Try Blowing Rock or Asheville in the mountains, Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington on the North Carolina coast, Charleston for old Southern Lowcountry
charm, and family friendly beaches with nearby golf at Kiawah Island, Isle of
Palms, Hilton Head Island and Pawley’s Island, all in South Carolina.
North Carolina has even more award-winning golf courses, and Blue Ridge Mountain
resorts. North Charlotte has Lake Norman, while South Charlotte is near Lake
Wylie. Both are great destinations for day trips, or for lakeside living.
Home prices in Charlotte vary greatly by zip code, with the highest appreciation just north of Uptown and the biggest depreciation in the center city. Realtors say uptown’s drop is due to smaller, less expensive condominiums driving down prices – great for young professionals and empty-nesters. Gains in North Davidson, or NoDa, are a result of that area’s transition from former blight to a creative, funky neighborhood lined with galleries and restaurants.
Charlotte’s most popular neighborhoods tend to be clustered in certain parts of the city:
In Uptown, revitalization and new construction are in full swing. Residents can choose from sleek new high-rise condominiums or century-old Fourth Ward Victorians, and walk to and from work. Down time offers Broadway shows, gallery openings, cutting edge restaurants, fun taverns and clubs, outdoor concerts, museums and professional sports.
Just outside the Center City are Charlotte’s first suburbs – the grand mansions and willow-oak lined streets of Myers Park, the charming cottages of Dilworth and the funkier, younger and cheaper revitalized neighborhoods of Elizabeth, Plaza-Midwood and Cotswold.
Skip down to South Charlotte’s Ballantyne, Stonecrest and Arboretum communities and across the Union County line into Weddington and you’re in the soccer-mom suburbs.
Upscale shopping centers, great schools, golf courses and family friendly communities are the norm in this more conservative, transplant-heavy area.
Water views also remain a top draw. Lake Wylie, southwest of Charlotte, offers new communities such as The Palisades and The Sanctuary as well as renovated older homes on quiet side streets. Lake Norman, north of the city, is more developed and congested with its incorporated towns of Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Denver and Mooresville.
But no matter which part of Charlotte folks call home, weekend excursions seem to take residents everywhere.
Around the City
Newcomer and TV anchor Morgan. Fogarty, for example, enjoys shopping chic stores at SouthPark Mall, watching boat traffic from the deck of T-Bones at the Lake on Lake Wylie; dancing with friends at Menage, sipping Irish imports at Ri-Ra, listening to jazz at Blue, and tailgating at Carolina Panthers NFL games.
Critics who claim Charlotte has no character or charm haven’t taken the time to discover its culture, history and, in growing pockets, funky vibe. More importantly, says Ms. Fogarty, the people in Charlotte are the jewels in the Queen City’s crown.
“You don’t have an identity based on the number of old buildings or museums you have,” she says. “Your identity is wrapped up in who lives here. Charlotte is really a cross-section of America, with people moving here from all over the country and making it their own. Part of the attraction is that it’s new and clean. It’s just waiting for people to make their imprint on it.”
Leigh Pressley is a Charlotte-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in publications such as Southern Living, Our State, The Charlotte Observer, SouthPark Luxury Living, Lake Norman Magazine, Lake Wylie Living, Charlotte Place and Creative Loafing. She published City-Smart Guidebook: Charlotte in 1999 and two editions of Insiders’ Guide to Charlotte in 2002 and 2005. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Leigh spent five years interviewing movie stars, traveling with rock bands, flying in hot-air balloons, scuba diving and driving NASCAR race cars as an entertainment and features reporter with the Wilmington Star-News and the Greensboro News & Record in North Carolina.
- Charlotte Pop.: 632,760
- Mecklenburg County Pop.: 829,978
- Metropolitan Area: 1.5 Million
- Charlotte Chamber: 704.378.1300
Be an Insider
To purchase a copy of Leigh Pressley’s ninth edition of Insiders’ Guide to Charlotte at $17.95,
contact the author at 704-679-7212 or firstname.lastname@example.org