Compared to larger, more spread-out cities, navigating Charleston's shopping district is easy peasy. But locals know if you stay on the main drag, you'll miss some of the city's best stores. Here are a few of our off-the-grid favorites.
You might think the neighborhood South of Broad Street is reserved for beautiful, historic mansions, but it's also where you'll find Goat Sheep Cow, a cute little cheese shop on Church Street. Besides a thoughtfully curated selection of artisanal goat, sheep, and cow's milk cheeses, they also stock wine, charcuterie, olive oil, olives, bread, condiments, and crackers — perfect for cobbling together a picnic to enjoy down on the Battery. Another great source for wine and cheese is Avondale Wine & Cheese across the bridge in West Ashley.
Blink and you'll miss the sign for the Curiosity Shop, located at the end of a dark sidewalk off of Queen Street. The shop is small, but it's packed with moderately priced antique goods like old apothecary bottles, silver trophies, pin-up matchbooks, and artwork. They've also got some newer items like design magazines and candles. More affordable vintage goods can be found at Alice & Daisy, just off of Broad Street. Owners Kate Stewart and Gleason Johnston have stocked the shop with vintage clothing, accessories, and home goods. Also on Broad Street, Utopia is an eclectic boutique situated amongst offices, restaurants, and art galleries.
Spring Street's Rogue Wave Surf Shop carries a mix of men's vintage and vintage-inspired surf gear, with some ladies' clothes thrown in as well. They've got everything from vintage flannel shirts to Imogene + Willie jeans to original RWSS tees — their cheeky slogan is "I <3 small waves." They also have surf and skateboards, books, and men's grooming products. Just a few blocks over on Cannon Street, Indigo & Cotton is another favorite stop for stylish local dudes. Owner Brett Carron keeps the shop filled with timeless, American-made brands like Gitman Bros., Kids, Raleigh Denim, and the Hillside. They also boast the only Warby Parker showroom in town. For winter, be sure to check out their new selection of knitwear.
Across the street, Mac + Murphy is a stationery store run by the power duo of Liz Macpherson and Ami Murphy. They carry local brands like Sideshow Press, Ink Meets Paper Press, and Proud Mary as well as fun national brands like Kate Spade and Rifle Paper Co. Whether you're in the market for a pretty new planner, a calendar, or a card the recipient will never want to throw away, you'll find it here. Another good source for paper goods is Out of Hand in Mt. Pleasant's Old Village, though they sell a lot more than stationery. Stop by for casual clothing and jewelry, glassware, candles, and more.
Over in the Mt. Pleasant Towne Centre, the Southern Curator shines like a beacon of hope in the middle of a bunch of chain stores and restaurants. They carry locally made products like Charleston Honey and pillows and T-shirts, plus perfume, jewelry, and random home tchotchkes with a stylish Southern bent. Also in the Towne Centre, Teal Boutique has cocktail dresses, jewelry, and accessories for mostly under $100.
West Ashley's quaint Avondale district is a fun stop whether you're grabbing drinks or checking out the extensive murals of the Charleston Art Initiative. It's also a great place to shop. Poe Studio recently moved into a larger spot, but they still carry a mix of kid's toys and clothing and funky jewelry. The neighboring Bashful Boutique has similar clothes and jewelry to what you'll find downtown, but often at a much more affordable price point. At Spacecraft, you can not only take a variety of crafty classes, but you can pick up handmade jewelry, stationery, and big ol' vintage sign letters as well.
Up in North Charleston, the Mixson Market is a new source for food, drinks, and gifts in the area. Fill up a growler of craft beer or grab a cookbook or a ReWined candle. It's a lot like Two Boroughs Larder, another local eatery that also stocks foodstuffs and kitchenware. Also in North Charleston, H&L Asian Market is an Asian superstore that any foodie should visit.