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.

Chopt Creative Salad Company

Courtesy of Chopt

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.