Old Town and the Arts Districts
- Where to Go
- The Best of the Valley of the Sun
- Wild West Adventure
- Let Scottsdale Rock Your World
- Finding Water in the Sonoran Desert
- Spring Training
- Arizona Family Road Trip
- Phoenix Points of Pride
- Southwestern Culture and Heritage
- Nocturnal Scottsdale
- Exploring Phoenix’s Architecture
- Unexpected Arizona
- Desert Chic
- Chilly Drinks and Cool Eats in Scottsdale
Park your car at the old hitching posts and make your way down the covered sidewalks. Next to the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, Bischoff’s at the Park (3925 N. Brown Ave., 480/946-6155, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily) is a terrific place to pick up Southwestern souvenirs, including books, rugs, Hopi kachina dolls, and Pima baskets and pottery. The store’s brick walls and high ceilings originally housed a bank, which explains why Bischoff’s doesn’t feel as touristy as some of the other shopping options in Old Town. Pick up a few postcards inside, and head out to the charming shaded courtyard to jot down a few notes to friends.
The larger Bischoff’s Shades of the West (7247 E. Main St., 480/945-3289, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun.) offers “everything needed to transform a bunkhouse into a Southwestern palace,” from Mexican glasses and blankets to bronze hardware.
You can smell the leather when you walk through the door of Saba’s (7254 E. Main St., 480/949-7404, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun.). “Arizona’s Original Western Store” has grown considerably since David Saba opened his first trading post in 1927, and you’ll still find co-owner Roger Saba selling belt buckles and hats to real cowboys and old friends almost every day. Check out the wall of boots and children’s fringe leather vests across the street at its sister store (3965 N. Brown Ave., 480/947-7664, same hours).
It seems like you can’t turn a corner in Old Town without bumping into one of the Gilbert Ortega Galleries, mammoth emporiums filled with Navajo rugs, antler chandeliers, turquoise jewelry, equestrian art, and even headdresses, in a range of prices. The best of the bunch is the Gilbert Ortega Gallery & Museum (3925 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480/990-1808, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.–Tues., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Wed.–Sat.). If you’re looking for the perfect Southwest souvenir, you’ll find something here.
Civil War buffs and Old West admirers should stop in at Guidon Books (7117 Main St., 480/945-8811, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat.). Proprietor Aaron L. Cohen packs his tiny bookstore with new and out-of-print specialty titles about Western America and the Civil War. Peruse the shelves, where you’ll find categories that range from women of the West and Union generals to Indian crafts and Southwest furniture.
Between its Scottsdale store, catalog, and website, The Poisoned Pen (4014 N. Goldwater Blvd., 480/947-2974, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun.) is the world’s largest bookstore specializing in mysteries, crime, and espionage. Owner Barbara Peters says it comes down to one simple tenet: “You have to know your customers.” In addition to the dozens of signed and first edition mysteries, the bookstore hosts some 200 events a year.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition