Best Place to Live: Charlotte, NC
There are many reasons you may choose to live in Charlotte, NC or one of its surrounding areas. In terms of housing, every type of home imaginable is available, from a condo with a view of the city skyline, to a bungalow, to a golf course beauty and a lake front charmer. The weather is just right with a great mix of seasons - mild winters, hot summers and beautiful springs and falls leave you with no reason to get out of town unless you want to make a weekend trip to the NC mountains, (just a couple hours away) or head to the shore, (beachfront in three hours on a lovely Carolina beach). While you're in town there's plenty to do, from an arts and culture standpoint to a recreational outlook, not to mention a great variety of restaurants to choose from and your pick of local sports teams to follow.
History and Growth
Charlotte has a real royal heritage. Founded in 1768, it was named after the wife of England's King George III. Its county, Mecklenburg, owes its moniker to Queen Charlotte's German home state. Although its long history is impressive, it's what the city offers today that makes it consistently rank on "top 10" lists for everything from value to things to do. With a population of 2.4 million, the city is a metropolitan major urban area, but driving through one of the many adjacent towns you'll feel like you're miles away from the city (and you are - a short 10 miles). Cost of living makes it an agreeable place to put down roots, with a composite cost of living at 96.2, (one of the lowest for a city of its size). Home to more than 291 Fortune 500 operations, more than 1,300 companies that employ 100 or more, and headquarters for seven Fortune 500s, there's no surprise that the population continues to grow.
Charlotte has the 5th most job growth among America’s largest cities by WalletHub, and the second fastest growing food and drink city by EventBrite. Charlotte is the 2nd largest financial center in the country: more than 56,000 people are employed in this industry in Mecklenburg County. Carolinas Healthcare System is the largest employer in the region. More than 140,000 people work in the manufacturing industry in the Charlotte region. Charlotte boasts the third most industry variety in the country, (WalletHub.com 2015). For more detail on the industries that are the key employers in the region, check out the Charlotte Chamber packet and website, here.
Things to Do
The region offers a lot for those who call it home. From arts to nightlife to education and sports, there's something for everyone.
Want to get out and do something? Mecklenburg County alone has more 20,000 acres of parkland (210 parks and facilities), and 37 miles of developed greenways. If golf is your game there are over 30 private and public golf courses. If you have a love of the water you can hang out on a boat fishing or relaxing on three different area lakes, Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake or Lake Wylie. For a more extreme outing you can try the National Whitewater Center. For other pools, spraygrounds and serious swimming, check out the Aquatic Center and more swim options offered by Mecklenburg County. If you like swim parks, or the thrills of a roller coaster, there's Carowinds, sitting atop the North Carolina and South Carolina state lines, featuring 13 roller coasters, children's rides, and a water park with a wave pool, water slides, and tons of seating and cabanas.
Arts, Festivals and Music
If you're looking for more of an opportunity to hear some music, see some art or attend a festival, there's plenty of opportunity for that in the Charlotte area as well. For visual arts there's the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, or the Mint Museum and more. In the performing arts sector there's Blumenthal Performing Arts, the Charlotte Symphony, the Charlotte Ballet or the Children's Theatre of Charlotte, plus more. For heritage and history there's Discovery Place, the Carolinas Aviation Museum, the Charlotte Nature Museum, and more. Find events and a cultural spotlight here. If you're looking for music there are venues from small to large, from the Fillmore to the PNC Music Pavillion, there's always a show in Charlotte. As far as festivals go there are a few great ones that go on year after year, including Festival in the Park, the Yiasou Greek Festival, the Carolina Renaissance Festival, and many more.
If you want to show team spirit for the home team, you can take your pick - from NFL, NBA, Nascar, PGA, MLL, USL, AAA Baseball, and an NHL/AHL affiliate, you can have your choice of professional sports. Then of course there's the college sports and even youth leagues to attend. From the Panthers, to the Hornets, the Hounds, The Charlotte Independence, the Checkers, and the Knights, to the Wells Fargo Championship and of course the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte's got it all.
With 45 hospital locations in the Charlotte MSA, and 1,222 physician's offices, one can not only easily get care in the region, but the health care industry is a major employer for the region. Carolinas Healthcare System is the largest system, followed by Novant Health. For concerns such as orthapedics, there are 38 OrthoCarolina offices in the region. The North Carolina Research Campus, in Kannapolis, NC, offers exciting opportunities for research and development in the healthcare and healthcare technology arenas.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system operates 168 schools. There are also 77+ private schools in the area. There are 51 colleges and universities within the area that serve more than 200,000 students. Some of these include the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Davidson College, Queens University, Johnson C Smith University, and the Central Piedmont Community College.