Charlotte is a growing city, viewed by many as a crown jewel of the south. So, it’s fitting that Charlotte is called The Queen City. And while the city as a whole is fun to talk about, the best Charlotte neighborhoods are the fabric of the city.
We’ll explore how each neighborhood has a distinct feel and what makes our favorite neighborhoods so great.
Best Charlotte Neighborhoods: Top 10 Areas
Newcomers might find it surprising how diverse each of the best Charlotte neighborhoods really is, but no two areas are the same. Some are urban, while others are more traditional family-style neighborhoods. Some are walkable to food and retail, while others are centered around large parks.
Each neighborhood offers something a little different than the rest. Before we dive into the details, let’s start with a high-level overview of where we are going.
These are our top-10 favorite Charlotte neighborhoods:
- Uptown Charlotte Neighborhoods
- South End
- Plaza Midwood
- NODA (North Davidson)
- Elizabeth & Chantilly
- Wesley Heights
- Camp North End
- Madison Park
- South Park
- Dilworth & Myers Park
And sure, there are other great neighborhoods as well. This list isn’t all-inclusive of the best neighborhoods in Charlotte, but it is a great place to start.
To understand the nuances that make each Charlotte neighborhood unique, there is no better place to start than Uptown. So let’s dive in.
1. Uptown Charlotte Neighborhoods
While most people outside of Uptown Charlotte generally think of everything inside the I-277 loop as one neighborhood, Uptown is divided into four wards. And those living in one Uptown ward may have a completely different experience than those living in other Uptown wards.
The first thing to know is that the four wards are divided by Trade and Tryon.
First Ward is the most underdeveloped section of Uptown. Still, you will find a residential neighborhood, UNC Charlotte’s Uptown campus, ImaginOn, and the Spectrum Center.
First Ward Park is one of the best parks in Charlotte. It runs parallel to the light rail and is surrounded on three sides by UNC Charlotte, high-rise apartments, and the ImaginOn children’s library. The land across from the park’s southern edge is vacant, which means First Ward still has untapped potential.
Second Ward is home to several government service buildings, the convention center, and new residential high-rises. In contrast, Third Ward is important for the city because it is home to a large concentration of skyscrapers, corporate HQs, and Bank of America Stadium.
If you want to see the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte FC, or stadium concerts, you will spend time walking around Third Ward. Truist Field and The Charlotte Knights are also in Third Ward, as well as Romare Bearden Park and multiple museums.
You might spend a night on the town in Third Ward, visiting places like the Mint Museum, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, or the Harvey B. Gantt Center For African-American Arts + Culture.
And while the Fourth Ward is the most residential area of Uptown, it is also home to the AvidXchange Music Factory.
There are nearly endless things to do in Charlotte, and Uptown is where to start exploring the city.
2. South End
For anyone that has ever spent any time in Charlotte, you know that South End is something special. It wasn’t long ago that the community was defined by warehouses and industrial uses. The opening of the light rail transformed the neighborhood in ways few could imagine.
Today, there are thousands of apartments, high-rise office buildings, and the trendiest retail and restaurant locations. Plus, Charlotte’s Rail Trail runs parallel to the light rail tracks through the community.
The Rail Trail is one of the best places in Charlotte to go for a stroll, exercise, or do some people-watching. And perhaps more importantly, the Rail Trail connects the community in a way that makes South End one of the south’s only walkable urban neighborhoods.
You will also find murals and art installations along the Rail Trail.
In short, South End is full of life. The vibrant community is truly one of the city’s not-so-hidden treasures. When our friends and family visit Charlotte, we take them to the Whitewater Center, Optimist Hall, and for a walk on the Rail Trail in South End.
3. Plaza Midwood
The Plaza Midwood neighborhood sits on the northeast edge of Uptown. Plaza Midwood offered a fusion of old Charlotte (like the many decades-old DQ), homegrown restaurants, and local retail in an urban neighborhood for many years.
One thing we have always loved about Charlotte is that it is a big city but has neighborhoods that feel homey and personable. Plaza Midwood was always one of those neighborhoods.
