What to Expect: Maps, Specialty Maps, Special Order Maps, Globes, Travel Guides, Gifts, Games, Puzzles, Knowledgeable Staff, In House Map Making, Local Shopping Experience
The Map Shop has been a Charlotte institution since 1991 and while the name is deceptively simple, and the exterior may look mysterious, one step inside will broaden expectations at first sight. Patrice Northrup, President and owner of The Map Shop majored in Geography and has a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. Her husband Ted, is the “IT Guy” with an eye for the technical and digital aspects of cartography. Their backgrounds, coupled with a shared passion for travel and Geography have synergized into operating one of the largest, if not the largest, map store on the East Coast-right here in Charlotte.
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The advent of the internet and widespread accessibility to GPS have undeniably changed the business of cartographers and map shops. Luckily for Charlotteans, The Map Shop has evolved beautifully with these changes to operate a substantial online presence with maps shipped all over the world, while still maintaining a bustling brick and mortar store, where you can also buy almost any kind of map imaginable.
The interior of The Map Shop is visually stimulating and will send a current of electricity through the veins of visitors of any age, no matter their interest level. As the purpose of maps have changed, so has the inventory of The Map Shop with a shift towards products that include supporting sentimentality, décor, and Geography education and entertainment for children. With three cartographers on staff, a knowledgeable and helpful sales personnel, passionate owners, and an interesting array of products, young visitors will receive exposure to Geography in a unique way that promotes curiosity and discovery.
A visit to The Map Shop is not your typical errand with the kids, it’s an experience that can’t be mirrored online or in any big box retail store. Browsing will both cue conversations about people and places and spark dreams about future travels and exploration. Perhaps one of the most interactive, inexpensive, and enjoyable activities for children is to create a pin map of cities around the world that are significant to themselves, family members or friends. The Map Shop carries a variety of maps for this exercise, in addition to thousands of colorful pins and pin flags to capture the attention of little ones. Exposing children to Geography and providing perspective on the bigger world around them is a gift and Charlotte is fortunate to have The Map Shop in our own backyard.
Good to Know Before You Go:
The Map Shop welcomes group visits-school groups, scout troops, homeschoolers, etc. Be sure to call ahead and let them know you’re coming and they will be more than happy to show you the back of house operations, which includes actual map making and printing.
Engage the sales staff and owners- they are tremendously knowledgeable and are passionate about everything related to Geography. One of the best benefits of shopping local is the service you receive in-store, and The Map Shop is no exception.
Don’t miss The Geochron!
A Geochron is basically a global time indicator on which kids can visualize the entire earth and see which areas currently have daylight and which are under night. The Map Shop has a Geochron on display and for those curious minds wondering about solstice, equinox, time zones, and other sun related phenomenons, this tool is the ultimate visual guide.
The Map Shop carries a diverse selection of products for children: maps, globes, guides, puzzles, games, travel games, flags and more. Visitors can easily find a range of products to serve a variety of purposes; from gifts to school projects, the inventory in the Geography for Kids section of the store is unique, educational and fun.
Other Venues Nearby:
There are a variety of restaurants in the vicinity that are kid friendly from Hubee D’s, and Hawthorne’s Pizza to Meskerem Ethopian Restaurant, for the more adventurous appetites.
The Map Shop is located close to Uptown, which allows families to plan a visit in conjunction with many other family friendly venues in the area. Check out Freedom Park or head Uptown to one of the many great activities that Charlotte has to offer for families (ImaginOn, Discovery Place, The Mint Museum, Levine Museum of the New South, Bechtler).
1500 East Morehead Street
The iconic building is situated at the triangular intersection of E Morehead St. and S. Kings Drive, access is available from either street and parking is abundant. And for coordinate enthusiasts, The Map Shop’s latitude and longitude is:
35 degrees, 12 minutes. 17 seconds North
80 degrees, 50 minutes. 9 seconds West
Hours (Check website or call 704.332.5557 for holiday closings):
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4p.m.; Sunday: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Gi Hallmark offers a detailed local view on the best family outings in Charlotte in her blog “The Loop.” Gi is a freelance writer, mother of two lovely girls and creator of The Children’s Blog. For more information about Gi, her blog, and her passion for reading, follow her on Twitter @thechildrnsblog.
Read Gi’s other suggestions for fun adventures for families in Charlotte: Park Road Books & Va da Vie Gelato