Thinking About Making the Move to Charlotte North Carolina? Read This Guide First
Table of Contents
- What Are The Neighborhoods in Charlotte?
- How Is The Job Market In Charlotte?
- How Is The Charlotte Real Estate Market?
- How Much Does It Cost To Live In Charlotte?
- Is Charlotte A Good Place To Retire?
- What Are The People And Culture Like?
- What Are Popular Things To Do In Charlotte?
- Pros and Cons of Living in Charlotte
- Fun Facts About Charlotte
If you’re thinking about making the move to Charlotte, North Carolina, you’re not alone. The Queen City is popular and growing for good reasons.
In the Piedmont region of North Carolina, just east of the Catawba River, Charlotte is home to 857,425 people and continues to grow each day. Young and eclectic newcomers weave themselves into the historical southern landscape.
A mecca for creative culinarians and artists, as well as more business-minded folk, Charlotte is the epitome of a melting pot. It’s the kind of place where you’ll find Vietnamese Pho sold on one corner and traditional Southern BBQ sandwiches on the next.
The International Gateway to the South, as it’s sometimes called, has undoubtedly earned its namesake. But the diverse population and sweet southern charm aren’t “The Q.C’s” only positive traits.
With four distinct but mild seasons, Charlotte’s weather is nothing to complain about. The city is also home to the University of North Carolina Charlotte, a multitude of museums, and stunning natural sights.
Plus, Charlotte is the second-largest banking center in the United States. Only New York can top it. So regardless of why you’re thinking of moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, there are lots of things to be excited about.
In this guide, we’ll go over all of it: the differing neighborhoods, the current real estate market, cost of living, things to do, and so much more! So, if you’re thinking of moving to Charlotte, North Carolina. We’re serious; read this guide first.
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What Are The Neighborhoods In Charlotte?
When moving to a new city, deciding where to live is usually the first step. But it’s not an easy one. In Charlotte, that’s especially true. The city is full of diverse and unique communities.
There’s Uptown with its mix of metropolitan vibes and trendy culture. There’s Dilworth with its quiet bungalows and centuries-old architecture. Or NoDa, with its bright-colored murals and art galleries. And that’s only to name a few!
When moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, the number of neighborhood choices can feel overwhelming. So we broke it down. Below are the top neighborhoods in Charlotte, in no particular order, as well as a description of what each one brings to the city’s diverse culture.
Technically, Uptown is downtown Charlotte, not to be confusing. This bustling metropolitan area creates the heartbeat of the city.
The center of Charlotte, at Trade and Tryon streets, marks where the city splits into four wards. In First Ward, you’ll find the busy Public Market, as well as the Spectrum Center, where the Hornets play.
Second Ward features trendy restaurants, high-end steakhouses, and rooftop cocktail bars. In Third Ward, you’ll find museums as well as the Bank of America stadium. And Fourth Ward is home to Victorian houses on quiet, tree-lined streets.
Together, the distinct wards create a downtown where creatives meet traditional business types. The result is a flourishing, upbeat city scene where all walks of life can thrive.
If you want an authentic taste of the south without a loss in city feels, Plaza Midwood might be your ideal neighborhood. This former streetcar suburb hosts historic homes and mature trees, but it’s also known for its trendy nightlife and thriving restaurant scene.
Whether you end up settling there or not, a few restaurants warrant at least a rendezvous. Soul Gastrolounge is well-known for its creative food pairings. And every Plaza Midwood resident knows and loves the Thirsty Beaver Saloon.
Quaint and historic are the adjectives that come to mind when someone brings up Dilworth. This Charlotte enclave earned itself a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, which tells you a lot on its own.
The neighborhood is traditional but isn’t entirely without modern appeal. Luxury apartments reside beside historic bungalows on Dilworth’s shady streets.
No city is complete without its arts district, and NoDa, in Charlotte, is an exceptional one. Short for North Davidson, NoDa is home to a collection of art galleries and music venues.
The Neighborhood Theatre tends to attract big names, like The Avett Brothers and The Black Crowes. And hipster-friendly dive bars and coffee shops line the streets, which are covered in brightly painted murals.
Laid-back and charming, Elizabeth is home to many long-time Charlotte residents. Here you’ll find the quintessential local bakery right beside a classic ice-cream parlor. Next to those, you’ll likely see a timeless neighborhood bar. It’s a bit like walking into a postcard.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Residents love the neighborhood’s bike trails, and the parks make excellent spots to picnic.
