Shop Til You Drop

Expect both the delightful and the unexpected while shopping in Charlotte. Here are several must-see stores and retail centers.
Farrah Austin

Some of the best shopping on the Eastern seaboard happens in Charlotte. The city is blessed with not one but four shopping meccas: SouthPark Mall, Phillips Place, South End Plaza, and Concord Mills. For the adventurous, additional surprises abound along the way.

SouthPark Mall
The first stop at this mall should be at the oldest jewelry store in the state, Garibaldi and Bruns Jewelers (since 1896). But wear some shades--their 11.72-carat diamond necklace will make you squint.

Being frequent travelers, we love Sharon Luggage. The store completes any traveler's attire with its sturdy but trendy Swiss Army luggage whose vibrant color makes it easy to spot on the conveyer belt.

Phillips Place
Those with gourmet and gluttonous tastes satisfy their palates at Dean & Deluca, where coffee isn't the only thing brewing. Whether it's rum-soaked brownies, fresh premade and packaged sushi, or fine tableware, those with an affinity for the kitchen will find all they need to prepare and serve a movable feast.

Retro nuts who love fine tools and fascinating objects from days gone by will want to shop for hours at Restoration Hardware. After you've drooled over cool products such as a fireplace popcorn popper and chess pawn doorstop, simmer down with a day of pampering at Modern Salon & Spa. For $65 per hour, try the salt glow used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the entire body.

Across the plaza from the spa, Coplon's offers the latest in designer handbags and clothing from brands such as Gucci, St. John, and Armani. Complete your visit to Phillips Place with dinner at one of its newest eateries, Upstream. Try the tasty grilled Hawaiian swordfish ($23).

Thomas Avenue
Boris & Natasha (of Rocky-and-Bullwinkle cartoon fame) offers red-hot fashions such as Sergio Valente jeans and rhinestone-studded T-shirts. It's a store as striking as its owner's hot-pink hair.

North Carolina is known for its great furniture. City Supply Co. showcases contemporary objects at practical prices. The old gets its due too. An old-fashioned medicine cabinet makes a great conversation piece and toiletries holder for a whopping $875.

South End Plaza
For more contemporary furniture, Intro sells an eclectic mix of American and European styles. To outfit your garden, go right around the corner: At Dilworth's Little Secret, you can get outdoor accessories such as wind chimes and water fountains.

Concord Mills
The ultimate discount shopping experience awaits in this mall, which boasts 200 stores and an oval racetrack layout for easy accessibility. By far one of its most popular attractions, the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World offers everything the outdoors enthusiast will need for a successful outing. Stop by the 23,000-gallon freshwater tank to get pumped about another great fishing trip. Golfers score big in the golf section, where a miniature outdoor putting range allows those dreaming of St. Andrews to test their goods before taking them home.

At Waterford Wedgwood, sample the handiwork of a 200-year-old Irish glassware tradition barely practiced anymore. Waterford's most popular pattern, Lismore, is a Southern table staple (stemware is only available in retail stores). And Children's Place offers great kids' clothes at discount prices.

Central Avenue
The Antique Kingdom, located in a white wooden house, holds a full three stories of nothing but antiques. Before browsing the second and third levels replete with antique bedposts, coffee tables, and larger pieces, stop by the knickknack room on the first floor for small bargain buys such as tableware and candy dishes.

For all your stationery needs, the Paper Skyscraper carries a wide range of hard-to-find greeting cards as well as artistic furnishings for your home or office. Charlotteans agree, it's the "best little store on East Boulevard."

Fresh Produce on Thomas Avenue has trendy clothes for teens, with T-shirts by Paul Frank and tennis shoes by Royal Elastics.

In the North Davidson Historic District, Kelly's Cafe for the health conscious serves a delicious Sunday brunch. For those with a daring appetite, head straight for their dessert counter to sample goodies such as the chocolate-and-peanut butter cake. And farther down the street in the district lies a slew of art galleries with work by local artists. Try to plan your visit around the district's gallery crawl, held after 5 p.m. on the first Friday of each month.

For more information: Call the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-722-1994.

This article is from the June 2001 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.