Article Overview: Living in Charlotte, Moving to Charlotte
Thinking about living in Charlotte, North Carolina? If so, you’re in good hands.
Home to a population of nearly 880,000 residents, Charlotte is best known for kind locals, top-notch barbecue, award-winning breweries and great street art. There’s so much to love (and not love) about calling this pretty place home.
But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, so let’s cover everything you need to know about moving to Charlotte, North Carolina based on firsthand experience. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, my name is Annie and I’m here to help.
As part of The Honest Local Living In Series, we are thrilled to share insights from our local in Charlotte, North Carolina, Annie. This is a great way to learn about the goings-on in a city from a real local’s perspective, without all the fluff. We asked Annie to provide a roundup of the pros and cons of living in Charlotte, which will give you some insight into calling the Queen City home.
Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, NC
Thinking about visiting Charlotte before finalizing your decision to move? If helpful, here’s the hotel I recommend to my own family and friends.
Table of Contents: Living in Charlotte, NC
Table of Contents: Living in Charlotte, NC
- Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, NC
- Pros of Moving to Charlotte
- 1. Small Town Feel With Unique Neighborhoods
- 2. The Low Cost of Living in Charlotte
- 3. Access to Outdoor Recreation
- 4. Southern Hospitality
- 5. The Tech Industry is Booming
- 6. You’ll Get All Four Seasons While Living in Charlotte
- 7. Affordable In-State College Tuition
- 8. Professional Sports Teams
- #9. Charlotte is a Very Clean City
- Cons of Living in Charlotte
- Retiring in Charlotte FAQ
- Comparison of the Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, NC
- Map of Living in Charlotte
- Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, North Carolina (Post Summary)
- Pros of Moving to Charlotte
Pros of Moving to Charlotte
1. Small Town Feel With Unique Neighborhoods
Let’s kick off this list of the pros of living in Charlotte, NC with a personal favorite — the small town feel and unique neighborhoods. Now, I’m probably not the first to tell you that every city has a unique feel to it. NYC is know for grit and dreamers, LA is known for innovators and men driving small red cars, the list goes on.
As for Charlotte? The city exudes a small town charm few can resist. But the city is big enough where anyone can find something to love. There’s an electric buzz in the city that feeds into ambition, but it’s calm enough to keep the priorities clear: life is about enjoying.
It makes me think of E.B. White’s quote: I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it difficult to plan the day.”
The city is comprised of various districts that are as unique to each other as siblings raised in the same family (two never turn out the same, do they?).
Every perk is accompanied with a disadvantage. In this case, it’s realizing that where you live in Charlotte will greatly impact how much you enjoy the city. Here’s a quick roundup of a few neighborhoods worth knowing.
Neighborhoods to explore before moving to Charlotte
- NoDa: If you enjoy the art scene, spend a day exploring NoDa. Known as the entertainment district, you’ll find everything from charming cafes and local shops to top-notch craft breweries and talented street performers.
- Dilworth: A quaint neighborhood with tree-lined streets, great restaurants (in all price ranges) and beautiful parks. Tons of small shops to explore and an overall youthful vibe.
- Southend: If you’re after modern city life, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better area. Great bars, restaurants, cafes, shops are breweries. All within walking distance, to boot.
- Uptown: Uptown is the cultural hub of the city. Home to museums, great restaurants, ample parks and some of the most famous skyscrapers in Queen City, the area is ripe for exploration (plus a great nightlife).
- Ballantyne: This is a suburb in the posh part of town, it’s further removed from the downtown core. You’ll be rubbing elbows with well-dressed locals, designer bags and lots of small dogs. (Quick question: Do small dogs get thrown in as a gift whenever you purchase a designer purse? Asking for a friend). Anyways, chic boutiques with eye-watering price tags, fine dining restaurants with equally eye-watering numbers, you know the drill — you’ll wish you had more money.
2. The Low Cost of Living in Charlotte
As you know, cities are seldom affordable. The biggest draw of city living is having easy access to to anything your heart desires practically all hours of the day. Well, here’s the kicker for those considering moving to Charlotte: it won’t drain the bank.
Charlotte is one of the more affordable cities in America. In terms of population, Charlotte is the 16th largest city in the country, largely thanks to an influx of new residents in 2020. However, even then, when compared to other similar-sized cities, Charlotte is deemed more affordable.
