Charlotte is the largest city in the Carolinas and a wonderful place to live, work, and play. You will find that Charlotte offers big-city amenities without losing its southern hospitality. But why is Charlotte so popular?
We will explore the many reasons we love Charlotte and share reasons we think you might love Charlotte too.
Why Is Charlotte Popular?
Charlotte offers big-city amenities, like a light rail for public transportation, but the city still maintains its southern charm. You will also find attractions ranging from professional sports to fine arts museums and the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Charlotte’s got a lot to love.
1. Big City With Southern Hospitality
Look no further than the dense skyline for proof that Charlotte is a big city. For those who prefer numbers, Charlotte is the 15th largest city in the United States in terms of population.
Of course, a simple stat doesn’t mean much. It is important because Charlotte has amenities and attractions that most other cities do not have. The most obvious example of this is the light rail, which runs for 19 miles from north to south.
The light rail offers many benefits, but one of the biggest reasons the Blue Line is so transformative is the Rail Trail that runs nearby. Charlotte’s Rail Trail connects several neighborhoods near Uptown, creating very walkable communities.
In fact, some choose to live in Charlotte without a car. Charlotte doesn’t have a subway system, but the light rail is still transformative.
Still, Charlotte maintains its southern charm. We recommend you visit Freedom Park on the edge of the Dilworth and Myers Park communities, and you will see what we mean.
Beautiful, large oak trees line the nearly 100-acre park. As you walk through the park, you forget that the hustle and bustle of Uptown are only a few miles away. Instead, you will be greeted with warm smiles from people strolling through the park.
And if you prefer a slower pace of life, but don’t want to be too far from all the things to do in Charlotte, some of the ring cities are worth visiting. Consider downtown Concord. It is only 20 miles from Uptown Charlotte but has small-town vibes that feel an entire world away.
So why is Charlotte so popular? One reason is that it is a big city that maintains its southern charm.
2. Diverse Attractions & Events
Charlotte is a diverse city and offers diverse attractions and events to match the population. My favorite spot in Charlotte is the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which has a manmade river with rapids.
The Whitewater Center is also home to rock climbing, zip-lining, trail running, hiking, flatwater kayaking, and more. If you like to spend time outdoors, you can visit some of the best parks in Charlotte, but visiting the Whitewater Center is a must.
For a more refined experience, we recommend spending time in Uptown Charlotte, where plenty is left to do. The Belk Theater at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center is home to Broadway Concerts, the Charlotte Symphony, Opera Carolina, and more.
The other attractions and museums in Uptown Charlotte include the Mint Museum, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center For African-American Arts + Culture, and more.
There are even events for kids and families in Uptown Charlotte. Discovery Place Science is an interactive science exhibition, and they have an IMAX theater too. And the ImaginOn children’s library is just a block or two away, near First Ward Park.
Charlotte offers so much to do that we are really just scratching the surface. You can also consider Carowinds (a theme park with roller coasters), the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Sullenberger Aviation Museum, multiple botanical gardens, and more.
3. Professional Sports
One of the distinguishing marks of any big city is that it offers professional sports. And while some people are die-hard fans, the truth is that attending sporting events is fun for even the most casual fans.
Look no further than the Charlotte Knights of minor league baseball. While there are major league teams in Charlotte, the Charlotte Knight’s Uptown stadium is one of the most fun venues to attend. Friday night fireworks glistening off of the growing skyline is hard to beat!
Of course, the other Uptown venues are fun, regardless of whether you are attending a sporting event. The Carolina Panthers of the NFL are the most prominent team in town, and they play at Bank of America Stadium. Attending an NFL game is a must-do event.
Charlotte FC (MLS), Charlotte’s newest major league team, also uses Bank of America Stadium. During its inaugural season, Charlotte FC set a new league record for single-game attendance when more than 73,000 attended its first match.
Bank of America Stadium is also used for major concerts for performers such as The Rolling Stones or Garth Brooks. Smaller tours might go through the Spectrum Center, where the Charlotte Hornets play. The Charlotte Hornets of the NBA haven’t found much-sustained success on the court, but the city still loves the team.
So why is Charlotte so popular? Access to professional sports and events using the same venue is certainly part of the equation.
4. Unique Neighborhoods
One thing that we love about Charlotte is that the different neighborhoods have different personalities. Dilworth and Myers Park are refined neighborhoods with tree-lined streets. Yet just a few streets over, South End is one of the hottest submarkets in the United States.
Charlotte’s Blue Line light rail run through South End. As a result, thousands of apartments, millions of square feet of office space, and countless retail options have sprouted. We mentioned Charlotte’s Rail Trail above, and it is hard to overstate its significance to the vibrancy in the city.
North of Uptown, the Mill District has a completely different vibe. When you are in Charlotte, make sure you visit Optimist Hall. The old mill was remade to serve as one of the best food hall concepts in the country. Optimist Hall is near NODA, which is another fun neighborhood along the light rail.
One big difference between NODA and South End is that NODA is the historical home of Charlotte’s arts community. And again, we love that Charlotte’s communities are so diverse and known for different things.
Just a few miles from Optimist Hall is another old warehouse district that might be the next frontier of dense Charlotte development. Camp North End previously served as a Model T production facility and later as an Army factory and distribution center during WWII. Talk about history!
Today, Camp North End is home to adaptive reuse office space, food stalls, small storefront businesses, and residential.
We could go on and on about Charlotte’s neighborhoods, but at some point, you just have to experience them for yourself.
5. Fantastic Food (Including BBQ!)
Any booming city needs its own food scene, and Charlotte is no different. Homegrown restaurants can be found all over the city and across all types of food.
While individual restaurants come and go, some staples have been around for years. For instance, Mama Ricotta’s in the midtown neighborhood has some of the best Italian food in the city. And Beef N’ Bottle is a hole-in-the-wall steak joint reminiscent of old Charlotte.
Still, we really love Optimist Hall because they have so many food stalls. It truly offers something for everyone. You will find sushi, pizza, hamburgers, Ethiopian food, ramen, empanadas, gourmet grilled cheese, and more.
Everyone knows that the Carolinas are known for great BBQ, and Charlotte has great BBQ. Our favorite BBQ joint might be Midwood Smokehouse, which is in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood. But barbecue joints are found all across town. Some are hole-in-the-walls, and others, like Mac’s Speedshop, have multiple locations.
Charlotte Is One Of The Most Popular Southern Cities
Several southern cities, such as Nashville and Austin, are exploding because of a lower cost of living, and warmer temperatures, among other factors. Charlotte is right there with them.
And the fact that Charlotte offers walkable communities along a light rail is just one thing that sets the city apart from even booming peers like Nashville.
Charlotte is known as The Queen City, so the city’s flag and street signs all have a stylized crown logo. And in many ways, residents believe that Charlotte is the crown jewel of the south.
Compare Charlotte vs. Raleigh, Atlanta vs. Charlotte, or Charlotte vs. Nashville; you will find aspects of each city you like. You will also find some downsides here and there. Still, there is a reason that so many people love Charlotte.
What Is Special In Charlotte?
Charlotte, North Carolina, is special because of its unique neighborhoods, walkable communities, and diverse culture. You will find fun attractions ranging from a museum for fine art to an outdoor rafting center, and there are big city attractions like a roller-coaster theme park and professional sports too.
Why is Charlotte so popular? The reasons are endless.
Is Charlotte, NC, A Good Place To Live?
Charlotte is a great place to live because it combines big city amenities with southern charm. Charlotte does not have a beach or mountains, but because it is in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, Charlotte is within a day’s drive of both.