Charlotte, the seat of Mecklenburg County, is the largest city in North Carolina and the third fastest growing city in the United States. Nestled in the Piedmont, the Charlotte metropolitan area spans counties in both North and South Carolina and boasts almost 2.5 million residents.
With a cost of living below the national average, low unemployment, and an impressive job growth rate, this vibrant city ranks 14th on Forbes' list of Best Places for Careers and Businesses for the year 2015.
Charlotte's main industries are finance, motor sports, and energy. It is the second largest banking center in the United States, something native Charlotteans find hard to forget as they walk beneath an urban skyscape dominated by the logos of giants like Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
Home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte leads the nation in the racing technology industry.
Charlotte is also the headquarters of no less than eight Fortune 500 companies, including Lowes, Nucor, and Family Dollar.
Did you know? The Charlotte area has over 260 energy companies, which employ more than 27,000 workers. Its growth in this sector has caused local industry leaders, like Duke Energy, to dub the city "the New Energy Capital."
Charlotte's most enduring nickname comes from its namesake, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the Queen and wife of Great Britain's King George III.
Despite this loyalist-sounding name, the city's other early moniker, "the Hornet's Nest," refers to British General Cornwallis' statement that the city was a "hornet's nest of rebellion" during the Revolutionary War.
Charlotte has been a study in contrasts ever since. Politically, the city is divided between conservative traditions and progressive ideals. Charlotte is a melting pot of native Charlotteans and an influx of newcomers from the northern and western states. It's a place where NASCAR fans rub shoulders with artists and University professors.
Charlotte's a city where high and low culture easily combine to create a relaxed, flourishing city that offers something for everyone in a setting that is fresh, modern and loaded with good food & drink.
In addition to NASCAR, Charlotte has two major sports franchises, the NFL's Carolina Panthers and the NBA's Charlotte Hornets.
The city also has a professional level ice hockey team, the Charlotte Checkers, and a baseball team with an amazing new stadium, the Charlotte Knights.
Charlotte is the home of several fine museums, including the Harvey B. Gannt Center for African American Art and Culture, the Mint Museum, the Museum of the New South, and the Betchler Museum of Modern Art.
The Carolina Renaissance Festival, which takes place every October and November, is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the United States. It features a jousting tournament, an arts and crafts fair and awesome food in a family friendly environment.
Although the city has set aside 250 acres of land for a privately funded zoo, that project still remains in the works.
Outdoor enthusiasts can console themselves instead with the U.S. National Whitewater Center, located in the Western part of Mecklenburg County. This huge facility contains man-made rapids, with courses for mountain biking, whitewater rafting and kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, zip lines, and rope courses. The Center also features live music and outdoor festivals throughout the summer in addition to 9 festivals held throughout the year.
Despite its size, CMS won the NAEP Award for top honors in elementary and middle school level mathematics.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools serves over 141,000 students throughout the cities and towns in Mecklenburg county. CMS provides education for kindergarten through 12th grade in over 159 schools throughout Mecklenburg County.
Charlotte has more than 37 Magnet schools. The CMS magnet program is nationally recognized and serves more than 16,000 students in nine different programs. Areas of specialized study range from visual and performing arts to math, science and technology, Montessori, and language immersion.
Private (non-public) schools and charter schools make up a significant part of Mecklenburg County’s educational landscape. In fact, over 25,000 students are enrolled in 89 private schools and charter schools in the county. The growing system includes elementary, middle and high schools with various religious affiliations as well as independent institutions.
The Charlotte area is fortunate to have several awesome colleges and universities, among them Central Piedmont Community College, Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte School of Law, Davidson College, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
The University of North Carolina is located in University City, in North Charlotte only minutes from Uptown. The university has approximately 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students and is one of the fastest growing in the state.
A project is currently underway to connect the University to Uptown Charlotte via light-rail. University City also houses University Research Park, one of the largest research and corporate facilities in the state.
Here’s a few sites I recommend to anyone visiting Charlotte and clients thinking about relocating.
You'll find tons of things to do and places to visit including what’s good to eat this week (and who has a special). Take a look and add them to your list of resources. You'll discover Charlotte has a lot to offer.
The Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism site is the go to place for things to do in Charlotte.
How can you go wrong when you have great reviews? Yelp-Charlotte shows the best places to visit daily.
Everything you need, from services to City Council, taxes to County management, you'll find here.
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