Moving to Charlotte, NC? Read Our Ultimate Moving Guide
If Charlotte has made your list of places you may want to live, consider some other lists it has made in recent years: Forbes gives high marks to Charlotte as a “Best Big City for Jobs,” ranks it #6 as a “City for African-American Prosperity,” and includes it on its “Best Places to Retire” list, just for starters. U.S. News also has the city on its “Best Places to Live” and “Best Places to Retire” list. So, what makes Charlotte such a star? And it is right for you? Read on to find out, then when you’re ready to make your move, Suddath® can take you there with our Charlotte moving services.
Southern Charm and Modern Living—Charlotte Has It All
Census numbers show that Charlotte has remained one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. for more than a decade. The steady population growth means that a lot of people are from somewhere else, and they’re bringing their own tastes, interests, and cultural style to add to the mix. The economy (as measured by growth domestic product, or GDP) expanded by an impressive 26 percent in the years between 2003 and 2013, ahead of the growth pace of San Francisco, Atlanta, Denver, Boston and Chicago.
While not as quickly identified as southern when compared to Georgia or South Carolina, Charlotte and the state retain plenty of signs of its southern influences, whether it’s sweet tea on the menu or “y’all” used everywhere from the street to the office. Combine that with all of the features you’d expect in a contemporary American city, and you’re bound to find your place when you make your residential move to Charlotte.
Getting Around Charlotte
Average commute times in Charlotte are estimated to be about 25 minutes, which isn’t bad for a city of this size. There are, of course, spots where traffic is regularly congested and with Charlotte’s continued growth, there are bound to be more. Interstate travel through and around the city on I-85, I-77 and the I-485 loop are known for traffic snarls, so take that into consideration when you’re scouting for neighborhoods to move to. Most people will need a car, but the transportation options provided by the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) are solid. It’s already the largest system between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta and it will continue to grow.
Your transportation choices include:
- CATS bus service with more than 70 routes
- The LYNX Blue Line rail service, Charlotte’s first light rail service which offers 26 stations that include park-and-ride lots
- Phase 1 of the free CityLYNX Gold Line 10-mile streetcar system, which will be extended in Phase 2
- Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services
- Charlotte B-cycle bike-sharing service
As the 16th-largest city in the U.S., Charlotte has room for a great diversity of neighborhoods. Here are some snapshots of a few of the most popular places to live in and around Charlotte:
Dilworth: One of the oldest neighborhoods in town is also one of the most desirable places to live. You’ll find homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places along tree-lined streets, plus shops and restaurants within easy walking distance. A home in Dilworth also puts you close to the city’s largest hospital, Carolinas Medical Center.
Ballantyne: This affluent, suburban area will put you near a country club, the sprawling Ballantyne Corporate Park, golf courses, and award-winning public schools. Built on farmland not all that long ago (circa 1991), the development has had exponential growth not only in housing, but also in shopping spots, restaurants, galleries and more.
Plaza-Midwood: The neighborhood dates back to the turn of the 20th century and was established along with the first trolley tracks. Large historic homes, and quaint, affordable homes mix with newer houses throughout the Plaza-Midwood subdivisions. Central Avenue, with its new restaurants, shops and entertainment options, has made the neighborhood high on the list of destinations.
Uptown: Comprised of four wards, Uptown gives you choices. First Ward is great for families; Second Ward has great (but high-priced) apartments, plus a lot of hotels, the Charlotte Convention Center, and fun nightlife; Third Ward is where you’ll find the sports fans at the venues where pro football and baseball teams play; and Fourth Ward has everything from old Victorian homes to brand-new modern condos.
Myers Park: Land values are rising in Myers Park, but there are still plenty of traditional older homes available among the new condominiums and townhomes. This is a scenic spot with old willow oaks lining the streets that curve through the neighborhood, which is just a few minutes from Uptown.
South End: Shops, restaurants and bars—and an influx of new residents—have South End hopping. Once a district filled with 19th-century warehouses, today it’s a trendy destination and home to new apartments, single-family houses, condominiums and businesses.
