Best Housewarming Gifts 2023 | UrbAna | Goods & Services | Phoenix

There's a certain satisfaction that comes when you know you've picked just the right gift. If you've got a housewarming party coming up, you'll experience the feeling if you walk through the doors of one of UrbAna's two Valley locations. Cocktail lovers would appreciate midcentury modern-inspired glassware by Rialto, while a friend who spends all his time in the kitchen would get plenty of use out of Staub baking dishes. White coasters with delicate gold cactuses are a good fit for any Phoenix home, and taper candles paired with matches in apothecary jars are always a welcome gift. Or you could give the new homeowners an UrbAna gift card, allowing them to choose their own perfect gift.

Nostalgia, anyone? That "this feels like the past" vibe will wash over you as soon as you walk into Mesa Typewriter Exchange. Owner Bill Wahl's father opened the shop in 1949, and since that time, the space has housed innumerable vintage typewriters, from early-20th-century models to chic midcentury examples. People who want to step away from their laptops and spend some time in front of an old-school typewriter will likely find something that will fit their writing needs. With so many choices, customers are sure to find what they need, whether it's a functional machine or just a twee home accessory. Mesa Typewriter Exchange also rents typewriters as well as repairs what you've already got at your home or office.

In a day and age when most photography gear can easily be bought and sold online, Tempe Camera might seem as obsolete as the Kodak Disc 3000. Truth be told, it's still a go-to spot for getting new and used lenses, camera bodies and flashes, as well as any sort of supplies needed for staging the perfect shot. Leading brands such as Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus and Manfrotto are always in stock and occasionally on sale. The staff are all photographers themselves and are happy to advise you on your purchase. (They even stock actual film, if you prefer it over digital.) The long-running business, which has developed a following among local shutterbugs since opening in 1972, is more than just a retail destination. Downstairs, there's a repair department manned by Tempe Camera founder Joe Wojcich and other aces who can handle everything from simple sensor cleanings to complete overhauls, as well as a rental counter with a wide array of photography, video and audio gear available. Tempe Camera also hosts workshops and seminars for hobbyists or anyone else interested in getting photography. No matter your skill level, stop by Tempe Camera and see what develops.

The Desert Botanical Garden's twice-annual plant sale gets plenty of attention for good reason, but its gift shop always offers plenty of items that bring a bit of the outdoors in. The store has a stellar selection of locally crafted goods (think Iconic Cocktail Co.'s prickly pear drink mixers and flavored popcorn from Kettle Heroes), chic housewares, gardening supplies, seeds and plants and ample souvenir options, including garden swag, holiday ornaments and kitschy cactus candy. After wandering through the gardens, it's worth taking one last turn to take a peek inside to browse and find a gift for someone — or yourself. Bonus: What you spend supports the garden's desert plant conversation work.

Runner's Den succeeds not only in carrying all the footwear, clothing and accessories you need to take on whatever running activities you like, it thoughtfully makes connections to help runners stay accountable. If you've got your sights on running a 10K, half marathon or marathon, you can meet others and stay on track through group runs and training programs. Runner's Den has been a fixture since it opened in 1978 thanks to its solid selection and knowledgeable staff who understand the importance that a good shoe plays in avoiding injury. In addition to offering solid advice, the shop hosts injury clinics. We're glad Runner's Den keeps running to help us do the same — a little smarter, faster and harder.

When we're not in a record-breaking heat wave that makes international headlines for weeks, we love spending time outside. Arizona Hiking Shack has everything we need for the days we can actually stand to be outdoors, whether we're kayaking down the Salt River, camping up by the Mogollon Rim or hiking Camelback Mountain. The store has been serving Phoenix customers for more than 50 years, selling them clothing, accessories, maps, books and gear they need to be well-equipped and safe for their outdoor adventures. But it's not just things that Arizona Hiking Shack provides, it also offers classes on topics like backpacking and wilderness survival, because the right equipment is important, but knowledge is essential.

Have you ever wanted to walk into a store and be disoriented by the absolutely massive amount of antique goods available for purchase? Yeah, us too. The two Valley locations of Brass Armadillo are the creme de la creme of vintage shopping in the Valley and it isn't just because of their sheer size, which is truly impressive. From obscure Hello Kitty collectibles to unique home furnishings featuring horns, the Armadillo has it. Fashion aficionados will be amazed by the selection of quirky accessories, and if you're in the market for some high-quality but affordable cowboy boots, you'll find them here. Just make sure you clear your schedule for the day because it's easy to lose hours while bargain-hunting.

Need a faux blood-stained hoodie that says, "I'm fine?" How about an "Evil Dead" lunchbox? Perhaps a copy of "Friday the 13th" on VHS? Whatever horrific swag you're looking for, you can probably find it in this spacious store. Terror Trader follows the antique mall formula, meaning a number of vendors sell their wares in the space. It also doubles as a sort of haunted house experience, with various rooms and sections decorated along specific horror themes. There's a scary clown room, a creepy doll corner, an '80s slasher-flick flashback nook and more. In addition to selling a bunch of cool stuff, Terror Trader also hosts events like crafting classes where you can make your own bedazzled bloody knife, and conventions like its Gathering of the Ghouls.

There are several car-centric hubs across the Valley, including Glendale's Martin Auto Museum. But if you want to explore true classic car culture, take a drive out to Streetside Classics in Mesa. It's part of a large national chain that deals exclusively in classic cars and trucks, and this location has a pretty robust stock. At one point, the dealer's inventory included a 1970 Nova Pro Street, a 1969 Skylark Custom, a 1972 Bronco 4x4 and a 1953 Buick Special street rod. That's only scratching the surface of the pristine vehicles, each one bright and shiny and ready to be driven home that day. Even if you're not in the market to drop $50,000 on a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner, Streetside is a great place to waste an afternoon browsing. It's a museum in its own right, and the care and attention paid to actual collectors is clear from the moment you step into the showroom. It's that sense that makes this as much about the history of great cars as it does about how these mighty machines actually play a role in people's lives nowadays. Just keep your hands to yourself unless you fancy a test drive.

Best Place to Buy Something You Don't Actually Need

Monsoon Market

There is a sirenlike quality to Monsoon Market, a boutique wine shop that opened on 16th Street in 2021. Walk in and you have the sense that you're trapped in a whirlwind.This small, charming store is full to the brim with beautiful things that no one could possibly need. There is, for example, a purple psychedelic-patterned oven mitt. A candle shaped like an artichoke. Dice with butterflies etched into the sides. A magazine called Mushroom People ("a magazine for mycophiles," closer inspection reveals). Many versions of this type of luxe trinket store ultimately feel sterile, detached completely from their customers or their neighborhood, but not so with Monsoon Market. Here, the store is playful and approachable and self-aware enough that it just might coax you into purchasing that oven mitt or the truffle-infused hot sauce in the chic grocery section or one of the extensive selection of natural wines. The shop also hosts yoga classes sometimes — of course it does. We support it. We'll buy the artichoke candle.

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