We've spent the last year in the laboratory putting Phoenix under the microscope to reveal hundreds of specimens of the best culture, outdoor adventures, shopping, dining, and nightlife the city has to offer. And we're finally ready to publish our results. Nerd alert! Now presenting Scientific Phoenix.
Somebody said recently that vintage is the new black. Well, Phoenix vintage hounds, you're in luck. Our city has vintage shops for just about any collectible -- from antique books to vintage clothes, garden tools to Christmas decorations. Check out the 30 best places for vintage shopping in Phoenix.
Best Monthly Vintage Sale: Sweet Salvage
Every month, we strive to make a little more room in our apartment in hopes of squeezing in a new vintage find from Sweet Salvage. The décor shop opens its doors every third Thursday through Sunday with a new theme (the second-ever, held around Halloween, was "mad scientist") and fresh merchandise. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story. Best Vintage Christmas Stuff: Zinnias on Melrose
We didn't used to own a set of Santa Claus salt-and-pepper shakers or a Frosty the Snowman slushy maker, but we do now, thanks to Zinnias at Melrose, our favorite spot in town for vintage holiday gewgaws and all things Christmas. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Antique Shop for Vintage Carnival Chalkware: Antique Centre
Lots of people go to Scottsdale for its better restaurants and uptown department store shopping, but we go there for plaster Kewpie dolls. Antique Centre is the best place to find vintage carnival chalkware, those oddly painted statues that were given away as prizes at carnival dime-tosses in the '30s and '40s. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story here.
Best Thrift Store for Collectible Books: Goodwill
When we decided we wanted an old set of encyclopedias, we thought it would be a piece of cake to find one -- because any thrift store must have at least one set, right? Wrong. We visited a half-dozen of them before we headed to this west-side Goodwill, where we snagged a 33-volume set in mint condition for $20. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story here.
Best Thrift Store for Vintage Furniture: White Dove Thrift
Outside of a plain old antiques store, this is the place where the best local collection of slightly tarnished vintage furniture resides. Every stick of Stickley is waiting for you to discover it and bring it home; and next time you drive past this Seventh Avenue destination and see a moving van out front, pull in! Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 Story.
Best Annual Parking Lot Sale of Vintage Goods: Antique Gatherings
What we wanted more than anything was a pair of gigantic vintage Drexel china cupboards to cram all of our dishes into. Alas, everyplace we saw them (they're pretty common but still very lovely), there was only one and it was way too expensive. Then we headed over to Antique Gatherings for its semi-annual Spring Parking Lot Sale, because we always find something there that makes us want to scream with joy. And there they were: two big Drexel cupboards with teeny tiny price tags on them. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Thrift Store for Vintage Dishware: Flo's on 7th
The best thing about our new set of Brockware Chanticleer dishware is that we got it for next to nothing, because we shop at Flo's. The buyers there seem to know what they have -- often, dishes and serving pieces will be tagged with the set's current eBay value -- but they're not doing that weird thing where they lock it all up in a case and over-price it. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Thrift Store for Big, Ugly Lamps: Goodwill
There was this corner in our home that needed nothing so much as a big, ugly table lamp. Off we headed to the Goodwill at 32nd Street and Thomas, because we'd seen a colossal monster of a lamp there not long before. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Vintage Lighting Fixtures: Stuff Antiques
Staring at the ceiling is a good idea at Stuff Antiques, a place that's really all about the best in period lighting. Joe, the owner, clearly is obsessed with fine examples of exceptional period lamps and light fixtures; his place is filled to the rafters with stunning examples of Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, and Midcentury Modern pieces. Read the full Best of Phoenix story.
