Best Mall 2022 | Chandler Fashion Center | Goods & Services | Phoenix

Even in the age of online shopping, we still love a good day at the mall. Chandler Fashion Center has something for everyone. The lineup of 180-plus retailers includes Apple, Tilly's, lululemon, Dillard's, Macy's, and Urban Outfitters, to namedrop a few. The 20-screen Harkins Theatres multiplex is excellent for friends and date nights, and the Crayola Experience Studio, Joystick Arcade, and splash pad are lit for the younger folks. And once shoppers get winded, they can grab a bite and quench their thirst at a myriad of spots in the food court and throughout the area, including Hop Social Tavern, Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant, BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, and P.F. Chang's. To wrap up the day or night, The Cheesecake Factory and the Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble offer dessert and coffee.

Senegal and Beyond is the kind of unique shop we didn't know we needed in Phoenix, but now we can't get enough of. Opened earlier this year by GG and Matt Berger, a Senegalese woman and her American husband, the shop is stocked with Senagalese teas and coffees, snacks, house-mixed spices, jewelry, and other gifts. Sauces and seasonings that stir the senses line long wooden shelves as the tri-color flag of Senegal drapes over a fridge full of cold drinks shipped express from the West African coast. Senegal and Beyond is both a delightful place to stop and a window to a culture that many in Phoenix are not familiar with, all from a storefront in midtown.

"Metaphysical store" conjures certain images and associations: incense, New Age, Stevie Nicks vibes. Zombi World Market cuts against that grain. It eschews "Sedona crystal shop" aesthetics for an earthier, occult-y vibe — less The Secret, more The Invisibles. Owner Jinn El-Masri's passion for all things Santeria, Vodoun, and ceremonial magic inform the shop's energy and offerings. Zombi specializes in Indigenous and diasporic spiritual traditions. If you want to deepen your knowledge about the loas, learn the finer points of Afro-Caribbean mysticism, or attend fascinating occult talks and workshops, Zombi is definitely the spot. There's more to this world market than voodoo, however. The shop has an eclectic and expertly curated book section, sells homemade crafts (yes, including candles and incense — it a metaphysical store, after all), and also offers unusual curios and antiques that El-Masri has collected over years of world travel.

Whether you think that rose quartz is going to fix your love life, or you're just really into geology, Rare Earth Gallery has what you want. The north Valley shop carries a truly impressive assortment of rocks and crystals, from a palm-sized heart-shaped quartz to epic amethyst slabs that cost thousands of dollars. The dazzling bounty of the earth is on full display here in the form of delicate jewelry, mineral specimens from around the world, and small polished stones that appeal to all ages. We love the beaded bracelets made from tumbled stones and one-of-a-kind pieces mounted on stands. Even when we're not looking to buy, we can't help but stop in whenever we're in Cave Creek to see what Rare Earth Gallery has in store.

Maybe don't tell the curators this, but we tend to spend as much time in museum gift shops as we do in the galleries — and Phoenix Art Museum is actually the only museum where we make a point of hitting the shop before we explore the exhibits. Carefully organized areas make it easy to find items for particular spaces like offices or kitchens, and we appreciate being able to find a great selection of affordable gifts from collapsible flower vases to puzzles featuring images of great works of art. The museum carries an impressive variety of jewelry for days you're feeling classy, and a fun assortment of art-themed T-shirts for days you'd rather keep it simple. We never get bored shopping here, thanks to new merch tied into the ever-changing exhibition lineup. Best of all, the shop carries work by local artists, so we can support the creatives in our midst while we're shopping.

Buying art can be intimidating, either because it's way out of your price range or because you don't know much about art in general. That's never a concern at Practical Art, where the mood is always mellow. The shop carries pieces by more than 100 Arizona-based artists, who make furniture, garden decor, kitchen accessories, children's items, jewelry, ceramics, and much more. One artist makes whimsical salt and pepper shakers to spice up your breakfast nook; another makes ceramic plates with saucy sayings perfect for office gift exchanges when you're feeling just a tad passive-aggressive. The staff is always happy to share insights about local artists, and there's an art club you can join to get access to special offerings. While you're there, you can check out the store's latest exhibition or talk with fellow art lovers who pop in to see what's new.

It's a good sign that artists and art students shop here. But Blick is fabulous for the rest of us, too. You can pop in and get a quick gift like a Moleskine notebook for the poet in your life, buy a frame for that print you never had a chance to hang on the wall, or grab a set of neon Sharpie markers for your friend with the white couch. Or you can snag a bunch of black cotton canvases and some glow-in-the-dark paint for your next house party. If you're looking for alternatives to doomscrolling, pick up some clay so you can work with your hands, or buy a kit so you can carve a small soapstone figurine to display on your mantle. Blick can empower you to face down the tyranny of technology, and discover all the ways you can have fun with different materials from metal to paper. Love the earth? Choose their eco-friendly and recycled supplies. Love a kid? Check out their children's art supplies. They'll be happy to give you guidance, or just let you do your own thing. Now that paints a pretty picture.

These fiber folk take their yarn very seriously, but still manage to create an environment that's welcoming for people of any skill level, or absolutely no skills at all. The shop has a stellar lineup of classes, where you can learn the ins and outs of beginning knitting or crocheting, try your hand at weaving and spinning, or see how you like doing needle felting. Whether you want to make a granny square throw or a needle-felted one-eyed monster is up to you. The shop has an incredible selection of yarns, and even carries fibers a local artist dyes by using desert plants. There's a wonderful community spirit here, because curiosity is always supported and knowledge is generously shared.

Hopefully you don't get triggered recalling all those seasons of Project Runway, when emerging designers would spend part of every episode frantically searching for just the right bolt of fabric with the perfect pattern, texture, weight, or flow. You can re-create their experience at SAS, a shop that's practically stuffed wall to wall with fabrics — some traditional and others pretty out there. SAS can be the place you search for the ideal fabric for a prom dress or a tailored vest. But we love it for its funkier, whimsical side that inspires people to just stop in and play by picking out offbeat fabrics and accessories to buy for no particular reason, except the fact that it might rain one day, or you might want to mix up your cosplay vibe. SAS gives you incredible choices, and plenty of affirmation for your inner sewing nerd or wild child.

We were fans of the shop Mike Esposito founded in 2015 well before his name spread far and wide beyond Phoenix this summer, even making it into the Washington Post. We've always appreciated his record drops and videos, and the way he leans into authenticity and absolute passion for vinyl culture. But that respect got ramped up after he took to YouTube to share a tip he surely knew would leave heads exploding. He'd been told that a company renowned for using original master tapes to make its costly reissues of vinyl records was actually using digital files. He took a lot of heat, but the company eventually confirmed it was true. So now we can add another layer to our hometown pride, and keep on digging both the store's impressive vinyl offerings and Esposito's expertise.

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