Nestled in the southwestern part of the state between sleepy rolling hills, the city of Charlotte is a diamond in the crown of southern cities. It may be twice the size of Atlanta in terms of square miles, but it still feels roomy with its open suburbs, expansive parks and manicured lawns. Relocating can be a challenge, here’s what you need to know when moving to Charlotte.

The region offers a bustling metropolis, with the amenities of a big city juxtaposed against distinct neighborhoods that offer a small town vibe. Those who move to Charlotte are attracted by the quality of life, job growth, recreational opportunities and housing value, which ranked the area #14 in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Places to Live” analyses of 100 metro regions.

Those new to Charlotte are pleasantly surprised by its weather, particularly when compared to other Southern, Midwestern and East Coast metropolitan areas. There is humidity, but typically less than other large cities in those regions. Better yet, the summers are balanced by mild winters, with crisp fall days with beautiful foliage and little or no snowfall.

Fall fan frenzy

Fall is a key time in the Charlotte area: The city’s two most popular spectator sports (football and auto racing) come alive in the fall. Charlotte residents take pride in being home to the Carolina Panthers, also referred to as “The Carolina’s Team”, as the team represents both North and South Carolina, and you can be sure that everyone is excited when game day rolls around. There is also the NBA team, the Hornets, whose name is presumably taken from American Revolutionary War times when occupying British commander General Cornwallis called the city a “hornet’s nest.”

Auto racing, particularly NASCAR, is also huge in the region. Mid-October brings NASCAR Race Week and the Bank of America 500, where the motorsports industry and fans invade the Charlotte Motor Speedway in neighboring Concord and the surrounding area. However, the Charlotte area is the hub of NASCAR year-round. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is located here and the majority of NASCAR teams are based nearby.

Housing and neighborhoods

Charlotte is one of the most affordable places to move to in the U.S. The housing market in the area is 23 percent below the national average and the cost of living 9 percent below the national average. While the population is growing, this affordability, along with a thriving economy and strong construction efforts ensuring that there are homes for sale at a variety of price points, led Charlotte to be named the third-most attractive real estate market in America in 2016. The area is one in which “people love to live and work.”

The greater Charlotte area offers a variety of neighborhoods that present something for every taste, from old-fashioned Southern charm to luxury boutiques to craft breweries to fun, fusion foods. Those new to Charlotte should explore each to find a neighborhood that appeals to them. There is the bustle of Uptown (never called downtown by locals), a historic area in Dilworth, and South End where farmer’s markets and art galleries thrive, in addition to many other neighborhoods with their own unique personalities.

Younger adults love the vibrant arts scene in NoDa (aka North Davidson), and South Park’s luxury retailers appeal to fashionistas and shopaholics. While many homes for sale are listed in the $200k range, areas like Myers Park have homes for sale for more than $1 million.

With its sports teams rivalries, mild climate and affordable housing, Charlotte truly offers something for everyone’s budget and lifestyle preference. Whether you are planning on moving to Charlotte or are brand new to Charlotte, take your time to explore before settling in a particular area – you do not want to miss out on anything this beautiful city has to offer.