2021 Guide to the Best Neighborhoods in Charlotte

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As the biggest city in North Carolina, Charlotte has a lot going for it. The Queen City has experienced nearly 20 percent growth in the last decade, surpassing San Francisco as the 15th most populous city in the United States. Thanks to the friendly job market, reasonable cost of living, and proximity to both the mountains and the beach, Charlotte has become a destination for transplants from across the Northeast and West looking for a lower cost of living and a little Southern charm.

And despite its growth, Charlotte has certainly held onto its charm and character. If you're looking for the convenience of a big city with a small-town feel, CLT fits the bill. 

Deciding on exactly where to live can be overwhelming, especially in a city like Charlotte with so many options. That's where we come in. This guide will walk you through all the best neighborhoods and suburbs of Charlotte so you can decide where to live.

Best neighborhoods in Charlotte

Why live in central Charlotte: The neighborhoods near the city center are all about convenience and lifestyle. If you're looking for walkability and proximity to breweries, restaurants, sports, and cultural activities, being in Charlotte's central neighborhoods might be for you. 

Uptown

Median home value: $275k

Charlotte's city center is called "Uptown" instead of the typical downtown. This name was given to the central business district years ago because it's literally on top of a hill. Uptown is home to some of the world's most prominent financial institutions, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Truist, making it a convenient place to live for professionals who work in banking. Split into four "wards," each section of Uptown has its own vibe.

The majority of Uptown's housing is multi-family and high-rise luxury apartments and condos, making it less appealing for families. But the Fourth Ward features quiet streets lined with Victorian-style homes, all within walking distance to everything Uptown has to offer. 

What to do in Uptown: catch a minor league Knights game at Truist Field, cheer for the Panthers, or enjoy brunch at Tupelo Honey. For a fun day with the family, the Discovery Place science museum provides STEM education for kids of all ages. 

View homes for sale in Uptown Charlotte

NoDa

Median home value: $500k

Short for North Davidson, NoDa is Charlotte's art district. The former mill town is just a short drive or light rail ride from Uptown and has experienced significant residential growth in recent years. In addition to refurbished mill homes, new housing, including townhomes and multi-family units, have been built to meet demand in this desirable, hipster part of town. With a commitment to supporting the arts, NoDa offers a great mix of cultural experiences and entertainment, including local art galleries, music venues, jewelry shops, local breweries, and eateries. 

What to do in NoDa: wander the local art galleries on North Davidson after brunch at Haberdish, or grab a coffee at Smelly Cat and enjoy all the Friends' memorabilia.

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Plaza-Midwood

Median home value: $420k

Just one mile northeast of Uptown, Plaza-Midwood’s location can't be beaten. This former streetcar suburb turned trendy urban neighborhood has all the conveniences of city living. Home to some of Charlotte's best restaurants and art galleries, as well as the historic Charlotte Country Club, Plaza Midwood is a destination for those looking to live in a cute residential neighborhood with a ton to do.

What to do in Plaza Midwood: spend an active day walking around Veterans Memorial Park followed by some yoga at Okra Yoga Studio. Balance all that activity with some delicious Carolina BBQ from Midwood Smokehouse

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Eastover

Median home value: $1.4M

This historic neighborhood located just southeast of Uptown is home to some of Charlotte's finest real estate. Luxury homes situated on large, manicured lots on wide tree-lined streets give this neighborhood a peaceful feel. But in Eastover, you're never too far away from much. Surrounded by Myers Park and Elizabeth, there are plenty of restaurants and parks nearby. 

What to do in Eastover: spend the afternoon at Charlotte's first art museum, the Mint Museum of Art, or take a free yoga class on the Mint lawn on Wednesday evenings. 

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Dilworth

Median home value: $485k

Founded in 1890, Dilworth is Charlotte's oldest and most historic streetcar suburb. Much of this walkable neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it one of the city's most desirable places to live. Dilworth's convenient location near South End and Uptown can't be beat, offering residents the convenience of city living without the hustle and bustle. East Boulevard runs through Dilworth's center down to Freedom Park and features some of Charlotte's finest restaurants and one-of-a-kind boutiques.

What to do in Dilworth: enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry from Sunflour Baking Company, then take a walk through wooded Latta Park. Don't miss the annual Yiasou Greek Festival held at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral every September.

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SouthPark

Median home value: $415k

While this neighborhood may be known for the large, upscale shopping center by the same name, it's much more than a retail destination. In SouthPark, you'll find some of Charlotte's most exclusive homes and luxury apartments. The SouthPark neighborhood includes many smaller communities, including Beverly Woods, Mountainbrook, Lansdowne, and Barclay Downs, many of which come complete with their own neighborhood swim and racket club.  

What to do in SouthPark: grab a beer at Legion Brewery or window shop at SouthPark mall. Don't miss the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra's summer concert series at Symphony Park.