South End was once a mill town, but the creatives have taken it over. What used to be old industrial buildings are now craft breweries, art galleries, and hip restaurants.
The area’s prominent with young professionals and caters to their lifestyles. Pubs, artsy boutiques, and trendy nightclubs all sit beneath luxury, dog-friendly apartments.
Set to the south of the city, Myers Park is an affluent region known for its towering mansion-lined streets. Built as a master-planned suburb in the early 1900s, this area retains its century-old charm. High-end shops, manicured parks, and stylish restaurants litter the neighborhood.
Myers Park is known for the Booty Loop, as well; a cycling loop that circles the center of the community. Along with that, it’s home to Queens University Charlotte.
How is the Job Market In Charlotte?
If finding a new job is a must when moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, you might be wondering what industries dominate the area and which companies are ideal to work for. After all, learning about the top names in Charlotte’s big business will only make the job search easier.
Luckily, no matter what industry you’re in, finding a job shouldn’t be too difficult. The city is growing, after all. In fact, it was listed 7th in Forbes Best Places For Business and Careers in 2019. Jobs continue to spring up as more and more move to this gem of a city.
All the same, each city in the US has particular industrial strengths. Let’s zoom in on the industries that make up Charlotte’s business place.
The banking industry in Charlotte certainly takes center stage. Wells Fargo and Bank of America both call the Queen City their home base. Those, along with several other banking institutions, make Charlotte the 2nd largest banking center in the United States!
But beyond that, Charlotte’s known for all of the following industries:
Motorsports and Automotive
Charlotte birthed NASCAR and all stock-car racing. It’s also home to more than 290 automotive manufacturing businesses.
The healthcare industry is a top employer in Charlotte. The Carolinas Healthcare System and Novant Health both are nationally ranked healthcare providers. There’s also a thriving scene for medical study at North Carolina Research Campus.
Siemens Inc. and Duke Energy both call Charlotte, North Carolina home and together employ thousands. There’s also a growing industry for renewable energy solutions.
Top-tier research from local universities and the growing number of small but clean-focused energy firms means the city’s energy sector is primed to grow.
Charlotte prides itself on being entrepreneur-friendly, and that attracts tech companies of all sizes. Amazon has a hub there, but so do a vast number of tech startups.
Top Companies To Work For
Now that you have an idea of the industries let’s zoom in on the best companies to work for. Some of these are large, household names that provide all the corporate perks. Others are smaller companies that bring exciting and dynamic opportunities to the table.
Bank of America
Consistently rated well by its own employees, Bank of America is one of the best companies to work for in Charlotte. It offers all the upward mobility of a giant corporation, and employees report that the company deeply cares about them as humans.
Known for great pay and excellent benefits, Duke Energy is a large and dependable company to work for in Charlotte.
Charlotte’s medical and healthcare industry is on the rise, and Novant Health is one of the best healthcare companies to work for. Just ask anyone who works at one of their 15 medical centers.
For a rewarding career in tech, you might want to seek out Red Ventures. The company runs a portfolio of brands and digital platforms, some of which you’ll recognize.
Lonely Planet, Chowhound, and Gamespot are all included. The company’s known for taking risks and hiring young talent.
Employees love working for LendingTree because of the benefits. The company offers highly competitive salaries, an in-house gym, and promises a work-life balance.
If you’re a racing fan working at NASCAR is ideal. The company has a variety of job opportunities, including working in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Employees consistently report the company as a top-notch workplace.
This Fortune 500 tech company is new to Queen City. The company manufactures a slew of products for multiple industries, but Charlotte’s hub focuses on Safety and Productivity Solutions, specifically for first responders and factory employees.
Phase 3 Marketing and Communications
Whether you’re a coder, accountant, or marketing strategist, Phase 3 Marketing likely has a position for you. This edgy marketing and PR firm west of Uptown is consistently voted one of the best places to work in Charlotte.3 Ways To Sell A House Without High Commissions? Learn More.
How is the Charlotte Real Estate Market?
Now that you know your ideal neighborhood setting and where you’d prefer to work let’s zoom in on the actual real estate market. As mentioned, Charlotte is a fast-growing city, and the real estate numbers prove that.