Best Thrift Store for Small Appliances: Savers
We wanted an electric can opener but didn't want to pay full price; we knew we'd be using it only to open the occasional can of dog food. And so we headed straight to the Bell Road Savers in Peoria, because we knew they have practically an entire department devoted to small appliances. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Thrift Store Antique Department: Westside Christian Charity
We secretly hate those glass cases in thrift stores, where the "good stuff" has been locked away because someone in a backroom has decided that a headless Shirley Temple doll with a torn dress is valuable and should cost $40. And there's never anyone around with a key to show us the thing we want, anyway. But at Indian School Thrift, we love the glass cases -- because they're just one part of a whole department of neatly arranged, actually vintage things for sale. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Thrift Store Nobody Knows About: Eve's Treasures
It's the glassware that we love the best. No, wait. It's the stunning selection of hardcover books for sale here. Or is it the whole roomful of vintage record albums that keep drawing us back, over and over again, to this cute little best-kept-secret of a thrift shop? Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best MidCentury Modern Furniture: Modern Manor
If you spend considerable time on Craigslist employing search terms like "teak," "Danish," and "Eames," pause your rapidly moving fingers. Now, instead of compulsively hitting refresh on that shady search page again, redirect your eyes to Ryan and Kylie Durkin's website for a look at their mod treasures. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Thrift Store for Cheap Gifts: Assistance League Thrift
We admit it: There's a box in our closet where we keep inexpensive gifts we've scored at Assistance League Thrift, one of the best thrift shops in town for still-in-the-box re-giftables. Recently, we've found a cute box of vintage stationery for a dollar; a still-wrapped-in-plastic potpourri candle; and a neat spice rack (also still in its original box) shaped like a giraffe that we know will make the perfect last-minute hostess gift. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Thrift Store for Plaster Deities: Salvation Army
Last time we were here, we got a Virgin of Guadalupe with a chipped ear and an Infant of Prague whose index fingers were gone. The time before that, we got a plaster Jesus with real vinyl hair. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Vintage Clothing on a Budget: Butter Toast Boutique
Nobody pulls off the hippie-chic look quite like Butter Toast owners Traci Nelson and Jasmine Jarrett do. At once effortless and thoughtfully put together, theirs is a look that is easy to attempt but can be tough to pull off. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Place to Buy Antiques on a Budget: Antique Marketplace (readers choice)
It just keeps growing, like Topsy. Antique Marketplace, which savvy shoppers remember as the old Historic District Antiques on Seventh Avenue, continues to gobble up the other storefronts around it, expanding more and more every time we drop in. That's a good thing, because we always find something amazing, at an amazingly low price, when we do. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Place to Buy High-End Antiques: Phoenix Lamp Repair (readers choice)
We know where to go for fancier antiques for our great old house, and now we're going to tell you -- in good part because you may not know that this wonderful old shop even sells antiques. They do -- and good ones, besides. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Place to Buy Vintage Clothing: Antique Sugar at Zinnia's
Shopping for vintage duds can prove an iffy endeavor in Phoenix, where some stores couldn't be bothered to give a hoot about their products. That's especially true when delving into racks and stacks ends with shoppers exiting in the midst of a dusty sneezing fit. In the case of Melrose district vintage staple Antique Sugar, the clothing couldn't be ignored by the shop owners or vintage lovers long enough for mites to collect -- it's simply too desirable. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Mobile Vintage Shop: Merry May Shoppe (readers choice)
Yeah, yeah. We know all about food trucks. But there's a new brand of shops on wheels we're excited about: clothing trucks. And we have Ashley Eaton to thank for our newfound obsession. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Vintage Jewelry: Vintage By Misty
Misty Guerriero travels the world in search of to-die-for vintage fashion and furniture to fill up Vintage By Misty. London, Paris, Israel, and Spain all make her list of shopping destinations. Where Guerriero's eye for the eye-catching serves her best (in our humble opinion) is in her selection of fabulous baubles, as evidenced by the shop's impressive variety of accessories. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Splurge-Worthy Vintage Clothing: Fashion by Robert Black
With the frequency that designers use the word "couture" to describe their work, you'd think the stuff magically grew on mannequins. The term actually is short for haute couture, a French descriptor for handmade, custom high fashion that is really, really expensive. And if you're in the market for it, there's one Valley standby that always has it stocked: Fashion by Robert Black. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Designer Consignment Store: Poor Little Rich Girl
Label lovers who get giddy over good deals on quality products, we're about to let you in on a little shopping secret of ours. Instead of getting bogged down by aimless shoppers and too much filler at places like T.J. Maxx, head to discount department store alternative Poor Little Rich Girl. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Used Clothing for Kids: Love Child
The only thing more adorable than a little girl's party dress is a little girl's party dress at a screaming bargain. And that's what you'll find -- rack after rack of 'em, in fact -- at Love Child. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story. Best Antiques Mall: Brass Armadillo
We're clumsy. And so, when we recently knocked over and smashed a vintage Dr Pepper bottle while visiting a friend's very vintage home, we were mortified but not surprised. We also weren't worried about replacing this rare article -- we just grabbed our phone and dialed Brass Armadillo, because if anyone had one, we knew they would. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Vintage Textiles: Retro Ranch
Ramie. Baft. Bombazine. We're addicted to reading the labels on vintage clothing, and some of the best label-reading (not to mention shopping) that we've done lately is at Retro Ranch, one of Seventh Avenue's best-known vintage stores. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Boutique Thrift Shop: Sunset Clothing Xchange
On the flipside of Mucho Gusto, on University Drive, sits Sunset, a boutique thrift shop where, after a few of those hibiscus margs, we tend to go a little berserk. Not that it's unwarranted. It's quite the opposite. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Antique Shop for Gardening Supplies: Qcumberz
We didn't know we needed a vintage hand rake until we saw a nicely weathered green one hanging on the wall at Qcumberz, a longtime favorite of local antique fans. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Thrift Store for Vintage Cookware: Goodwill
We thought it was a total fluke when we found two minty-mint Wearever cook-pots from the 1940s at this thrift store, but then a few weeks later, we found the matching saucepan -- with its lid, too! After that, we made this unusually clean shop a regular stop. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
Best Place to Buy an Antique Bathtub: Antique Trove
We wanted an old claw-foot tub, and we looked in all the usual places. Pretty much every antique dealer rolled his eyes and wrung his hands and sent us away, empty-handed. And then we went to Antique Trove, which lives up to its name, always. Treasures everywhere, and all of it so nicely displayed and lit. Read the full Best of Phoenix 2012 story.
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