Shopping in Charleston : 11 Best Places for Shopping - Shops, Malls, Boutiques and More

Charleston in South Carolina is a mesmerizing destination for much-needed retail therapy. From antebellum houses, cobblestone streets, elegant horse-drawn carriages to French Quarters, every corner of Charleston is flanked with myriad boutiques and unique shops. If window displays, cosmopolitan shines, global brands, and eclectic gift shops entice you, shopping in Charleston would be a rewarding experience. Independent stores are an integral contributor to Charleston’s fame as a grand and affordable paradise for all kinds of shopaholics.

A prominent feature of shopping in Charleston that appeals to many is the city's edgy and artistic boutique style. It is common to come across elegant pastel-themed stores selling designer clothes, embroidered textiles, antiques, accessories, or decorations. You would be spoiled for choice when it comes to shopping in Charleston.

11 Best Places for Shopping in Charleston

Shopping in Charleston - King Street
While many Charleston neighborhoods feature characteristic arrays of shopping centers, retail stores, malls, and boutiques, few designated names pop up the moment someone mentions shopping in Charleston. Here is a comprehensive list of the best stores in Charleston and details.

These are Charleston’s best and longest-running destinations for shopping at independent boutiques:

Boutiques and Retail Stores for Shopping in Charleston

1. King Street

King Street, Charleston
King Street, a sprawling 300-year-old neighborhood, is the main commercial corridor of Charleston. It is known for upscale outlets like Apple King Street, Gap, home decor studios, custom designer menswear, and antique dealers. Towards the Southern end, there are locally owned clothing stores, art galleries, and silver emporiums. Ibu Movement is one such boutique selling handcrafted global textiles. One of the grand malls here is The Shops at Belmond Palace, where you can find high-end stores like Gucci, H&M, Tommy Bahama, L’Occitane, and Louis Vuitton. King Street is blocked to traffic every weekend for visitors to enjoy the shopping galore, live events, and fine dining.
Timings: Most stores and malls open around 10am and close down before 10pm.
Best Stores on King Street:
  • George C. Birlant and Co.
  • RTW Charleston
  • Croghan’s Jewel Box
  • M. Dumas & Sons
  • Candlefish

2. Old Village - Pitt Street

Old Village, Pitt Street
Moored on Cooper River's shores, Old Village’s Pitt Street is an exclusive shopping district in Mount Pleasant, Charleston. Visitors will find rustic private stores selling handmade clothing and home decoration supplies. Out of Hand, with its premium womenswear, accessories, and gift items, is a coveted shopping destination for designer apparel lovers. The Green Shutter stocks up on antiques curated furniture and jewelry. Folks often spend an entire day exploring the postcard-worthy street and its plethora of cosmetic stores, florists, and galleries selling quirky modern art.
Timings: Timings vary for most shops at Pitt Street. It is best to go between 10am and 6pm.
Best Shops at Old Village:
  • Elizabeth Stuart Design
  • Major Hats and Suits
  • Leeah’s Old Village Wine Shop
  • Charleston Artist Collective
  • Butterfly Consignments

3. The Island Bazaar

The Island Bazaar, Charleston
Homeware and decor are an integral lifestyle choice among Charleston's folks who love to accentuate their historical homes with poignant display items. The Island Bazaar is your one-stop-shop for artistic furniture and interior decor pieces, combining retro and contemporary styles. Most of their retail selection features mid-century and timeless funky themes. Quirky novelties, glistening rocks, wooden souvenirs, gemstones, handmade goods, and fashionable hats for women are sold at highly favorable prices for lending a unique touch to your home.
Location: 1238 Camp Road, Charleston, South Carolina 29412
  • Tuesday to Saturday: 10am - 3pm
  • Closed on Sunday and Monday

These are Charleston’s best open markets for varieties in budget shopping:

