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#1
Old 06-16-2013, 10:04 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Orlando, FL
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Tell me about: Charlotte, NC!

I hate to do this because I'm forcing myself to not put the cart before the horse while I'm counting my eggs before they've hatched but...I'm really close to getting a job (my first one!!!!) out in Charlotte and I've never been there.

I have looked at websites and talked with people and from what I can gather it is a great place for young professionals (at 27 that's me!), the weather is good, and there are a lot of fun things to do. But again, I've never been there. I would love for any dopers to give me insight about the city, what to do, where to eat and the whole nine yards!

One specific request that I have is that I am going to need an apartment, and I can look online at places, but I want to make sure that I'm in a good part of town. Is there anyone who can let me know about places to live, roads to be on and/or avoid?
#2
Old 06-16-2013, 01:14 PM
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I was just there briefly to visit Carowinds, but my impression is Charlotte is a thriving if generic city, with somewhat of a crime problem (some of the freeways are pitch black at night because thieves steal the copper wire). Weather might be "good" most of the year, but it's brutally hot and rainy in the summer, like the rest of the southeast. It does seem to be a nice location, a couple of hours from the mountains to the west or the beaches to the east.
#3
Old 06-16-2013, 07:10 PM
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Location: Charlotte
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It's a hell-hole. You'll want to live in Ballantyne, that's where all the young hip professionals live, and you'll want to party uptown (uptown, not downtown), or in Plaza Midwood.

Do you drive? You'll need to drive.

There's a lot of Charlotte-based Dopers, so look out for the next get-together.
#4
Old 06-16-2013, 07:34 PM
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Location: North Carolina
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I have lived in Charlotte for about 10 years. It is not the most exciting place in the world (we always struggle for what to do when people visit), but it is a nice place to live. There are also a lot of cool places close by, if not right in Charlotte. The mountains are about 90 minutes to the northwest, and the closest beaches are about 2 or 3 hours to the southeast. Charleston, Savannah, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Asheville, and Boone are all 4 hours or less.

The weather is hot and muggy for most of June through September (and not infrequently in May and October). Spring and Autumn are generally beautiful (though Autumn is a little wetter than some places). Winter, which is only about two months long, gets a little chilly, but nothing like Northern cities. An average winter day will have a high temperature of 40 or so. You'll get one or two small snow storms a winter (where the city shuts down), but you will also have plenty of weeks where the temperature shoots up to 55 or so.

The previous poster mentioned crime. Like any city its size, there are certainly bad parts of town, but Charlotte is a pretty safe city. If you look at the stats, it appears to be in about the middle of the pack, maybe a little better, when compared to US cities as a whole:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_..._by_crime_rate

I already had three kids when I moved here, so I was in a different situation than you, but Charlotte does seem to be a good place for young singles. There are a ton of good places to live. Downtown Charlotte is a popular place, but it will cost you some money. There are quite a few restaurants, clubs, and a good sized single population downtown. It's nothing like New York or Chicago, but it is no longer a sleepy southern town, or even the button up banking town of 15 years ago (though it still has vestiges of that). Like most cities, the further you get from downtown, the cheaper it gets (with some exceptions). Some other popular places to live are:

South End: Just south of downtown. Lots of nightlife, much of it a bit "grittier" than you will find downtown.

South Park: A little further south, and a little more “upscale”. A lot of high end shopping and restaurants.

Ballantyne: About 15 miles south of downtown along the 485 beltway. Again, it has upscale housing and restaurants. Not much nightlife if that’s what you are looking to be near.

Actually, most of south Charlotte in between South Blvd and Monroe Rd is pretty nice (with a few exceptions). There are a ton of places in south Charlotte to live. Most of these are a typical suburban type of neighborhood, so if you are looking for something more urban, they may not be for you.

