Charlotte has grown up and out of its original city center, first with streetcar suburbs and later when industrial sections turned into breweries and cool restaurants. NoDa’s got the art, South End’s got the craft beverages, and everywhere has their own farmers market and inventive entrepreneurs making Charlotte the #1 city in growth for new businesses.
Charlotte keeps its city streets clean, and the city also earns high marks for recycling with 39% of residents participating in its municipally-run recycling services. Easily taken for granted, being used to a clean metropolitan area can cause quite the shock, especially when moving into a less green-thinking city.
Easy access to adventure
With a beloved amusement park and whitewater rapids minutes from downtown at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, Charlotte has a surprising number of adventurous outdoor activities available in just a short drive.
Most locals have fond memories of days on the lake cruising on a boat, paddling across the water, or just hanging out along its 520 miles of shoreline. It’s worth checking out for the million-dollar lake houses alone, some of which are owned by NASCAR superstars.
Everyone has that outdoor amphitheater they love where they’ve scooped up discounted lawn seats and seen some big touring acts, and for many Charlotteans the 20,000-capacity PNC Pavilion is that spot to catch a big summer act.
While many cities with over half a million residents have nightmare stories about their airports, Charlotte airport is actually pretty well-managed, on-time, and efficient. Add in charming rocking chairs that scream Southern hospitality and a unique public viewing deck that overlooks the runway, and it’s easy to see why people might miss having Charlotte as their home airport.
Charlotteans appreciate having 60% of their days throughout the year be sunny, so folks that move away from this Southern climate typically miss all that sunshine. Folks that are snow-averse also miss the very infrequent snow days as the city only averages two inches per year.
Charlotte has a beautiful skyline that can be enjoyed from many vantage points. One of the best places to enjoy the Queen City’s profile is from the BB&T ballpark, home to the city’s AAA minor league baseball team, the Charlotte Knights, another place that might make it on some locals’ epic lists.
Not every city has rooftop bars to enjoy, but Charlotte has several that provide an incredible way to see the city lights that never sleep, sunsets, and the night sky. In Uptown, City Lights Rooftop is the place to go. In Plaza Midwood, people head to Whiskey Warehouse, and in the First Ward, its Fahrenheit when only a sky-high view and excellent cocktails will do.
Shopping, shopping, shopping
When it comes to shopping, Charlotte has it all. From quirky, handmade boutiques to mega-malls with high-end stores, anything you need, you can find in Charlotte. Plus, in the winter, locals can avoid the cold weather when shopping by taking the skywalk. And every neighborhood has a farmers market that often features local food entrepreneurs, so taking home new tastes after a day of shopping becomes a regular occurrence.
Home to the NFL Charlotte Panthers and NBA Charlotte Hornets, the city has loyal fans who no doubt enjoy the easy access to these downtown stadiums. In fact, Charlotte lost the name Hornets for twelve years from 2002-2014, so now the city is more ready than ever to bring home an NBA title. And while the Panthers have been to two Super Bowls, this city will not sleep until they bring home the big win.
Charlotte already has the #1 ranking for the number of new businesses, so startups and entrepreneurs obviously feel confident here. Additionally, many banks have headquarters here as the city boasts the title of second-largest financial center in America, so folks flock here for jobs in that sector. Charlotte also enjoys a lower-than-average unemployment rate and a higher-than-average job growth rate, resulting in a median age of 33, with 35% of residents falling between ages 25-54.
It feels good to be Earth-friendly, and Charlotteans can give themselves a pat on the back for being the most socially responsible big city according to the Conscious Consumer Spending Index. That ranking came about because Charlotte placed second in charitability and in social consciousness among its residents – both traits that ex-residents miss when they leave.
North Carolina has made quite a splash in the craft beer scene, and Charlotte’s brewmasters are a big reason why. Every local beer lover has their favorite brewery, but regardless, one or more Charlotte beers will be missed once they leave.
The Hunger Games amassed nearly $3 billion worldwide, and one of Charlotte’s own bakeries had their baked goods earn some screen time in the films. Several scenes were filmed in and around Charlotte too, so this place has additional significance for some Charlotte people.
In some cities, it seems like all you see is concrete. But in Charlotte, city planners have made a commitment to green-ify the city with 50% canopy by 2050 and the constant addition of more trees and green space.