Article Overview: List of the Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, North Carolina
Thinking about moving to Charlotte? You’re in good hands.
Home to a population of nearly 880,000 residents, Charlotte is best known for kind locals, top-notch barbecue, award-winning breweries and great street art.
There’s so much to love about calling this pretty city home, but — as you know — it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
I’m Annie (nice to e-meet you!) and I’ve called the Queen City home for 6+ years. I’m the gal behind this honest list of the pros and cons of living in Charlotte for those considering a similar move.
Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, NC
Thinking about visiting Charlotte before finalizing your decision to move? If helpful, here’s the hotel I recommend to my own family and friends.
Table of Contents: Living in Charlotte, NC
Table of Contents: Living in Charlotte, NC
- Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, NC
- Pros of Moving to Charlotte
- 1. Small Town Feel With Unique Neighborhoods
- 2. The Low Cost of Living in Charlotte
- 3. Access to Outdoor Recreation
- 4. Southern Hospitality
- 5. The Tech Industry is Booming
- 6. You’ll Get All Four Seasons While Living in Charlotte
- 7. Affordable In-State College Tuition
- 8. Professional Sports Teams
- #9. Charlotte is a Very Clean City
- Cons of Living in Charlotte
- Retiring in Charlotte FAQ
- Comparison of the Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, NC
- Map of Living in Charlotte
- Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, North Carolina (Post Summary)
- Pros of Moving to Charlotte
Perks of Moving to Charlotte
1. A Relaxed Way of Life
With a population of 880,000, Charlotte is deemed a large city by definition, yet is manages to feel more like a small town with a relaxed way of life.
Impressive, given the large population and access to “big city” amenities like cultural attractions, dining options, night life, shopping and career advancement opportunities.
In a way, living in Charlotte is like having the best of both worlds — advantages of city living but at a more relaxed pace (less inconveniences and more affordability).
I’ve been noticing an influx of young families moving to Charlotte over the past 3+ years, which makes sense. Large cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago aren’t feasible for raising families (astronomical cost of child care and private school).
As such, many folks are finding their way outside of the big cities in favor of places like Charlotte, that give them the best of both worlds. It doesn’t hurt that Charlotte exudes a charming small town feel that few can resists.
2. The Low Cost of Living in Charlotte
Anyone will tell you that the biggest draw of living in a large city is having access to anything/everything most hours of the day.
Well, the same holds true for Charlotte, with one pleasant exception: living here won’t break the bank. In fact, Charlotte is considered one of the most affordable large cities in America, when compared to similar-sized cities.
Those moving to Charlotte from a large metro areas can expect amenities like utilities, housing, groceries, taxes and transportation to be more affordable.
As you know, cost of living will vary greatly based on housing, lifestyle choices, and individual circumstances. But, if you’re set on “living in a city,” on a budget, the Queen City is hard to beat.
3. Access to Outdoor Recreation
One of my biggest reasons for moving to Charlotte boiled down to outdoor recreation. Two hours to the mountains, three hours to the beach? Count me in.
I moved from NYC, and between my shoe box apartment and lack of outdoor recreation, I was ready for a change of scenery.
Like most locals, you can find me outside most weekends, regardless of the season. It’s not uncommon to meet up with friends on a trailhead before moseying over for brunch or evening drinks.
If you don’t consider yourself a nature nut (yet), I suggest spending a day at the National Whitewater Center to see what all the fuss is about. Give yourself a chance to experience hiking, fishing, boating or swimming in a new light and you’ll see what all the fuss is about in no time.
If you’re new to town and need some hiking recommendations, I suggest heading to Crowders Mountain for breathtaking panoramic mountain views.
4. Southern Hospitality
Southern hospitality is a cherished aspect of the culture and daily life in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Referring to the warm and friendly demeanor of locals, I find that southern hospitality sometimes gets a bad rap. Folks can argue that it’s passive-aggressive, “nice to your face, but just wait until you leave the room.”
And while gossip is unavoidable regardless of your zip code (seriously, sign up for a book club to see for yourself), there’s something so pleasant about living in a place where your presence is acknowledged.
By an large, you’ll be greeted with a warm smile from strangers wherever you go. People are approachable, so asking for directions and/or advice while running errands isn’t intimidating.
Respect, politeness and manners reign supreme. Tradition and customs are also important, but that doesn’t mean Charlotte is stuck in the “good old days.” Rather, I have found Charlotte to be a progressive city, full of kindness from strangers.
5. The Tech Industry is Booming
Charlotte has seen a 27.6% increase in tech job postings year over year, the third-highest increase in the country.
Obviously, this is a key factor to consider for anyone moving to Charlotte for a job (especially in the tech industry). The growing tech sector has earned Charlotte the moniker “Silicon South.”
But the job economy isn’t limited to tech, here’s a few sectors where Charlotte shines.
Finance & Banking: Charlotte is often referred to as the “Wall Street of the South” due to its significant presence in the banking and finance sector. The city is home to major financial institutions, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, which have their headquarters in Charlotte.