I know south Charlotte best (I am near Ballantyne), but some other areas to consider are:

Plaza Midwood: If you are looking for a more “city living” type of atmosphere, without the cost of downtown, this may be a place to look. It is a couple of miles from downtown, with a lot of hipster hangouts, coffee shops, thrift stores, etc. It can be a little rougher than some of the other places (more like South End than anywhere else, I would say, though I haven’t spent a lot of time there, so someone else may come in and disagree).

NoDa: About 3 or 4 miles northwest of downtown. This is the bohemian arts district that seems to be turning into the bar district

Huntersville/Lake Norman: North of downtown about 15 miles you have the nice little bedroom community of Huntersville, and north of there you have Lake Norman, with some recreational opportunities. I really don’t know much about housing near the lake.

As far as areas to avoid, there are plenty of these. I would stay away of most places that are really close to Independence Blvd. There are plenty of bad areas east of downtown and west of downtown (I would generally stick with south and north).

If you are going to work downtown, traffic can be surprisingly bad (though rush hour is relatively short). There is a nice light rail line that goes down South Blvd, so living close to it has some advantages (though maybe not TOO close).

Overall, Charlotte is a good place to live. I would recommend it.

Last edited by Clark Cello; 06-16-2013 at 07:35 PM.
#5
Old 06-16-2013, 09:51 PM
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Thanks Clark!!!

To be specific, the place that I may work at is actually located in Fort Mill, so by the sounds of it the southern places are probably best for me anyway because I would be able to get to work easier than in the northern places.

Ballantyne looks to be the best for that since it's right on the 485 and it is probably easier access for me to live!

Keep it coming everyone who can help!
#6
Old 06-17-2013, 10:09 AM
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Location: San Francisco area
Posts: 16,175
So why don't you find a place in Fort Mill? You'll be commuting daily, but how often will you be wanting to venture into Charlotte? Might as well live near work and have a decent commute.

You couldn't pay me enough to take a job that involved driving on 77 anywhere along Fort Mill to Huntersville. Also, the stretch of 485 you'd be taking between Fort Mill and Ballantyne is an absolute bear from about 4PM to 7PM. They're widening it, but that just means the delays will be worse than usual for the next two years.

Another potential factor is taxes are less in SC. Mecklenburg County would tax breathing if they could figure a way.
#7
Old 06-17-2013, 10:18 AM
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Nice enough airport. (From Pittsburgh pretty much any USAir flight I take stops in Charlotte first)
#8
Old 06-17-2013, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
So why don't you find a place in Fort Mill? You'll be commuting daily, but how often will you be wanting to venture into Charlotte? Might as well live near work and have a decent commute.

You couldn't pay me enough to take a job that involved driving on 77 anywhere along Fort Mill to Huntersville. Also, the stretch of 485 you'd be taking between Fort Mill and Ballantyne is an absolute bear from about 4PM to 7PM. They're widening it, but that just means the delays will be worse than usual for the next two years.

Another potential factor is taxes are less in SC. Mecklenburg County would tax breathing if they could figure a way.
Yes, if I were living in Fort Mill, I would avoid Ballantyne, as you would hit the 485 traffic in the evening. Frankly, if you wanted to live in a "fun" place, I would probably pick South Park/South End or even downtown before Ballantyne. They are a bit further away, but you would be going against traffic.

I would also start looking in the Fort Mill area. Plenty of places, and cheaper than Charlotte.
#9
Old 06-17-2013, 11:02 AM
Not a real doctor.
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Location: Nolensville, TN
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I would agree with the folks who said that if you're working in Fort Mill, to live in Fort Mill. That way, you don't have to kill yourself with traffic. I-485 and I-77 are ugly, but not too bad compared to I-40 in RTP. When you want to go out at night, you can always take the light rail up to Uptown.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rysler View Post
It's a hell-hole. You'll want to live in Ballantyne, that's where all the young hip professionals live, and you'll want to party uptown (uptown, not downtown), or in Plaza Midwood.

Do you drive? You'll need to drive.

