If you’re moving to Charlotte, NC, and not from the South, here’s the good news: Most people aren’t. The area has become a melting pot from all around the country, making it easy to get acquainted in no time. And it is no wonder. Charlotte is one of the USA’s largest banking hubs, has a popular climate with all four seasons represented and is home to sports teams in baseball, basketball, football, hockey and NASCAR.
From its charming bungalows and vibrant nightlife to commercial hubs and family-friendly communities, it’s no wonder Charlotte made Forbes’ list of 10 places people are moving to right now. But where exactly are they moving?
Choosing a home base will be one of the most important decisions you make when moving to Charlotte, so we have put together a guide to help you get acquainted with the Queen City. Already know where you’re going to live in Charlotte? Jump to our need-to-know facts about your new city.
Charlotte Neighborhoods to Explore:
Already know where you’re moving to in Charlotte? Jump to our need-to-know facts about your new city.
Best Neighborhoods in Charlotte, NC
Whether you’re looking for a quick commute to work, waterfront property, activities for your kids or parks with shade even sweeter than the sweet tea, there are hundreds of neighborhood options in Charlotte.
Location: Southeast Charlotte
Known for: Historic homes and estates, beautiful scenery and peaceful neighborhoods
If you’d like some distance from the hustle and bustle of the city but still enjoy the convenience of a short drive to town, the Eastover neighborhood is for you. Eastover is considered one of the most historic districts in all of Charlotte. (It was the first suburb where homes were built with driveways!)
This residential community features beautiful homes, elegantly shaded lots and some of the friendliest neighbors in all of Charlotte. While Eastover has a rich history dating all the way back to 1927, its familiar faces welcome newcomers with open arms. You’ll soon come to find why this neighborhood is one of the most sought-after areas in North Carolina.
Eastover also offers local shops and restaurants, beautiful parks and proximity to schools. Not to mention the business and entertainment opportunities in Uptown Charlotte are just minutes away. Eastover residents love that they can count on quick commute times and spend their evenings kicking back and relaxing.
In the Eastover area, you’ll find Armstrong Elementary, Eastover-Central and Eastover Elementary. Built in 1953, Eastover Elementary School was the first elementary school in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) district to successfully implement a uniform policy.
After elementary school, students enter Alexander Graham Middle School followed by Myers Park High School. Parents have a niche option with Charlotte Engineering Early College, a highly rated public school offering grades 9-11.
Location: Central Charlotte
Known for: Thriving business and entertainment center, four wards, heart of Queen City
Uptown Charlotte—otherwise known as Charlotte City Center—is the heartbeat of the Queen City. First things first, why in the world is downtown called Uptown?
“Uptown was originally the highest point of elevation, and the city grew around it,” notes Charlotte historian Tom Hanchett. “When people came to this area, they were actually going up.”
The area is split into four neighborhoods, or “wards,” by the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets. The streets originally divided Uptown into four quadrants for political purposes so each area had its own representative, but the names for the quadrants stuck. Since then, Uptown has come to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. The city center has transformed drastically over the last 50 years.
Living in Uptown Charlotte
While it’s home to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, you certainly don’t need to be a NASCAR aficionado to enjoy Charlotte’s top attractions. The Uptown district hosts the U.S. National Whitewater Center, the city’s most popular museums including the Mint Museum and Discovery Place, along with 7th Street Public Market and some of the area’s best restaurants.
Young, experienced in years or in between there is truly something for everyone in this Charlotte neighborhood. From small tech startups to Fortune 500 companies, Uptown offers endless creative and entrepreneurial opportunities in addition to a booming banking scene. Charlotte has created jobs at Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC and Fifth Third. Tens of thousands of people travel there to work and play each day, but Uptown also offers phenomenal places to live. From high-rise condos to revitalized Victorian homes, residents enjoy the fast-paced vibe and friendly community.
