Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Charlotte
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Charlotte: Everything You Need to Know About Moving There

by Team NextBurb 22 January 2021

Moving Guides By City North Carolina

Whether you know Charlotte as a hub for the finance industry or a vibrant college town, there’s a lot to love about this city’s food scene and eclectic neighborhoods.

Here’s what you need to know about moving to Queen City.

Downtown Charlotte
Downtown Charlotte

Quick facts about Charlotte

  • Though it’s best known as the center for business and transportation in North Carolina, Charlotte is a fantastic place to explore, each of its neighborhoods with a distinctive, eclectic character.

    NoDa, Dilworth, South End, and Plaza Midwood all have local shops, breweries, and vibrant energy that compete with the trendiest areas in much bigger cities.
  • Charlotte was founded when present-day North Carolina was part of the British colonies. King George III named it for his wife, Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

    Today, it’s still called Queen City by locals.
  • Charlotte is the second-largest banking center in the United States (after New York City).

    It’s home to Bank of America, the second-largest financial institution in the country, and other major finance companies, including Truist and SunTrust.

    Wells Fargo also opened its East Coast branch in Charlotte in 2010.

What to Know About Charlotte

Population & History

Charlotte was officially incorporated in 1768 by Great Britain. In the early 1800s, the surrounding area was the first place on North American soil where gold was discovered.

The city gained prominence in the banking industry in the 1970s, a reputation it still holds today. The current population of the Charlotte metro area is 2,363,000, and it continues to grow by nearly 100 residents every day.

Weather in Charlotte

Located a 3.5-hour drive from the coast, Charlotte experiences a humid subtropical climate with occasional extreme weather from the Atlantic Ocean.

It has four distinct seasons: cool winters with average temperatures around 40℉, hot, humid summers, and dry, sunny spring and fall weather.

The city rarely sees snow, but cold months often bring sleet and ice.

Top Attractions in Charlotte

Charlotte is the place to be for urban adventure, scenic bike rides through city and park landscapes, and mouth-watering food and drinks from restaurants and local breweries.

It also has an award-winning children’s museum, Discovery Place, and a children’s theater for kids to enjoy.

Here are just a few of the top places to visit, eat, and explore throughout Charlotte.

Places to Visit

  • Explore South End: This Charlotte neighborhood is the perfect place to spend an evening with friends or family.

    Home to art galleries, murals, and nine local breweries, South End’s vibrant streets lead to all kinds of adventure.

    Work up an appetite at Inner Peaks Climbing and then sit down for brunch at ROOTS Cafe or The Manchester (reported to be the best brunch in the area), or bike along one of the paved trails in nearby Latta Park.

    The Design District of South End has art galleries and artisan shops, and you’ll find sun-filled patios and local beer at spots like Wooden Robot Brewery and Petty Thieves Brewing Company.

    Head to Jeni’s Ice Creams to finish off the day with dessert.
  • Discover American history: Charlotte was founded before the United States declared its independence, and its historical buildings and sites take visitors back in time to pre-Revolutionary and early American history.

    Twenty-six minutes from downtown, the Historic Latta Plantation is a living history museum with restored buildings and tours that display American life in the 1800s.

    The Charlotte Museum of History is located in Charlotte’s oldest home, which was built in 1774.

    Learn about the history of aviation at the Carolinas Aviation Museum, where kids can use flight simulators and climb in the cockpits or helicopters and historic planes.
  • Watching a game (or a race): Charlotte is home to several professional sports teams, including the NFL Panthers and the NBA Hornets.

    The city also hosts NASCAR races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

    Every year, fans flock to watch the Coca-Cola 600, the NASCAR All-Star Race, and the Bank of America Roval 400.


To Eat

BBQ: Charlotte boasts some of the best barbeque on the East Coast.

The city’s restaurants take Southern classics and infuse recipes with sophisticated flavors and creative changes. You’ll find innovative, inspired takes on cornbread, country-fried steak, smoked meats, and bourbon cocktails all across the city.

Take our word for it and check out The Crunkleton, a restaurant so well-revered that it charges an annual membership fee for dine-in access to its dry-aged meats and cocktails.

Another award-winning option is Leah & Louise, which puts an East Coast edge on classics from Memphis and the Deep South.

For a more budget-friendly option, head to Sauceman’s, which serves its fare with no frills and lots of fries.

Burgers & Milkshakes (need we say more?): Charlotte loves its hamburgers.

You’ll find fantastic burgers almost anywhere in the city, piled with custom toppings, secret sauces, and accompanied by milkshakes, IPAs, fries, or any number of sides.

Step into the curated interiors of Kindred for a burger served with aioli (and maybe for an Instagram picture as well).

Funky joint Moo & Brew serves burgers piled high with toppings and serves local beers on the side to complete the experience.

Seafood: While the beach is a 3.5-hour drive away, Charlotte doesn’t let its landlocked location stand in the way of phenomenal seafood.

You can experience contemporary takes on seafood etouffee, gumbo, and even fresh oysters from New England – Creole fusion restaurant NC Red. Fin & Fino has an extensive raw bar as well, with whole lobsters and shrimp dishes served with Tiki-inspired cocktails.

Outdoor Experiences in and around Charlotte

Charlotte isn’t well-known for its proximity to mountains and outdoor activity, but you’ll find a surprising number of breathtaking hikes and spots for picnicking or exploring close by.

Thirty-two minutes west of Charlotte is Crowders Mountain, which provides challenging hikes and beautiful views of North Carolina.

For a more leisurely outdoor excursion, drive an hour north to Reedy Creek for paved paths and picnic areas.

