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Charlotte, NC skyline

13 Things to Know About Living in Charlotte

Known as the Queen City, Charlotte, NC, has become a darling of the South. Boasting a low cost of living, beautiful weather, the mountains and the ocean within a few hours’ drive, and an up-and-coming food scene, Charlotte is an affordable home for anyone who loves close-knit communities and the outdoors. Thinking of moving to Charlotte? Here are a few reasons why you’ll love the largest city in North Carolina!

Charlotte Living Is Cheap

There are many things to love about living in Charlotte, but its affordable cost is the best! The city’s cost of living is 1% lower than the national average, while cost of housing is 2% lower than the national average. In fact, the median home price in Charlotte is $178,000, and the median monthly rent is $966. Whether you’re a recent college graduate or a retiree looking for a place to settle down, the Queen City is an excellent choice that won’t break the bank!

The Nation’s Second Largest Financial Center

Speaking of banks, Charlotte is a hot spot for the financial industry. Starting in the 1980s, large banks in Charlotte began buying small local banks throughout the South, eventually expanding and merging with other large banks across the country. Today, Charlotte is the headquarters for Bank of America, one of the United States’ largest banks, as well as eight other Fortune 500 companies like Nucor and Duke Energy. If you’re looking for a stable job market and opportunities in finance, Charlotte is the place to be!

Get Ready for Warm, Humid Weather

If you’re not a fan of snow, this North Carolina city might just be your warm-weather oasis! Temperature averages are between 42 and 79 degrees, and the area sees more rain than snow during the winter, so it’s a great home for anyone who prefers a mild climate. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that Charlotte—like many cities in the South—gets incredibly hot and muggy in the summer and fall. Be sure to stay hydrated!

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Down Is Up in Charlotte

When you move to Charlotte, you may hear people talking about Uptown when referring to what other cities would call their “Downtown” area. According to local historians, it’s referred to this way because two 19th century trading paths met in this area, which was also the highest elevation point, and Charlotte grew from there. In the 1970s, Charlotte’s City Council declared the shopping and entertainment district “Uptown Charlotte,” and the name has stuck ever since. So just remember—in Charlotte, down is up!

There’s Plenty of Public Transportation Options

CATS Lynx Light Rail in Charlotte, NC

Photo by David Wilson

Though traditionally a city where residents use personal vehicles to get around, Charlotte is continually expanding its public transit options. With the Charlotte Area Transit System (referred to as CATS), residents can take buses, streetcars, or the LYNX Light Rail throughout the city’s I-485 Loop. It’s a great way to avoid rush-hour commutes, get to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and explore more of the city!

Unique Neighborhoods & Suburbs

Moving to a new city can seem overwhelming, but once you find the right Charlotte neighborhood that fits your lifestyle, you’ll feel right at home! Pedestrian-friendly Center City (a.k.a. Uptown Charlotte) offers diverse homes and an abundance of arts, entertainment, dining, and nightlife, so it’s the hot place to be for singles and young professionals. For families and retirees who want a safe neighborhood in Charlotte with gorgeous tree-lined streets, sprawling Southern-style houses, and excellent schools, Myers Park is the perfect home! There’s also NoDa, home to Charlotte’s art community, and South End, home to on-the-rise entrepreneurs and local businesses. No matter what kind of neighborhood or suburb you’re looking for, Charlotte has a little something for everyone!

Museums As Far As the Eye Can See

Whether you love history or prefer artwork, there’s a museum for you! Take the kids to Discovery Place Nature to learn more about insects and other critters. View classic and contemporary art at The Mint Museum. Get lost in the structural beauty of the Bechtler Museum of Art. Explore the contributions African-Americans have made to art, theatre, dance, and more at The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. Discover more about the Queen City at the Charlotte Museum of History. And don’t forget the Sullenberger Aviation Museum, where you can see the evolution of aircrafts!