Charlotte has 168 primary and secondary schools. Children can attend their neighborhood schools or charter schools. Low-income students are also eligible for scholarship funding to attend private schools. For higher education, you want to take note of universities in the Uptown district including Johnson & Wales University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Location: South Charlotte
Known for: Upscale suburban homes, thriving business community, family recreation and leisure
Nestled on 2,000 acres of land adjacent to the South Carolina border, Ballantyne is one of Charlotte’s newest upscale communities. In a city of newcomers, Ballantyne is the ultimate newcomer hub. Though the area is part of Charlotte, most locals view Ballantyne as a city within itself—with its own country club, a PGA-ranked golf course and plenty of opportunities to live, work and play without leaving the area.
Home to Fortune 500 headquarters and more than 35 Fortune 500 companies, Ballantyne is a highly desirable place to work. Ballantyne Corporate Park is a nationally recognized business community offering endless amenities, community events, wellness benefits like biking trails and a state-of-the-art YMCA, and more than 6 million square feet of office space.
While this mini-city tends to do its own thing, most residents appreciate the fact that Uptown is just 20 miles north. Sidewalks and bike paths offer easy trips to dining, shopping and recreation without long commutes and with less bustle than Uptown.
If you’re planning to raise a family in Charlotte, you have several options for schools in or near Ballantyne. Ballantyne Elementary, Ballantyne School of Music and Hawk Ridge Elementary all have excellent reviews. Ardrey Kell High School also has an A+ overall rating with 2,701 students and a student-to-teacher ratio of 21:1.
Location: South Charlotte
Known for: Prestigious mansions, oak tree-lined streets, old money
Tucked away between Dilworth and South Park is one of the Queen City’s oldest and most prestigious neighborhoods, Myers Park. Between its tree-lined streets, historic mansions and curving driveways, families will fall in love with the area in no time. With homes in styles from colonial to Tudor, it has that classic Southern feel.
A Local’s Take on Myers Park
Charlotteans consider the Myers Park neighborhood to be one of the city’s most affluent locations. Nearby you’ll find the 98-acre “Central Park” of Charlotte, Freedom Park. From a 7-acre lake and paved trails to athletic fields and beautiful scenery, the park is a favorite of joggers, sightseers and families. If you enjoy running, walking or being outdoors, Myers Park is the perfect place to take a stroll and get in some miles. The Booty Loop has become one of the best routes in Charlotte due to its traffic-free intersections and scenic route.
When you’re not burning the calories, keep in mind that Myers Park is best traveled by car or bike. While Uptown Charlotte is just a few minutes away, the neighborhood was intended to be an auto-oriented suburb. You would need to travel to Uptown for public transportation options.
Myers Park Schools
In this neighborhood, residents can attend Myers Park Traditional Elementary and Myers Park High School. As far as higher education goes, it is liberal arts at the Queens University of Charlotte, a historic school noted for its gorgeous scenic setting.
Location: South Charlotte
Known for: Luxury retail, delicious eats, a mix of urban and suburbs
Just six miles south of Uptown sits SouthPark. The SouthPark neighborhood is one of the safest areas in Charlotte and boasts some of the best schools, shopping areas and lowest crime rates around. If you’re moving to Charlotte with a family and enjoy living luxuriously, the SouthPark neighborhood just might be for you.
What it’s Like to Live in SouthPark
If you enjoy shopping until you drop, the SouthPark neighborhood has everything you need. At nearly 1.8 million square feet, the SouthPark Mall is the largest shopping mall in Charlotte and all of North Carolina. It’s home to Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and many more distinguished shops.
Here you will also find the famous Quail Hollow Golf Course where the Wachovia Golf Tournament is held each year.
SouthPark offers a great residential area and also one of the largest business districts in Charlotte with approximately 40,000 employees. The neighborhoods are elegant, established and nestled away with wooded lots and tree-lined streets. Whether you want to avoid traffic or you want to raise a family in a semi-urban atmosphere, SouthPark is a wonderful place to call home.
