When it opened in 1956 with 32 stores, the Park Road Shopping Center (4101 Park Rd.) was the first open-air shopping center in Charlotte — the largest of any kind between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. The opening brought excitement for locals, who were greeted by 82-year-old J.C. Penney himself, who made the trip despite his age to greet shoppers at the opening of his first Charlotte store.
Colonial grocery store, an anchor at the time, celebrated opening day by offering shoppers a complimentary five-pound bag of sugar and a chance to win a drawing for one of three brand-new 1957 Fords.
Throughout its 58 years, the center has grown into a diverse mix of retail, dining and services, maintaining a sense of community and innovation while preserving the history that colors its charm and character.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams opened its third Charlotte location there, just in time for summer, and Bluemercury, a luxury beauty store, is set to open in fall 2019, according to EDENS, the developer now behind the Park Road Shopping Center.
Founded on the mission to empower women to make healthy choices about the products they use on their bodies, Aillea offers green products free of toxic chemicals. Stop there for your makeup, hair and skincare needs.
A staple in the plaza, this movie theater recently reopened with new screens, speakers and reclining chairs. To further enhance your movie experience, check out Macguffins Bar for specialty cocktails, food, craft beer and wine.
Enjoy French-inspired pastries, soups and savories in an eclectic space designed to recall the ambiance of a cafe in Paris.
This fashion staple, originally launched in Raleigh, is a contemporary women’s fashion boutique that takes pride in providing a thoughtfully-selected collection of brands to empower its shoppers.
This approachable bike shop offers quality bicycles, gear and services for cyclists in all stages. Whether you’re a long-time rider or just starting out, the friendly, knowledgeable staff can help you select the perfect bike for your adventures.
This is the world’s coolest hardware store. The trip you thought was going to be a chore to grab tools just turned into an afternoon of free-popcorn-fueled adventure.
This self-proclaimed “(mismanaged) ACE hardware store” sits at the heart of the Park Road Shopping Center, a spot it claimed back in 1977. Check it out for hardware, gardening and niche products (kitchen accessories, decor, pet supplies, etc.).
Make sure to check out the Garden Center for live plants, unique gifts, fountains, statuary and garden decor.
This family-owned jewelry business has served the Carolinas for more than 80 years. One of eight, this Brownlee Jewelers offers a wide selection of brand name jewelry, one-of-a-kind pieces, and offers repairs and custom design.
The tag-line says it all: “Authentic New York Style Bagels.” No matter what you’re craving, the bagel shop serves 100% made-in-Vermont cream cheeses, freshly-prepared breakfast and lunch sandwiches, garden-fresh salads, hearty soups and coffee.
Powered by a mission to delight every guest, the scratch kitchen offers customizable menu items that can accommodate dietary needs and taste preferences. Check out the seasonal patio for post-work cocktails.
This locally-owned Mexican restaurant opened its original location on East Boulevard and has since expanded to Park Road, Stonecrest and Mooresville. Look for authentic bites, including five cheese queso fundido, empanadas, quesadillas and churros.
Featuring the unique Barre Fusion class that blends disciplines of core, strength conditioning, yoga, Pilates and ballet, this boutique studio encourages visitors to focus on setting personal goals in a judgement-free setting.
Founded by a group of three friends passionate about food, Cava serves fast-casual, customizable Mediterranean dishes including salads, grain bowls, soups and pitas.
Driven by a mission to garner ingredients and inspiration from farmer’s markets across the globe, Chopt offers customizable salads chopped to perfection with a selection of scratch-made dressings.
Don’t miss its Destination Summer Road Trip Salads, including the Key West Jerk Chicken Salad — spicy jerk chicken, fresh jicama with lime, crispy shallots, grape tomatoes, romaine, cabbage and cilantro, with creamy habanero dressing. Price: $10.99.
One of Charlotte’s premier consignment shops, Classic Attic offers fine furniture and original art, among other unique finds.
This modern take on Southeast Asian cuisine features colorful dishes such as noodles, pho, sushi and banh mi. CO owner Greg Bauer recently opened The Lucky Duck, a farm-to-table gastropub in Fort Mill. If you’re on the south side and don’t feel like driving to Park Road, The Lucky Duck’s menu includes a few CO favorites, such as the pork and ginger gyoza and curry laksa.
Find a renewed sense of focus and strength during a yoga-based fitness class that ups the intensity factor for a purposeful workout.
Since 1985, this premier framing service has specialized in preserving heirlooms, antique mirrors and art.
This print shop specializes in creating custom apparel and accessories, including uniforms for businesses, jackets for clubs, t-shirts and more.
Hunt for the perfect home furnishings at this casual furniture and accessories store, which features an eclectic blend of transitional, industrial and mid-century modern pieces.
Enjoy a pampered afternoon with professional salon and spa services, including haircuts and styling, lash and brow tinting, mani/pedis and eyelash extensions.
This members-only speakeasy lounge serves creative cocktails and farm-to-table plates.
