Holiday shopping has kicked into high gear, but you don’t have to rely on big box stores or online behemoths to get everything checked off your list this year. Try hitting local holiday markets instead, where you can find a unique gifts while you support the creative makers and artists in our midst. Here’s a sampling of more than a dozen free markets happening around metro Phoenix to help you get started.
Eye Lounge Holiday Sale
Through December 15
The Eye Lounge artist collective based in Roosevelt Row is taking its annual holiday sale and fundraiser online this year, so you can head to their website to purchase original works of art including ceramics, mixed-media pieces, photographs, and more. Participating artists include Susan Allred, Kat Davis, Gina DeGideo, Megan Driving Hawk, Mikey Foster Estes, Shorty Greene, Charles Kurre, Amy Sansbury Manning, Buzzy Sullivan, Christy Wittmer, and Hyewon Yoon.
Early Bird Makers Market
Local Trade AZ is holding a free outdoor market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Shops at Town & Country, where more than 120 vendors will be selling art, clothing, decor, furniture, health and beauty products, and more. The event also includes live music, and there will be a raffle benefiting Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Buy Black Block Party
Head to the Roosevelt Row Welcome Center for a Black Friday market that’s being presented by Archwood Exchange to support local Black-owned small businesses. The free noon to 4 p.m. event will also include music, local food vendors, and giveaways.
Santa’s Merry Makers Marketplace
November 26 and 27
Look for the two-day marketplace near the city’s Christmas tree at 1 North Macdonald in Downtown Mesa. Local artisans and crafters will be selling their wares at the free event that starts at 5 p.m. each night. The market runs until 10 p.m. on Friday, and until 9 p.m. on Saturday.
Holiday Ornament Marketplace
November 26 to 28
The free ornament marketplace at the Heard Museum runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. all three days. Head to the Museum Shop to explore ornaments created by Native American artists including Peter Ray James (Navajo), Michelle Tapia-Browning (Santa Clara), Larry Melendez (Hopi), and more. Ornament prices start at $16. This year’s limited-edition signature ornament was created by Jessica Tracey (Navajo). While you’re there, you can also shop for folk art, baskets, books, jewelry, rugs, and other gifts.
Artist Irma Sanchez is hosting a free artist market featuring several local creatives at her art studio. The event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Participating creatives include Doug Bale, TeaPot Rescue Society, Jordan’s Skateboards, and more. DJ Tony Balogna will also be there.
Starting November 27
Frances Boutique will present a series of free outdoor pop-ups in lieu of its traditional Crafeteria holiday market this year. The series launches on November 27, and continues on December 4, 11, and 18. Expect about 10 vendors for each noon to 5 p.m. pop-up. The eclectic vendor roster includes makers of artworks, baked goods, candles, clothing, cocktail mixes, jewelry, and more. The November event will include Cosmic Hour, Pure Life Jewelry, Jackie Jaz Art, Mudhead Soaps, Citizen Home Décor, Naked Rebellion, and others. While you’re there, check out the Stinkweed sidewalk sale with DJ Bruce Heimbuck.
Gift Shop Artist Showcase
The gift shop inside Shemer Art Center features works by dozens of Arizona-based artists who make jewelry, small-scale paintings, garden objects, fashion accessories, home and office decor, and more. You can meet and talk with several of the artists during the free artist showcase happening from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participating artists include Sandy Blain, Gerri Dames, Rupali Holmes, Sandra Luehrsen, Michael Meacham, Robert McLeod, Michelle Rodeman, and Christine Sandifur.
Shop & Be Merry
Begins November 27
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is presenting a series of indoor holiday markets featuring curated arts and crafts, as well as entertainment and activities. Admission is free, but there is a charge for some activities. The series launches on Small Business Saturday, November 27, from noon to 4 p.m. Other days are December 5, 12, and 19. November 28, is Museum Store Sunday, and you can explore the shops inside both Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Winter Artisan Market
December 3 and 4
The Holland Center and Sonoran Arts League will be presenting their free market from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Expect a fun assortment of handmade goods plus works by numerous Arizona-based artists.
Head to Silver & Cedar, a tintype photography studio and leather shop, to explore this free market of handmade and vintage goods featuring an eclectic assortment of vendors. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Art & Object Sale
December 4 and 5
Artist Patricia Sannit is hosting a free art and objects sale featuring works by dozens of Arizona-based artists who create prints, ceramics, jewelry, paintings, sculpture, and more. The free event runs both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and there will be a different lineup of artists each day. Participating artists include Tiffany Bailey, Laura Spalding Best, CeCe Cole, Bill Dambrova, Daniel Funkhouser, Christopher Jagmin, Mary Meyer, Lisa Olson, Alex Ozers, and Kathy Taylor.
Holiday Shopping Event
Vision Gallery in Chandler will hold its free holiday shopping event from 5 to 7 p.m., when you can shop for art made by Arizona-based artists working in ceramics, jewelry, and other mediums. The gallery will have hot chocolate and treats for holiday shoppers.
Old Town Holiday Festival
Head to Johnny E. Osuna Memorial Park in Peoria for the free city’s festival happening from 5 to 9 p.m., which will include a crafter’s market where you can shop for handmade goods. The evening also includes entertainment and a tree-lighting ceremony.
December 15 and 16
Phoestivus returns to the home of the Phoenix Farmers Market from 5 to 10 p.m. both nights. The free event will feature more than 150 local artisans, makers, and producers who sell handmade gifts that include art, food products, jewelry, toys, and more. The pet-friendly gathering also includes music, Phoestivus Ale tastings, and appearances by characters including Phreddie the Yeti and Hipster Santa. The event is a fundraiser for Community Food Connections, and donations will be accepted at the point of entry.