Best Museum Gift Shop 2022 | Phoenix Art Museum | Goods & Services | Phoenix

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.

From Coil to Carly Rae Jepsen, there's something for all tastes in Zia Records' dense stacks of CDs. Zia stocks plenty of new discs, but where the chain particularly shines is in its vast selection of used items. Zia's Valley locations are treasure troves of cheap popular releases and deep cuts. Zia offers cash and store credit for CDs, so there's usually a pretty good flow of new stock trickling into their stores, and the staff has pretty high standards for used disc conditions and won't put anything on their shelves that's too scratched or scuffed. Genre representation is also quite strong: If you're looking for jazz or metal or hip-hop, they have dedicated sections packed with interesting titles. You want Santana and Rob Thomas's "Smooth" single for a couple of bucks? No problem. How about albums by Phoenix world music/noise weirdos The Sun City Girls? You just may be in luck, buddy.

Where have generations of Phoenix musicians gone to buy their instruments? That would be Milano Music in downtown Mesa, which has been around since 1946. Whether your newly minted band kid needs his first clarinet or you're a veteran rocker looking for a fresh axe, Milano has brand-name options in a variety of price points. Not sure your middle school student is going to stick with the violin? Milano offers rental instruments for low monthly payments, and insurance is included, so if your daughter's flute is damaged in an unfortunate school bus incident, you're completely covered. For professionals, Milano carries every instrument you'd find in a symphony orchestra or a rock band, plus the accessories you need to keep them working in good condition. And if you're just getting started in music, Milano can help with that, too; they offer lessons for all ages.

Typewriters are a perfect ode to analog — a way to eliminate notifications, distractions, and get to writing. Bill Wahl recognizes this need, and for the last 70 years, his family has owned Mesa Typewriter Exchange. Opened in 1949, it's been a mainstay in the downtown Mesa area. And just when typewriters seem like a thing of the past, people have become interested in reliving nostalgia with the sound and feel of something they used as when they were younger. The shop is a museum of sorts, with typewriters from every decade lining the shelves. The vintage technology appeals to collectors, writers, and even younger generations who want to try typing on the device. Of course, writers gravitate toward the typewriters because they want to get away from screens and the constant stream of stimuli on their computers. Living in the past isn't always a bad thing.

The ease and discretion of ordering, ahem, certain personal products online can't be denied. But there's something to be said for visiting a store where you can check out the goods in person. At local chain Groove, you've got everything you want for a pleasurable evening solo or with others: lingerie, condoms, books, lube, sex toys, BDSM gear, bachelorette party merch, and way more. The atmosphere is sexy, not seedy, and the helpful staff won't hover but are more than happy to answer questions and give suggestions. With four Valley locations, you're never far away from what you need for a good time.

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