Unique. Local. Varied price points.
That’s what we went cruising for to stave off that creeping panic — “What are we going to get Mom?” — as the holidays approach.
We visited a healthy smattering of shops to ferret out the coolest gift-worthy stuff, much of it made in Tucson, all of it sold by Tucsonans.
We started our trip on the South Side, hit a bunch of places near and far, and ended up at Sentinel Peak brewery in midtown.
Shopping sure makes a person hungry, so we’ve included suggestions for fun fare on your journey.
Ready? Let’s go!
Yerberia San Miguel
Hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Closed Christmas day
Yerberia San Miguel is a living symbol of Tucson’s cultural diversity. Step inside and you’ll find a huge range of herbs in different forms, from dried to liquid-infused. Soak up the atmosphere and note the dozens of different slow-burning candles bearing the images of various saints (about $5). Saints are also in evidence in small statue form, ready to wrap and put under the tree.
Fuel: If you’re planning to take in all of the stores listed here you’re gonna need some food. Just south of Yerberia San Miguel is El Guero Canelo, home of the world-famous Sonoran hot dog. Paired with a cold bottle of Coke, it’ll keep you going to the next stop.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call for holiday hours that begin Dec. 11.
This shop, celebrating eight years in business, is owned and run by artists who make most of the jewelry, leather goods and other treasures offered here. A pair of handmade earrings runs $36. Plan to spend a bit of time because there’s a lot to look at, including toys and journals.
Hungry again? You’re in luck. MAST is in Mercado San Agustin, which has several food options, from sit-down dining to sno-cones.
Rustic Candle Co.
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday noon-6 p.m. Call for extended holiday hours.
An amazing aroma emanates from the Rustic Candle Co., where you’ll find candles dipped onsite along with incense, candle holders, matches, paraffin, soy and beeswax candles (said to burn twice as long as regular candles) and all manner of one-of-a-kind decorative items. We picked up a pretty pink $6 rose-scented candle that made our car smell, well, rosy.
Need a break? Hit BisonWitches, just a few steps from the candle shop. A (huge) half sandwich, chips and soda put us back nearly $15 after tip, kinda pricey for lunch, but worth it.
The Shops at Tohono Chul
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Closed early on Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas Day.
We stopped into La Fuente, one of several shops at this botanical wonder, and found vibrant paintings, Native American jewelry, pottery, miniatures and a long-eared jackrabbit puppet, and even a children’s book about jackrabbits. A large store of desert-y foods caught our eye as well. Not into art and earrings? Give a gift of an annual membership to Tohono Chul (prices start at $45).
Breakfast, lunch or dinner? The Garden Bistro serves all three, with a regionally inspired menu that includes an elote salad for $16.50 and prickly pear mimosa ($10). Check out the menu at tohonochulpark.org/dining.
DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every day except Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter and Thanksgiving.
This iconic property is a National Historic District consisting of 10 acres, home to a museum, gallery and shop full of the work of master painter Ted DeGrazia. The Little Gallery showcases and sells the work of local artists.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
228 S. Park Ave., south of Broadway and east of the Safeway shopping center
Regular hours: 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Call for holiday hours.
In the Lost Barrio, Petroglyphs has one-of-a-kind art in a range of media, sizes and prices, along with Southwest and Native pieces large and small. On a recent Sunday it was the only shop open, but that’ll change as the holidays approach.
Holiday hours: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday noon-5 p.m.
You’ll find nothing over $150 here, and lots for far less than that. Open not quite a year, Inside Out’s claim to fame is air plants ($5) that look like tiny spider plants and require only an occasional misting. In the wild they grow on trees and rocks, so they don’t need dirt. Design your own air plant array at the Air Plant Bar, where you pay $2 per scoop of rocks or moss. And just try keeping your eyes off the fun magnets, cards and clever tchotchkes!
To eat: Next door is Ginza sushi. Sushi. Need we say more?
Sentinel Peak Brewing Co.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Grab a growler for Grandma (hey, she gets stressed around the holidays) or a six-pack of Salida del Sol Mexican Amber ($8.99; limited quantities). The growler bottle itself is $9 and cost to fill it is $13-$20.
Did you say dinner? The Diggins is a sandwich loaded with pulled pork in house-made barbecue sauce with coleslaw, Provolone cheese and jalapenos. At $10.75, it is a gooey, delicious monster. Plenty of other hearty eats are on the menu too.