There's a lot of Charlotte-based Dopers, so look out for the next get-together.
Yeah, but we're slackers about get-togethers.
#10
Old 06-17-2013, 11:36 AM
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Location: Orlando, FL
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It's interesting that everyone is saying just to live in Fort Mill because I had that thought earlier today while I was out, but couldn't get to a computer until now...and now everyone agrees with me.

I'll probably end up looking in that then. So about how far of a drive is it to Charlotte from Fort Mill? I can't imagine that Fort Mill is that particularly far...
#11
Old 06-17-2013, 01:51 PM
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Location: Nolensville, TN
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As with everything in Charlotte - The answer is "depends"

From Ft. Mill to Uptown via 77 with no traffic, is about 30-40 minutes (Plus another 10 to find a parking space). It's comparable to taking the light rail.

Ft. Mill to Ballentyne is 10-15 minutes.
#12
Old 06-17-2013, 02:26 PM
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Location: South Carolina
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Seriously, Charlotte traffic is insane. Charlotte drivers are also insane. Every single time I go there somebody does something on the interstate that make my mouth just hang open in disbelief. I wouldn't live there if you paid me, I don't care if they do have Costco and Ikea.
#13
Old 06-17-2013, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Seriously, Charlotte traffic is insane. Charlotte drivers are also insane. Every single time I go there somebody does something on the interstate that make my mouth just hang open in disbelief. I wouldn't live there if you paid me, I don't care if they do have Costco and Ikea.

Whoa whoa...


....There's an Ikea there?
#14
Old 06-17-2013, 04:50 PM
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Location: San Francisco area
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Yes, it's up in the University City area.

If you're into Ikea, you'll probably also like to hear that we have a couple Trader Joe's and a
Whole Foods or two.
#15
Old 06-17-2013, 06:23 PM
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Location: Charlotte
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Adding another voice to if you're working in Fort Mill, live in Fort Mill. Parking is pretty easy for driving into the city at night for fun.
#16
Old 06-17-2013, 06:58 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Orlando, FL
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Well it is official! I am moving to the east coast!

So now I have to really blitz on my apartment hunting.

I am probably going to look into the Fort Mill area more so than the Charlotte area

Edit: Ok really now what I need is to make sure that I don't get a cheap and crappy apartment in a bad area in both the Ft. Mill and surrounding areas

Last edited by Sir T-Cups; 06-17-2013 at 06:59 PM.
#17
Old 06-17-2013, 08:22 PM
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Charlotte's a dump.
#18
Old 06-18-2013, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PandaBear77 View Post
Charlotte's a dump.
Yeah and posting this is taking a dump in this thread. If you've got some reasons for this opinion by all means share them, but this is a threadshit and a sort of nasty comment to the OP, who's understandably excited about his possible first job.
#19
Old 06-18-2013, 10:33 AM
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Location: South Carolina
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Any way you can come ahead and apartment hunt?
#20
Old 06-18-2013, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellen Cherry View Post
Yeah and posting this is taking a dump in this thread. If you've got some reasons for this opinion by all means share them, but this is a threadshit and a sort of nasty comment to the OP, who's understandably excited about his possible first job.
True, but, at least he/she is consistent.
#21
Old 06-18-2013, 09:24 PM
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Location: Orlando, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Any way you can come ahead and apartment hunt?
Unfortunately no. I am in Indiana.

Right now my plan is to get a good couple of places that I want to look at and do some on-site shopping and tours and such when I get there and then make a decision on-site.

I am looking into the actual Fort Mill area where the job actually is located, but I honestly would LIKE to live in Ballyntine. The problem with that is that it's pretty expensive up there and I don't think I can afford it.

I was told that there really isn't a bad part of town in Ft. Mill, but if I get further south than that I could run into some problems. Does this make sense to everyone?
#22
Old 06-19-2013, 07:54 AM
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Location: San Francisco area
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Not really problems, but the populated world pretty well ends at Rock Hill, which is the suburb immediately south of Fort Mill.

Another city to look at would be Tega Cay - it's immediately west-northwest of Fort Mill.
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