There’s a Festival for Everyone

If there’s one thing this North Carolina city knows how to do, it’s putting on an excellent festival! You’ll have all kinds of entertainment opportunities with Charlotte’s local festivals. Head to Freedom Park in the fall for Festival in the Park, featuring live music, local food, art exhibits, and more. Or visit Little Sugar Creek Greenway in the spring for Kings Drive Art Walk, which showcases the work of established and emerging North Carolina artists. For a dose of flavor and culture, The Latin-American Festival is an exciting one-day event, complete with Latin-American food, handmade crafts, and dancing! Is music more your speed? The Charlotte New Music Festival offers music and dance collaborative workshops, lectures, and concerts. And you can’t have festivals without beer! Check out Queen City Brewers Festival and Moo & Brew Fest!

Outdoor Activities Are King

One thing you’ll notice about living in Charlotte is how much residents love to be outdoors! With 35 miles of greenways and plenty of spots for hiking, biking, and whitewater rafting, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities! For a relaxing afternoon, hit Freedom Park, a 98-acre green space offering trails, tennis courts, playground spaces, and more just outside of the Myers Park neighborhood. Looking for a fun weekend activity? Head to The U.S. National Whitewater Center. This 1,300-acre recreation area located on the Catawba River has everything an outdoor enthusiast could dream of—paddleboarding, rafting, a climbing wall with a pool, 30 miles of biking and running trails, and more! The center also hosts several festivals each year, including the River Jam summer concert series.

Your Choice of Pro Sports Teams

Have you always wanted to live in a city with professional sports teams? Good news! The Carolina Panthers (NFL), the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), and the Charlotte Knights (MiLB) are all based in Charlotte! All three have stadiums in Uptown—the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium, the Hornets at Spectrum Center, and the Knights at Truist Field. If you’re into hockey as well, be sure to check out the Charlotte Checkers, a minor league hockey team that plays at Bojangles’ Coliseum near Elizabeth.

Get Your Motor Running

Did you know nearly 75% of NASCAR drivers and staff members live in and around the Charlotte area? That might have something to do with Hendrick Motorsports Complex, Charlotte Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the annual Sprint Cup Series (which includes the Coca-Cola 600 in May and the Bank of America 500 in October). NASCAR is huge in the Queen City. So, if you’re a fan, you’ll feel right at home!

A Food Scene That’s On the Rise

Salmon entree

Photo by Matt Janicki

Charlotte claimed the #9 spot on Zagat’s 26 Hottest Food Cities of 2016 list, and for good reason! The city’s restaurant scene has grown beyond its Southern barbecue roots (though it still does that quite well). Give The Fig Tree‘s French and Italian-style cuisine a try! Menu items are paired with delicious wines, offering a well-rounded dining experience in a cozy setting. Travel to the Middle East without leaving Charlotte at YAFO Kitchen, a Mediterranean eatery with mouth-watering items like Marrakesh lamb wraps and hummus bowls. And you can’t forget highly-rated Peruvian rotisserie chicken spot Viva Chicken, which has locations throughout Charlotte and serves slow-roasted chicken, housemade sides, and amazing desserts!

It’s Easy to Find Craft Beer

Flight of beers

Photo by Nan Palmero

Think craft beer is only big in Colorado? Charlotte is taking the craft beer world by storm with 18 breweries and more on the way! Check out The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. This spot was the first craft brewery in Charlotte, and it’s garnered quite the following thanks to its complex, delicious German-style brews. Grab dinner and a beer at Heist Brewery, a Belgian-style brewpub with an extensive menu. They even serve brunch! Or try unique brews like the Jalapeno Pale Ale at Birdsong Brewery, a vibrant local spot with a fantastic patio. You can also find tons of activities in Charlotte that pair craft beer and fitness (an odd combination, we know). Work For Your Beer is a now national organization that started in Charlotte and helps active residents find workout classes offered at nearby breweries. Beer yoga, anyone?


Are you moving to Charlotte soon? Extra Space Storage has several storage facilities in Charlotte that can help with your transition! Find Charlotte storage near you!

All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.