Center for Carolina Living
heartland towns

Aiken, SC

Bennettsville, SC

Blythewood, SC

Camden, SC

Cary, NC

Chapel Hill, NC

Charlotte, NC

Cheraw, SC

Columbia, SC

Durham, NC

Fairfield County, SC

Fayetteville, NC

Florence, SC

Goldsboro, NC

Greensboro, NC

Greenwood, SC

Hartsville, SC

Hickory, NC

High Point, NC

Lexington, SC

Lincolnton, NC

Manning, SC

Marion County, SC

Newberry, SC

North Augusta, SC

Orangeburg, SC

Pinehurst, NC

Pittsboro, NC

Raleigh, NC

Rocky Mount, NC

Sanford, NC

Santee, SC

Sumter, SC

Vance County, NC

Winnsboro, SC

Winston-Salem, NC

Center for Carolina Living
Books About The Carolinas

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A world of wonder. Connect with the past and visit the future at Discovery Place, one of the leading hands-on science centers in the country. Watch a child embrace life and rekindle some of your own enthusiasm for living and learning.

Photo courtesy of CRVA/Visit Charlotte

charlotte skyline
Put the pedal to the metal. figuratively speaking, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte, where all ages will enjoy race simulators, a broadcast booth, and even a Kids Zone. Stop for lunch at the Pit Stop Café, then buy a souvenir to remember.

Photo courtesy of N.C. Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development •

charlotte skyline
That big-city flicker. These days, Charlotte can present a twinkling skyline to rival Atlanta’s. Famous as a financial power, the Queen City also is rich in media, having attracted ESPN Regional TV.

Photo courtesy of N.C. Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development •

Blumenthal Theatre in downtown Charlotte
Third row center. Actually every seat is good at Blumenthal Theatre in downtown Charlotte. Reserve time for aprés theatre dining at Bistro 100.

Photo courtesy of NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Centercredit •

Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte
No lufting allowed. Set the rudder, sit back and relax on fabulous Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte.
Photo courtesy of Crescent Communities •
Charlotte Panthers
Panther fans roar for the home team at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte's center city. With 73,298 seats, it's a good thing more than 130 restaurants are nearby.

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Convention & Visitors Bureau



Charlotte Living:
Downtown Urban Lifestyle, Lake Living, Land, Retirement, and Amenities
in NC Charlotte

The largest metropolitan area in the Carolinas, Charlotte attracts 500 newcomers each week. Roughly one in four residents moved here in the last decade.

What’s the allure? Good jobs in a business-minded atmosphere, a can-do community spirit, a mild climate with four seasons, rolling land and rural beauty, good schools, affordable homes in communities that range from Main Street Mayberry to metropolitan, and plenty of diversions, including professional sports, outdoor recreation, and arts and entertainment.

Easy Travel

An international airport, network of Interstate highways, and easy drives from the mountains and coast make the Queen City of Charlotte perfect for frequent travelers, family trips North and South, and great weekend getaways.

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.

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Popular Neighborhoods

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.


Waterfront Properties

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.”


About the Author

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 residents love to tout the city’s accomplishments. This hang-up probably dates back hundreds of years when George Washington called it a “trifling place.” Some kudos you’re likely to hear:

The Facts about Charlotte

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


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