Best Places to Live

Charlotte, NC

Population: 792,137
LIV
SCORE
642
iStock Photo/SeanPavonePhoto

Known as the Queen City, Charlotte is a crown jewel of the South thanks to its history, diversity and unique culture where creativity meets innovation. The North Carolina city is one of the country’s fastest growing cities, home to nine Fortune 500 companies, and is the nation’s second-largest banking center, behind New York City.

Charlotte is home to the world’s sixth-busiest international airport, Charlotte Douglas International, boasts a high-speed light rail known as the LYNX and is in close proximity to several major interstates, all of which helped the city score high in the infrastructure category.

Additionally, Charlotte scored high in amenities thanks to its more than 60 parks, 20 golf courses and seven farmers markets. There are so many ways to get outside and enjoy life in Charlotte, it can be hard to choose just one!

Local Obsession: Watching the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets play.

Climate Described in 6 Words or Less: Summers can get HOT.

Top Industries: Manufacturing, banking and technology

Local Dream Job: Event coordinator at Charlotte Motor Speedway, home of the Coca-Cola 600

Quintessential Meal: Whatever the current ‘Burger of the Month’ is at Pinky’s Westside Grill

Favorite Weekend Activity: Hanging out on ‘The Lake’ AKA Lake Norman

After-Work Meetup Spot: Pull up to the patio at The Wine Vault in NoDa and enjoy a glass of pinot.

Best Brewery/Local Beer: Catawba Brewing Company combines the nostalgic taste of peanut butter and jelly to make their delicious ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time’ ale.

Beloved Bookstore: Park Road Books has been a Charlotte staple since 1977 and is the city’s only full-service, independent bookstore. Residents can join one of the four in-house book clubs, participate in author events, and find excellent staff picks.

Free Way to Have Fun: Stop and smell the roses — literally — at the McGill Rose Garden, where more than 1,000 rose bushes are planted and bloom from mid-April through November.

Truly Hidden Gem: Charlotte’s 7th Street Parking Garage is unlike any other. Designed by Christopher Janney, the garage uses photoelectric sensors and a sound sampler to make music as a person walks or dances along a set of steps.

- Cara Sanders

Read More:

Southern Pride: A Guide to Charlotte, North Carolina’s LGBTQ Scene

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“Charlotte has a beautiful, modern downtown. The city is an hour and a half to the mountains and three and a half to the beach. There is a fantastic airport where you can fly direct to practically anywhere. Also: make a friend with someone who has a boat, Lake Norman is on the northern part of the county and is the largest lake in the Carolinas.”

Scott Galloway
Director, Susie Films

Charlotte, NC Ranking Data

Civic
50
Demographics
72
Economy
70
Education
53
Health
53
Housing
59
Infrastructure
83