3 Days of Open-Air Shopping in Durham, Charlotte & Asheville

A three-day shopping trip focused on outdoor shopping centers, villages and outlets is as easy as starting your car – and checking your credit card limits. Going on a shopping spree at varied options from the Triangle to High Point, Huntersville, Charlotte and Asheville can put a smile on any shopaholic's face.

Before you head out on your shopping adventure, be sure to visit the websites of your destinations, where popular loyalty programs and other shopper clubs can lead to discounts, sales, special events and more.

Day 1: All Points in Between

Conveniently located in south Durham, just off Interstate 40 near Chapel Hill, The Streets at Southpoint make for a great first shopping stop in the great outdoors. With anchor stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Belk, Main Street of this center leads to lots of varied shopping options, plus bonuses like a spa, tailor service, feature films at AMC Southpoint 17, and casual to fine dining. After a morning of shopping, lunch at BUILT Custom Burgers should make for an intriguing stop.

For decades, the High Point area has been known as a top place in the mid-Atlantic for furniture and home furnishings shopping. That’s still the case today, thanks to various furniture stores and outlets, including the world’s largest furniture store, Jamestown’s Furnitureland South. However, your shopping time in and around High Point today can also include furniture shops in downtown High Point on Main Street, Elm Street and beyond. The High Point Museum may also be a highlight for you, thanks to High Point’s Furniture Heritage exhibit, which examines the relationship between the furniture industry and the people of High Point through furniture, interactive exhibits, memorabilia, machinery and more.

If you simply have to shop, or get free design assistance from more than 150 expert design consultants, right up until closing time, nearby Southern Roots Restaurant is a great option for a more leisurely dinner. There are lots of hotel options in the area, including Grandover Resort just 4 miles east of Furnitureland South.

Day 2: Shopping Fit for a Queen

Located in Huntersville, 20 minutes north of Uptown Charlotte near the shores of Lake Norman, Birkdale Village is patterned after the architecture of a quaint New England coastal town. With a combination of stores and residences, plus dining, a movie theater and a robust special events calendar, Birkdale is unlike any other shopping destination in the area. Lunch at Dressler’s Restaurant is highly recommended. The creative eatery also has a location at Metropolitan, where you’ll end your day in Queen City style.

Charlotte Premium Outlets is a one-stop shop for practically anything you need or simply must have. Highlights for your visit here can include anything from Coach to Kate Spade New York to Zumiez. If you’re still shopping come early evening, head to delectable Umi of Japan. Otherwise, it’s time for a big-city shopping fix at Metropolitan.

Situated in Charlotte’s bustling Midtown, Metropolitan is another posh combination of shopping, dining and residences. Metropolitan’s West Elm is a unique home furnishings shop featuring global materials with natural and urban influences. Along with the aforementioned Dressler’s, Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge is a light, yet vibrant, choice for dinner. Nearby in Uptown, The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, and Aloft Uptown at the EpiCentre are two appropriately upscale spots to rest your shopping-weary feet for the night.

Day 3: Spending in the Mountains

It’s only two hours west of Uptown Charlotte to the mountain town of Asheville. And now, your desired stop will be Asheville Outlets, 5 miles southwest of downtown just off Interstate 26 and near a primary entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Asheville Outlets includes more than 75 top manufacturer and retail outlet stores, such as Cole Haan, Express Factory Outlet, The Children's Place, J.Crew and more.

If you still have a bit of energy left in you, head to Biltmore Village, the charming European-styled outdoor village conceived by George Vanderbilt as a planned community for Biltmore Estate workers. Now a contemporary shopping destination filled with national retailers and one-of-a-kind independent shops, Biltmore Village is the perfect ending to your shopping extravaganza. Book a room at the eclectic and luxuriously modern Grand Bohemian Hotel, or the more intimate Biltmore Village Inn B&B. Put on your new party dress or stylish new tie and celebrate your finds over a delectable dinner at Corner Kitchen, located in an old house in the heart of Biltmore Village.

Updated September 23, 2020
About the Author
Cele and Lynn Seldon

Cele and Lynn Seldon

Cele and Lynn Seldon are currently #midfiftiesgypsies, but they miss the sunsets and walks on the beach in Oak Island, where they basked in the North Carolina sunshine for 15 years.

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