Explore Charlotte

Charlotte for Design Lovers: A Stylish Guide to the Queen City

Blogger and style maven Kristen Shaeffer directs us to the best of Charlotte fashion shopping, hotels and dining.

Charlotte's got style. The city's melting pot of culture, music, art and dance all celebrate a city of flavor, individual heritage and history.

To find style throughout the city's neighborhoods, we asked Kristen Shaeffer, Charlotte native and the force behind the blog Every Chic Way, to "design" her ultimate roadmap for exploring the Queen City—from fashionable restaurants to bars with astounding city views and tucked-away boutiques. Her guide oozes with all that we love about Charlotte.

Kristen Shaeffer, Every Chic Way blogger in Charlotte
Kristen Shaeffer blogs on Charlotte style and design at EveryChicWay.com. (Courtesy Kristen Shaeffer)

Women’s Fashion Shopping in Charlotte

Monkee’s of Charlotte: Carrying on-trend pieces, this Southpark boutique stocks brands including Tory Burch, Chanel, FRYE and Jack Rogers.

Cheeky Bean: “Cheeky Bean is great for gifts, pretty trendy items and always has really good prices,” said Shaeffer. Jewelry brands include Betsy Pittard Designs.

Capitol, Charlotte
Capitol houses some of the most premier fashion brands in Charlotte. (Courtesy Capitol)

Capitol: The splurge-worthy gem in Charlotte’s fashionable crown, Capitol attracts mavens from near and far to gander at the special-occasion dresses by renowned fashion houses like Oscar de la Renta and more. 

The Poole Shop: This upstairs, everyday wear version of Capitol specializes in well-known designers’ pieces that can be worn day-to-day.

KKBloom: Know for a prime jewelry department, Shaeffer said several pieces in her persnal collection are Mere jewelry, which can be found at this boutique retailer on Selwyn Avenue.

KKBloom, Charlotte
For local jewelry with flair, Shaeffer recommends KKBloom. (Courtesy KKBloom)

Design Shopping: Galleries and Markets in Charlotte

Bedside Manor: Known for home décor and linens, Schaeffer points to Beside Manor for its one-of-a-kind steals. Designers like Alixx, Cando and SDH are just a few of the brands on hand at this homegoods boutique.

Cotswold MarketPlace: With a collection of vendors hailing from all over the Charlotte area, “you could spend hours in this one store,” said Shaeffer. Local boutiques and artists make up the backbone of the store.

Black Lion: Set up as individual stalls, more than 177 merchants selling gifts, home décor and furniture are set up through the store. “You can find pieces like a quirky lamp and in the next booth you might find something really traditional,” said Shaeffer.

Shain Gallery: This Selwyn Ave. gallery hosts a mix of local and regionally recognized artists. Mixed mediums, photography, watercolor and other forms of art pepper the gallery year-round.

Where to Eat: Stylish Restaurants in Charlotte

Toscano: In South Park, Toscano is known for prime patio and atmosphere. Their cuisine is “the best Italian food outside of Italy,” according to Shaeffer. Traditional Italian offerings include seafood and pasta made in house.

RuRu’s Tacos + Tequila: A festive patio, packed bar and inventive menu make this restaurant a must-visit for Shaeffer. Spot movie titles and lines as taco names on the menu.

Stagioni: While this seasonally driven menu has a feast of plate-licking specials, Shaeffer said that the big deal is the brick-oven pizzas. This popular date night spot is tucked away in a historic Tuscan villa.

Good Food on Montford: James Beard semi-finalist Bruce Moffett owns this trendy spot. Situated in Montford Drive, Shaeffer said that this restaurant is in close proximity to other hotspots around town and serves as a great meeting spot for tapas, the restaurant’s specialty.

Littlespoon: This local café is a hotspot for weekend brunch, according to Shaeffer. Offerings like the jalapeno egg white brioche and shrimp raft alongside scratch-made cocktails line the breakfast and brunch menu. 

Sipping Style: Fashionable Nightlife in Charlotte

Corkbuzz: This wine bar is one of Schaeffer's go-to stop for cocktails. Choose from classic mixology like Negroni Bianco and El Cuñado in addition to 35 wines by the glass and more than 150 available by the bottle.

City Lights rooftop bars, Charlotte
(Courtesy City Lights)

City Lights: This rooftop bar packs fun cocktails in with a stellar view. Topping Le Méridien in Uptown, City Lights is the largest rooftop bar in the city. Cocktails like lavender cosmos and rooftop lemonade offer refreshment in addition to the “Sparkle & Pop” option—pick your flavor of bubbly with a King of Pops popsicle resting atop your glass.

Stay Chic: Classic Hotels in Charlotte

The Dunhill: Originally opened in 1929 as the Mayfair Manor, this stylish (and historic) hotel is in the heart of Uptown, minutes from Time Warner Cable arena and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The boutique property is 10 stories of European influence in addition to hosting the largest collection of painting by Philip Moose—a well-known Charlotte artist.

The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte
(Courtesy The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte)

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte: This Uptown classic is always a chic accommodation. Pamper yourself with a session at the hotel spa or a sneaky-treat visit to the onsite chocolate shop, Bar Cocoa, for a macaroon or house-made gelato.

Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge: The award-winning spa is what draws Shaeffer to Ballantyne Hotel. Visit during a stay at the resort or come in for a day spa treatment. The Lodge at Ballantyne is decked out in traditional hunting-lodge style while the property’s cottage offers a private retreat house. The main hotel offers more than 200 rooms with modern amenities, a PGA destination golf course and white-gloved dining options.