Now, before I start bracing for hate mail, understand this: nothing is affordable these days. However, if you’re set on “living in a city,” the Queen City is a great option. But I don’t want to fool you, the cost of living in Charlotte is on the rise, so you’re bound to here complaints from long time locals about that.
But let’s face it, that complaint is definitely not unique to Charlotte. Not even close.
3. Access to Outdoor Recreation
One of my biggest personal reasons for moving to Charlotte boiled down to outdoor recreation. Two hours to the mountains, three hours to the beach? Count me in.
I was living in New York City and between my small dark apartment (that made a dungeon look like 5 stars) and the lack of outdoor recreation, I was clawing at the wall to get out.
I did extensive research on a handful of cities before ultimately choosing to live in Charlotte. There were several factors at play, but the affordability and natural scenery drew me in. After 8 years of living in Charlotte, I’m still confident I made the right call.
You can find me outside any given weekend, either hiking, swimming, boating or fishing. It’s not uncommon to meet up with friends on a trailhead before moseying over for brunch or evening drinks. If you don’t consider yourself a nature nut (yet), I suggest spending a day at the National Whitewater Center to see what all the fuss is about.
Unless sticking to solid ground is more your speed, at which point head over to Crowders Mountain for breathtaking panoramic views of the mountains. You’ll discover so many great outdoor gems while living in Charlotte, it will be hard to pick a favorite.
4. Southern Hospitality
Here’s the thing no one tells you about southern hospitality: you kind of miss it when it’s gone. Some argue that southern hospitality is rather passive-aggressive. You know, nice to your face, but the gossip will be juicy as soon as you turn around.
And while that has been proven to be true (just sign up for a book club), there’s still something undoubtedly pleasant about living in a place where folks will greet you and use manners out of respect. But don’t misunderstand me on this one — even though living in Charlotte comes with the perks of southern hospitality, that doesn’t imply it’s strictly traditional.
On the contrary, something that surprised me after moving to Charlotte is the progressive culture of the city. The place is teeming with budding entrepreneurs and innovation, giving you the best of both worlds: forward-moving kindness.
5. The Tech Industry is Booming
Going hand-in-hand with my previous comment about innovation, let’s talk about the tech industry. Charlotte has seen a 27.6% increase in tech job postings year over year. This is the third-highest percentage increase in the country, which is worth considering for anyone moving to Charlotte for a tech job.
If you’re not in the tech market, fret not. Here’s a quick roundup of the largest industries in Charlotte.
In terms of top employers, we have Bank of America (US headquarters), Well’s Fargo, Atrium Health and Dillard’s.
6. You’ll Get All Four Seasons While Living in Charlotte
No list outlining the pros and cons of living in Charlotte, NC would be complete without mentioning the breathtaking seasons. From rich springs ripe with fragrant blooms to mild tempered autumns with dazzling fall foliage, you’ll be rubbing elbows with tourists every season of the year.
But let’s address the season most folks tend to dread most, winter. A common question I get from family and friends revolves around how bad winters are. Well, I’m happy to report that mild winters are yet another perk to living in Charlotte.
Granted, winter temperatures can get chilly during cold snaps (daily highs of 59°F and daily lows of 34°F December – February), and we get our fair share of rainfall. However, our winter conditions are best described as mild. They’re nowhere near as brutal as the Midwest or our neighbors to the north. But let’s answer the most pressing question …
Does it snow in Charlotte, North Carolina?
The short answer is not really. As mentioned, Charlotte sees a cold spell every now and then, and maybe one or two random days of snow (that melts within the day).
I will say, it get a little chaotic during snow days because the icy road conditions are a nightmare. If you hear mention of inclement weather, make your way to a grocery store to stock up on basics because the infrastructure to clear roads seems almost non-existent.
7. Affordable In-State College Tuition
Something most folks don’t realize before moving to Charlotte is perhaps the biggest perk of all (especially for families). A recent Forbes study found that full-time in-state tuition as public two-year colleges in North Carolina were the 2nd-lowest in the country.
Likewise, tuition at public four-year colleges clocked in at $7,389 which is one of the lowest rates in the nation. So if you’re if you’re moving to Charlotte with a family in tow, in-state college tuition is a perk that can’t be overstated.
