Posted by: Lori Reinhold
Tlaquepaque (pronounced T-la-keh-pah-keh) means the “best of everything” in the ancient language of the Aztecs. This is the perfect way to describe Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, considered by many to be the “heart and soul of Sedona.” Nestled beneath the shade of sycamores on the banks of lovely Oak Creek, Tlaquepaque is one of the most distinct shopping experiences in the American Southwest.
Authentically modeled on a Mexican village, Tlaquepaque is a feast for the senses. The moment you walk through its entryway, you will be delighted by the sounds of bubbling fountains and Spanish guitar, the bright colors of flowers and traditional crafts, and the enticing smells of the delicious foods served at the village’s many excellent restaurants. It’s vine-draped stucco walls, cobblestone walkways, and grand arched entryways make Tlaquepaque a true architectural gem.
Originally conceived as an artistic community in the 1970s, Tlaquepaque has grown to be the premier shopping, arts, and dining destination in Sedona. Tlaquepaque is situated on the grounds of a former sycamore grove owned by Harry and Ruby Girard. The land was originally the homestead of T.Carl and Sedona Schnebly, who owned a general store and B&B on the grounds.
Nevada businessman Abe Miller discovered the plot of land and immediately knew it was the perfect place to build the enchanting arts village he had been dreaming of for years. He envisioned the village as a working community of artists and artisans inspired by the colorful and charming villages of Old Mexico. He named it Tlaquepaque after the Mexican city on the outskirts of Guadalajara with the same name. Miller and his architects worked hard to maintain the architecture and authenticity of traditional Mexican villages, including their patios, courtyards, tiled walls, and Spanish Colonial arches. Miller also strived to preserve the land’s tall sycamore groves, working to incorporate the trees’ natural forms into the built environment of the village.
Tlaquepaque is home to over 50 specialty shops and galleries where you can find traditional and contemporary jewelry, home decor, toys, clothing, artisanal goods, and so much more. Tlaquepaque also boasts the largest concentration of art galleries in Sedona. As you stroll around the village, you may stumble upon a sculptor working on their newest creation or an artisan crafting their newest piece of jewelry or furniture. If you work up an appetite, there are many wonderful places to eat at Tlaquepaque. You can choose from delicious Arizona-style Mexican food at El Rincon, upscale French cuisine at Rene, fresh and healthy dining at the Sedona Secret Garden Cafe, or a burger and craft beer at Oak Creek Brewing Company.
Tlaquepaque hosts a variety of wonderful events throughout the year. There is something happening almost every day of the week, whether that is a gallery opening, art talk, farmers market, or flamenco guitar performance. For more information, view their full calendar of events.
If you are here in October, consider attending their incredible Day of the Dead celebration. Dia de Los Muertos is a colorful and lively event celebrating the traditional Mexican holiday honoring the loved ones who have passed. Tlaquepaque is completely transformed during the celebration and decorated with ritual objects or ofrendas. There will also be fire dancers, live music, craft vendors, and of course, lots of amazing food. Swing by “El Mercado” for authentic taquitos, hot chocolate, fresh churros, agua fresca, and other traditional Mexican delicacies. Be sure to check out the Dia de Los Muertos mural, a 26-foot long community mural paying tribute to the dead.
Tlaquepaque is equally wonderful in the winter. Come for their Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa Visit or to marvel at the Sedona Festival of Lights, where Tlaquepaque’s lovely walkways, arches, and courtyards are adorned with over 6,000 twinkling holiday lights. In May, the Cinco de Mayo Chili Cook-Off features mariachi musicians, Folklorico dancers, traditional Mexican cuisine, and, as the name suggests, an annual chili-making contest.
If you are planning a Sedona-area wedding, Tlaquepaque is the perfect venue for intimate weddings of 100 guests or less in their lovely chapel or charming courtyard gardens. Visit their wedding page for more information.
Planning a trip to Sedona? Book a stay at the Alma de Sedona Inn for warm service and breathtaking red rock views.