Tis the season to make your list and check it twice. Whether you are looking for a gift or a souvenir, you’re sure to find something special at the city’s top shopping destinations.
Charleston City Market
Ever since the early 1800s when the Charleston City Market was built, it has stood as a commercial and retail hub. The Greek Revival-style market hall and three open air structures once housed meat, vegetable and fish vendors. Today, the market, one of the oldest in the country, is a hub of shopping and tourism. Visitors will find iconic Charleston gifts, such as the famous sweetgrass baskets and stone ground grits, as well as paintings, cookbooks, jewelry and other crafts at the more than 300 vendors. Look for the square tiles that say “Certified Authentic Handmade in Charleston.” The tiles are given to vendors whose products are 100 percent fabricated in the Charleston area. After a 2011 makeover, the great hall was enclosed and air conditioned. There, you’ll find more permanent vendors, including the Market Shop of Historic Charleston Foundation, a must-stop for visitors, as well as Charleston Christmas Collectibles. If you’re hungry, you’ll also find Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit and Caviar & Bananas. The market is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm daily, except Christmas Day.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through December, more than 100 local vendors fill the outdoor sheds for the Night Market. There’s also live entertainment.
The market is centrally located at the intersection of Meeting and Market.188 Meeting St. 843.937.0920
The King Street corridor from Broad to Huger streets in lined with a mix of art galleries, boutiques, national chains and restaurants.
King Street from Market Street to Calhoun Street is the busiest section and is known as the fashion district. It’s anchored by the high-end shops in the lobby of Belmond Charleston Place on Market Street and Marion Square to the north on Calhoun Street. You’ll find the state’s only Gucci and Louis Vuitton stores, as well as an Apple Store and a Sephora. There are also several local boutiques, including Hampden Clothing for high-fashion women’s clothing and M. Dumas & Sons and for men’s clothing.
In the past several years, growth has moved north of Calhoun to the Upper King Street district. You’ll find a funkier and more local mix of restaurants, bars and retailers, including the city’s favorite independent bookstore, Blue Bicycle Books.
If you’re an art lover, explore King Street south of Market Street to Broad Street. You’ll find the Audubon Gallery and Sportsmen’s Gallery and Hagan Fine Art Gallery & Studios. The Preservation Society of Charleston also has a store, which features an expansive collection of books and gifts made in Charleston.
Mount Pleasant Towne Centre
This bright outdoor shopping center is off of Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant, a short drive from Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. The center is anchored by a Belk department store and Regal Palmetto Grande Stadium 16 movie theater. Here, you’ll find several popular chain stores, including Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, GapKids, Athleta and Soft Surroundings. Southern Living recently opened a store there, and regional boutique Copper Penny recently debuted its newest concept Mix.The shopping center is pet friendly and hosts special events throughout the year.
If you’re vacationing on John’s Island, Kiawah Island or Seabrook Island, you’ll want to stop by Freshfields Village. The outdoor town center is a relaxed place to do holiday shopping. There are more than 20 shops and 10 restaurants. You’ll find stylish boutiques, such as Tres Carmen and Beija Flor, a South Carolina-based denim brand known for its comfortable fabrics and flattering fits. At Indigo Books, you can find Southern authors, local interest titles and a wide range of other books to give as gifts or to read while you’re on vacation. Freshfields Village often holds concerts, festivals and other events. 165 Village Green Lane, Kiawah Island, 843.768.6491
Charleston Tanger Outlets
The Charleston Tanger Outlets are about a 25-minute drive up Interstate 26 from downtown Charleston. You’ll find deals from big brands, including Coach, Levi’s, Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers, Polo Ralph Lauren, The North Face, Under Armour, Nike and Carter’s Baby and Kids. There’s also a Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th store.