8. Professional Sports Teams
When it comes to professional sports teams, Charlotte residents are spoiled for choice. Home to five professional teams, the variety spans the gamut.
From NFL (Carolina Panthers) to the NBA (Charlotte Hornets), you’ll get a chance to lose your voice in a stadium every season of the year.
If helpful, here’s a quick roundup of the professional sports teams in Charlotte.
- Football (NFL): Carolina Panthers
- Basketball (NBA): Charlotte Hornets
- Hockey (AHL): Charlotte Checkers
- Charlotte FC Soccer
- Minor League Baseball (MiLB): Charlotte Knights
And that doesn’t even begin to cover the college teams worth watching! If you’re an avid sports fan then you’ll seldom be bored while living in Charlotte.
#9. Charlotte is a Very Clean City
If overall tidiness is an important factor for living in Charlotte, then consider yourself blessed.
Long time residents have known for a while that Charlotte is a clean city. We’re spoiled when it comes to cleanliness on our city streets. But don’t just take my word for it, Charlotte ranks as the 5th cleanest city in the country.
The overall cleanliness is nice from an aesthetic point of view as well as a public health one. Plus it means we have less for little critters to munch on. But they’re still here… (more on that to come).
Cons of Living in Charlotte
1. The Crime Rates Are Worth Talking About
No list outlining the pros and cons of moving to Charlotte would be complete without addressing the elephant in the room. Charlotte has a reputation for high crime rate, so I’d like to delve into the details a bit.
Much like other US cities, Charlotte has its fair share of crime. I’ll rely on stats for this part of the conversations because opinions have a way of getting inflated.
According to the City of Charlotte, the most common offenses are assaults and theft. In 2022 the overall crime rate rose 3%, but violent crime reduced by 5%.
If you’re interested, here’s a rundown of 2022 stats from the Charlotte Police Department:
- Homicides were 110 compared to 98 in 2021.
- Violent crimes were 7,178 compared to 7,589 in 2021.
- Rapes were 261 compared to 338 in 2021.
- Residential burglaries were 1,996 compared to 2,147 in 2021.
- Larceny from automobiles were 10,367 compared 10,510.
- Armed robberies were 984 compared to 956 in 2021.
- Commercial burglaries were 2,067 compared to 1,603 in 2021.
- Vehicle thefts were 3,621 compared to 3,020 in 2021.
- Property crimes were 32,335 compared to 30,637 in 2021.
- Arsons were 149 compared to 131 in 2021.
At any rate, Charlotte’s crime rates well exceeds the national average. For what it’s worth, I’d like to mention that as a single 34-year-old woman, I don’t feel unsafe living in Charlotte.
I’m always aware of my surroundings and try to be smart about what I do after dark. So far, so good — but I definitely don’t want to paint a false picture.
2. The City Lacks Culture
Too honest? I don’t know, I’m reluctant to mention this because I know long-term residents may find it offensive, but I can’t shake the feeling.
Apart from my two favorite areas (NoDa and Plaza Midwood), I often find myself thinking there’s no soul in the city. I love living in places where you can still find hidden gems and hole-in-the-wall restaurants after 5+ years. Speaking from personal experience, that hasn’t been the case for me while living in Charlotte.
With all the rapid growth and shiny new buildings, it sometimes feels like the city is still figuring out its cultural identity.
3. Sometimes Living in Charlotte Gets Boring
Going hand in hand with lack of culture, let’s just say it like it is. Sometime living in Charlotte feels boring.
Alright, these are fighting words, I know. But it wouldn’t be an honest list without mentioning my personal experience. Sometimes I just get bored and find myself needing to escape elsewhere for a few days in a bigger city.
Obviously this won’t apply to suburbs folks, but as a city gal, Charlotte leaves some things to be desired. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but I know several coworkers that feel the same way after moving to Charlotte from larger cities.
I heard one coworker describe living in Charlotte as living in a place where everything is “just good enough.” Most of what the city has to offer could be rated as 5/10 — not bad, not good, not always memorable. And although I don’t necessarily agree, I thought that was a clever description.
4. Driving Conditions Are Not the Best
This is a small complaint, but I think the road conditions are terrible. The road infrastructure is abysmal at best and I swear I can barely see the road markings on rainy days (shouldn’t they be reflective anyways?!).
