MOVING TO CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
Are you moving to Charlotte, North Carolina? This historic city offers plenty to suit both families and younger singles.
But like any move, there will be a number of unfamiliar aspects that you need to know.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Charlotte, North Carolina report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Charlotte, North Carolina on the Map
Charlotte, North Carolina is situated south of Virginia and east of Kentucky and Tennessee. Also known as Queen City, it is the largest city in North Carolina, and it has a lot going on. It has many surprises, including stunning 24-hour French pastry shops, cocktail bars atop city buildings and plenty of fine dining. Ideal for history buffs and sports enthusiasts, this vibrant city has become a very popular relocation hub for businesses. Located in the Piedmont region, Charlotte is the county seat of Mecklenburg County. The city is east of the Catawba River and southeast of the man-made Lake Norman. Two smaller man-made lakes, Mountain Island and Wylie lakes are both close to the city. For weekenders, it’s a quick trip to either the mountains or the beach. The climate is humid subtropical and prone to swings in weather. One minute it’s sunny and hot, the next there’s a torrential downpour. Summer temperatures rarely reach 95°, are very humid, particularly from May to September, with frequent rainstorms. Winters seldom drop below the 20s, both chilly and wet.
With a population of around 900,350, it is the 15th most populous city in the US. It was the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country between 2004 and 2014 and ranks 22nd in terms of population. The quality of life in the Queen City ranks amongst the best in the world in climate, safety, pollution, cost of living and rush-hour commute times.
Charlotte’s cost of living is below the national average, and it has a more than favourable business climate, with a number of major companies moving their headquarters here. Charlotte is a renowned banking centre, the 2nd largest in the US. Amongst many banking operations, it is home to the corporate headquarters of Bank of America, Truist Financial and Wachovia, and the East Coast operations of Wells Fargo. Many of these banks have financial arrangements with world leaders such as London and Hong Kong.
It’s easy to get almost anywhere from Charlotte, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport is a mere 10 miles west of downtown Charlotte. Plus, there are excellent links to nearby Virginia and South Carolina.
With some of the worst traffic in the southeast, the city offers a variety of public transport options. The Charlotte Area Transit system, or CATS, comprises more than 70 routes by both buses and light rail. The LYNX Blue Line operates seven days a week from 4.30 am until 2 am. During peak times, a train is available every 8 minutes, every 15 minutes in non-peak hours and every 20 minutes during the evening and nighttime. However, Charlotte is very car-centric, causing delays in peak hours.
3 Amtrak routes offer daily services from the North Tryon Street station, close to downtown. This service has 10 daily trips. A new centralised multimodal station is planned, servicing downtown. It will house Greyhound, Amtrak and the future LYNX Redline and will be called the Gateway Station.
The Sprinter bus is a convenient and affordable shuttle from the airport to Uptown Charlotte.
The Center City is one of Charlotte’s most diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods. It is split into sections, or wards, of individual residential areas (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Wards, Historic South End and Uptown). Each has its own distinct character and history. Residents of these districts work together to preserve their distinctiveness, plus enhancing their community through their own neighbourhood associations. The Center City residential population is close to 20,000, with a core mission of working with all of the 4 neighbourhood associations. They’re dedicated to building strong neighbourhoods within the city and enhancing constituent services for residents through communications and advocacy, helping neighbourhoods to connect with each other in a meaningful way. They work with all the areas on many initiatives, including parks, events, public safety, education, events, lighting parking, and gardens. At present, rental properties are in short supply.
With its vibrant nightlife, including craft breweries, pubs, busy restaurants offering fine dining from around the world, music venues, local shops and art galleries, South End is close to Uptown with excellent transport options. It has historic commercial roots, including the Atherton Mill and Market dating back to the 1800s and the Charlotte Trolley, reintroduced in the ‘90s. Services were discontinued is the 2000’s. Formerly an industrial zone with warehouses and textile factories, South End is now a modern urban area, with mixed rehabbed historic buildings abutted by modern structures.
The Charlotte Rail Trail is popular with cyclists and joggers.
The area offers really good schools, from kindergarten to high school.
Located 20 miles north of Charlotte, Davidson is a charming town close to Lake Norman. With a low crime rate, this is one of the best places to live in North Carolina. With abundant coffee shops, parks and restaurants, this is a college town with a close-knit community. The public schools are excellent, as is the prestigious Davidson College, established in 1837.
Transportation includes the Charlotte-Douglas airport, 25 minutes to the southwest, the 77X commuter bus, taxis and limousine services.
Davidson is rated 3rd out of 184 suburbs in North Carolina, 4th for suburbs in which to raise a family and 7th out of 517 of the best suburbs in the state.
There are ample family activities to keep everyone happy, from water sports to walking, cycling, a weekly farmers market and the epic Christmas at Davidson annually.
Chantilly is approximately 2.7 miles from Uptown, which takes around 10 minutes to drive. The ratings show Chantilly as 15th of 163 of best neighbourhoods in Charlotte, 10th of 163 to raise a family and 2nd of 163 to buy a house. Located on the eastern edge of Elizabeth, the houses have undergone extensive renovations during the last 20 years, with prices doubling and tripling. The liveability score is 83, and there is a 98% high school graduation score. Public schools are excellent. The suburb was established in 1913 and is now filled with restaurants, art galleries, and a 7-acre park called Chantilly Park.
Also known as Downtown Charlotte, this bustling city centre houses headquarters of the East Coast HQ of Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Duke Energy, to name but a few. The district employs around 115,000 people and is home to 30,000, with 83% of residents renting their homes. This vibrant business district was renamed Uptown in 1974.
