If you are considering a move to Charlotte, North Carolina, or one of the many small towns nearby, there are just a few things which you ought to know.
Here are twenty-five tips and facts about the Queen City of the South.
We can’t wait to meet you, bless your heart!
1. You’re not from around here, are you? It’s okay. No one else is from here, either.
2. Did you say meet me at the intersection of Queens and Queens? Half of the roads change names every two miles. The other half are named after churches. And sometimes a road will intersect itself just to play mind games with you.
3. Rock me, Momma. Charlotte is laid out sort of like a wagon wheel. Uptown / Center City is the hub and the streets emerging from the city are the spokes. It is a shame that Raleigh is mentioned in the song “Wagon Wheel,” but North Carolina’s largest city is not.
4. If you’re not already a Panthers fan, you will be. The Panthers are everyone’s second favorite NFL team, though the fan base has grown in recent years. Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, and “Riverboat” Ron Rivera have taken giant strides to make Carolina the most popular team. Unfortunately, you’ll always see more Cowboys and Steelers jerseys in the crowd whenever those teams are in town. The two-time defending NFC South champions are a team on the rise, so get on the bandwagon before everyone else does.
5. How about that Carolina football team? Folks talking Carolina football could be discussing the Panthers, Tar Heels, or Gamecocks. You can usually tell by the shade of blue or garnet in their shirt, dress (yes, Carolina women know their football) or tie. The collegiate Carolinas will face off in the 2015 Belk College Kickoff game in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium on Thursday, September 3.
6. College basketball’s greatest rivalry lives two hours to the north. If you live in North Carolina, you’d better choose quickly between UNC and Duke. No one cares about NC State outside of Raleigh. If you live in South Carolina, you’d better choose between Clemson and USC.
7. BB&T Ballpark is Charlotte’s newest showcase. The Charlotte Hornets have the city’s coolest professional sports uniforms, but the Knights AAA baseball team has the newest and nicest digs. A game at BB&T Ballpark has to be among the best experiences in minor league baseball. Hence, the Knights led all minor league teams in their inaugural Uptown season in 2014 despite a last-place finish in the standings.
8. We like our tea, and we like it SWEET. The further south you go, the sweeter the iced tea becomes. Unless the restaurant is owned by New Yorkers. For the best iced tea, look no further than a Chick-fil-A or Bojangles drive-thru.
9. The New South. There are A LOT of people here from “up North.” Yanks are fast learners, though, and it doesn’t take them long to learn that tea comes laced with a pound of sugar unless you specify otherwise.
10. A Half-what? If you meet a native Northerner who first moved to Florida and then moved to the Carolinas, this person is referred to as a “half-back.” This is because they moved all the way down the East Coast to Florida before wisening up and settling halfway back to NJ/NY/NE in the Carolinas.
11. Pipeline to Anywhere! Gas is WAY cheaper in South Carolina than it is in Charlotte proper. And unless you live near Lake Norman, the state line is like right there! *As of August 28, 2015, gas in Ft. Mill, SC costs $1.94/gallon!
12. Buy me a boat. Even though Charlotte is landlocked, we have three fine lakes linked by the Catawba River: Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, and Mountain Island Lake. “LKN” is the party lake where the majority of NASCAR drivers live.
13. You’ve got options. You can wake up in the morning and be at the beach or the mountains before lunch time. Both are within a two to three hour drive depending upon your starting point and destination.
14. Boogity-boogity. Charlotte is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and hosts a week-long party called “Speed Street” in Uptown between the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600. You should go…once.
15. The Town Where Down is Up. By the way, our downtown is called Uptown. “Center City” is at the intersection of two former major Native American trading paths, now known as Trade & Tryon streets, and is considered Charlotte’s central location, or epicenter. This is just a few blocks away from the entertainment and nightlife hub known as “The EpiCentre.”
17. Sports Town, USA. Charlotte also hosts the annual ACC football championship game, the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow (PGA golf), and countless other major sporting events, including the aforementioned NASCAR All-Star race. The Queen City of the South will also host the 2017 PGA Championship and the 2017 NBA All-Star game, and Charlotte is a contender to host the 2019 or 2020 NCAA college football championship game.
18. Where am I, exactly? Charlotte is a town of neighborhoods. NoDa and Plaza Midwood are for the eclectic and the hip. South End is where you’ll find the yuppies, i.e., bankers in their 20s. Ballantyne is populated by the nouveau riche whereas Myers Park and Dilworth are home to Charlotte’s old money. And the New Yorkers are all moving to Indian Land, SC.
19. This list is making me Hungry. Along with the great migration of Northerners to the Southeast comes great food. There are actually several places to get a good bagel and a slice of pizza. My favorites are Brooklyn Water Bagel and Lorenzo’s Pizzeria, both in the Ballantyne / Blakeney area.
20. The other white meat. Barbecue remains Charlotte’s signature dish. There are a ton of great barbecue joints from 521 BBQ in Indian Land to Kyle Fletcher’s BBQ in Gastonia. New BBQ restaurants like Queen City Q are also beginning to pop up and put an artisinal spin on pork and beef brisket.
21. Traffic ain’t that bad. Thank the Lord 485 is completed! Though the highways can get congested, the expansion and widening of 485 have been crucial. As long as you know where you are on 85, 77, 485, and 277, you will never get lost. Just avoid rush hour at all costs.
22. Unless it rains. Or snows. Charlotteans do not know how to drive in inclement weather. Fortunately, we have good weather nearly year ’round, sparing the occasional winter ice storm and 1-2 inch snow producing “blizzards.”
23. We’re trendy. Charlotte’s latest crazes are food trucks and craft breweries. Food Truck Fridays are sprouting up in Charlotte’s South End and neighboring Matthews and Concord communities. Check out CharlotteBeer.com for a list of local breweries from Cornelius’ Ass Clown Brewery to NoDa Brewery in Charlotte’s Arts District.
24. Every name has a meaning. Charlotte was named after England’s Queen Charlotte, hence the nickname “Queen City.” Ballantyne Corporate Park and the residential community that surround it are named after developer Smokey Bissell’s favorite aunt, Barbara Ballantyne. More on how other Charlotte neighborhoods got their names here.
25. Charlotte is The Place to Be! Charlotte was recently listed among the United States’ fastest growing and most desirable cities in which to live. The U.S. Census Bureau ranked Charlotte No. 2 behind Austin, Texas in terms of growth among cities its size.
So c’mon down (or up) to Charlotte, North Carolina and stay for a spell.
You just might not want to leave!
Jimmy Grappone is a Realtor® living in the Charlotte area for nearly a decade. His hobbies include fishing, playing golf, watching football, and writing articles about things that interest him. Jimmy is a licensed Realtor® with Allen Tate Company in North Carolina and South Carolina. He is passionate about helping his clients find shelter and having a good time along the way!
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