The capital city offers distinct retail boroughs for every style.
Cobblestone streets. Vintage vibes with historic roots. Handmade threads, coffee, chocolate and more. These are just a few of the elements at play on the Raleigh shopping scene. There is an energy abuzz throughout the city as minds old and young charge forward with an entrepreneurial spirit, producing distinct retail experiences for every kind of style. Get to know Raleigh Up Close: Shopping Like a Local, and look for these local favorites during your visit.
Raleigh Flea Market
Yet another historic shopping venue, the Raleigh Flea Market boasts more than 600 vendors with products ranging from handmade crafts, furniture, jewelry and various odds and ends. The flea market was started in 1971 by the Steward family and has taken place at the Historic State Fairgrounds since its inaugural year. Also one of the Triangle’s most popular shopping destinations, the market spans six buildings and sometimes features as many as 1,000 vendors!
House of Swank
Husband and wife came together to create screen-printed t-shirts on some of the softest cotton threads you can find. The t-shirts feature playful Southern sayings, like “Blackbeard is my home boy” and “Namaste y’all.” What started as a side gig selling t-shirts out the back of a truck at concerts and shows blossomed into a loyal following and full fledged business. The t-shirt designs follow a common theme of North Carolina pride in all facets.
Holly Aiken Bags + Stitch
Primarily made from vinyl, black trims and bold accents and shapes, Holly Aiken Bags + Stitch is sometimes retro, but always classic, timeless chic. What began as a side project grew into a full fledged business that aims to sell uncomplicated bags. Look for her shop in the heart of downtown Raleigh.
Moon & Lola
Pharmacist turned jewelry designer, Moon & Lola sells jewelry and accessories with one mission–to make people happy. Twice featured among Oprah’s Favorite Things, Moon & Lola offers a collection of hip products for girls and women of all ages.
Bone Suckin’ Sauce
A father of four and former real estate agent developed his famous sauce in 1987 while trying to copy his mother’s recipe for Western style barbecue sauce. The result? A fat-free sauce that blended tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, honey, molasses, mustard, horseradish, lemon juice, onions, garlic, peppers, natural hickory smoke, natural spices and salt. The sauce quickly caught on among the local community, but attributes its big claim to fame when it won the NC Battle of the Sauces in March of 1994. Since then, the sauce has grown to see international food shows, international exports and a spot on grocery shelves throughout the country.
Larry’s Coffee is a fair trade, organic, shop that blends and slow roasts unique coffees. The business is socially and environmentally conscious throughout, from its shade grown beans to solar construction systems to rainwater harvesting. Larry’s Coffee offers 15 creative blends and 15 single origin blends along with limited time seasonal blends. The coffee names are playful and locals attest the flavor blends are quite a treat.
Videri Chocolate Factory
Chocolate lovers beware! Complete with a retail shop, factory floor and outdoor patio, Videri Chocolate quickly grew to be a wildly popular local favorite. The chocolate factory creates gourmet chocolate from bean-to-bar. Videri boasts an impressive retail selection, from classic milk chocolate to peppermint chocolate, hot chocolate mixes, monthly subscriptions and more!
Shopping Boroughs Worth Mention
Historic City Market
One of the major tourist attractions of the city, City Market has deep historic roots that trace all the way back to 1914. Each month visitors and locals alike can enjoy a festival, referred to as First Friday, on the first Friday of every month, in addition to browsing the many boutiques and open-air vendors in the area.
As the first planned community in Raleigh, Cameron Village also has a history of its own that dates back to 1949 when the shopping center opened. It quickly grew to become a premier shopping location in the city and is considered to be the first shopping center ever built between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia. Today Cameron Village features an open-air shopping environment with stores divided into blocks instead of a strip mall layout. Today it includes 65 stores, a movie theater and business and professional offices. Shops include antique emporiums, fine jewelry, bargain finds, as well as restaurants that feature Japanese fusion, Southern favorites and more.
North Hills offers visitors an outdoor shopping venue conveniently located in midtown Raleigh. Although some big brand retailers can be found in the vicinity, there’s still plenty of locally owned options to shop. Some include fine art galleries, hair salons, top shelf clothing, jewelry, in addition to restaurants and bars.
A European-style village in North Raleigh, Lafayette Village spans over six acres and offers visitors locally owned gourmet restaurants and posh shopping.