SouthPark offers the state’s top-rated schools in safe, walkable neighborhoods. Residents of SouthPark attend Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Sharon Elementary, Selwyn Elementary, Beverly Woods Elementary, Alexander Graham Middle and South Mecklenburg High School.
Location: Southeast Charlotte
Known for: Small-town charm, artsy vibe, sense of community
If you’re moving to Charlotte while raising a family, the Matthews neighborhood might be for you. This award-winning suburban town offers beautiful (yet affordable) homes, great schools, a short commute, low taxes, and convenient access to everything Charlotte has to offer.
Matthews’ residents enjoy its proximity to many of Charlotte’s business and entertainment opportunities. Just 10 miles from Uptown with several major roads and bus routes to get you there, Matthews also has access to a full calendar of family-friendly festivals and events.
The McDowell Arts Center hosts classes and gallery shows, and the year-round community farmers’ market is the oldest in the area. In the summer, Stumptown Park offers family-friendly events like concerts and movies. Lake Wylie is also just 20 miles west, making the perfect weekend trip.
Despite its recent growth and popularity, Matthews still has a quaint, small-town feel. The community-oriented city has been called one of the best suburbs to live in and also one of the safest cities in North Carolina.
Matthews’ residents are part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. Schools include Matthews Elementary, Crown Point Elementary, Mint Hill Middle and David W. Butler High School. Public charter schools include Matthews Charter Academy and Socrates Academy. There are also a number of religious schools nearby.
Location: East Charlotte
Known for: Historic district, family-friendly community
Plaza-Midwood is nearly a century old and full of rich history, yet it’s also urban and hip. The heart of Plaza Midwood features the historic Van Landingham Estate and one of America’s most prestigious country clubs, the Charlotte Country Club.
If you’re looking to get involved in your community, the Plaza-Midwood Neighborhood Association is one of the most active in all of Charlotte. It maintains a neighborhood watch program, a community garden and events like school fundraisers, clean-up days and festivals.
Residents of Plaza-Midwood also have access to some of the largest employers in all of Charlotte. American Airlines, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Carolinas Healthcare System are all just a short drive away.
Who Lives in Plaza-Midwood?
Plaza-Midwood offers unique shopping and dining opportunities and the neighborhood is diverse. Residents range from single professionals who work Uptown to couples just starting their families. From festivals to local events and food trucks, there is always something going on in this neighborhood. You’ll also enjoy its pedestrian-friendly streets that allow you to take a stroll with your dog or baby any day of the week.
Plaza-Midwood has a 93% high school graduation rate and a high livability score. Public school students living in this neighborhood will attend Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, including the historic Garinger High School.
Location: North Charlotte
Known for: Outdoor and water recreation, excellent schools, active families
Just 15 miles north of Charlotte, the historic Huntersville sits on the shores of beautiful Lake Norman, Charlotte’s largest lake. The area features a range of housing options from cottages on wooded lots to beautiful single family homes with waterfront views. Families moving to Charlotte who happen to be outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy fishing, swimming and boating year-round.
Huntersville has every amenity imaginable including 18 parks, gyms and multi-purpose facilities. Among the town’s most popular parks is the Historic Latta Plantation, featuring 1,200 acres of historic sites, nature preserves, trails for biking, hiking or horseback riding and access to Mountain Island Lake. Huntersville is also conveniently located within minutes of major interstates 77 and 485.
Huntersville, NC, is the perfect place to soak in the sun and raise a family. Simple commutes, ample farmland and easy lake access make this neighborhood a great place to call home.
Huntersville is known for having some of the best schools in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. North Mecklenburg High, Huntersville Elementary, Torrence Creek Elementary and Barnette Elementary all sit high on the list of public school rankings. Davidson College, a prestigious liberal arts college, also sits just miles north of the Huntersville neighborhood.