Charlotte is also known as home to the world’s largest human-made whitewater river at the US National Whitewater Center (23 minutes from Charlotte), where you’ll find trails of all difficulties in addition to whitewater rafting.

North Carolina mountains
North Carolina mountains

Living in Charlotte

Charlotte’s top employers

As mentioned before, Charlotte is a leading city in the U.S. finance industry.

The city also has a growing presence in the energy industry and is a transportation hub for freight transportation.

Charlotte’s growth has led to numerous new real estate projects and national recognition as a great place to live for career growth. Top employers include Wells Fargo, Atrium Health, Duke Energy, Belk, Piedmont Natural Gas, Toshiba, Honeywell, and Lowe’s.

Working from home in Charlotte

With innovative neighborhoods and a “work hard, play hard” urban energy, Charlotte is a great place to get out of the home office and find unique workspaces for networking and much-needed focus.

For free coffee and kombucha and discounts for college students, check out CoCoTiv. Advent Coworking has not only workspaces but event spaces for rent and an outdoor patio.

National coworking chains WeWork and Regus also have convenient locations in Charlotte.

For reliable home office internet speeds, Charlotte’s best internet providers include Spectrum, AT&T, and Windstream. AT&T offers high internet speeds from $39.99/month and Windstream from $44.99/month.

Cost of Living

Despite being an up-and-coming place to live, Charlotte has a surprisingly affordable cost of living. Categories of expenses like utilities, housing, and transportation all fall just under national rates.

The median cost of a 2-bedroom in Charlotte is $195,535 and rent for a two-bedroom averages at $1,687.

Charlotte’s sales tax is 7.25%, which is only 0.13% above the national average of 7.12%.

Property taxes in North Carolina are some of the lowest in the country, with the average property tax rate in Davidson County running near .77%, and the state has a 5.25% income tax.

Transportation & Commute

Charlotte is a car-centric city, but the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) provides reliable access around the city with a system of buses and light rail trains.

Four train lines intersect the city, and shuttle buses provide direct service to the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport from stops downtown.

Fares start from $2.20 and can be purchased through the CATS Pass App.

Charlotte and surrounding areas are served by the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT), which is a 12-minute car ride or 30-minute train ride from downtown Charlotte.

The CLT Airport is a regional hub for Piedmont Airlines and American Airlines and provides nonstop flights to nearby U.S. cities and select international destinations.

Other airlines at CLT include United, Spirit, JetBlue, and Southwest Airlines (among others).

Best Places to Live in Charlotte

Best neighborhoods for families with kids:

  • Davidson: This suburb has some of the best-ranked schools in the Nashville metro area.

    Davidson is consistently ranked as one of Charlotte’s best suburbs for its access to Lake Norman, locally-owned restaurants, and beautiful parks.

    The median home price is $484,118, and downtown is only 25 minutes away by car.
  • Marvin: 30 minutes south of Charlotte is Marvin, a suburb with excellent schools and spread-out, beautiful properties.

    Marvin has great local stores and a friendly, safe community, and its median home price is $697,093.
  • Tega Cay, SC: This suburb is actually in South Carolina, but it’s only a 30-minute drive from downtown Charlotte.

    With great schools and a median home price of $409,575, Tega Cay is a heavily residential community situated on the waterfront near Allison Creek.

    It has parks with shoreline access and close proximity to shopping and dining.

Best neighborhoods for young professionals

  • Neighborhoods in Charlotte: Living within Charlotte is a great opportunity for those who want quick access to the nightlife and shops of this quirky city.

    Dilworth and LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood Belmont have affordable homes and funky shops and bars to explore.

    The median home price in Charlotte is $266,582.
  • Pineville: 20 minutes south of Charlotte is Pineville, a community with an urban-residential feel and a median home price of $244,596.

    Pineville is a pet-friendly community with plenty of local shops and restaurants–expect to find tasty BBQ and handmade donuts among other treats.
  • Steele Creek: Steele Creek is a 25-minute drive southwest of downtown Charlotte.

    While it’s a little farther from Charlotte than other suburbs, Steele Creek has a vibrant downtown district with great bars and restaurants – a small town with big-city amenities.

    It’s also home to Carowinds, a popular local theme park. The median home price in Steele Creek is $289.181.

Higher Education

Charlotte is a college town at heart, with more than a dozen institutions offering private and public undergraduate and graduate education.

Top private schools include Davidson College, Queens University of Charlotte, and Johnson & Wales University – Charlotte.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a top-ranking public school in the area as well.

Crime in Charlotte

Crime rates in Charlotte are 52% higher than the national average, which is relatively low compared to other large cities in the United States.

As with any city, it’s important to exercise caution towards your surroundings and keep track of your location, but Charlotte can easily be traveled safely.

Look at crime rates for specific neighborhoods to learn more about safety around the city.

Are you considering Charlotte as your next home?

Charlotte’s status as one of the largest hubs for finance and business comes hand in hand with thriving restaurants and eclectic, artistic energy.

It’s a great place for unique neighborhood character and thoughtfully designed streets and parks that reflect the city’s sense of positive community.

Its potential for growth in business and local charm makes Charlotte a fantastic place to consider as a home for families and young professionals alike.

Here at Nextburb, we’re committed to providing you with the facts you need to know about any area you’re considering as a future home.

Discover the best places to live in the United States to find out more about neighborhoods to live in, school ratings, crime data, and real estate options.

We’ll provide you with recommendations based on your lifestyle and budget preferences to help you discover where you want to go.

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