Healthcare: The healthcare industry is a major contributor to Charlotte’s job market. The city is home to numerous hospitals, medical centers, and healthcare organizations, providing employment opportunities for healthcare professionals, researchers, and administrative staff.
Manufacturing: Manufacturing continues to play a significant role in Charlotte’s economy, with companies specializing in aerospace, automotive, and machinery manufacturing. This sector offers jobs in engineering, production, and logistics.
6. You’ll Get All Four Seasons While Living in Charlotte
No list of the pros and cons of living in Charlotte, NC would be complete without mentioning the breathtaking seasons!
From rich springs ripe with fragrant blooms to temperate autumns with dazzling fall foliage and mild winter, you can enjoy the great outdoors year-round while living in Charlotte.
Granted, winter temperatures can get uncomfortable during cold snaps (daily highs of 59°F and daily lows of 34°F December – February), and we get our fair share of rainfall.
However, winters are nowhere near as brutal as in the Midwest or Northeast. So, if you’re looking to escape the winter chill, Charlotte is definitely worth considering.
Does it snow in Charlotte, North Carolina?
The short answer is not really. As mentioned, Charlotte sees a cold spell every now and then, and maybe one or two random days of snow (melts within the day).
Note: The roads get chaotic during snow days because the icy road conditions are a nightmare. If you hear mention of inclement weather, make your way to a grocery store to stock up on basics because the infrastructure to clear roads seems almost non-existent.
7. Affordable In-State College Tuition
According to Forbes, in-state tuition at public two-year colleges in North Carolina were the 2nd-lowest in the country.
What’s more, tuition at public four-year colleges clocked in at $7,389 which is one of the lowest rates in the nation.
So if you’re if you’re moving to Charlotte with a family in tow, in-state college tuition is a perk that can’t be overstated.
8. Professional Sports Teams
When it comes to professional sports teams, Charlotte residents are spoiled for choice. Home to five professional teams, the variety spans the gamut.
Sports culture is deeply ingrained in the city’s identity and community spirit. The city is home to several professional sports teams and hosts a wide range of sporting events and activities that cater to both residents and visitors.
From NFL (Carolina Panthers) to the NBA (Charlotte Hornets), you’ll get a chance to lose your voice in a stadium every season of the year.
Here’s a quick roundup of the professional sports teams in Charlotte.
- Football (NFL): Carolina Panthers
- Basketball (NBA): Charlotte Hornets
- Hockey (AHL): Charlotte Checkers
- Charlotte FC Soccer
- Minor League Baseball (MiLB): Charlotte Knights
And that doesn’t even begin to cover the college teams worth watching! If you’re an avid sports fan then you’ll seldom be bored while living in Charlotte.
#9. Charlotte is a Very Clean City
If overall cleanliness of a city is an important factor to you, living in Charlotte fits the bill.
But don’t just take my word for it, Charlotte ranks as the 5th cleanest city in the country.
Another perk? Cleaner streets mean less rodents to worry over. But that’s not to say you’re in the clear (more on that to come).
Cons of Living in Charlotte
1. The Crime Rates Are Worth Talking About
Let’s address the elephant in the room, Charlotte has a reputation crime, so I’d like to delve into the details a bit.
It’s true, much like other US cities, Charlotte has its fair share of crime. I’ll rely on stats for this part of the conversations because opinions and emotions have a way of getting in the way.
According to the City of Charlotte, the most common offenses are assaults and theft. In 2022 the overall crime rate rose 3%, but violent crime reduced by 5%.
Here’s a roundup of 2022 crime stats from the Charlotte Police Department:
- Homicides: 110 compared to 98 in 2021.
- Violent crimes: 7,178 compared to 7,589 in 2021.
- Rapes: 261 compared to 338 in 2021.
- Residential burglaries: 1,996 compared to 2,147 in 2021.
- Larceny from automobiles: 10,367 compared 10,510.
- Armed robberies: 984 compared to 956 in 2021.
- Commercial burglaries: 2,067 compared to 1,603 in 2021.
- Vehicle thefts: 3,621 compared to 3,020 in 2021.
- Property crimes: 32,335 compared to 30,637 in 2021.
- Arson: 149 compared to 131 in 2021.
At any rate, Charlotte’s crime rates well exceeds the national average. For what it’s worth, I’d like to mention that as a single 34-year-old woman, I don’t feel unsafe living in Charlotte.
I’m always aware of my surroundings and try to be smart about what I do after dark. So far, so good — but I definitely don’t want to paint a false picture.
2. The City Lacks Culture
Too honest? I don’t know, I’m reluctant to mention this because I know long-term residents may find it a bit rash, but I can’t shake the feeling.
Apart from my two favorite areas (NoDa and Plaza Midwood), I often find myself thinking there’s no soul in the city.
I love living in places where you can still find hidden gems and hole-in-the-wall restaurants after 5+ years. Speaking from personal experience, that hasn’t been the case for me in Charlotte.
With all the rapid growth and shiny new buildings, it sometimes feels like the city is still figuring out its cultural identity.
