1710 Kenilworth Ave., Suite 200
Charlotte, NC 28203
Owned and operated by Karen Coffin and her staff of local women, this retail store in Dilworth stocks a wild variety of gifts sure to spark your creative gift-giving urge. The selection of books, candles, jewelry, incense, cards, clothing and other whimsical items include works by many local artists and artisans, mostly women. There’s a special children’s section as well, and, if you still don’t know what to get someone on your list, you can consult with one of the numerous psychics that give intuitive readings at The Bag Lady.
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Enter Charlotte’s award-winning science museum through the North Tryon Street entrance to visit Shop Science, its wonderful gift shop, without paying museum admission. The large and colorful store has fascinating gifts for all ages, with a focus on nature, technology and science, from a remote-controlled flying fish to microscopes and science kits in every price range. This is an especially good spot to shop for children’s gifts, with everything from plush dinosaurs and penguins to science-oriented toys and games available. Purchases benefit Discovery Place’s many educational programs in the community.
5119-A South Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28217
The go-to spot for last-minute gifts for many Charlotteans since 1969, Infinity’s End stocks a huge variety of imaginative merchandise, with something for everyone. Novelty items, gag gifts, astrology-themed candles, sterling silver jewelry, crystals, fairy houses, fantasy sculptures, skulls, garden gnomes, incense and body oils, tarot cards, tie-dyed clothing and rock ‘n roll memorabilia, including band t-shirts and posters, crowd the store’s shelves, walls and racks. In addition to being the city’s largest and oldest smoke shop, Infinity’s End also stocks extensive equipment and accessories for disc golf and skateboarding enthusiasts. With additional locations on University Boulevard and East Independence, this locally owned chain makes a convenient shopping stop for all Charlotte residents.
129 W. Trade St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Gift cards are a favorite way to go for the last-minute shopper, but instead of investing in a multi-national big box, why not support the local food industry with a gift card from a favorite restaurant? These are typically available instantly whenever the establishment is open, so you can shop late into the evening or combine shopping with happy hour. Nearly every restaurant in town offers gift cards, but by getting yours at the King’s Kitchen, you can do good in the community as well. A non-profit restaurant and bakery, King’s Kitchen donates 100 percent of its profits to feed the poor as well as employing and training homeless, poor and at-risk people for new careers in food service. The cuisine, designed by Jim Noble, one of the city’s most celebrated chefs, is a creative take on Southern standards, using fresh, local ingredients.
2935 Providence Road, Suite 104
Charlotte, NC 28211
Who wouldn’t be happy to find a box of chocolates under the tree? Owned and operated by chef Bill Dietz and his family, the award-winning Secret Chocolatier may be the best place in town to pick up a delicious gift. A wide variety of handmade bon bons, truffles, toffees, barks, caramels and other confections, all made from natural ingredients with no waxes, oils or preservatives, are for sale at the shop at the corner of Providence and Sharon roads. If you can’t decide, gift certificates are available.
With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.