Location: South End
Known for: Historic bungalows, friendly neighborhoods, low crime rates
Dilworth is Charlotte’s oldest streetcar suburb, dating all the way back to the late 1800s. Residents have preserved the structures and history that give Dilworth its charming character.
Located just south of Uptown, the neighborhood is unlike the rest of the bustling city. Residents can practically walk to attractions like locally owned shops, restaurants and incredible nearby parks. It’s also common to see neighbors sitting on their front porches, taking an evening stroll and waving friendly hellos as you pass by.
Dilworth residents will enjoy the close proximity to East Boulevard, Bank of America Stadium, Epicentre and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Newcomers will have plenty of housing options from renovated historic homes to beautiful rebuilt bungalows and Queen Anne-style homes.
Despite its down-home feel, the real estate market is hot. Average home prices for Dilworth are around $479,000 and the cost of living is 33% higher than the average for Charlotte.
The public schools in Dilworth are part of the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District. Top-rated schools in the Dilworth area include Dilworth Elementary (K-4) and St. Patrick Catholic School (K-8).
Living in Charlotte, NC
Now that you know some of the best places to live in Charlotte, let’s talk about buying a home and building a career.
Charlotte by the Numbers:
- Charlotte’s population is 872,498.
- The median age in Charlotte is 33.
- The average temperature in Charlotte is 59.8°F.
- 41% of Charlotte residents are from out of state.
- On a scale of 1 (low crime) to 100, crime in Charlotte is a 54.
- Overall livability in Charlotte is 68.
- Over the past 10 years, 888,000 people have moved to the Charlotte metro area (estimated at 60 per day).
The Job Market
Charlotte’s economy is a job-producing machine. Several Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters in Charlotte, including Bank of America, Duke Energy and Wells Fargo. Forbes also named Charlotte one of the happiest cities for young professionals. It’s a magnet for families and Millennials alike. The longer residents stay in Charlotte, the more their work and play converge equaling to greater life happiness.
“Charlotte is an employment destination,” notes Rebecca Tippett, director of Carolina Demography at UNC Chapel Hill’s Demography Center. “The area has net in-migration at all age groups, but it’s concentrated at 18 to 34. Most people are coming after college with degrees, and our presence of jobs pulls people here.”
Cost of Living in Charlotte
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economics, Charlotte’s cost of living is lower than most comparable cities. This is due to lower housing costs than tech hubs like Seattle and Denver. While Charlotte offers affordable living, realtors in the area can quickly sell houses for $500,000—a great sign that the community is doing well. Houses go up into the millions too.
Charlotte has some of the best school districts in North Carolina with great options for primary school, high school, and even university levels. There are both private and public education options available with high ratings for both academics and equity.
We’ve already mentioned attractions like Discovery Place with its IMAX Theatre, museums and shows. You could also try Charlotte’s historical city tour and its comedy tour. There is a food and wine tour and a distillery, too. There are seasonal events along with regular concerts and sporting events. You can check out current events and grab a free city guide at Charlotte’s Got A Lot.
Is Charlotte Safe?
Like most major cities, crime is something to be aware of if you’re moving to Charlotte. But crime is on the decline. Though there are certain parts of town where you wouldn’t want to walk alone, residents feel that Charlotte is safe, friendly and welcoming.
So, is Charlotte a good place to live?
Taking all factors into consideration–great schools at both primary and university level, healthy job and housing markets and declining crime rates – Charlotte is a great place to live. Just over the last two decades, Charlotte has become a magnet for millennials, young professionals and growing families.
Ready to Move to Charlotte?
Whether you’re moving to Charlotte for a job opportunity or starting your own family, moving can be one stressful experience. If you need help with the logistics during your move, Life Storage offers various self storage options in the Charlotte area to help you while you find and settle into your new home.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2017, and was revised on November 22, 2019 with new information from Charlotte expert, Lori Hil.