relocation: Charlotte or Winston-Salem?
May 3, 2018 12:22 PM   Subscribe

So I'm applying for work & the two top contenders for location with one employer are Charlotte & Winston-Salem, NC. Q1: Opinions between the two? Q2: Recommendations for/against areas & neighborhoods within/around each? I'm very liberal, have lived comfortably in Boston, Seattle & Austin. I have a car but access to public transit would be a plus.
posted by scalefree to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total)
Public transit in Winston Salem is an absolute joke, sooooo. There's that.

It's a cute place with a sort of liberal flavor to it. We found our pockets of people, but it certainly wasn't simple to do so. Glad to answer any specific questions about it as a long-term resident who left a few years ago.
posted by odinsdream at 12:26 PM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Definitely pick Charlotte. Not a slam against Winston, but CLT will give you a broader variety of choice in housing, neighborhood, amenities, "community of peers" -- and has a large airport for easy travel.

That said, the traffic/commuting situation in Charlotte is horrific and getting worse. Please don't choose any housing situation that will require you to use I-77 for commuting. Seriously. That's a deal-breaker.

Select your neighborhood based on proximity to your work location, even if it means a smaller space or a less fancy home. You do NOT want to have to deal with I-77/I-485 if you can possibly help it. Plan to use Lynx if possible. Don't try to live up in the Lake Norman communities and commute downtown, you will be miserable.
posted by mccxxiii at 12:41 PM on May 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

I grew up in Charlotte, and if I had to move back I would want to live in NoDa or Plaza Midwood. Or Dilworth if you can afford it. Those places will have the highest concentrations of liberal folk, and there are buses (Charlotte does have a light rail now but it's pretty limited.)

I went to high school in Winston Salem and there are a couple hip pockets but I would definitely choose Charlotte over Winston Salem if you are at all a city person. If you'd rather live in a rural/quiet spot and commute to work by car then Winston Salem area might work for you.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 1:23 PM on May 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I agree -- Charlotte is a commuting nightmare. If there are neighborhoods you like near your work, it's fine, but if you'll be commuting any distance, it's terrible. OTOH, Charlotte is much bigger and has many more Democrats than Winston.

Winston is a small city and it has its charm (and is easy to get around!) but you will find fewer like-minded people. Some, certainly! I have die-hard lefty friends living in Winston who like it just fine and have found their community there, but they're definitely a more "niche" group than in Charlotte.

I think Charlotte has a lot more opportunity and is a lot more diverse, but you have to be okay with living in a pretty big city that is almost nothing but sprawl.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:02 PM on May 3, 2018

Not sure about Winston-Salem but the Charlotte office is right smack downtown.
posted by scalefree at 3:35 PM on May 3, 2018

Charlotte. Hmm. If you’re working uptown (yes in the great state of mecklenburg county Charlotte is uptown), NoDa and Dilworth are great options. I have family off of Park Road and in Cotswold, which are close to uptown but are rather pricy. When we were there in 1994, we lived in South Park - it’s all been razed and rebuilt compared to how it was way back when.

I spent 1995-2008 in the Triad (mostly winston, but some stints in GSO and HP too) and there are things I really miss about it. Proximity to the mountains, great food, lots of educational and cultural opportunities, minor league sports, free concerts, etc. But the Triad I knew was very insular; I went to high school in Winston and undergrad in the boro, and so I was accepted and I had some great groups of friends and contacts. This may have changed in the past decade, but I doubt it.

I’m now stuck in the most backasswards part of North Carolina, but I need the ocean.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 3:43 PM on May 3, 2018

It looks like the Winston-Salem office is also downtown. So take that into consideration please.
posted by scalefree at 3:44 PM on May 3, 2018

Winston's downtown is like, a couple blocks, it doesn't really compare to Charlotte.
posted by odinsdream at 4:47 PM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

It sounds like NoDa in Charlotte would be a fit. Especially g you can walk and take the light rail to/from work.
posted by raccoon409 at 8:44 PM on May 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

NoDa is great, cute bungalow neighborhoods and a NE feeling commercial street. TONS of breweries.
posted by sandmanwv at 6:33 AM on May 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

NoDa looks like a good fit for me. I'll let you all know if I get the job in the next week or so. First interview's Monday!
posted by scalefree at 8:33 AM on May 4, 2018

Surrounding neighborhoods to NoDa are growing and more affordable than trying to live right in NoDa. Villa Heights and Plaza Shamrock are on the borders (VH much, much more accessible to the Lynx blue line than Plaza Shamrock - equally accessible compared to NoDa). The "tons of breweries" comment is on point. If you were to draw a two or three mile bubble around the center of NoDa you could likely hit about a dozen breweries (Salud, Heist, NoDa, Bold Missy, Divine Barrel, Legion, Free Range, Catawba, Resident Culture and Birdsong pop to mind, with Wooden Robot slated to open spring '19 and another one or two almost certain to pop up in the next 18 months). Lots of events - fun runs, yoga, games - at most of these places.
posted by GamblingBlues at 9:48 AM on May 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Our family moved to Charlotte eight years ago and we love it! I think I have commented on Charlotte before... here's one comment from me I found Googling. That one's from about four years ago, but the principles are still the same.

Your profile lists Austin Texas as your location and IT as your profession. Perhaps you will find NoDa affordable, then. We couldn't afford it when we moved here and chose Windsor Park as our neighborhood - my linked comment gives a sketch of its character, with the only change being that it has steadily gentrified further in the time since my post. Windsor Park was considered the last affordable family neighborhood close in to Uptown, but now that window is closing.

Anyway, you'll get lots of comments about Charlotte's sprawl and sometimes here on MeFi people have a dated experience of Charlotte as being "bland suburbs." I think that was true 20 years ago, but has significantly changed as the city becomes more international and generally continues to rapidly grow. You could easily have a real estate agent take you on tours of bland suburbs, but you could also take advantage of culture available in: Dilworth, Chantilly, Plaza Midwood or NoDa (hipster neighborhoods); West Charlotte (historic African American neighborhoods); East Charlotte (emerging Latinx, Arab and other international communities - this is where I live); University City (a large 30,000 student research institution - this is where I work).
posted by Slothrop at 4:49 AM on May 5, 2018

Your profile lists Austin Texas as your location and IT as your profession. Perhaps you will find NoDa affordable, then.

My needs are simple but yeah, infosec pays well so I can afford it if I need to. Doesn't seem to be much available in NoDa itself but the area just northeast of it, called North Charlotte on Zillow, has a bunch that are in my range.
posted by scalefree at 9:36 AM on May 5, 2018

Or maybe that's west of NoDa. Hard to get my bearings on Zillow with all the dots in the way. In any event, this is a big leg up for me, way more than I could do on my own. I'll keep you all up to date & if I do move there we'll have to have a meetup so I can thank you.
posted by scalefree at 9:42 AM on May 5, 2018

So we're gonna have to schedule a meetup in Charlotte sometime soon. I got the job! Thanks to all for your support & advice. Looks like I'm gonna be able to take advantage of the advice. See you soon.
posted by scalefree at 8:13 AM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Update: I am not moving anywhere. I still get the job, start tomorrow. But somewhere along the line my new employer decided I can stay in Austin. Took a while for them to get around to telling me, which I'm not exactly happy about. But I like Austin well enough & the whole prospect of moving wasn't thrilling so it all evens out. Anyway, thanks for all your help even though it wasn't needed in the end. I'll still be traveling to Charlotte from time to time & I'd like to meet people during one of my trips.
posted by scalefree at 5:01 AM on June 3, 2018

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