Antiques shops are sprinkled throughout the historic neighborhoods bounded by Camelback and McDowell Roads and Central and Seventh Avenues. You have to drive between most shops, so, depending on our schedule, we plan our route to allow us time to either relax over lunch at My Florist Café ($$; 530 W. McDowell Rd.; 602/254-0333) or grab a latte at the outdoor cappuccino bar of AJ's Fine Foods (5017 N. Central Ave.; 602/230-7015).
We started this visit by working our way down Seventh Avenue, stopping at Qcumberz (4429 N. Seventh Ave.; 602/277-5133), which is crammed to the rafters with treasures and oddball items such as ancient suitcases, saddles, wagon wheels, birdbaths, and salvaged windows. At Melrose Vintage (closed Sun-Tue; 4238 N. Seventh; 602/636-0300), we saw whitewashed vintage furnishings, all with cottage charm. We also spotted refurbished table lamps, old china, and the store's line of new Shabby Chic and House fabrics.
Antique Market Place (1601 N. Seventh; 602/255-0212) houses 72 dealers. Among the clocks, jewelry, and furniture, we spotted a 4-foot-high cheerleading megaphone and a perfectly preserved wood croquet set. One highlight here is Boom Boom LaRue's, which carries over-the-top vintage women's eveningwear. We found feathers, sequins, rhinestones, and even towering headpieces from a Las Vegas revue.
The Antique Gallery (5037 N. Central; 602/241-1174) is one of the few Phoenix spots emphasizing fine antiques, with about 150 dealers spread between 30,000 square feet in two adjacent stores. Longtime Scottsdale antiques doyenne Jackie Pearson moved here recently, and she offers Russian icons and other religious items. At other dealers' displays, we saw an 1830s Federal-style chest, a 19th-century French silver coffee service, and old British pub signs.