Charlotte is one of the top 20 largest cities in the United States and has been called one of the best places to live by a multitude of esteemed publications. This city is a vibrant, up-and-coming area because of its respected university and booming business centers. This has cultivated a number of amazing neighborhoods to live and play with. Though many people are born and raised in Charlotte, there are also quite a few newcomers that are always welcomed with open arms. This city is the perfect mix of famous Southern hospitality and modern charm.
When to Search
The Charlotte apartment search can get competitive. It’s wise to begin looking for an apartment in January, before peak season in May. The search begins to die down in August, making apartments a little harder to find.
Staying in the Know
Charlotte is America’s best-kept secret when it comes to financial centers. Bank of America headquarters is there, as well as Wells Fargo. There are also many Fortune 500 companies that have decided to station corporate operations there. In other words, if you’re interested in finance or business, this is the one of the best places to look for a job.
Life in Charlotte
Traffic commuting into Charlotte can be difficult, but not as bad as many other cities. One of the main ways to get around Charlotte is the light rail called LYNX, which runs from Center City to various surrounding neighborhoods. If you’re a bus lover, be sure to take advantage of CATS – the local public transit system.
Where to play
Charlotte has over 17,600 acres of parkland to enjoy, making it a paradise for those who want urban living with an outdoor flare. That’s a lot of places to job and throw Frisbee in Charlotte’s wonderful weather! There is also the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which offers whitewater rafting and tree canopy tours among other adventurous activities.
It’s basically impossible to be bored in Charlotte. Encounter thrills and spills at Carowinds, which features over 30 rides and various attractions, including mazes and a water park. If you're looking for a little side of learning with your fun, tour the Carolinas Aviation Museum and take a look at the rich aircraft collections house there. Looking for a more relaxing experience? Take a turn around the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 380 acres of flourishing gardens and a conservatory running right to the banks of Lake Wylie. If you love the outdoors but want something a bit more animated, head over to the Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary, a finely manicured garden and historic home that serves as a safe haven for many different species of birds.
The food scene in Charlotte is really beginning to explode, meaning that you are sure to find plenty of deliciousness around every corner. If you're looking for a prime hangover cure, stop by Eddie’s Place for some tasty Steak and Eggs and a knockout Bloody Mary. Searching for a meal that will keep you full for small eternity? Check out the iconic Penguin Drive-In and chow down on a wide variety of burgers, sandwiches, and wings as you enjoy the classic 1950’s diner ambiance. For more upscale fare, don't miss out on the intimate bistro vibes at Barrington’s Restaurant, one of the city’s most renowned producers of fancy eats.
When it comes to partying, Queen City doesn't play. Plaza-Midwood offers a string of iconic dive bars with quirky atmospheres and unrivaled drink deals, but none is more renowned than The Thirsty Beaver. Dance late into the night and enjoy an immaculate classic cocktail at Prohibition, an atmospheric uptown bar with amazing music and equally amazing 1920’s decor. If you want to put your pinky up and indulge in some wine, look no further than Vin Master Wine Shop, a wine bar meets shop that offers a knowledgeable staff and relaxing vibes.
Museum enthusiasts will find a lot to love in Charlotte. To browse through more than 1,400 pieces of modern art, head over to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. For a little slice of history, take a look at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture. The Mint Museum actually consists of two different institutions, one containing a collection of costumes and Native American artworks and the other exhibiting contemporary American works. These are only some of the many cultural destinations that Queen City has to offer!
It’s difficult to truly experience Charlotte without attending one of its famous events. In case you need proof that Queen City loves St. Patty’s day, enjoy watching the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, a vivacious event that paints the city green and has the whole city dancing to the sound of bagpipes. At Taste of Charlotte, you can take a stroll on Tryon Street as you chow down on some delicious local cuisine (for free!) and listen to live music. Nerds and fun-seekers alike can revel in one of the country’s largest renaissance fairs, courtesy of the Carolina Renaissance Festival. This 22-acre marketplace offers a circus, arts and crafts, jousting, and amazing period-inspired food.
Even the most seasoned shoppers are sure to find some incredible destinations in Charlotte. The city offers its fair share of shopping malls, each with their own particular character. Lovers of brand names and an upscale atmosphere can head over to the SouthPark Mall to enjoy the many clothing and specialty shops. If you love a variety, then look no further than Carolina Place, which features over 140 name brands throughout the entire mall. For smaller boutique shopping, browse through the shops in North Davidson Street Arts District and the Ballantyne Village.
Charlotte boasts beloved sports teams from all levels, from collegiate to national. College football and basketball is popular in all of North Carolina and Charlotte is no exception. The Charlotte 49ers have a loyal following, but the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets also sell out games on a regular basis. Beyond football and basketball, this city also boasts some of the finest golf courses in the country and annually hosts the Wells Fargo Championship. Being one of the hubs of Nascar culture, it’s not surprising that this city boasts the impressive Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Nascar Hall of Fame.
There is certainly no shortage of outdoor destinations in Charlotte! Visiting the McGill Rose Garden makes for a beautiful summertime outing when more than 500 rose bushes are in full bloom. Peeps with furry friends can enjoy a fun afternoon in the Reedy Creek Dog Park, an off-leash piece of green space dedicated to allowing dogs to run free and be happy! Looking for a more straightforward look at nature? No problem! Check out the McDowell Park, a beautiful 1108-acre park that goes right up to the lakeside and offers lush woods and hiking trails, as well as butterfly gardens at the McDowell Nature Center.