How to make it in the Queen City
April 23, 2015 5:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving to Charlotte, NC. What should I know before I make the move?

I will have a Bachelor's in Sociology by the time I move in December and currently work in financial services. I am interested in Urban Planning and nonprofits as well. I was thinking of getting into Human Resources or sticking with the tiny career I've begun to grow in the financial services industry because academia is not for me. Any other suggestions I might be looking at? I've read some older Asks and most are along the lines of how Portland is right now. Great lifestyle, crappy pay. Is the job market in Charlotte that bad right now? I also have retail and call center experience but nothing food service, so waiting tables might not be a fallback (if those jobs are even available). I will send out resumes and hopefully have a few interviews lined up before I make the move. Should I have a job offer in hand before I drive up there? Thankfully, I have some friends I can stay with for a while until I can get settled. They have lived there for over 2 years and love it, prompting me to move there too. I'm in my mid-20s and am hoping Charlotte will be a good place to put down some roots.

What neighborhoods should I be looking at when I fly there in August to get a lay of the land? I read the Ask from last year which gave some good information about neighborhoods, but I was hoping for some more recommendations. I think I will enjoy the weather, I have a car, and live a modest lifestyle. I'm hoping to make artsy friends and go to cafes and bookstores and the occasional farmer's market. I currently live in Florida, and after living in Chicago, I realized I cannot live here anymore. It is way too boring. I like Charlotte because the weather isn't as extreme in the winter. Is there anything else I'm missing? All advice is welcome and greatly appreciated!
posted by lunastellasol to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Banking is very big there, so your financial services experience should be of use.

I like Charlotte because the weather isn't as extreme in the winter. Is there anything else I'm missing?
You OK with high humidity, 90+ degree summers? That last until October? Welcome to the Southeast......
posted by thelonius at 6:18 PM on April 23, 2015

If you're living in Florida, you'll be fine for Charlotte's summers.

Charlotte is more conservative and less diverse than Chicago. You should still be able to find the things you are interested in there, but it won't have the vibrancy and world-class arts of a place like Chicago. The way you're describing Charlotte (as being like Portland?) doesn't sound at all like Charlotte - people describe Asheville that way, but not Charlotte.

In any case, it sounds like maybe just doing some basic googling about Charlotte might be helpful. As mentioned above, banking is big there, so you could be really well positioned for a move.

In general, it is great to have an offer in hand before you move somewhere, but if you're young, have a little savings, and a place to crash, you can also get moved and then hustle for a job. Especially if you are essentially entry-level, being local will make it easier to get a job.

I don't live in Charlotte, so I cannot advise on neighborhoods (I'm 90 miles northeast), but can your friends there help advise you?

Good luck!
posted by jeoc at 6:45 PM on April 23, 2015

Response by poster: Jeoc, my friends can help but I wanted to consult the Oracle here at the green for other perspectives to make a well-informed decision about this move. I moved a little recklessly and impulsively to Chicago and although I made some memories and learned valuable life lessons, I thought I'd be extra sure the second time around.
posted by lunastellasol at 7:05 PM on April 23, 2015

I recklessly and impulsively moved to Charlotte a few years ago. I lasted nine months. It was not a fun place to live. Not much of an art scene. I think there is maybe one bookstore in the whole of Mecklenburg county. It's not built on a grid at all, so it's a difficult place to get around. I'm a westerner, so I found all the trees to be claustrophobic. The economy is not very diverse. A handful of corporate headquarters, mostly banks. The city is still very segregated by race. If I were you, I'd look elsewhere.
posted by spudsilo at 10:49 PM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Let me counter spudsilo by saying that I, too, recklessly and impulsively moved to Charlotte (I followed a boy!). That was 27 years ago, and I have made this city my forever home. It's not for everyone, for sure, but I love it here.

Ahead of a permanent move, could you stay with your friends for a month as a test run? That would give you a sense of whether Charlotte offers what you're looking for.

I'm not a young professional (or a young anything, sigh) any more, so unfortunately I can't tell you the cool places to live, but I know a lot about the city and the business community generally, so I'm happy to be a resource if you have specific questions.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:58 AM on April 24, 2015

Best answer: I moved to Charlotte four years ago next week. I am now 28 and still really happy to call Charlotte home. I moved from a smaller city (around 50,000). Charlotte doesn't feel too big, but it does have the perks of a major city.

If you want an artsy neighborhood community, live in NoDa or Plaza Midwood. There are also a lot of young professionals living in condos near Uptown, and plenty of new condos being built. Uptown is where most of our museums, performance venues, and sports stadiums are.

Charlotte lacks a strong local music scene, but Asheville is not too far away. I have also heard the public school system isn't great, although that is not an immediate concern for me.

There are a ton of breweries popping up in the area recently and plenty of restaurants and shopping. Overall, I have really enjoyed Charlotte and plan to be here a while.
posted by Katie8709 at 8:16 AM on April 24, 2015

Best answer: If you are at all into the hip/artsy scene, you'll want to look for places in Plaza Midwood, NoDa (North Davidson), and South End (the condos near uptown hat katie8709 refers to). South End is the least "artsy" of the three. Place Midwood and NoDa are *comparatively* un-gentrified. I lived in the area just south of Dilworth (around Park Road Shopping Center. Maybe search for "Madison Park" or nearby) and liked it a lot. It's older houses, with trees, and a nice mix of retired folks, young families, and singles. It has bars and restaurants, a movie theatre and an independent bookstore, but isn't crass and corporate like uptown. Plus, the commute ain't bad.

South End is on the light rail line, which can be convenient if you plan on getting the sort of job that will likely be Uptown.

I would suggest you avoid living in the outer suburbs (University area to the north and Ballantyne to the south) as they are fairly isolated and a crappy highway drive to most workplaces.
posted by sazerac at 9:15 AM on April 24, 2015

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