Moving to Charlotte, North Carolina

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Neighborhoods like Berkeley in Charlotte?

Jan 2009

I need to talk with people who are familiar with Charlotte, NC or vicinity. Specifically, where are the good middle and high schools; and where are the neighborhoods that are closer to Berkeley in cultural diversity and global/intellectual outlook? Laura

Hi Laura! I moved from North Oakland to Charlotte, North Carolina about two years ago. Although this has turned out to be a good move for my family and me, I have not found an area of Charlotte that has the same vibe as Berkeley. I have to travel all over Charlotte to get what I need! (I can't tell you how much I miss Berkeley Bowl!)I would say that the neighborhood most like Berkeley is the NoDa(North Davidson)neighborhood. This neighborhood tends to attract artists, musicians, non-traditional families and liberal thinkers. NoDa, however, is not near UNCC or the other area universities, so you won't have the perks that come from being near a campus.

I do not have first hand knowledge of the public middle and high schools. It seems that the better public elementary schools are in south Charlotte (south of Uptown), and from the little I've heard from co-workers and friends, the same holds true for the middle and high schools. My daughter attends St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School in the Dilworth neighborhood (an older, upscale neighborhood that is practically all White--also south of Uptown.) It is an EXCELLENT school, but she is one of only a handful of African American students in the school (and the only one in her class). In addition, I've only seen one student of Asian descent and one student of Hispanic descent--not the cultural diversity I hoped to find! I make an effort to plan her out-of-school activities so that she spends time around and learning about other cultures.

Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions! Stacey

Hi Laura,

I grew up in Charlotte and now live in Raleigh, NC. I joined BPN because my husband just accepted a job with the UC System and we're on our way out to Oakland/Berkeley next month.

Charlotte is a beautiful city and has some great older neighborhoods. If I were to move there today, I would try to live in Dilworth a neighborhood within a few miles of downtown with great bungalows, cute shops, and good schools. Myers Park is also a beautiful adjoining neighborhood (with great schools) that is a bit pricier, but might not be so bad going from CA to NC . I don't know exactly how to match up comparable neighborhoods to Berkeley since I'm not out there yet. The Plaza/Midwood area is a neat neighborhood with cool older houses, too, plus there is a lot of revitalization going on with some of the older houses close to downtown. There are quite a few private schools in the city (sadly, because Charlotte was early to desegregate years ago.) But there are a lot of good public schools too---Charlotte has a lot of neat old houses and I'd steer clear of new stuff in North CLT or Southern parts of town if I were you because they are nice but don't have the cool vibe I think you're looking for.

Good luck! Meredith

My company has offices in Charlotte, so I have traveled there for work and know people who have moved there. A Bay Area friend chose to live in the Dilworth neighborhood because it reminded her the most of the East Bay -- organic markets, older homes, personality, etc. I can't speak to schools as she didn't have kids.

Good news about Charlotte is that in the last few years there has been an influx of people from elsewhere, particularly the Northeast, looking for a more affordable place to raise families, so there is more diversity/sophistication than you might expect. Many people I talk to seem to end up in new, gated communities, but I am guessing you will be happier in one of the older neighborhoods, like Dilworth. Charlotte Ann

Moving to Charlotte, how to meet up with other parents?

Jan 2004

Our family is moving to Charlotte, North Carolina in February. Any recommendations about how to meet other parents, resources for children (ours are currently 1 and 3 years), school & preschools, anything similar to this ucb electronic newsletter.... any info at all... is very welcome. thanks. Kelley

Advice from a friend of mine who lives in NC, but not Charlotte:

I would go on the web to see if they have a magazine in the area for Moms and families, we have one called Carolina Parent. It's at the grocery store, a freebie deal.

There is also a mother's club here, and I would bet that Charlotte has one too. They do playgroup assignments, mom's reading group, etc.

I would go to the Libraries in Charlotte, to Storytime, and sometimes Barnes and Noble or Bookstop has Storytime too. That's a good way to meet up with people, glean info. Also, signing up for Kindermusik, a weekly music class (Cameron has done it since 5 mos old) is a good way to meet people and find out the ''scene''. Kindermusik is on the web, and there are undoubtedly classes in Charlotte.

The children's secondhand clothing stores, and the boutiques will all have moms and people who know the vibe of the town. They can be resources too, just going in, shopping, asking around. ''What do people with kids do here?''

The commmunity park is the other place, figuring out the neighborhoods where people congregate and have kids - striking up conversation. Mommy Baby Yoga, that kind of thing, most likely occurs. There are resources out there, this is where I would start.

Schools and preschools will be listed with the local gov'ts and childcare agencies. Also just yahoo the phoneboook with private schools? Maybe the chamber of commerce could help, too. Trying to help :)

Jewish family moving to Charlotte

April 2003

We are considering moving to Charlotte, NC. Any recommendations for kid friendly neighborhoods with good schools? Are we going to feel ostracized if we are Jewish? Anything you know about Charlotte would be greatly appreciated.

We have close friends (Jewish) who live in Charlotte. I can put you in touch with them if you'll email me directly. Mike

I am actually a federal lobbyist for the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County so I work with folks there daily and visit occasionally, but I have never lived there. Charlotte has developed into a pretty cosmopolitan town in many ways. Lots of highly educated people, good restaurants, entertainment, recreation, and a fairly strong arts community. They have received national recognition for their environmental restoration activities such as restoring their creeks and watersheds and preserving open space (there is still a TON of sprawl there but they do what they can). They have a progressive Sheriff in the County and were pioneers in developing mixed income housing. The Mayor is a moderate and extremely popular Republican but as in most cities, the Councilmembers run the gamut from left wing to conservative. In Congress they have a moderate Republican woman and a liberal Black Dem and the two of them get along well. The downtown area, called Uptown, has been pretty thoroughly redeveloped and restored with lots of chic housing that may not be affordable or practical for a young family. I find people in Charlotte to be extremely nice. So nice it makes you resent Easterners and Westerners. However, this is a Christian town. Most people are Baptist and religion is the center of their lives. My impression is also that it is a Black and White town, not a lot of other ethnic groups. There are two or three temples in town and literally thousands or churches. I do know someone who is Jewish and relocated from New York and would be happy to put you in touch with her if you e-mail me. I have some other folks you could e-mail about neighborhood suggestions. It is the South so I am sure there will be culture shock and like any place, it has drawbacks but I certainly know a lot of terrific people who love living there. Good luck! Elizabeth

We have cousins who live in nearby Statesville, NC and have had opportunities to go to Charlotte when we visit. You will not be the only Jews in town: our cousins out in Statesville are Jewish and belong to a synagogue there. There's a pretty sizable Jewish community in Charlotte.

It's a nice city, definitely Southern with all the pluses and minuses of that culture. Okay, so people drive a lot more big gas guzzling cars and eat fried foods and have the bodies to show for it (do you know what ''fish camp'' is?), and you will undoubtedly encounter tension between blacks and whites (but we have that here too).

No doubt that the biggest plus is how much less expensive it is to live there compared to here. Also, there are little islands of familiar culture in the numerous college towns in the vicinity. Davidson College and Wake Forest are nearby, as is the much funkier NC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, which has top- notch and inexpensive ballet, opera, and theater performances. There are lovely lakes to row in during the summer, and it's a quick trip to Asheville, a beautiful mountain spot that is also home to many liberal types. You can also get to the Outer Banks, some wild beaches that are worth a summer trip.

I hope this little bit helps. -- Carolina on my mind

A good friend of my husband's from high school is now the assistand rabbi at the conservative synogogue in Charlotte, and he and his wife would love to help you settle in in any way they can. Good luck with your move! Laura