Markets in Charleston

4. Charleston City Market

Charleston City Market
The City Market is a shopping smorgasbord established in the 1790s. Shopping in Charleston City Market offers a quaint experience of exploring over 300 daily vendors in a complex and the central Great Hall. It is a fun activity for tourists and locals to go souvenir shopping in this historic district. One of the iconic items characteristic of Charleston are hand-woven sweetgrass baskets of Gullah artisans. Authentic products made and certified locally, such as scented candles and snacks made with fresh produce, are available at the City Market. 
Location: 188 Meeting Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Open hours: 9:30am - 5pm. Friday and Saturday night timings are 6:30pm to 10:30pm.
Best Stores at Charleston City Market:
  • Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
  • Refunked
  • Sweet Charleston
  • Wonder Works Toys
  • The Peanut Shop of Charleston
  • Old Whaling Company

5. Charleston Farmers Market

Charleston Farmers Market
Held weekly at the magnificent Marion Square since 1989, Charleston's Farmers Market is a hub of local vendors with delicious food items and crafts you would only find in this city. Some of the specialty items with unique flavors and mixes include charcuterie boards at Caper’s, crepes and coffee at Starbucks, handmade soaps and lotions, paintings and photographs by talented local experts, traditional jewelry, and ethnic clothing. For eclectic dining, you can choose from Spanish, Cajun, Italian, Indian and Mexican cuisines. During Christmas, the entire market and Marion Square are decorated with dazzling lights, an enormous tree with street performers gathering in every corner.
Location: 329 Meeting Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Timings: 8am - 1pm, Saturdays only, April to November
Best Vendors at Charleston Farmers Market:
  • Charleston Crepes Company
  • Yardbird’s Fried Chicken
  • Roti Rolls

Shop till you drop at these malls in Charleston, oozing with glamour and glitz: -

Upscale Shopping Malls in Charleston

6. Mount Pleasant Towne Center

Mount Pleasant Towne Center, Charleston
If you are looking for varieties within a one-stop shopping center, this open-air mall brings you 65 national and local brands to choose from. Away from the bustling downtown crowds, this serene mall with a majestic fountain houses upscale clothing and cosmetic stores like Barnes & Noble, Belk, Pick Up Sticks, Banana Republic, Ulta Beauty Francesca’s apart from boutique items, children’s fashion, and sportswear. Want to catch a break from the shopping frenzy? Watch a movie on the top floor of Towne Center at the 16-screen Palmetto Grand Theater and dig into delicious ice creams at the mall.
Address: 1218 Belk Drive, Mount Pleasant, Charleston, South Carolina 29464
  • Monday - Saturday: 10am - 9pm
  • Sunday: 12pm - 6pm
Best Stores at Towne Center:
  • Old Navy
  • Lizard Thicket Boutique
  • Apricot Lane
  • Copper Penny
  • Victoria’s Secret

7. Citadel Mall

Citadel Mall, Charleston
This regional shopping mall in Charleston houses over 100 stores, including 5 high-end anchor stores like Belk, Dillard's, and department stores like the area's first Target. Citadel Mall is also home to independent boutiques and brand stores stocking up on casual feminine clothing, men's formals, accessories, footwear, and fresh groceries. There is a massive food court at the mall to satisfy your cravings for freshly baked cakes, scrumptious snacks, and coffee. After your shopping spree, join a game and take your kids to the mall's indoor playground, Charleston's largest of its kind.
Location: 2070 Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, Charleston, South Carolina 29407
Open hours: 10am - 7pm, open daily
Best Stores at Citadel Mall:
  • LOFT
  • Champs Sports
  • Budget Avis
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Atlantic Bedding & Furniture

8. Tanger Outlets

Tanger Outlets
Once you have strayed far downtown amidst vintage streets and boutiques of Charleston, prepare to unleash the serious shopper in you at Tanger Outlets - an enormous mall with a full-service inventory of 100 factory stores world-famous brands, accessories, and footwear. Among all the malls of this eminent US-based chain, Charleston's outlet is home to multinational tenants like Gap and Ascena. Bask in the tropical South Carolina sun at Tanger Outlets’ open-air shops and enjoy a 30% discount on specialty retail goods, a fraction of the normal cost of shopping in Charleston. Finish off your luxurious day with alfresco dining at the food court afront.