Eastover: This is a highly desirable, historic neighborhood with high home prices to match—a recent look at the average listing price for Eastover homes was about $1.4 million. The neighborhood is convenient to significant historic landmarks and the renowned Carolinas Medical Center.
Things to Do in Charlotte
Cities don’t make it onto “Best Places to Live” lists without offering plenty of things to do! Charlotte has enough activities, attractions, and landmarks to keep parents, kids, singles and retirees busy every weekend.
- Speed Street brings Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race fans together for this three-day festival that’s held in May. See NASCAR stock cars, meet drivers, and take in live music, food and more.
- You may want to eat light for the few days ahead of the Taste of Charlotte three-day food festival. More than 100 restaurants take part, so you can nosh your way through the streets of Charlotte sampling food, wine and beer.
- For more than 50 years, the annual Festival in the Park event has been a must for local residents. Food, arts and crafts, a family fun zone and big band music are always on the itinerary.
Fun for families in Charlotte:
- ImaginOn is the result of the collaboration of the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to create a one-of-a-kind resource for kids. More than 100,000 square feet contain interactive exhibits, a multimedia production studio, two theatres and much more.
- Education is so much fun at Discovery Place that kids won’t even know they’re learning! The focus is on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), which is offered through interactive experiences in a hands-on museum.
- During cooler months (the only time it’s open), grab the kids and head to Windy Hill Orchard, just outside of Charlotte. Taste the cider, take a hayride, visit the farm stand, enjoy live music and, of course, pick your own apples.
Arts and culture:
- End your week on the first Friday of each month browsing galleries and retail spaces during the South End Gallery Crawl.
- Allow plenty of time if you’re headed to the Levine Center for the Arts, a popular destination that includes the Mint Museum, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Knight Theater, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture.
- The 40-year-old Botanical Gardens at UNC Charlotte’s 10 acres has a 4,500-square-foot greenhouse, educational programs for adults and families, and a calendar of events that’s full throughout the year.
- Make the most of warm weather at Lake Wylie, where you’ll find campgrounds, parks, boat rentals, hiking, horseback riding, golf tubing, ziplines and more.
- Freedom Park offers nearly a hundred acres of fun for everyone: play tennis, basketball, volleyball or soccer; walk the trails; take in a concert at the bandshell; bring the kids to the NFL Play 60 KidZone; or enjoy the seven-acre lake.
- Have you ever camped out in a vineyard? Here’s your chance! The Treehouse Vineyards offers more than wine tastings—you can spend time relaxing with friends and enjoying a tree-level view or even spend the night in one of its treehouses.
You’ve moved into racing country—and into football, basketball and baseball country, too! If you’re a sports fan, here’s what’s in store when you make Charlotte your new home:
Professional sports teams:
Charlotte has long been a center of motorsports in the U.S. Fans flock to the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex in nearby Concord where the Coca-Cola 600 race is held on Memorial Day weekend. It’s also home to the Bank of America Roval 400 and NASCAR All-Star Race. Be sure to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown.
Food and Drink
The most recent list of the best restaurants in Charlotte by Charlotte Magazine has 50 entries, but we’ll give you just a few to start with:
- Kindred: A menu that changes daily, featuring contemporary cuisine and seasonal ingredients.
- The Asbury: A “modern Southern restaurant” open for brunch, lunch and dinner.
- Stagioni: Classic Italian fare with an open kitchen and wood-fired grill.
- O-Ku: The freshest sushi, plus wagyu beef and pork belly dishes.
- Barrel & Fork: Comfort food, with southern charm, and a hint of the coast along with good wine and great bourbon.
- Yafo Kitchen: An original take on “fast casual” with Middle Eastern-inspired, healthy fare.
- Sea Level NC: Seafood rules here, of course, with North Carolina-grown, farm-to-fork oysters in a starring role.
- Haberdish: A simple but stellar menu of Southern side dishes and fried chicken.
