On a shaded stretch of Mission Street about two miles south of Old Town Pasadena sits Marz Boutique, a singular gift emporium with a dazzling selection of knickknacks, tchotchkes and curios — many of which you've probably never seen anywhere else. One of the best (or worst) things about this distinctive shop is that you walk in planning to buy something for a friend or niece or co-worker but seldom leave before also purchasing something special for yourself. From unique imports, handmade crafts, vintage baubles and fun housewares to artisanal bath products and unusual books, the store's selection practically compels browsing. The stuff in Marz isn't just inventory: It becomes a thoughtfully curated display of rare and remarkable objects, which manage to make the store appear welcoming and organized despite the volume of articles within. Marz also sells handmade cards, exquisite wrapping paper and eye-catching gift bags — but chances are you won't need them: The store offers gift wrapping that's just as appealing as the presents themselves. —Tanja M. Laden
1512 Mission St., South Pasadena, 91030. (626) 799-4032, marzgifts.com.