A birds-eye view of the city of Charlotte at nighttime.

City Guide / Charlotte

The Pros and Cons of Living in Charlotte

By Bri Hand

While the tranquility of rural North Carolina can be a great place to recharge, many residents crave the hustle and bustle of the big city. Fortunately, you won’t have to travel far for urban convenience and excitement in North Carolina!

Nestled near the Southwestern border, North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte, is a place like no other. However, like every city, Charlotte has its own set of perks and challenges that a future resident should be aware of. 

Before you commit to becoming a full-blown Charlottean, take a look at living in Charlotte, NC pros and cons:

  • Pro: Delicious food
  • Con: Limited public transit
  • Pro: Good education
  • Con: Natural disasters
  • Pro: Affordable cost of living
  • Con: Quiet nightlife
  • Pro: Stable job market 
  • Con: Lack of diversity

Let’s get started! 

Pro: Delicious food

If there’s one thing Charlotte, North Carolina, is known for, it’s the food scene. According to The Patch, Charlotte ranks in the top third of the best foodie cities in the U.S.—but locals already knew that.

As one of the largest cities in North Carolina, Charlotte is home to hundreds of delicious and unique eateries. So, if you’re looking for fun things to do in Charlotte, you definitely need to eat out. Some of the most popular joints in this city include:

  • River’s Edge: Located near the banks of the Whitewater and Catawba Rivers, it’s pretty obvious where this delicious restaurant gets its name. With stunning views, flavorful dishes, and a long craft beer list, it’s no surprise that Charlotte locals can’t get enough of this casual spot.
  • Midwood Smokehouse: Charlotte is known for its delicious BBQ, and with thousands of five-star reviews, it’s clear that Midwood Smokehouse is the place to be. Midwood has three different Charlotte locations, all serving up classic dishes like its brisket sandwich, hushpuppies, and Saint Louis-style pork ribs.
  • Fig Tree: For a more upscale dining experience, look no further than the Fig Tree. This cozy spot serves up elegant and flavorful dishes, like lamb carpaccio, elk chop, and eggplant ravioli. Diners can also pair their meal of choice with one of Fig Tree’s authentic French wines or a bottle of champagne. 

What’s more, if you have a dog, there are plenty of dog-friendly restaurants around this city to choose from. 

Con: Limited public transit

Despite having a bus and train line, Charlotte is definitely a driving city. You can score an affordable ticket on the LYNX rail system, but the stops are pretty limited to the downtown area. 

Additionally, while the CATS bus line has over 70 stops throughout the city, riders can only hop on if they have exact change—which is not exactly the most convenient method of transportation.

For these reasons, most Charlotte residents rely on their cars to get around. This is especially necessary for those who live in one of Charlotte’s many suburbs, such as Davidson, Belmont, or Fort Mill. 

While this factor isn’t necessarily a con for all residents, the traffic in downtown Charlotte can make car ownership a bit challenging. Keep in mind that the average commute for Charlotte residents is 26 minutes, so factoring in rush hour traffic can lead to travel times upwards of 30 minutes to an hour if you’re working in the city.

Pro: Good education

Charlotte is also near the area known as the “Research Triangle.” This North Carolina staple refers to the three nearby universities of:

  • Duke University, Durham
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh

Not only does the Research Triangle offer exceptional educational and cultural opportunities, but these nearby universities also contribute to the area’s booming economy. North Carolina’s cities are subsequently home to highly educated professionals in the fields of technology, business, finance, medicine, and more.

In addition to higher education, Charlotte is also home to several highly rated elementary, middle, and high schools. Niche, a tool that helps new residents find excellent schools, gives the Charlotte metropolitan area a B+ in the public school category, which is significantly higher than many other large U.S. cities.

Con: Natural disasters

North Carolina (and the Southeast in general) is no stranger to inclement weather. Unfortunately, the southeastern coast of the United States is prone to many natural disasters. If you’re planning on moving to the Charlotte area, you’ll want to take the proper safety precautions for the following weather events:

  • Hurricanes:  Hurricanes are the most common natural disaster in the city of Charlotte. Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30, which comprises approximately half the year. It’s also important to note that nearly 25% of the nation’s largest hurricanes have hit the Carolinas. 
  • Flooding: With a higher risk of hurricanes comes an equally high risk of flooding. Even when hurricanes are not occurring, heavy rainfall can also lead to flooding and hazardous conditions. Charlotte experiences 43.1 inches of rainfall per year on average, which is a bit higher than the national average of 38.1.

That being said, Charlotte is certainly not a bad place to live in terms of weather. The city rarely reaches temperatures below freezing, but a Charlotte resident will still experience the benefits of seasonal changes: Summers tend to be hot, but North Carolina’s location offers more reasonable weather compared to more southern areas of the country.

Pro: Affordable cost of living

Another perk of living in Charlotte is the low cost of living compared to other large cities. According to PayScale, the cost of living in Charlotte is approximately 5% lower than the national average. This is mostly due to the city’s reasonable housing, utility, and grocery prices.

The median rent in Charlotte is $929.39, and the median cost of a home is $296,685—both of which are quite a bit lower than other American cities, like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. So, if you’re looking to live in a buzzing metropolitan area without breaking the bank, Charlotte, NC, is a viable option.

Con: Quiet nightlife 

While Charlotte certainly offers the convenience of an urban area, you shouldn’t expect the same nightlife as larger U.S. cities. 

Unlike places like New York or Miami, bars and nightclubs close a bit earlier in Charlotte—usually around midnight, but occasionally as late as 2 a.m. That being said, downtown Charlotte is home to a few local hotspots. Some of Charlotte’s best bars and clubs include:

  • Roxbury: This retro nightclub offers an ‘80s/’90s vibe with a heated patio, a game room, and even a VIP room for private parties. However, Roxbury is only open on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • The Scorpio: This LGBTQ+ club is home to drag shows, Friday night dance parties, and live DJ performances. The club is also 18+ to enter and 21+ to drink, making it a beloved spot of local college students. Like Roxbury, The Scorpio is also closed on weekdays and Sundays. However, unlike most bars in Charlotte, this spot is open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and 4 a.m. on Saturdays.
  • Tommy’s Pub: For a more laid-back weekend, head over to Tommy’s Pub. This local dive bar is the perfect place to grab a beer, listen to a local band, and watch a soccer game. Unlike Charlotte’s nightclubs, Tommy’s is open every day from 4 p.m. to midnight (excluding Sundays, when their hours are 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.). 

Pro: Stable job market

Charlotte has a stable job market and plenty of thriving industries, making it a great place to live for young professionals and those looking for job opportunities. According to a 2019 DataUSA study, Charlotte boasts several promising figures in terms of its job market:

  • 12.8% poverty rate, which is an 8.15% decrease from the previous year
  • $63,483 median household income, which is a 4.47% increase from the previous year
  • Booming industries such as healthcare and social assistance, finance and insurance, and retail trade

Make Charlotte your new home with Landing

Now that you have learned the pros and cons of living in Charlotte NC, now’s the time to find a place to stay. Although Charlotte, North Carolina, is home to an affordable housing market, finding the right apartment isn’t always easy. From strict leases to unfurnished spaces, searching for a Charlotte apartment can be tricky when you’re on a time crunch.

If you are deciding where to live in Charlotte, NC, Landing is here to help. With hundreds of fully furnished apartments in Charlotte, flexible and short-term leases, and even pet-friendly options, finding your new home will be a piece of cake.

Start your next journey in Charlotte the simple way, with Landing! Browse our available apartments in Charlotte today. 

Bri Hand published on September 13, 2021