- The Porter’s House: Steak and craft cocktails—need we say more?
Shopping in Charlotte
According to the shopping guide from CharlottesGotALot.com, shopping is “both a sport and a pastime” in Charlotte. From bargain outlets to luxury retailers, it’s all here:
- Every neighborhood in Charlotte has a collection of fun boutiques. Some of the unique shops around town are Summerbird and Ruby’s Gift in the arts district, The Beehive and Abbeydale in Uptown, Revolution Clothiers & Co. and Vestique in Dilworth.
- Concord Mills is 1.4 million square feet of outlet mall fun and an entertainment center, including Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium and the Speedpark. Head to Charlotte Premium Outlets for all of the high-end brands you can think of (and a few more).
- Charlotte’s malls are still thriving, thanks to the nearly endless retail choices you can find at SouthPark Mall, Northlake Mall and Carolina Place Mall.
- Prefer a one-stop, spend-the-day-there shopping experience? Charlotte has you covered with these shopping complexes: Phillips Place, the Shoppes at University Place, Hickory Furniture Mart, Metropolitan, and Atherton Mill and Market.
Education in Charlotte
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) is the city’s public school system. Its total of 164 schools include alternative schools and magnet schools and the system serves more than 145,000 students. You can find enrollment information and more on the CMS website. There are also more than 100 private schools, plus dozens of charter schools that offer specialized educational opportunities in STEM, the arts, and more.
Important Charlotte Links
After your move, these links can help you take care of setting up your new home in Charlotte:
Esri. Find stats on Charlotte based on your ZIP code.
DMV/Licenses. Get your North Carolina driver’s license or state ID at the local North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDOT) office. Find the closest NCDOT location based on your address by using the location map.
Voting Locations. Use the Mecklenburg County website to find your assigned polling site.
Hurricane and Emergency Shelters. Charlotte is prepared for hurricanes and keeps an updated list of emergency shelters for you as well as pet-friendly shelters should an emergency evacuation order take place. Find the nearest shelter by using the City of Charlotte Emergency information site.
Evacuation Maps for Natural Disasters. Use the evacuation map from CharlotteNC.gov to locate important evacuation zones in the city.
Trash/Recycling Services. The City of Charlotte Solid Waste Service provides recycling services and trash pickup for Charlotte residents.
Cable and Internet Providers:
Call the Charlotte NC Moving Company Experts
If a residential move to Charlotte is in your plans, let us plan to make it easier to get there! The moving experts at Suddath can manage every aspect of your local, long-distance or international move to Charlotte, or we’ll take care of just the tasks you’d rather not handle. Choose from partial or full packing and unpacking services, or do-it-yourself options. We also offer secure short- and long-term storage.
Get a free quote one of three convenient ways: online, via phone, or with a smartphone video walkthrough. We’re ready when you are!
Moving to Charlotte, NC: FAQ
Charlotte isn’t just a good city for retirees—it’s one of the best. The city is on Forbes’ list of the Best Places to Retire 2019 thanks to a median home price that’s less the national median, a cost of living that’s near the national average, and a strong economy. It’s also notable for the lack of state income tax on Social Security or estate/inheritance tax, and a positive ratio of doctors per capita. Charlotte suburbs that have received high rankings for their suitability for retirees include Matthews, Cornelius, Davidson, and Pineville.
Charlotte has a strong economy, reasonable cost of living and is experiencing rapid growth. In 2018, Forbes ranked Charlotte #5 on its annual “Best Cities for Jobs” list and the outlook continues to be positive.