In recent years, Plaza Midwood has exploded in a way that pushed out some of the local retail spots and eateries, but the neighborhood still maintains much of its cool vibe.
One key difference between Plaza Midwood and South End is that Plaza Midwood still has single-home residential neighborhoods. They are full of beautiful old bungalows and sturdy oak trees. And perhaps that is why the neighborhood feels so homey, even though it has exploded with apartments and trendy restaurant options.
4. NODA (North Davidson)
Much of Charlotte’s art community calls NODA home, so it’s no surprise that the murals throughout NODA are just a taste of the eclectic atmosphere.
While a different art form from murals, Amelie’s French Bakery is another indicator of the free-wheeling neighborhood culture. The original Amelie’s location was a fun mix of second-hand furniture, randomly placed chandeliers, and a whimsical spirit. Amelie’s has since moved, but it carries the same soul.
Still, in the same ways that South End transformed in the past, NODA is undergoing a transformation today. The first phase of the light rail runs from the Pineville area, through South End, and to Uptown. The Blue Line extension runs north from Uptown through NODA and ends at UNC Charlotte.
As a result, NODA is booming and will continue to see more development in the coming years. NODA is a great neighborhood to visit or live in because it is connected to other important neighborhoods via the light rail.
Fortunately, NODA still maintains much of its artistic flare, and hopefully, it will continue to do so as development progresses.
One more side note: While not technically in NODA, Optimist Hall is a popular food hall located in a repurposed mill that sits between Uptown and NODA. If you are in the area, Optimist Hall is a must-visit destination.
5. Elizabeth & Chantilly
I’ve combined Elizabeth and Chantilly because they are both old residential neighborhoods and are only divided by one street. These neighborhoods are among my favorite to go for a run in Charlotte.
Like Dilworth and other old Charlotte neighborhoods, the streets are lined with massive oak trees, and the bungalow houses are quaint and inviting. While prices are still high, Elizabeth and Chantilly are a little more accessible than Dilworth, which I appreciate.
Beyond the residential sections of these two neighborhoods, Novant’s main hospital sits atop a hill looking over Uptown Charlotte. And this is the kicker to a morning run through these neighborhoods. I can’t count how many beautiful sunrises I’ve seen behind the silhouette of Uptown skyscrapers.
And the hill leading up to Novant also has a street car lined with retail spots and restaurants. The surrounding land is a little underdeveloped because the hospital owns the land for future use. Still, the retail-lined street featuring a streetcar is among the most underappreciated parts of Charlotte’s urban core.
6. Wesley Heights
Wesley Heights is just one of a number of fun neighborhoods on Charlotte’s west side. And in fairness, Wesley Heights is fairly small, so we really are referring to Wesley Heights as the center of all things just west of Uptown.
The neighborhood offers easy access to the center city and is just up the street from Bank of America Stadium. Notably, it is also nearby Charlotte Pipe & Foundry, which will soon sell and pave the wave for the next wave of crazy Uptown development.
Aside from the convenience of Uptown offices, there are two other reasons that we love Wesley Heights. First off, it offers some of the best views of Charlotte’s skyline from its residential communities.
The second reason we love Wesley Heights is that its neighborhoods are walkable to some of the funniest restaurants in the Charlotte metro area, including Rhino Market & Deli and Pinky’s Westside Grill (which was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives).
Noble Smoke is also nearby, and some people place their barbecue among the best in Charlotte.
7. Dilworth & Myers Park
Dilworth and Myers Park represent some of the oldest and richest neighborhoods in Charlotte. The Little Sugar Creek Greenway runs between them, and there are a few more beautiful neighborhoods.
If you have the money, this is the place to live, but the home prices make the neighborhoods exclusively expensive. Still, the serene streets are calming, and these neighborhoods are close to almost anything you could possibly want to do in Charlotte.
Even so, the massive houses and beautiful streets aren’t the reasons that Dilworth and Myers Park land on this list. The main reason that we love these neighborhoods is because of Freedom Park.
