The 16-county Charlotte USA region is in the heart of the South and offers a healthy dose of Southern hospitality, charm and tradition.
But that's to be expected in a region that hosts more than 850 foreign companies, eight Fortune 500 corporate headquarters and is the No. 2 financial center in the United States. Charlotte USA is highly diverse and sophisticated, offering cultural, recreational and lifestyle choices that are the envy of far larger areas.
“Charlotte USA is a robust region, and it gets more robust all the time,” says Ronnie Bryant, president and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, a nonprofit, private/public organization that promotes economic development in the region.
Start with a mild four-season climate that includes 214 days of sunshine each year, mix in a cost of living that is only 94 percent of the national average, include both Blue Ridge Mountains retreats and coastal scenes within an easy drive and you have the recipe for a superior quality of life that dovetails with the region's numerous advantages as a place to do business.
RelocateAmerica.com ranked Charlotte No. 1 on its Best Places to Live list based on such factors as education, economy, crime, parks, recreation and housing. More than a dozen schools in the region ranked on Newsweek's 2008 list of Top High Schools. The region boasts 38 higher education institutions and two major health-care systems. Oprah magazine put Charlotte in its 2008 top 20 among the best cities for single people.
Whether it's a condominium in the heart of downtown, a subdivision in the suburbs or a spread in one of the region's more rural communities, Charlotte USA offers affordable housing – an average of $252,000 for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home – to match any living option.
A vibrant art and culture scene includes renowned galleries such as the Mint Museum of Art. Some 65,000 arts and culture events generate $158 million to the local economy each year and support more than 4,700 jobs.
Long a center of motorsports racing, the region has added a full menu of spectator sports options, from the Carolina Panthers of the NFL and Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA, to a major college bowl game, a PGA Tour golf event and minor league baseball and hockey.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center opened just outside of Charlotte in 2006, a premier outdoor recreation and environmental education center that includes biking and running trails, a climbing center and a multiple-channel, customized whitewater river for rafting and canoe/kayak enthusiasts of all levels.
“Our 16 counties offer an excellent quality of life, with world-class cultural attractions, a full range of housing options, professional and collegiate sports, and multiple greenspaces,” Bryant says. “We are also an easy drive to beaches and mountains. Our quality of life helps to attract and keep a talented and creative workforce.”