As for the types of job available, Charlotte is a hub for large corporations, particularly those in the financial sector. Some of the nation’s largest companies have a presence here, including some with their headquarters in Charlotte. These include:
• Bank of America
• Duke Energy
• National Gypsum
According to CharlotteSights.com, the average local worker’s salary is just over $51,000. Top jobs that pay more than $85,000 (with employers that have more than 100 employees) include:
• Database administrators – $98,610
• Sales engineers – $96,340
• Computer systems analysts – $96,150
• Computer programmers – $95,950
• Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents – $95,690
• First-line supervisors of non-retain sales workers – $94,520
• Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products – $93,710
• Financial analysts – $93,420
• Aerospace engineers – $92,180
• Computer occupations (all other) – $90,530
The true pros and cons of living in any city come down to what matters to you. There are, however, come commonly cited plusses and minuses to living in Charlotte and the state of North Carolina overall. Here are a few:
• The outdoors: In just a few hours you can get to the coast or the mountains. Closer to home, you can hit the water at Lake Norman or the US National Whitewater Center, which has 1,300 acres on the Catawba River.
• Transportation: You can get just about anywhere in Charlotte in 20 minutes, whether by car or one of the public transportation options.
• Arts, culture and entertainment: There’s great nightlife in Charlotte and an active, always-changing arts scene.
• Jobs: The job market is strong in many sectors and the cost of living is less than other similar cities in the East Coast region.
• The seasons: If you like four distinct seasons in your year, you’ll have them in Charlotte. Summers aren’t as extreme as points farther south and winters are milder than points to the north, and the fall foliage is something to look forward to.
• Overgrowth: The other side of the fastest-growing-city story is that infrastructure isn’t keeping up with the burgeoning population. Some of the results of this are more traffic congestion and less green space.
• Hurricanes: If you’re coming from anywhere other than the Southeastern U.S., you may think only cities that are right on the coast have to deal with hurricanes. In reality, these exceptionally strong storms can affect areas hundreds of miles inland, including Charlotte. Another aspect of this is that when hurricane evacuation orders are given for residents of coastal North and South Carolina, tens of thousands of people head to Charlotte.
• Summer heat: Charlotte has hot, muggy summers, and the mosquitoes that go with them.
You won’t run out of things to do in Charlotte anytime soon, but for a change of pace, these are some of the popular destinations for a day trip or weekend getaway:
• Reed Gold Mine: The gold mine in Midland was the first documented gold find in the country and a leader in gold production until the mid-19th century. Today, you can pan for gold, walk the trails through the area, take guided tours of underground tunnels and more.
• Salisbury: In one hour, you can be strolling through vineyards in the countryside or through the streets of historic downtown Salisbury in Rowan County. A favorite day trip of history buffs in particular, Rowan County offers five Local Historic districts, 11 National Register districts, and the North Carolina Transportation Museum. Check out the Salisbury Heritage Walking Tour and the Salisbury History and Art Tour.
• Crowders Mountain State Park: This registered National Heritage Area offers 5,000 acres of hiking, rock climbing, and camping, plus fishing and canoeing on a nine-acre lake. The park’s two peaks—Pinnacle and Crowder mountains—give you 25-mile views.
• Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden: Enjoy manicured gardens and natural areas, fountains, trails, a children’s garden, a conservatory with orchids and tropical plants, and much more on 110 acres. Don’t miss the Beer Garden, open during warmer months on weekends, for a taste of local craft brew, wine and cider, plus live music, food trucks, games and more.
• Hickory: Situated between Charlotte and Asheville, Hickory is a popular spot for shopping, breweries, arts and crafts, and restaurants, but it may be best known as the “Furniture Manufacturing Capital of the World.” Hickory has been a leader in furniture production and design for more than 50 years and attracts shoppers, retailers and designers to its Hickory Furniture Mart from across the country and around the world.
• Uwharrie National Forest: One trip won’t be enough to explore the more than 50,000 acres of land that crosses Montgomery, Randolph, and Davidson counties. Recreational options include camping, climbing, hunting, horseback riding, fishing, hiking and more.
• Boone: Make it a weekend and take the 95-mile trip northwest of Charlotte to beautiful Boone. You’ll want to visit this mountain town in every season because it changes throughout the year. Enjoy lakes in summer, skiing in winter, scenic drives in spring, and the changing leaves in autumn.