Want more for your money? You’ve probably heard about those cities people are moving to in droves because they top the “highest starting salary” list or “lowest unemployment” list, but where can you go and find a job in your chosen field and just live better? The answer may surprise you. If you want to get the most “stretch” out of that dollar, you need to find an apartment in Charlotte, North Carolina.
According to a new study by Wallet Hub, the cost of living in Charlotte is low – so low, in fact, that when adjusted for cost of living, people living in Charlotte have the highest average annual income – beating out powerhouse cities across the country. Although this Southern gem of a city isn’t typically on the “hot places to move” lists, it is the largest city in North Carolina and the 17th largest city in the country. It is a banking and financial hub, with major banks such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo headquartered here.
Charlotte was settled in 1755, and the city played a major role in the American Revolution. “Mecklenburg Resolves” was supposedly the first declaration of independence made during the Revolution, coming one year before the actual Declaration of Independence. Since North Carolina – and Charlotte in particular – claim to be the first group of Americans to declare independence, the seal and flag of North Carolina includes the date of the declaration. And while the declaration's origins are disputed, one thing is not – Charlotte refused to be taken by the British – in fact, British commander General Cornwallis (after being driven out of the city) declared that Charlotte was a "hornet's nest of rebellion," and Charlotte is still referred to as the Hornet's Nest.
Charlotte is a beautiful city filled with things to do. For sports enthusiasts, it is home to the NFL's Carolina Panthers, and it is the location of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The 398-acre amusement park Carowinds is also located here. The park includes thrill rides such as the Carolina Cyclone, the Carolina Cobra, the Nighthawk, and the Intimidator – the tallest, longest, and fastest roller coaster in the Southeast. It also has family rides, Planet Snoopy, Boomerang Bay Water Park, and the unique Dinosaurs Alive (which features scientifically-accurate dinosaurs based on paleontological knowledge).
For the more adventurous, the US National Whitewater Center is located in Charlotte along the Catawba River. This non-profit facility provides all types of outdoor recreation, such as whitewater rafting, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, and whitewater and flat-water kayaking. The center also includes mountain biking with 14 miles of trails that range from beginner to advanced, hiking, and rock climbing. The open-air climbing wall is one of the world's largest outdoor climbing centers. The USNWC is an official Olympic Training Site for whitewater slalom racing and hosts the XTERRA Whitewater Trail Race and Triathlon. The center also features Canyon Crossing (a circuit of sky bridges that span the gorges), zip lines (including Mega Zip, a 1,123-foot zip-line), the Adventure Course, and a Canopy Tour (14 platforms linked by seven zip-lines and several sky bridges).
For those who prefer less adrenaline-fueled entertainment, Charlotte is filled with shops, restaurants, theaters, museums, and nightclubs. The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center hosts live performances, the Charlotte Symphony, the Queen City Theatre Company, and touring Broadway productions. History buffs will appreciate the Charlotte Museum of History, the Historic Latta Plantation (a living history farm and house museum), the Duke Mansion, and the Historic Rosedale Plantation.
Charlotte is a major college town, home to the top-ranking UNC Charlotte, as well as Johnson & Wales University, Queens University of Charlotte, and nearby Davidson College. Having so many college students in the area, Charlotte is pedestrian-friendly and has a comprehensive mass transit system that includes historical trolleys, light rail, shuttles, and bus service.
Ready to keep more of your money in your pocket? Then check out Charlotte apartments for rent and discover why this terrific city is the Gem of the South.