A dining experience built around the kitchen, Flour Shop gives guests a front-row seat to the culinary action. Enjoy fresh pasta dishes with fresh ingredients sourced from the chef’s garden, as well as an extensive wine list.
Focused on creating an ambiance of a quintessential neighborhood gathering place, Flying Biscuit Cafe serves breakfast most of the day and is known for its biscuits and grits.
This outdoor store specializes in camping, hiking, clothing, kayaks and more to support all of your adventures in the crisp Southern air.
An anchor in the Park Road Shopping Center since 1984, this beloved grocery store will receive a major remodel this year.
This music center is one of Charlotte’s oldest music companies, owned and operated by three generations of the Howren family. They offer instrument rentals and purchases, lessons, repairs and accessories.
[Related: Howren Music rents dreams]
Make this your morning pre-work stop for juices, smoothies, bowls and bites. Each made-to-order smoothie is created with frozen fruit instead of ice, so you’ll stay full and nourished.
Since 1989, this dance center strives to inspire dancers both young and old by teaching techniques required for a successful career.
Featuring deals similar to those in a J. Crew Factory store, this clothing store is the ideal spot for classic, stylish apparel, shoes and accessories.
This popular ice cream brand by James Beard Award-winning chef Jeni Britton Bauer took Charlotte by storm after opening in South End’s Design Center. It has since expanded to a location in NoDa and debuted a third in the Park Road Shopping Center next to Your Mom’s Donuts. Check out the artisan ice cream shop featuring unique flavors and a rich, creamy texture.
If you’re seeking a new seasonal wardrobe on a budget, head to this women’s fashion boutique with trendy clothes, shoes and accessories at affordable prices.
This children’s consignment shop buys and sells the best things kids outgrow. Sell clothes that don’t fit your little ones anymore, or shop styles for up to 70% off brand name prices.
Embark on a journey to a positive and confident lifestyle through a King Tiger Tae Kwon Do class, where teachers will instill values of discipline, appreciation and self-confidence into their students while sharing self-defense techniques.
Shop the perfect look for any occasion at this trendy boutique featuring the latest in women’s fashion and accessories.
In business since 1989, this pipe and tobacco shop offers cigars, starter kits, lighters and accessories.
This arts and crafts store offers the ideal spot to get lost in a creative stupor for the afternoon, complete with products for home decor, framing, scrapbooking and more.
Looking for traditional North Carolina BBQ? Head to Midwood Smokehouse for Southern favorites like Carolina pork, beef brisket, smoked chicken and salmon, Saint-Louis-style ribs and the fan favorite: burnt ends.
Originally founded in Greensboro, North Carolina, this family-run sporting goods store features apparel, footwear, gear, accessories and more for athletes of all ages.
The “live authentically” concept for Onward Reserve was born out of a hunting trip with friends in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. The message remains today in the form of a mens’ clothing store, featuring high-end accessories, bags and gifts.
A cornerstone of independent bookstores in Charlotte, this full-service shop is a book-lover’s paradise, complete with a wide selection of reading material, author events, book clubs and a store dog: Yola.
This nostalgic restaurant offers staples like hot dogs, hand-patted burgers, milkshakes, specialty drinks, sandwiches and more.
Committed to a healthy, toxin-free environment, this nail bar prides itself on providing a grade-A clean environment for nail services, waxing, facials and lashes.
A wood-fired grill and oyster bar add character to this sustainable seafood restaurant, oysters and clams from the Rappahannock Oyster Company and a curated selection of local beers, ciders, wines, spirits and craft cocktails.
This modern-day version of a roadside burger stand created a frenzy in the Park Road Shopping Center upon opening in 2018, and has maintained a steady out-the-door line since. Head there for burgers, hot dogs, chicken, shakes and frozen custard.
Located in an unassuming spot in the Park Road Shopping Center, this cozy British pub serves comfort fare like ostrich meatloaf and BBQ pork loin, as well as daily drink specials.
Haircuts always an issue for the little ones? Enter a world full of color designed just for kids, where specially-trained stylists will perform haircuts while kids are entertained by custom computer games and activities with Snips and the Gang.
This family-owned scratch bakery focuses on doughnuts, pastries, desserts, cakes, cookies and more.
Specializing in interior design, this furniture and accessory store offers design services from talented professionals, as well as a space to peruse handsomely-arranged vignettes and hundreds of fabrics.
An ideal restaurant for families, Urban Cookhouse places emphasis on supporting the local farmer and prepares its meats using the Big Green Egg with local hickory lump charcoal, allowing its pork, steak, shrimp and turkey to taste flavorful without the added fat. Save room for dessert — the skillet cookie is unmatched.
This family-owned doughnut shop opened its second location in the Park Road Shopping Center (its original location is in Matthews), and serves gourmet, made-fresh-daily donuts with locally-sourced ingredients.
Other notable restaurants and retailers:
Bank of America ATM
Fifth Third Bank
First Citizens Bank
Park Road Shoe Service
U.S. Postal Service
Wells Fargo ATM