Apart from that, it took me a while to adjust to the driving habits after moving to Charlotte. People drive like they’re in a high-speed movie scene and I’ve seen way too many accidents over the past 8 years. The worst part? Public transportation isn’t great, so you’ll need to drive (or catch an Uber), meaning you’ll spend your fair share of time on the bad roads.
And that’s not to mention of the biggest gripes – the traffic – it can get seriously congested, especially during rush hours. You’ll find yourself sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, trying not to lose your sanity.
And if the traffic wasn’t enough, the roads themselves can be a bit of a nightmare. Potholes seem to be a never-ending battle, making you wonder if you’re driving on the surface of the moon or a city road.
Adding to the situation, when it rains, watch out! Some roads turn into makeshift rivers, and the driving experience becomes a wet and wild adventure.
5. Moving to Charlotte, NC? Brace for Mosquitos + Pests
It’s no secret that Charlotte is a mosquitos paradise. The humid weather creates the ideal climate for those annoying things to prosper. But don’t just take my word for it, we’re the 9th worst city for mosquitos.
During the warmer months, these little bloodsuckers seem to come out in full force, making outdoor activities a bit of a challenge. You’ll find yourself swatting and slapping at these persistent pests, trying to enjoy some fresh air without becoming a feast.
And it’s not just mosquitoes; there are plenty of other pests that like to join the party. Flies, gnats, and all sorts of creepy crawlies can invade your space and turn a peaceful evening into an annoyance fest. Don’t even get me started on the occasional encounters with stinging insects like wasps and hornets – yikes!
Even in your own home, you might find uninvited guests like ants, roaches, and spiders. They seem to have a knack for finding their way in, no matter how clean you keep things. Dealing with these unwelcome visitors can be a never-ending battle.
Retiring in Charlotte FAQ
Overall yes. If you want to take advantage of city living from time to time, without needing true big city amenities then living in Charlotte, North Carolina should fit the bill. Between affordability, kind people, the great food scene and charming neighborhoods, there’s something for everyone to love.
Between affordability, low cost of living and no estate tax, retiring in Charlotte is a great idea.
Is weed legal in Charlotte?
Weed is illegal in North Carolina as a whole. Medical marijuana can be prescribed for a limited variety of medical issues. But at the end of the day, recreational marijuana use is illegal while living in Charlotte, NC.
Why is Charlotte called the Queen City?
Charlotte is named in honor of the queen consort to British King George III during the time of the city’s founding, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Don’t you love it when an explanation is as simple as that?
Comparison of the Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, NC
|Pros of Moving to Charlotte||Cons of Living in Charlotte|
|Small Town Feel with Unique Neighborhoods||The Crime Rates Are Worth Talking About|
|The Low Cost of Living||The City Lacks Culture|
|Access to Outdoor Recreation||Sometimes Living in Charlotte Gets Boring|
|Southern Hospitality||Driving Conditions Are Not the Best|
|The Tech Industry is Booming||Brace for Mosquitos + Pests|
|All Four Seasons in Charlotte|
|Affordable In-State College Tuition|
|Professional Sports Teams|
|Charlotte is a Very Clean City|
Map of Living in Charlotte
Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, North Carolina (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of the pros and cons of living in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Small town feel & unique neighborhoods
- The low cost of living in Charlotte
- Access to outdoor recreation
- Southern hospitality
- The tech industry is booming
- You’ll experiencing all four seasons while living in Charlotte
- Affordable in-state college education
- Professional sports teams
- Charlotte is a very clean city
- The crime rates are worth talking about
- The city lacks culture
- Sometimes living in Charlotte gets boring
- Driving conditions are not the best
- Moving to Charlotte? Brace for mosquitos + pests
- Charlotte is a good place to retire
Pros and cons of living in Charlotte, moving to Charlotte, daily life in Charlotte, what’s it like to live in Charlotte, North Carolina, perks of living in Charlotte, why should you move to Charlotte? Pros and cons of living in Charlotte, moving to Charlotte, daily life in Charlotte, what’s it like to live in Charlotte, North Carolina, perks of living in Charlotte, why should you move to Charlotte? living in Charlotte
And there you have it! Hope you enjoyed this roundup of the pros and cons of living in Charlotte. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, I’m here to help.
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