Renovated Market inviting for locals

Rebekah Bradford

Have you been to the City Market yet? It's a revelation.

I'd been aware that they were renovating it, but it wasn't exactly on my radar because I, like most locals, avoided the Market due to the fact that it was too crowded, too touristy, etc.

In fact, the only time I'd go to the Market was when out-of-towners visited and I'd get dragged there.

Then my dad sent me a clipping from The New York Times, which, by the way, always seems to have an article about Charleston in it. I know this because I get sent a lot of clippings. Anyway, the paper (like The Post and Courier) ran stories about the makeover, and I decided it was time to check it out.

One afternoon when I finished with some errands, I joined the stream of tourists making their

way into the Market.

If you'll remember, the old Market was kind of gloomy with a weird, meandering walkway. Well, they straightened out the kink and added skylights that flood the place with light.

The most remarkable section is the Great Hall, which has glass doors at either end and permanent "microboutiques" in the open floor plan on either side of the flagstone walkway.

For women who enjoy shopping, there are options.

One is the Charleston Shoe Company. Designed to be stylish and comfortable, the shoes are versatile enough to take you from a business lunch to dinner and drinks. A popular style is the Telfair, a classic high-heeled sandal with a stretchy fabric ankle strap. I especially liked it in silver. There's also a cute wedge ankle boot that's available in several colors.

Another shop is Jolin Boutique, which sells dresses, purses and a variety of cute scarves. There was a hobo-style bag I liked as well as a camel-colored sweater with a front pocket and cropped sleeves. A gold lamé top on a mannequin also caught my eye. It sounds very '80s but would be fun to wear for a night out with a pair of skinny jeans and heels.

Charleston Hats also has a microboutique in the Great Hall, and I had fun trying on some straw fedoras while looking for something for an upcoming trip. They also carry visors, Panama hats, safari-style hats and bucket hats.

Other shops include Passing Fancy, which sells women's accessories; Southern Charm, a jewelry shop; and Designs by Jane, which has adorable things for children.

The revamped City Market has become a place locals can enjoy as much as tourists.

Rebekah Bradford is a freelance writer based in Charleston. Reach her at rebekah. bradford@gmail.com.