There are so many choices when it comes to where to shop and eat out in 2023, and we encourage you to pick a local spot the next time you can’t decide where to get ice cream or pick out your next book! One of the most satisfying experiences is getting to shop locally and feel good that you are making a difference supporting small business owners. All of the small businesses and local spots are what make Scottsdale unique, and it’s great to put in that extra effort to make sure you are giving local spots some love and the attention they deserve!
A fun fact to also keep in mind is that small businesses make up over 92% of the storefront and restaurant experiences in Scottsdale, and the money spent locally helps causes like maintaining the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and keeping the city clean and safe!
If you need an ice cream fix, Sweet Republic is a local gem for artisan ice cream in Phoenix! They now have three locations across town, one in North Scottsdale, one in Phoenix, and another in Tempe. Sweet Republic has been featured on the Food Network segment The Best Thing I Ever Ate and was honored for its practice of making ice cream from scratch with unique ingredients and incorporating ethnic flavors.
Their stores are open daily and truly do offer some of the most unique ice cream combinations you can find anywhere- with options like Thai tea ice cream, brown butter pecan, and banana toffee pudding.
AJ’s Fine Foods
AJ’s Fine Foods has been a staple in the Valley since 1985, and is the go-to grocery destination when you are looking for an elevated and gourmet food shopping experience. While there are 11 locations now around the metro Phoenix area, each store offers a boutique-like atmosphere with a fantastic array of freshly prepared meals, fine meats, fresh flowers, local brands, and pastries.
A visit to AJ’s beats the typical grocery shopping experience you’ll have anywhere else by far! If you happen to stop by on the weekend during lunch, their outdoor grill makes a delicious burger that’s a perfect weekend treat.
Sweet Dee’s Bake Shop
Sweet Dee’s is a mother-daughter-owned bakery located near Fashion Square that serves up unique handmade baked goods. You know it will be delicious because Phoenix Magazine voted this spot as the best bakery last year! If you are looking for a local spot to pop in for a treat, Sweet Dee’s offers locally sourced coffees with syrups made in-house and serves breakfast food all day in addition to their sweet snacks.
The next time you are hosting a party, consider ordering your baked goods from Sweet Dee’s! They make incredible custom cakes and cookies to match any party theme.
Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market
One of the best ways to directly connect with the local community is by attending a local farmers market! The Old Town Farmers Market takes place from 8 am to noon in May and features more than 100 local growers and specialty food booths. There is no shortage of organic fruits and veggies and plenty of local vendors, making this a great spot to pick out a special gift for someone. This is a great weekend event to attend with your whole family, as pets are also welcome!
The Poisoned Pen Bookstore
Independent bookstores add so much value to the community and are always in need of support from local patrons! The next time you head to the store to purchase a physical book, check out one of the Valley’s indie bookstore spots instead of ordering on Amazon. The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale is one of the most well known bookstores located in Old Town Scottsdale and specifically caters to fiction novel lovers.
This bookstore is a great place to get lost on a hot summer day, and is open every day of the week. They also have an incredible line up of live events, so if you’ve ever wanted to meet one of your favorite authors, there’s a high probability they’ll pass through The Poisoned Pen the next time they have a new release coming out!
Schmooze is a fantastic neighborhood spot in Old Town. This hidden gem is a local spot that offers a special experience no matter what your day holds and is a great place to schmooze! Whether you are meeting a friend to catch up on their beautiful patio, or meeting a colleague to discuss business in one of their meeting rooms, this is a great daytime spot to have in your rotation.
Changing Hands Bookstore
Changing Hands is an independent bookstore in Tempe & Phoenix that offers a wide selection of gently used books and merchandise. The Phoenix location now offers a charming First Draft Book Bar, where you can purchase a drink, coffee, and snacks, and attend writing workshops and author events.
Stinkweeds is one of the coolest independently owned places to find new and used records in central Phoenix. All of the employees who work there are helpful and knowledgeable music lovers, and will be able to point you in the right direction to discover some great new vinyl finds.
Stinkweeds Records is also a great place to stop in if you are in the market to buy or trade old CDs, records, or stereo equipment, as they have a great trade-in program.
Regroup Coffee and Bicycles
Regroup Coffee offers a unique shop experience you won’t find anywhere else at their Tempe location! Their mission is to meld coffee and biking in an environment unlike any other in Southwest, and the shop attracts quite the local community of biking enthusiasts. Locals meet here on the weekends for group rides, so it’s a great place to meet people who love mountain biking and fresh brews!
Porters Western Saloon
Porters Western Saloon was originally the first post office in Scottsdale, dating back to 1929, and has always been a spot for locals to mingle. It may no longer be the post office, but Porters has transformed into a cool bar that offers specialty cocktails and rare liquors.
The interior of the building feels cool and innovative but still represents the history of the area and maintains the Old Scottsdale feel. While the Old Town area does cater to tourists, Porters is as authentic and local as you can get and is a great spot to take guests who want a true Old West experience!
If you want a local workout studio to support you, check out Reformed Pilates! Your first class is free at Reformed Pilates in Scottsdale, allowing you to try the year’s most popular group fitness workout.
Reformed does have several locations all over the metro, but it’s exclusive to Phoenix. Their teaching method is specifically designed to allow modifications for all skill levels, making this low-impact workout one that you can incorporate into your weekly routine!
The Madison Spin Class
The Madison is a local spin studio with three locations across the Valley that has gained popularity over the years for being a “party on a bike.” They are a five-time Valley Winner for the best spin studio and are known for their high-energy instructors, awesome cardio workouts, and the fun party lights that light up the studio room.