According to Zillow, Charlotte’s home values rose 9.9% in the last year alone! And the city’s on-trend to have their home values rise 10% more in the year to come. That means the average home value of $272,664 is only going to increase. As will the average sales price, which is currently $295,000.
If you find a home you have to have, you can take a little time to consider it but not too much. The average home sells in about 40 days, according to Redfin.
How Much Does it Cost To Live in Charlotte?
Living in Charlotte shouldn’t cost you all that much. In fact, the average cost of living is 5% lower than the national average. But, that fact alone doesn’t provide much in the way of detail.
If you’re moving to Charlotte, you’ll want to know specifics so you can budget correctly. Below we cover the cost of everything from taxes to groceries.
Food and Groceries
Currently, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the average gallon of milk costs $1.82, a loaf of bread $3.12. That’s 6% below the national average for food and grocery.
Living in the Queen City, though, you’ll likely eat out a lot. Going out to restaurants may cost you more, but it probably won’t break your budget. Unlike other major U.S cities where a single mixed drink could easily cost you well over twenty bucks, you can get a high-end cocktail for ten to fifteen dollars in Charlotte.
Utility prices in Charlotte are 8% lower than the national average. Residents spend an average of $153 on home energy each month.
Given the push for green energy and the growing energy industry in Charlotte, we only see that continuing to improve. Paying for utilities in Charlotte likely won’t empty your wallet.
Charlotte features a thriving light-rail system as well as several bike-sharing services. That said, it’s still considered a car-centric city, and you’ll probably want your own vehicle.
The cost of gas, at least, is low. At $2.53 per gallon, it’s 3% lower than the national average.
Healthcare and Medical
Charlotte is known for its healthcare system, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. Here, the city is 3% higher than the national average, with an average doctor’s visit costing about $114.
Of course, that could be because Charlotte attracts some of the best doctors and healthcare professionals. You’re sure to get high-quality care in the city, but you will have to pay for it.
Taxes in North Carolina aren’t overly high, but you should still take them into account. There’s a 4.75% sales tax throughout the state that Charlotte tacks 3% onto, making the total sales tax in the city 7.75%.
The state also requires a flat-rate income tax of 5.25%. Property taxes sit slightly below the national average of 1.07% at .77%, which is good. And there are no inheritance or estate taxes in the state.3 Ways To Sell A House Without High Commissions? Learn More.
Is Charlotte a Good Place To Retire?
In 2019, Forbes named Charlotte the 5th Best Place to Retire in the United States, in part for its excellent healthcare system but also for the city’s diverse and eclectic community.
Though Charlotte residents’ average age is only 34, the city is quickly aging as senior citizens flock to the area. Seniors love Queen City for its unique mix of traditional southern manners and city energy. They enjoy its mild climate and its eclectic food scene.
We already know that Charlotte specializes in high-quality healthcare and medical research, but the city also encourages preventative health measures through its many age-friendly fitness centers and parks.
Several 55+ plus communities also call Charlotte home. Some provide specialized care, others are for independent seniors, and a few do both.
The suburbs of Pineville and Davidson are particularly attractive to retirees. Pineville offers an urban feel with lots of restaurants and coffee shops. Davidson sits to the north of the city and offers stunning views of Lake Norman, which it borders.
No matter where you choose to retire, though, there’ll be plenty to take up your time. Enjoy BBQ from some of America’s favorite smokehouses, like Mckoy’s Smokehouse and Saloon. Or spend an afternoon browsing a museum. Several famous ones call Charlotte home.
The Mint Museum is North Carolina’s oldest art museum, and it has two locations, one in Uptown and one-off of Randolph Rd. And for fans of racing, The NASCAR Hall of Fame is easy to make a day of.
Beyond that, there’s a collection of theaters. You could go to the symphony, attend the ballet, or spend your evening at the opera. Retirees in Charlotte love spending leisurely evenings steeped in arts and culture.
What Are The People And Culture Like?
Culture can feel ineffable. It’s hard to describe what makes a city tick. How do you explain the way art, food, and people all intersect?
Charlotte’s culture is particularly hard to describe. The Hornet’s Nest, as it’s sometimes called, attracts people from all over the country and across the globe. Its culture is eclectic and diverse, filled with a variety of food, music, and art.
