The city of High Point, North Carolina basks in the international spotlight twice yearly when 75,000 attendees and 2,000 exhibitors representing 100 countries assemble at High Point Market. For five days each in October and April, the biggest names in home furnishings rub elbows and set trends in this part of North Carolina. But the Home Furnishings Capital of the World™ doesn’t go dark when they leave. Shoppers flock to its more than 50 furniture stores and outlets year-round where they find a wide selection of pieces and discount prices. Join them, making time to experience High Point’s Southern hospitality and one-of-a-kind adventures.
The Market started soon after the city’s first furniture factory, High Point Furniture Manufacturing Co., turned out its first piece—a desk—in 1889. The industry quickly grew and also expanded to textiles, claiming High Point the Hosiery Capital of the World as well. Both furniture and textiles became an important part of the fabric of North Carolina. Familiarize yourself with the city’s story at High Point Museum where you can also learn about the late John Coltrane, famous resident and jazz saxophonist. Travel further back in time at Historic Park adjacent to the museum. Its blacksmith shop and two Quaker houses, one from the late 18th century, are open for tours. Reenactments are also scheduled throughout the year.
A successful furniture-shopping trip to High Point requires planning. Decide which stores you’ll shop by making High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website your first stop. It lists stores by style, product, and manufacturer. It also connects you to shopping guides and interior designers, all with access to private showrooms. Some information will need to be gathered before your visit. Sketch a detailed floor plan of the rooms you want to furnish, remembering to include measurements. Use your smartphone to photograph the spaces so the information will be at your fingertips. Bring samples of wall paint and fabric swatches from existing furniture, if you have them, to compare with intended purchases. Originals are better than photos, which can vary colors slightly. And wear comfortable shoes—there’s plenty of ground to cover.
With so many stores, each shopping itinerary is unique, but everyone should visit Furnitureland South in nearby Jamestown. You’ll know you’ve arrived at the world’s largest furniture store when you see the giant highboy out front. Reserve some extra time to peruse its 1.3 million square feet filled with items from more than 1,000 brands. You don’t have to find your way alone—its designers will lead the way. Ask them to show you the furniture outlet next door.
It will be difficult to remember every piece you like, so snap plenty of photos. Review them over lunch at a local favorite or an afternoon drink at Brown Truck Brewery, which serves wine, cider, and creative seasonal beers, including a boysenberry Belgian ale. Try it and others with a flight, and grab a bite from the food trucks parked outside.
Sample more local flavors at the Dog House, a hometown hangout for 75 years. While it’s small—sit at the counter or one of seven booths, each dedicated to an original Atlantic Coast Conference college/university—its steamed hot dogs have big flavor. Try one loaded with mustard, onion, chili, and slaw. The Dog House is so old-school that it’s cash only.
While High Point is less than a five-hour drive from Atlanta, chances are there won’t be room for your furniture on the return home. The stores have you covered; all you have to do is ask. Some stores charge a percentage of your bill to send your purchases to your home, and others use a third-party shipper.
Knowing you won’t have to worry about shipping, this opens the door to flying into nearby Piedmont Triad International Airport, which offers nonstop service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Reserve a set of wheels at one of its seven car-rental counters—you’ll need a car to visit furniture stores and enjoy High Point’s other attractions.
Laser tag and a seasonal corn maze and pumpkin patch will get you started at family-friendly Kersey Valley Attractions. Climb its rope course, or take the cerebral challenge of solving clues in one of its three escape rooms, which have Western, horror, and haunted themes. Glide up to 100 feet off the ground on the 14 zip lines, which extend more than one mile. Try riding them after dark for a unique experience, especially on clear nights lit by a full moon.
If you prefer adventures that keep your feet on the ground, hike some of Piedmont Environmental Center’s 11 miles of well-marked trails. Pass gardens planted to attract birds and butterflies on your way to learning more about local ecology, and walk across the center’s 70-by-30-feet topographic map of North Carolina, feeling its geography under your feet.
It’s easy to pass Blue Water Grille’s slightly-hidden entrance, which is around the corner from High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau, where touchscreen kiosks and friendly staff can answer questions. Turn around if you do miss the entry—fresh steaks and seafood are prepared with American and Asian influences. The shrimp and creamy grits are always good, and daily catches offer a chance to try something new.
Find a varied menu and English high tea at Cristina Gray’s Restaurant and Bar. It is located inside J. H. Adams Inn, where some rooms feature pieces from North Carolina furniture makers. Test Kincaid furniture, for example, when you reserve the former master bedroom and sleeping porch at the top of the grand staircase, which includes a soaking tub, fireplace, and wet bar.
Find more inspiration at Pandora’s Manor. Six interior designers were given free reign over the bed-and-breakfast’s rooms. Two blocks from High Point Market, the more than 100-year-old home was built by the co-founder of Alma and Myrtle Desk Co., the country’s largest office furniture manufacturer in the 1950s.