3. Sometimes Living in Charlotte Gets Boring
Going hand-in-hand with lack of culture, sometime living in Charlotte feels boring. There, I said it.
Fighting words, I know. But it wouldn’t be an honest list without mentioning my personal experience. The longer I live here, the more often I find myself in need of an escape to a bigger city.
This probably won’t apply to suburbs folks, but as a city gal, Charlotte leaves things to be desired. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but I have a few coworkers that feel the same way after moving to Charlotte from larger cities.
I heard one coworker describe living in Charlotte as living in a place where everything is “just good enough.” Most of what the city has to offer could be rated as 5/10 — not bad, not good, but checks the box.
4. Driving Conditions Are Pretty Bad
This is a small complaint, but I think the road conditions are terrible. The infrastructure is abysmal, I swear I can barely see the road markings on rainy days (they’re barely reflective).
People drive like they’re in a high-speed movie scene. I’ve seen so many accidents over the past 6 years.
The worst part? Public transportation isn’t great, so you’ll need to drive (or catch an Uber), meaning you’ll spend your fair share of time on the bad roads.
Traffic is also worth considering before moving to Charlotte. The roads get seriously congested, especially during rush hour. You’ll find yourself sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, trying not to lose your sanity.
5. Moving to Charlotte, NC? Brace for Mosquitos + Pests
It’s no secret that Charlotte is a mosquito’s version of paradise. The humid weather creates the ideal climate for them to prosper. But don’t just take my word for it, we’re the 9th worst city for mosquitos.
During the warmer months, these little bloodsuckers seem to come out in full force, making outdoor activities a bit of a challenge.
And it’s not just mosquitoes, Flies, gnats, and all sorts of creepy flying bugs will invade your space and turn a peaceful evening into an bloodbath. Ugh, the bugs are definitely one of the biggest disadvantages of living in Charlotte.
Retiring in Charlotte FAQ
Is Charlotte a good place to live?
Overall yes. If you want to take advantage of city living from time to time, without needing true big city amenities then living in Charlotte, North Carolina should fit the bill. Between affordability, kind people, the great food scene and charming neighborhoods, there’s something for everyone to love.
Is Charlotte a good place to retire?
Between affordability, low cost of living and no estate tax, retiring in Charlotte is a great idea.
Is weed legal in Charlotte?
Weed is illegal in North Carolina as a whole. Medical marijuana can be prescribed for a limited variety of medical issues. But at the end of the day, recreational marijuana use is illegal while living in Charlotte, NC.
Why is Charlotte called the Queen City?
Charlotte is named in honor of the wife of British King George III, The Queen Consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The city was founded in 1755, during the reign of King George III.
Neighborhoods to explore before moving to Charlotte
- NoDa: If you enjoy the art scene, spend a day exploring NoDa. Known as the entertainment district, you’ll find everything from charming cafes and local shops to top-notch craft breweries and talented street performers.
- Dilworth: A quaint neighborhood with tree-lined streets, great restaurants (in all price ranges) and beautiful parks. Tons of small shops to explore and an overall youthful vibe.
- Southend: If you’re after modern city life, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better area. Great bars, restaurants, cafes, shops are breweries. All within walking distance, to boot.
- Uptown: Uptown is the cultural hub of the city. Home to museums, great restaurants, ample parks and some of the most famous skyscrapers in Queen City, the area is ripe for exploration (plus a great nightlife).
- Ballantyne: This is a suburb in the posh part of town, it’s further removed from the downtown core. You’ll be rubbing elbows with well-dressed locals, designer bags and small dogs. Expect chic boutiques with eye-watering price tags and fine-dining restaurants with equally eye-watering menus.
Comparison of the Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, NC
|Pros of Moving to Charlotte
|Cons of Living in Charlotte
|Small Town Feel with Unique Neighborhoods
|The Crime Rates Are Worth Talking About
|The Low Cost of Living
|The City Lacks Culture
|Access to Outdoor Recreation
|Sometimes Living in Charlotte Gets Boring
|Driving Conditions Are Not the Best
|The Tech Industry is Booming
|Brace for Mosquitos + Pests
|All Four Seasons in Charlotte
|Affordable In-State College Tuition
|Professional Sports Teams
|Charlotte is a Very Clean City
Map of Living in Charlotte
Pros & Cons of Living in Charlotte, North Carolina (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of the pros and cons of living in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Small town feel & unique neighborhoods
- The low cost of living in Charlotte
- Access to outdoor recreation
- Southern hospitality
- The tech industry is booming
- You’ll experiencing all four seasons while living in Charlotte
- Affordable in-state college education
- Professional sports teams
- Charlotte is a very clean city
- The crime rates are worth talking about
- The city lacks culture
- Sometimes living in Charlotte gets boring
- Driving conditions are not the best
- Moving to Charlotte? Brace for mosquitos + pests
- Charlotte is a good place to retire
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And there you have it! Hope you enjoyed this roundup of the pros and cons of living in Charlotte. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, I’m here to help.
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