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Montford

Median home value: $460k

Home to Park Road Shopping Center, Charlotte's first open-air shopping mall, Montford really has it all. From Shake Shack to the coolest hardware store you'll ever visit, this hip neighborhood filled with great shopping and dining will keep you busy and full. With all it has to offer, it’s no surprise that this strip has become a hub for the development of new townhomes and luxury apartments.

What to do in Montford: spend a full day shopping, eating, or working out at Park Road Shopping Center. Don't miss locally owned Blackhawk Hardware for niche items you never knew you needed.

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Elizabeth

Median home value: $380k

This historic neighborhood adjacent to Uptown is known for being home to two of Charlotte's largest hospitals and Central Piedmont Community College. While small, this quaint residential neighborhood is somewhat walkable, and residents love the local restaurants, bakeries, and ice cream shops. 

What to do in Elizabeth: take a walk or play basketball in Independence Park, then grab a slice of pizza at Hawthorne's NY Pizza.

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Freedom Park, a seven-minute drive from Myers Park

Myers Park

Median home value: $850k

Myers Park is where you'll find some of Charlotte's most luxury real estate. This historic part of town is known for its beautiful oak-lined streets, gardens, and large residences. Myers Park also claims Charlotte’s infamous "Booty Loop," a three-mile hilly loop on Queens Road frequented by cyclists and runners alike. If gorgeous architecture, including American Craftsman, Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival, and luxury retail are your thing, Myers Park is the place to be.

What to do in Myers Park: shop Selwyn Ave's luxury boutiques before enjoying lunch at Reid's Fine Foods.

View homes for sale in Myers Park

Wilmore

Median home value: $575k

This small residential neighborhood adjacent to South End offers the convenience of urban living with bars, restaurants, coffee shops all within walking distance. Charlotte's light rail is also a short walk away, making Wilmore a desirable option for young families who prefer to use public transit.

What to do in Wilmore: grab a gluten-free beer at Wooden Robot Brewery or join their "Runbots" for a casual Tuesday evening 5K along the Rail Trail

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Sedgefield

Median home value: $372k

Like Wilmore, Sedgefield offers young families a more urban vibe with proximity to the South End and the light rail. This neighborhood has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years, with many original bungalows being rebuilt or renovated. 

What to do in Sedgefield: head across South Boulevard to Atherton Mill to break a sweat at Barry's Bootcamp, followed by a healthy brunch at Luna's Kitchen

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Best suburbs in Charlotte

Why live in the suburbs: More for your money. The Charlotte suburbs boast more space at an affordable price. Each Charlotte suburb has unique perks and activities, from golfing to boating.

Matthews

Median home value: $330k

Located in southeastern Mecklenburg County, about 15 miles from Charlotte, Matthews is known for its excellent schools and quiet suburban charm. The downtown main street has preserved its history as a rail town while integrating newer restaurants and cute coffee shops. As a growing suburb, Matthews also has larger shopping and medical centers to keep up with the booming population.

What to do in Matthews: spend a Saturday shopping at the Matthews Community Farmers' Market or head into Buffalo Jackson's flagship store to buy a new flannel. 

View homes for sale in Matthews

Ballantyne

Median home value: $473k

Located about 15 miles south of Uptown, along the border of South Carolina, is Ballantyne. This suburb features beautiful homes, high-end retail, and one of the nicest public golf courses in the area. With some of the best schools in the Charlotte area, many families choose to call Ballantyne home. 

What to do in Ballantyne: play a round of golf at the Ballantyne Hotel or enjoy a treatment at the world-class spa.

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Lake Norman

Median home value (Cornelious): $363k

Nestled on the banks of Lake Norman are the suburbs of Huntersville, Cornelious, and Davidson. Located due north of Charlotte, these three cities are home to great schools, parks, and families who enjoy spending time outdoors. Davidson is also home to the prestigious Davidson College, a private liberal arts college known for its excellent academics and Division I athletics. The majority of residents in the Lake Norman area reside there full time and enjoy the benefits of living close to the lake. 

What to do in Lake Norman: spend a day out on the lake fishing or tubing, watch Davidson's Wildcats play, or enjoy a glass of wine or cup of coffee on the patio at Summit Coffee in downtown Davidson. 

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Pineville

Median home value: $317k

Like many other Charlotte neighborhoods, Pineville also holds onto a bit of history as the 11th U.S. President James K. Polk's birthplace. Located directly off I-485 and just 14 miles from Charlotte, Pineville's convenient location makes it a desirable and affordable area. Great shopping and entertainment, including Carowinds amusement park and Carolina Place Mall, also make Pineville a destination from across the city.

What to do in Pineville: ride the roller coasters at Carowinds, a 407-acre amusement park. Located on the border of South Carolina, you'll even cross state lines while in the park. 

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Union County

Median home value: $333k

Union County is home to several small towns and suburban communities southeast of Charlotte, including Waxhaw, Indian Trail, Marvin, Weddington, and Wesley Chapel. With a more rural feel than neighboring Matthews, Union County is an excellent option for families looking for more land and highly rated public schools. Most homes here are zoned to the Union County School District, one of the top 3 school districts in the state. 