Location: 4080 Tanger Outlet Boulevard, North Charleston, South Carolina 29418
Timings: 10am - 8pm
Best Stores at Tanger Outlets:
  • Ralph and Lauren
  • Nike
  • Ascena Retail Group
  • Gap
  • H&M

9. Ashley Landing

Ashley Landing, Charleston
Ashley Landing is Charleston's first-ever indoor shopping complex featuring an inventory of 23 independent boutiques, brand clothing stores, and accessories. Renovated in 2000 with altered landscaping, this vintage, the grocery-anchored retail mall is known for caring staff, quick service, and delicious pizzas to dig into at Al's Pizza. Other items available at Ashley Landing include niche footwear, designer furniture, musical instruments, antiques, and cosmetics. The top floor houses an elite movie theater and open-air restaurant.
Location: 1401 Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, Charleston, South Carolina 29407
Timings: Open 24 hours
Best Tenants at Ashley Landing:
  • Charleston Amish Furniture
  • Publix
  • Dollar Tree
  • Big Lots
  • Frothy Beard Brewery

Charleston is home to a plethora of heritage stores that thrive now proudly with one-of-a-kind collections. Check out these private stores for Shopping in Charleston:

Heritage Private Stores for Shopping in Charleston

10. Blue Bicycle Books

Blue Bicycle Books
Independent bookstores are endangered in today's world. Welcoming bibliophiles and rare edition collectors since 1995, Blue Bicycle Books specializes in stocking used and local books for those shopping in downtown Charleston. This retro-themed store offers 50,000 stacked volumes to browse from and is quite larger than its apparent size from the outside. You can also find exclusive collectibles and first editions of America's best classics. As soon as you walk into the cozy shop, you can find arrays of Charleston-themed cookbooks and novels on display. Plenty of in-store events and book signings with authors are held here, alongside an essay competition for kids called Y'ALL Fest and the summer adult literature festival.
Location: 420 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29403
  • Monday - Saturday: 1pm - 7:30pm
  • Sunday: 10am - 6pm
Parking Fee: USD 10 per hour

11. Christophe Artisan Chocolatier

Christophe Artisan Chocolatier
As soon as Christophe Artisan, a French chocolatier from Toulouse, decided to settle down in Charleston, his gourmet sweet store became a downtown hit. Locals and visitors often crowd here for custom gourmet coffee, chocolates, pastries, truffles, French macarons, and homemade candies. Eye-catching chocolate sculptures and logos are also something loyal patrons love to buy. This is an amazing destination for picking up varieties of desserts, snacks, and tasty Charleston-special patisserie goods as gifts.
Location: 90 Society Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Open Hours: 9am - 6pm, open daily
Prices for 2: USD 20 - USD 75
Must Try Items at Christophe Artisan Chocolatier:
  • 36 Piece Tower of Chocolate
  • Hand-painted chocolates
  • Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Bar

Tips For Shopping in Charleston

Shopping in Charleston
In Charleston, there are unique and well-stocked stores to meet everybody’s budget. Here are a few tips to ensure you have a smooth shopping experience in Charleston.
  1. While city tours and public transport are great for getting around, Charleston's shopping is best experienced on foot.
  2. Indulge in Southern comfort food at malls, local vendors, and food courts.
  3. Mornings and afternoons can be warm and sunny, so embrace your flip-flops and hats.
  4. Always check for parking before visiting a store.
Shopping in Charleston allows you to explore South Carolina’s emerging and established vintage and urban stores. Have you gone shopping in Charleston before, or are you planning to go there next? Drop your experience and queries in the comments below.

This post was published by Koushiki Kundu

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