Charlotte’s first streetcar suburb, Dilworth is often known as the eighth ward, planned in a grid style. Due to the streetcars, Dilworth evolved with an ease of transport that other areas didn’t have. Interestingly, most of the suburbs can be found on the National Register of Historic Places.
Vastly different to Uptown, the streets feature pavements (sidewalks), houses with large front porches, mature oaks, charming bungalows and two-storey colonial homes. Most residents rent their homes. Dilworth is home to many young professionals. The public schools are highly rated. The main road is East Boulevard, serving the district with its offices, restaurants, retail shops and coffee shops. Caroline Medical Centre, Charlotte’s largest hospital, is located here.
As well as a popular and sought-after residential area, South Park is a very busy business district, with approximately 40,000 employees. The neighbourhood has around 18,000 residents which is busy during the day, but quiet at night. The suburb is around 6 miles from Uptown.
One of the drawcards is South Park Mall. This mall has 1.8 million square feet of retail paradise, restaurants and bars.
This suburb is a very desirable place to live and work, with good schools, healthcare and shopping.
WHO LIVES AND WORKS IN CHARLOTTE?
Uptown, Charlotte’s central business district, has a list of a variety of industries, with more than 1,200 businesses of all sizes—from tech start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, including the corporate HQs for Bank of America and Duke Energy. Uptown is the centre of commerce, providing access to clients, partners and services located in the many office towers and tech incubators. The region is home to 9 of the largest publicly-traded companies in the US and 18 of the largest 1,000.
Honeywell and Truist joined Fortune 500 HQs, including Bank of America, Lowe’s, Duke Energy, Nucor and Sonic Automotive. Hickory-based telecoms giant, CommScope, jumped in at No. 381. Brighthouse Financial joined for the 2nd year.
Dental equipment maker Dentsply Sirona moved its headquarters to Charlotte, while Davidson-based Ingersoll Rand re-joined the list. Domtar, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, JELD-WEN, Albemarle, Curtiss-Wright and SPX Flow round out the Charlotte-based companies on the Fortune 1000.
The addition of both Fortune 500 and 1000 companies proves that the Region is still an attractive location for business expansion. Thus, the opportunities are pretty wide for any potential employees to find their niche. And Charlotte is most definitely pro-business.
THE BEST BITS
With low crime rates, fabulous and diverse accommodation in a variety of areas, and higher than average salaries, all add up to make Charlotte a prime destination for expats.
- The metropolitan area is home to major sports teams, the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Knights and the Charlotte Hornets. And the locals really get behind their teams.
- There are countless museums, theatres, hotels, high-end shopping malls and hundreds of restaurants.
- Green areas include Freedom Park, Romare Bearden Park, Little Sugar Creek Greenway, McDowell Nature Centre and Preserve, Wing Haven, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, Reedy Creek Nature Centre and Preserve and Hall Family Farm.
- Annual festivals include Charlotte New Music, Summer Music Festival, Tuck Fest, North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival, Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Taste of Charlotte Food Festival, the Carolina Renaissance Festival, The Festival in the Park and Carolina Balloonfest, which is the second-longest consecutively held hot air balloon event in the US.
- Anything NASCAR, from the Hall of Fame, the Richard Petty Driving Experience to the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Race shops are abundant for real enthusiasts.
- South Bound. 7-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Jimmie Johnson, is a co-owner of this taco and tequila spot.
- Charlotte’s claim to fame – the site of the first documented gold discovered in the US in 1799 is here. And you can tour the underground mines, sift for gold, and explore the stamp mill. Reed’s Gold Mine is only about 20 miles east of the city.
- Charlotte B-Cycle promotes bike-sharing around the city. Purchase a pass online or at any B-station.
- Crowders is the venue for hiking, rock climbing, fishing, rock climbing, canoeing, and more -regardless of your fitness level. There are multiple trails of varying difficulty levels, perfect for the family.
- A unique sports activity, where competitors play soccer in inflatable bubbles at Bubble Soccer Charlotte. This team sport is one of Charlotte’s unique things to do, getting you moving and having fun. Guests must wear athletic shoes and clothes to play.
- For history buffs, the Levine Museum of the New South displays the good and bad of the city’s history and the Civil War. And it’s an interactive museum.
BRINGING THE KIDS
Public schools in the areas need to be carefully researched before renting your new home. The US operates on a catchment system similar to the UK, so it is important that you live in the right area to secure a place for your child. Public schools are of a high standard in Charlotte.
Charter schools are also public schools but are governed by a non-profit board. They have more flexibility in curricula and academic programmes, and also work on the catchment system.
Magnet schools focus on specific subjects, for example, engineering, mathematics, fine arts, science and agriculture. They have their own set of admission requirements but are not boundary specific, so are open to kids from all over the city.
There are many private schools in Charlotte, offering better education than public schools, but they are expensive. You are not restricted to the neighbourhood when choosing your school. Some of the schools have religious affiliations or focus on specific areas, for example, arts or science.
Homeschooling and online academies are other options.
International schools following the curriculum of the student’s home country, which is ideal for short-stay students. They are, however, extremely expensive.
Some of the highly-rated private and international schools are very competitive, so an early application would be necessary.
RELOCATING TO CHARLOTTE
As one of America’s more friendly cities, settling in Charlotte is made easier by the welcoming attitude of the population. The variety of accommodation in a number of great neighbourhoods, the excellent public transport system, the booming economy with strengths in finance, trading, banking, amongst others, and some great public schools, make Charlotte an ideal city for expats. However, it could be tricky to choose the area to live in, closest to work and the kids’ school. The help of an experienced relocation agent will help you ease into the local community, giving assistance with the local requirements.
AVERAGE MONTHLY APARTMENT RENTALS
|One bedroom||$725 on the outskirts to $900 closer to the city.|
|Two bedroom||$1050 to $3000|