But at the same time, the city retains its southern charm. History runs deep here, just like the roots of the 100-year-old trees that line so many of its streets.
So you’ll find Americana ice cream parlors next to hipster-run coffee shops. There’s traditional southern BBQ beside high-end sushi restaurants.
You might hear a bit of southern twang as you walk down the city streets. But to call Charlotte slow-paced would be a mistake. It’s still a bustling city with a booming metropolis. There’s a lively nightlife scene, and a huge number of young professionals flourish within Charlotte’s borders.
Craft brewing is big in Charlotte, and enjoying a cold one is part of the culture. But Charlotte residents are also known for going to church on Sunday morning. Many Charlotte citizens identify as Christian and are open about it.
That can be shocking to some who come from more religiously subdued areas. That’s not to say the city isn’t liberal, though. It’s just not New York or other northern or western cities.
As more and more people flock to Charlotte, its culture continues to change. It’s a fluid sort of place that seems to be in constant transition from traditional Southern values to a more metropolitan disposition.3 Ways To Sell A House Without High Commissions? Learn More.
What Are The Popular Things To Do In Charlotte?
One of the best parts of moving to a new city is exploring all there is to do. Whether you like browsing museum offerings or prefer the great outdoors, Charlotte has something you’ll love.
Below we’ve listed a few of our favorite things to do in Charlotte. It’s by no means an all-containing list, but it will get you started!
- Billy Graham Library: Built around the famous evangelist’s home, the Billy Graham Library is one way to spend an afternoon. It’s free to enter and has become a well-loved religious attraction.
- Camp North End: What used to be a collection of old factories has become a hub for innovation and art. Camp North End is home to several thriving restaurants and fascinating art installations. It’s also the site for a diverse range of fun events, including drive-in movies.
- Carolina Raptor Center: Known for its ¾ mile Raptor Trail, the Carolina Raptor Center is fun for kids and adults alike. The walking trail features over 30 birds of prey to view, including eagles, hawks, vultures, owls, and ravens.
- Mint Museum: With two locations in the city, the Mint Museum is a must-visit. It features international art and design pieces and has been a city attraction since 1936.
- Discovery Place: If you have little ones, Discovery Place is the place to go. This STEM-focused, hands-on museum is full of things to explore for both young and old.
- Bechtler Museum of Modern Art: Whether modern art is your thing or not, the Bechtler is worth visiting. The building itself is stunning, and the art it houses is unreal. The museum boasts pieces by Warhol, Ernst, and Picasso.
- Charlotte Ballet: Seeing the ballet is always a treat, and the Charlotte Ballet has the prestige of being the oldest ballet in the state.
- US National Whitewater Center: Human constructed whitewater rafting courses are a thing. At least they are at the US National Whitewater Center. That, along with ropes courses, climbing walls, and mountain biking, will keep you occupied all day.
- NASCAR Hall of Fame: Any lover of NASCAR will love exploring the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Even if you’ve been before, it’s worth another trip. The exhibits are constantly changing.
- Charlotte Motor Speedway: Motorsports are big in Charlotte, and the speedway is where you can see them live. It’s located 13 miles out of the city and features the Coca Cola 600 race on Memorial Day weekend each year.
- Bank of American Stadium: Right in the heart of Third Ward sits the Bank of America Stadium. Here you can see the Carolina Panthers play. And, if things continue as planned, you might be able to catch a major league soccer game here one day.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Charlotte
No city is perfect; every single one has pros and cons. When you’re considering a move, it’s nice to see someone break that down. So we did!
Below you’ll find our list of major pros and cons to living in Charlotte. We’re happy to report the pros to outweigh the cons, though. And we think long-time residents and newcomers alike will agree. Overall, Charlotte is a fantastic city.
- As we noted above, the cost of living in Charlotte is lower than the national average. And compared to East or West coast cities, it might feel downright cheap. Yes, prices are going up as the city grows, but they’re still not much if you’re coming from New York, Seattle, or LA.
- Because the city of Charlotte is growing, the job sector is booming too. Tech and healthcare jobs are in exceptionally high demand. With either skillset, in Charlotte, you’ll do well.
- In Charlotte, you’ll see the colors change, but you’ll still have a mild winter. It can snow, but it doesn’t with much regularity. The temperature usually sits above freezing. Springs are typically gorgeous with seasonal blooms and pleasant weather. Summers can be muggy, but there’s plenty of water thanks to nearby Lake Norman.