Most homes in the county are single-family on large lots, and you'll find a ton of new construction options. 

What to do in Union County: enjoy a cold beer at Dreamchasers Brewery in Waxhaw's old volunteer fire station or take in the local history at the Museum of the Waxhaws.

View homes for sale in Union County

Belmont

Median home value: $230k

Just 15 miles west of Charlotte in Gaston County is Belmont, a former textile mill town on the Catawba River. Belmont has a little something for everyone with a charming main street, booming food scene, and riverside parks. As this town grows in popularity, housing options are also increasing, with newer single-family neighborhoods near the river and converted mill lofts and apartments closer to town.  

What to do in Belmont: check out the Jonas' family restaurant, Nellie's Southern Kitchen, or head across the river for a day of outdoor adventures at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

View homes for sale in Belmont

A local perspective: what makes Charlotte a good place to live?

Orchard’s Charlotte team is deeply familiar with the area. Here’s what they love about living in the Queen City:

“The best thing about Charlotte is that the Mountains are 2 hours away and the beach is 3 hours away! So no matter the season, you have something great to do. The food scene in Charlotte is also spectacular, especially Carolina pulled pork, but just the southern culture and hospitality is great! Having football, basketball, hockey, baseball and soon to be soccer, there's something for every sports fan almost every week of the year. Charlotte has got it all!" - Joseph A., Home Advisor

Panthers Stadium, located in Uptown Charlotte

"The options for restaurants are limitless. I would highly recommend trying Beef n’ Bottle, one of the best kept secrets - a steakhouse established in 1958.” - Ashley W., Market Manager

Tuck Fest at the Whitewater Center, an annual celebration of outdoor sports

"I love the U.S. National Whitewater Center! It’s a cool place near me where you can hike, kayak, and go whitewater rafting!" - Shana Y., Buying Specialist

What are the pros and cons of living in Charlotte?

If you’re relocating from Raleigh or from out of the state, it’s helpful to know both the positives and negatives of living in Charlotte: 

Pros

  • Great job opportunities in banking and tech
  • Four seasons without the harsh winters of the northeast
  • Relatively low cost of living
  • Proximity to beaches and mountains
  • Professional and minor league sports

Cons

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools vary by neighborhood 
  • Construction throughout the city due to the city’s rapid growth
  • Heavy traffic from the city's suburbs 
  • Hot, humid summers
  • Less diverse cuisine
  • The city’s culture is still developing
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8 things to know before buying a home in Charlotte

  1. The city is growing quickly. Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, which means there's a growing demand for real estate. The coronavirus pandemic has likely only sped up that growth bringing migration from northern cities and driving up real estate prices. It’s a great time to buy, given that home values are expected to continue appreciating.
  1. You're going to need a car. While public transit in Charlotte is far superior to other southern cities like Houston, having a car in the Queen City is necessary for most neighborhoods on this list.
  1. It's a banking city. Much of Charlotte's recent growth is because it has become a finance hub. Familiarize yourself with some of the big banks because odds are, you'll meet someone who works at one. 
  1. Quality of schools varies widely by neighborhood: One school district, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, services most of the Charlotte metropolitan area. If you’re home shopping with kids, do your research before committing to a neighborhood with subpar school options. 
  1. A dark history of segregation still persists in Charlotte's school system. The schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg are the most racially segregated in North Carolina. While efforts like rezoning, busing, and opening charter schools have been used to integrate schools, they remain extremely segregated.
  1. If you have allergies, be prepared. Charlotte's many trees also mean lots of pollen. In the fall and spring months, allergies can be at an all-time high. 
  1. Craft beer is a big deal, and so is coffee. There are more than 30 breweries in the Charlotte area, and everyone has their favorite. Local coffee shops and roasters follow the same trend. Every neighborhood has its own, so you won't have trouble staying caffeinated. 
  1. It's a dog-friendly town. If you don't have a dog, you might second guess your decision after moving here. The majority of restaurants and breweries in Charlotte are dog-friendly. There are even several bars made specifically for dogs and their owners. 

Keeping these eight factors in mind should help you prepare to buy a home and live in Charlotte.

How to decide where to buy a home

Charlotte has a lot to offer, and each neighborhood has its benefits. Where you choose to call home depends on what's most important to you. Consider proximity to work, schools, neighborhood feel, and budget.

We also have three resources to help you find your next place:

  • Orchard's Move First service helps you find a home and move in without waiting on your existing home to sell (read: no showings or timing nightmares).
  • Offer Boost lets you make an all-cash offer, so you don't lose out on a home you want (important if you're shopping in any of these popular neighborhoods).
  • Use our Home Match to find listings that meet all your requirements, from ideal commute time to specific home features.

If you're interested in working with us, get started here by sharing more about your home buying and selling needs.

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