Charlotte is not only the most populous city in North Carolina, but it’s also the second-largest city in the Southeast (behind Jacksonville, FL), and the third-fastest-growing major city in the US. It’s a financial hub and a millennial magnet. If you are amongst the millennials migrating to Charlotte in droves, read on to find the best neighborhood for you.
For more mature millennials, this quaint, laid-back neighborhood offers a more peaceful scene. Just minutes from Uptown (the city’s center) and blocks from the Historic South End, this picturesque area is brimming with cozy bungalows and stately buildings. If you dream of having a white picket fence, this charming ‘hood has them. One of Charlotte's hottest neighborhoods, historic Dilworth is also one of its oldest neighborhoods. The city’s first streetcar suburb, with roots dating back to the 1890s, much of the district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For an otherwise car-dependent city, the centuries-old, tree-lined streets are walkable and pedestrian-friendly, often hosting festivals, block parties, and yard sales. Centered on a seven-acre lake, the 98-acre Freedom Park lies between Dilworth and Myers Park. There’s also easy access to Uptown via the LYNX Blue Line.
Also in close proximity to Uptown, this upscale neighborhood is a little more expensive than the rest of the city but also has a considerably lower crime rate. Willow oak-lined streets dotted with cute Craftsman-style homes and cozy bungalows welcome you into the charming, historic ‘hood. The relaxed, mostly residential area is home to funky retailers and locally owned businesses like bakeries, ice-cream parlors, and neighborhood bars. A modern-day CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar line runs from Uptown along Elizabeth Avenue, where you’ll find the local indie and touring bands performing at the intimate Visulite Theatre. Stop and smell the roses, picnic, walk the trails, or stare at yourself in the reflecting pool at Independence Park.
Ultramodern and sophisticated, the bustling Midtown district is wonderful, if you can afford it. Mere blocks from Uptown, this ‘hood melds urban with green space, offering stunning skyline views and scenic greenways. A multi-story mixed-use space, The Metropolitan shopping mall is comprised of condos, fancy restaurants, luxe fashion boutiques, and offices. Connecting Freedom Park to the Metropolitan, the Little Sugar Creek Greenway boasts four miles of paved trails.
Home to affluent families and well-to-do young professionals, this residential historic district is known for its quiet streets and gorgeous homes. Its eponymous park has a seven-acre lake, walking trails, and sports fields. The Little Spoon Eatery is a local favorite for Sunday brunch.
Centered around (and named after) the neighborhood’s main street, NoDa is Charlotte’s arts district. Bars, breweries, music joints, murals, inventive restaurants, and offbeat retailers make this eclectic and playful ‘hood a perfect place for millenials. Revitalized mill factories now serve as swanky lofts and galleries. Each month, the colorful, Bohemian-chic North Charlotte community hosts gallery crawls. The LYNX Blue Line light rail provides easy access to Uptown.
The Plaza and Midwood neighborhoods joined together to form one cool, quirky, super ‘hood. Lively and ethnically diverse, this inclusive melting pot is home to a thriving LGBTQ contingent. The residential district offers all the amenities of city living, from newer high-end boutiques and restaurants on the city’s main thoroughfare, Central Avenue, to diners, tattoo parlors, vintage shops, and, watering holes. Plaza Midwood’s Instagrammable graffiti-clad buildings, brunch spots, nightlife, and community celebrations make it an excellent residence for millennials.
This historic area in the heart of the Queen City is a little more upscale as far as Charlotte neighborhoods go, thanks to its amenities and conveniences. Home to food trucks and fun fests, the lively, youthful, and trendy South End features vibrant nightlife, culinary, and cultural scenes. If you’re into craft beer, this ‘hood is for you, as it boasts nine breweries. Head to South Boulevard for the best Asian cuisine in town. Charlotte's first mill has been converted into a shopping center called the Atherton Mill and Market and is surrounded by a number of fine art galleries. Running parallel to the light rail, the Rail Trail provides four and a half miles of hardscape pathway for runners and cyclists. And again, you’re just a short LYNX Blue Line light rail ride to Uptown.
Confusing newcomers because it is basically downtown, Uptown is the Queen City’s center for business and entertainment. Four wards are laid out in a grid-like design, spreading from the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets. This sociable, smart, and energetic ‘hood is for the fast-paced professional who likes living amongst skyscrapers full of small tech startups and Fortune 500 companies. Banking giants like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC, and Fifth Third all have offices Uptown. Charlotte is the third-largest banking center in the US (behind New York City and San Francisco), after all.
In addition to some of the city’s best restaurants, the shopping and museum district is home to the 7th Street Public Market, The Mint Museum, and Discovery Place. Overstreet Mall is an enclosed sidewalk, connecting shops and eateries. Before heading home to their high-rise condos and revitalized Victorian homes, nine-to-fivers flood Uptown’s taverns and rooftop patios for happy hour.