The outdoor Arizona Center (400 E. Van Buren St., 602/271-4000, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.) is a pleasant mix of restaurants, bars, and shops surrounded by downtown Phoenix ’s office towers. There’s even a 24-screen multiplex movie theater—perfect for escaping the heat. The complex’s tourist-oriented stores are handy if you’re searching for Arizona souvenirs and gifts, like tiny cacti, t-shirts, and trinkets with Kokopelli. Sadly, residents often overlook its best feature: a small, shady garden with benches, waterfalls, and a tranquil pond. It’s a nice place to enjoy a picnic lunch or catch a few rays.
The small collection of independent shops, galleries, and restaurants that make up Roosevelt Row (602/614-8727, www.rooseveltrow.org ) has tried to do the impossible: transform downtown Phoenix  into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. And after nearly two decades, their Herculean efforts appear to be working.
Twice a week, the Downtown Phoenix Public Market (721 N. Central Ave., www.foodconnect.org/phoenixmarket , 4–8 p.m. Wed., 8 a.m.–noon Sat.) pops up near Central Avenue and McKinley Street, made up of local farmers and artisans selling organic produce and homemade goods.
The monthly First Friday artwalk (602/256-7539, www.artlink.com , 6–10 p.m.) fills Roosevelt Street from Grand Avenue to 16th Street, with people darting in and out of the neighborhood’s small galleries, artist studios, and live/work spaces that have sprung up.
Some of the smaller shops come and go, but Modified Arts (407 E. Roosevelt St., 602/462-5516, http://modified.org , hours vary) remains a leading force in Phoenix’s alternative arts scene, featuring musical performances in addition to rotating gallery selections.
The collective, artist-run space Eye Lounge (419 E. Roosevelt St., 602/430-1490, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Thurs., 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri., 1–5 p.m. Sat.) promotes the works of local emerging artists, making it an excellent opportunity to invest in a piece on the ground floor.
There are a few independent stores of note on Roosevelt, including Made Art Boutique (922 N. 5th St., 602/256-6233, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.), which sells fun books, t-shirts, jewelry, and artwork.
Just south, Bunky Boutique (812 N. 3rd St., 602/252-1323, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 11–6 p.m. Sat.) has become a Phoenix  retail darling with an eclectic selection of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and accessories. Well-known labels and independent designers are represented, and hours change throughout the year.