- With an average age of 34 years old, Charlotte is a young and hip city with a thriving nightlife. It’s not exactly New York; it has a much more laid-back vibe. But that doesn’t mean the young don’t get after it. They know how to enjoy themselves. Live music is common, and concert venues are numerous.
- Charlotte is a pretty city; there’s no doubt about it. It’s full of parks and art that make it a beautiful place to live.
- Southern cities don’t always receive recognition for being diverse or eclectic spaces, but Charlotte certainly is. The city attracts professionals from all over the world, making it a hub for exceptional art, music, and food.
- Like most cities experiencing growth, traffic in Charlotte is a problem. Though the city has public transportation, residents will tell you; you still need a car. You can expect standard traffic jams, especially during rush hour.
- Mild but muggy summers attract the worst of pests. Mosquitoes run rampant in Charlotte through July and August when there’s a minimal breeze to blow them away. Keep mosquito repellant handy, though, and you’ll be okay.
- If you have dreams of starting a garden, Charlotte might not be the place. The city is built on a foundation of red clay soil that can be challenging to grow plants in. Yes, you can purchase topsoil to grow your roses and trees. But that presents a whole new problem when you consider our next con, hurricanes. A strong gust of wind is far more likely to blow down a tree that only has topsoil to root into!
- Living in Charlotte will put you in the potential path of many hurricanes. Though the city sits 200 miles away from Myrtle Beach, it often feels the brunt of the storm.
Fun Facts About Charlotte, North Carolina
We’ve just about covered everything there is to cover about moving to Charlotte, North Carolina. But before we go, we thought we’d leave you with a few fun facts about your new home.
The city is full of history and interesting tidbits you’ll want to know. They make great conversation starters, so you can get right to making friends in your new city. Not that that’s hard in a friendly city like Charlotte!
- Charlotte is the Pimento-Cheese Capital of the World – Ruth’s Salad in Charlotte makes over 45,000 pounds of Pimento Cheese every week! Charlotte residents love the southern staple. In fact, they’re the biggest consumers of it in the country!
- Charlotte is the Largest Metropolitan Area in the U.S. to Not Contain a Zoo – Depending on how you feel about zoos, this may or may not be a good thing. If you enjoy observing the great outdoors, Charlotte still has a ton of options. But the nearest full-fledged zoo is 75 miles away in Asheboro.
- Charlotte Became Tied to Hornets in 1780 – It’s true! When British General Charles Cornwallis marched his men through Charlotte, he discovered a lively resistance and labeled them “a hornet’s nest of rebellion.” Residents took it as a compliment, and the ties to the stinging insects have never been cut. Today, you’ll see the hornets pictured on the side of every police vehicle. And. Charlotte’s NBA team uses the Hornets as their name and mascot.
- They Have a Disco Chicken – Okay, technically, it’s a firebird sculpture, but residents lovingly refer to it as the Disco Chicken. In 1991, the 17-foot bird covered in colored glass pieces was permanently installed directly in front of the Bechtler Modern Art Museum.
- They had a Gold Rush Way Before California – In 1799 a 17-pound gold nugget appeared near Charlotte, North Carolina, and in the blink of an eye, the tiny town became a booming city. It was the nation’s first gold rush, long before California’s hit in 1849.
Further Reading: Looking For More Moving To North Carolina Resources? Check These Articles Out!
- Read Our Moving To North Carolina Guide
- Read Our Moving To Asheville North Carolina Guide
- Read This Before Selling a House in North Carolina (FSBO or with a Realtor)
- How To Sell A House In North Carolina Without A Realtor
- What Are North Carolina Flat Fee MLS Listings?
- Did You Know That We Buy Houses In North Carolina (Fast And For Cash)?
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- How Many Boxes Do I Need To Move? Use Our Moving Box Calculator
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About the Author: Kris Lippi is the owner of ISoldMyHouse.com, the broker of Get LISTED Realty and an official member of the Forbes Real Estate Council. He actively writes about real estate related topics such as buying and selling homes, how-to guides for around the house and home product recommendations. He has been featured in Inman, Readers Digest, Fox News, American Express, Fit Small Business, Policy Genius, Lending Tree, GoDaddy, Manta as well as other major websites. Read more about us here.