20 Things to Know Before Moving to Charlotte

Travelers know Charlotte for our comfortable white rocking chairs at the airport, but the Southern hospitality doesn’t stop there. Those that choose to make the Queen City home, move here for our friendly, varied neighborhoods, booming craft beer scene and prime central location.

Our job market is red hot, especially if you want to work in the financial sector. Charlotte is home to the headquarters of Bank of America, as well as Wells Fargo Securities and other major financial firms. The city is also a major healthcare hub, with the Carolinas Healthcare System serving as the region’s largest employer. And our tech sector seems to keep growing and growing.

Love sports? We got pro-teams that sports fans can cheer on all year long including the Carolina Panthers NFL franchise, the Charlotte Hornets NBA team, and our beloved minor league baseball team the Charlotte Knights. And don’t forget the college action as well. When UNC makes it in the NCAA tournament the whole city bleeds blue and white.

If you love the outdoors you can spend countless hours boating, swimming and fishing in Lake Wylie, a 21-square mile reservoir that extends all the way into neighboring South Carolina.

Best of all, Charlotte offers a 5 percent lower cost of living than the country on average, with real estate costs 15 percent lower than the national average, according to PayScale.com. So, if you are looking for a new city to move to you can’t go wrong with ours.

But before you decide to become a full-fledged Charlotteean, there are a few more things you should know:

1. It’s Uptown, not downtown.

Roll your eyes if you must, but our downtown is called Uptown. In the early days of Charlotte, residents had to go uphill to sell their goods at Trade and Tryon. A common phrase was going “up to town” or just Uptown. The name came back during a 1980s public relations push to make downtown sound more polished, and it’s still around. Embrace your inner Bruno Mars and roll with the Uptown funk.

2. Your ‘hood will be an extension of your personality.

In the last five years, Charlotte neighborhoods have really developed personalities that extend to their residents.

  • NoDa is an artsy scene with the best dive bars for PBR lovers
  • Plaza-Midwood offers a sophisticated take on art with cocktail galleries and gastropubs
  • South End is brewery central
  • South Park is upscale living at its finest
  • Dilworth is packed with quaint bungalows and home to some of the best restaurants
  • Ballantyne is officially the burbs.

3. We take pizza pretty seriously.

We may not have a famous style like New York, but you can find a slice bigger than a baby at Benny Pennello’s in NoDa. We’re also home base for expanding chains FUEL and Brixx Pizza. Watch your back, Chicago.

4. The weather here can never make up its mind.

It’s not unusual to have a torrential downpour with sunny skies 20 minutes later in the summer, our falls are unseasonably warm, and freezing spring days are immediately followed by temperatures in the mid-60s. The only thing Charlotteans know for sure is the weather will always keep you guessing.

5. Craft culture is a way of life.

Craft beer, craft cocktails, craft sodas, craft coffee, arts and crafts – we’re all about making things from scratch and putting a unique spin on them. There’s no end to small batch breweries, specialty house cocktails featuring local ingredients, home grown coffee roasters and more.

6. Speaking of craft beer, it’s kind of our thing.

 The Charlotte area is home to more than 25 breweries and counting, and they all have amazing taprooms. From the expansive biergarten at Olde Mecklenburg to the cozy wood-lined walls of Ass Clown, there’s a brewery and a brew for everyone.

7. We all have a dream house on Queens.

It’s a right of passage to drive or stroll along Queens Rd. and pick out your future home. The wide avenue is lined with giant shade trees and perfectly manicured lawns stretch up to dreamy Southern dollhouses.

8. Don’t take I-77 around Lake Norman if you’re in a hurry.

Everyone hates I-77 with good reason. While it offers some of the cleanest views of Lake Norman, the interstate is always clogged with rubbernecking drivers. It’s fine on a leisurely Saturday drive, but gets really old if you choose to make Charlotte suburbs Huntersville, Cornelius or Mooresville your home.

9. We’re only a few hours from the mountains and the sea.

Weekend getaways to mountain spots like Asheville or Boone take around two hours, while coastal trips to Wilmington or Charleston only take about three.

10. The U.S. National Whitewater Center is the ultimate hangout spot.

The USNWC is all the best parts of the city in one place – craft beer on tap, live music, great patios and access to water sports. The summer concert series is a staple among young professionals and families, and their beer pairing + rafting dinners are an adventurous addition to your weeknights.

11. All of the apartments here kind of look the same.

 We’ve seen a huge boom in the apartment market as more people choose to make Charlotte home. It’s great there are more options in prime neighborhoods like South End, Elizabeth and Plaza Midwood, but if you’ve seen one new box, you’ve seen them all. On the bright side, at least one of your friends is bound to have a nice pool.

12. Strangers will ask how you are and genuinely care.

Waving at passing cars in your neighborhood, saying good morning to everyone in the office, nodding to strangers on the street – it’s Southern hospitality at its finest and a truly charming part of the Charlotte experience.

13. Panthers pride is real and we’re still not tired of dabbing.

Call us bandwagon fans if you must, but this city loves the Panthers. Cam Newton is our Superman, Luke Kuechly is a peach and Greg Olsen’s son has stolen our hearts. Prepare to dab and dab often.

14. Construction on Independence will never be complete.

Independence Blvd. is home to our car lots and never-ending construction. There are always delays, always some new piece of abandoned construction equipment and seemingly never any progress. Just accept it.

15. Don’t knock NASCAR.

Charlotte is home to multiple tracks, NASCAR corporate offices, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and most of the competitive race teams. Chances are every person you talk to works in racing, knows someone that works in racing or loves racing. We all have an opinion on the sport, and you aren’t a true local until attending a NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

16. The LYNX light rail is cool, but you really need a car.

While our public transportation options include a light rail and a bus system, it’s much easier to navigate by car. The city neighborhoods are pretty spread out and don’t always feature everything you need to live a commuter lifestyle.

17. You can learn a lot.

Charlotte is home to more than 20 higher education options including the University of North Carolina and Davidson College. Whether you want to hone your skills or earn an advanced degree, you can easily find an institution that works for you. It’s even home to startup adult education hubs like Skillpop featuring untraditional classes in coffee roasting, blogger marketing, hand-lettering, craft beer tasting and more.

18. We’re home to the world’s largest bar crawl.

Each St. Patrick’s Day, a sea of green t-shirts featuring the Rich & Bennett’s logo descends upon uptown. Touted as the world’s largest pub crawl, revelers have helped Rich & Bennett maintain the title for 16 years.

19. Dogs are welcome.

 Many stores, restaurants and breweries are dog-friendly. There are also nine dog parks throughout the city and multiple dog bars dedicated to giving pups and their owners a place to relax and meet new friends.

20. We’re building roots and welcome yours.

 It feels like a great time to move to Charlotte. We’re in the process of creating our identity and writing the Queen City story. We welcome newcomers and encourage you to create traditions and spread them. We’re ready, we’re open, let’s be friends.



Dana Boone