-air, two-level shopping center has become a destination for luxury shoppers across Southern Arizona. Anthropologie, Cole Haan, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, Bluemercury, Apple and Tiffany & Co., St. John, Lucy, and Louis Vuitton are just some of the names you'll find here. La Encantada is home to some of Tucson's most exceptional restaurants, including Armitage Wine Lounge & Cafe, Blanco Tacos + Tequila, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, NORTH Fattoria Italiana, RA Sushi Bar Restaurant and Savaya Coffee.

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. There are two Street Fairs per year on Fourth Avenue, one in Spring and one in the Winter. They attract thousands of visitors, who enjoy the outdoor booths, food booths and live entertainment. Colorful and distinct, the Fourth Avenue Shopping District is a must for any serious Tucson shopper.

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.

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.


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.