What's so good about Charlotte, anyway?
April 22, 2006 8:17 AM   Subscribe

I'll be moving to Charlotte, North Carolina in three months - and I have no clue what to expect. How do I find good online resources, specific to Charlotte, to help me figure out how to survive?

My wife just got a really good job in Charlotte, so we'll be moving there in three months. I've been living in one of the largest cities in the country (next to New York / LA) my entire life, so I've grown accustomed to a certain level of urban-ness and access to almost every kind of cultural offerings available. My wife is really sympathetic to the silly little angst I've been going through surrounding moving to Charlotte, so she's offered to let me have a bit more autonomy in finding a place to live, etc. ...and that's where MeFi comes in.

We're going to do a "research trip" to Charlotte in a few weeks - I've never been there and I think a lot of my worrying will subside once I'm on the ground and get a good feel for the city. Our primary goal is for me to learn as much as I can about the immediate Charlotte metro area so I can make some informed decisions on where to do some housing searches later on. I've done extensive searching online, but there seems to be a lack of sites targeted at what I'm looking for. If someone can just give me an URL that would answer my questions, that'd be really appreciated.

- What neighborhoods / areas should I look at? I want something fairly urban, so an large spacious apartment or loft space is mandatory. I know we could rent a house fairly inexpensively, but... um, that's not me. I might be able to do a townhouse, but it would have to be REALLY chic. I already know about NODA and the Dil..Dil...Dillweed, Dilbert, Dilard? areas - are there any other neighborhoods I should focus on? How dense & residential is the Uptown area?
- Where is the LGBT neighborhood(s?)
- Where is the neighborhood where the poor trendy artists live?
- Where can I find a good snobby beer pub? (I will easily pay $9 for a goblet of a good Belgian.)
- How diverse is Charlotte? I'm coming from a city that is REALLY segregated - and I hope that Charlotte would be more ethnically diverse and integrated.
- Are there any other suggestions / tips you would give to an artist & musician moving to Charlotte?
posted by itchi23 to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My best gay friend lives in Charlotte, and while there may be a couple of clubs, I don't think there is anything close to an LGBT neighborhood. I'll get his input on this though.
posted by kimdog at 8:52 AM on April 22, 2006

i live in charlotte - and came from philly, so i've had to make the big-north to medium-south transition. while you're not going to find little italy and soho-type neighborhoods here, you'll definitely be able to dig a little and find good nooks and crannies.
NoDa is a great neighborhood - it's still up and coming, in that it's not really big enough to be self-contained yet. great collection of local galleries there, and some recently upfitted warehouse-to-loft spaces.
dillworth is decent, but really pricey without much extra space...
i live in wilmore, which is the 'developing' [read as 'hood] section of southend, a good section of town.
i'd be more than happy to help - either over e-mail or while you're in town. you can find me at steve at warehouse242 dot org.
posted by rubberfish at 9:49 AM on April 22, 2006

I also live in Charlotte....rubberfish is right, NoDa is the up and comming artsy area. Its a bit rough on the edges, but will flip in a few more years. Old Warehouses made into lofts, new condos, old houses...

Dilworth went throught this change 15 years ago...old homes with character, but very pricey. Artists live here if they bought their house 15 years ago or just inherited.

Myers Park is old money.

Ballentyne is new money yuppies.

University is middle class.

Uptown is new money, young party types.

Wesley Heights is former "hood" that is being re-furbished (like NoDa, Wilmore).

You will want to take into account where you will commute to as well...traffic can suck.

Email me if you have more questions.

john--- radiohead70 at yahoo.com
posted by keep it tight at 10:03 AM on April 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Here's something you need to know before you get here: while there's a small arts community and a few funky neighborhoods, Charlotte is primarily a city of single-family homes, lawn services, SUVs, churches and big corporations. There are about 200 people who set the agenda and run the city. It's a lovely place to live and we've come a LONG way since I arrived here 18 years ago (I'll stay here forever), but a lot of transplants from more cosmopolitan cities can't wait to leave once their stint here is up.

The Charlotte Observer's online section for newcomers shows a fair amount of self-awareness in trying to explain who we are.
posted by SashaPT at 10:31 AM on April 22, 2006

Went to college in Charlotte, and keep it tight's rundown jives with my memory (I was there 4 years ago). Couple more things:

Gastonia is where the rural and suburban meet. Avoid it like the plague that it is.

SouthPark area = Money, but probably has the only mall that's worth a damn, unless you and yours can make do with what's in strip malls and thrift stores.

Lake Norman/Cornelius/Huntersville = Soccer moms. Nice ones, but soccer moms.

Traffic can, indeed, be hellish, particularly on 77 going north right after 77 and 85 cross.

But hey! You get a Harris Teeter! I miss the Teeter so much.
posted by Medieval Maven at 2:59 PM on April 22, 2006

I lived in South Park one summer. There is nothing to do there and the people were very Nu-Christian. Some of the artsy neighbourhoods like Dilworth or NoDa were much more interesting and liberal, there are also some cute little towns outside Charlotte that are possibly worth checking out- I don't know what the commute situaiton would be.

My main memory of Charlotte is that all the streets are named "Sharon" and that they change names every 2 blocks. Bring a map!
posted by fshgrl at 6:20 PM on April 22, 2006

I totally forgot to mention Davidson. I don't know if you would be up to the commute, but the town itself is a pretty liberal place because of the college there, although it is pretty white-bready -- not a lot of minorities, to put it mildly, but usually always something going on and not too far from the lake, if you like the lake. If you go up there, you have to go to The Soda Shop on Main Street and have a shake for me.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:11 PM on April 22, 2006

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