Freedom Park covers nearly 100 acres surrounding a lake. The walking trails are gorgeous, and the park also connects to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. This means that Freedom Park is one of the most popular places in Charlotte to go for a jog.
You will also find baseball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, volleyball courts, multiple playgrounds, and more at Freedom Park. It is the perfect place for a family to spend a Sunday afternoon.
8. Camp North End
In fairness, Camp North End is more a destination than a neighborhood, but it is sprawling and diverse, so we will feature it here as a neighborhood. If nothing else, Camp North End is completely changing its surrounding neighborhoods.
Camp North End is an old industrial site that was once home to a Model T factory and later used as an Army factory and depot around WWII. The history is incredible. Oh, the stories these walls could tell if they could talk.
Today, the facilities are repurposed for office space, co-working, restaurants, retail, and much more. In the coming years, the developers plan to add thousands of apartments to the area, some on the Camp North End grounds.
The old architecture is paired with new art installations and murals, and there are few cooler places to visit in the Charlotte area. Plus, Camp North End is only two miles from the center city in one direction and 2 miles from NODA in another direction.
9. South Park
There are only a few destinations outside of Uptown that offer a similar mix of high-end restaurants and office buildings, but South Park is one of those neighborhoods. And while malls are dying nationwide, the South Park Mall is a thriving luxury mall that serves as the center of the neighborhood.
Some of the neighborhoods on this list would be great places to live, and certainly, people love living in South Park. Still, we’ve added South Park to the list because it is a great neighborhood to visit.
The mix of shopping and restaurants is second only to maybe the South End community. And even then, there are high-end shopping options in South Park that you won’t find anywhere else in the Carolinas.
But you don’t have to shop in the luxury stratosphere to enjoy South Park. Restaurants like The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar make it a fun place to visit. South Park is also home to staples like The Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s.
10. Madison Park
We like Madison Park because it is a quaint residential neighborhood located between the hustle and bustle of South End and the business community of South Park. We also like that Madison Park is close by to the Park Road Shopping Center and Montford Road, both of which have fantastic restaurants.
And while there are no major parks in the Madison Park neighborhood, Madison Park is a short drive away from both Freedom Park and Park Road Park. The neighborhood is also close enough to the light rail in South End that you could park and ride to an Uptown office if you really need to do so.
In many ways, Madison Park is a calm neighborhood that offers a nice fusion of other Charlotte neighborhoods and access to any place you might want to go.
The Best Charlotte Neighborhoods Offer Diverse Vibes
We love Charlotte, and it offers plenty to do. If you are looking for a guide to Charlotte, NC, these are some of the best neighborhoods, but the list isn’t all-inclusive. There are several other diamonds in the rough.
What Are The Cons of Living In Charlotte?
We love Charlotte, but there are cons to living in the city, as there are with any city. For one, the summers are hot and humid. This is offset by mild weather throughout the rest of the year, but it is still hot in the summer. The other con is that the light rail only services limited areas of the city.
Sure, you can live in Charlotte without a car, but you would have to pick a neighborhood on the light rail like Uptown, South End, or NODA. Even then, having friends with cars would make life much easier.
What Are The Pros of Living In Charlotte?
In our minds, the pros of living in Charlotte greatly outweigh the cons. The best Charlotte neighborhoods offer so much to love, and there are nearly endless things to do. CLT airport is a hub for American Airlines, so it is easy to travel from Charlotte when you want to do so.
And how many cities offer an outdoor adventure mecca like the Whitewater Center within miles of skyscraper headquarters for some of the biggest companies in the world? Not many. And that is one thing that makes Charlotte so special.
Attend a professional sporting event, go to a stadium concert, see a Broadway musical at the Belk Theater, or appreciate fine art at the Mint Museum.
And Charlotte doesn’t have a subway system like New York or Chicago, but the light rail has still transformed the city. South End, Uptown, and NODA are all walkable urban neighborhoods that create a unique experience.
In short, we love Charlotte and are sure you will too.