When choosing a new city to move to, you have to be very careful about what you know about the area.
The Charlotte and Charleston areas are both great places to live on the eastern coast of the United States.
Whether it is a job or personal reasons that bring you to the North Carolina/South Carolina area, let’s take a look at what both Charlotte and Charleston have to offer.
Even though these two cities may have a lot in common, there are also quite a few differences.
Charlotte Vs. Charleston (Differences)
Charlotte is a city in North Carolina, located near the southern border of the state.
From the Charlotte area, it will take you about two hours to get to the beach and about twenty minutes to get to Lake Norman.
Charleston is a city in the southern part of South Carolina, located directly on the coast.
The city of Charleston is on the water, and it is considerably further south than Charlotte.
As you can see, the difference in the locations of these two cities is going to add to some of the variety you will see.
Let’s take a look at some of the other differences you will notice as you investigate these two cities a bit further.
The weather in Charlotte is a bit different from the weather in Charleston.
The temperatures in Charlotte are going to range from around 30 degrees Fahrenheit to about 90 degrees.
You will not have to worry about the temperatures staying very hot for all that long.
The four seasons are pretty apparent in Charlotte, and the city can experience some snow.
Overall, people would describe the climate as mild and relatively easy to deal with.
In fact, many people who live in the northern states will use Charlotte as a retirement destination.
Because this area is affordable and has mild weather, it becomes very appealing to people.
The city of Charleston is slightly further south than the city of Charlotte.
When you live in Charleston, you are going to have to prepare yourself for some warm summers.
In fact, when you visit Charleston in the summer, you may wonder how people have been able to survive with the warm temperatures for all these years.
The temperatures in Charleston are going to be a little warmer, ranging from around 43 degrees to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
As you can see, the temperatures in the Charleston area don’t get relatively as low as the temperatures in Charlotte.
Although it has snowed in Charleston, it is very rare to see a significant winter storm.
The climate in Charleston will still offer four distinct seasons.
Overall, you will find that there is some similarity in the overall feel of the weather and climate in both Charleston and Charlotte.
Residents who live in the Charleston area have to prepare for slightly more difficult summers but milder winters.
Charlotte residents will get a perfect summer but have some bitter days in the winter to deal with.
2. Outdoor Activities
One of the reasons people have started to choose one area over another to live in is the access to outdoor activities in the area.
If you can live in an area that allows you to swim, paddleboard, hike, bike ride, and more, it is quite enjoyable.
This is an excellent thing for your health and your overall enjoyment and fun.
Charlotte and Charleston both have a wide range of outdoor activities to offer, so you just have to decide which is going to be a better fit for you.
In the Charlotte area, you are only twenty minutes from Lake Norman.
Lake Norman is one of the largest southern lakes in the United States, and it offers tremendous boating opportunities, restaurants, bars, and water activities.
People love Lake Norman as a vacation destination because there is just so much to do.
In addition to Lake Norman, Charlotte is very close to the mountains.
For those who like to hike and enjoy being outdoors in nature, Charlotte is a great spot.
Charleston is located next to the ocean.
You can have quick access to the Atlantic Ocean, making Charleston an excellent spot for those who like to boat.
The general terrain is relatively flat as this is a seaside city, so you won’t have as easy access to the mountains.
If you enjoy freshwater as opposed to saltwater, you will want to stick with Charlotte.
3. Cost Of Living
The cost of living in Charlotte is almost identical to the cost of living in Charleston.
This means that your ability to afford to live in Charleston will be about the same as it is to live in Charlotte.
Overall, the downtown area of Charleston is going to be a bit more expensive than Charlotte.
There are areas in and around Charlotte that will have a lower cost of living simply because of the different types of homes around the Charlotte area.
Essentially, there are some more affordable areas around Charlotte than there are around Charleston.
If you are moving from one of these cities to the other, that will mean that you will not see too many changes in the way that your day-to-day life is handled or managed.
As you get more involved in choosing a specific suburb or town, you could end up feeling as though the cost of living differs a bit between the two cities.
The cost of living in Charleston is about four percent higher than the national average.
The cost of living in Charlotte is about five percent lower than the national average.
These differences are not extreme, but they are significant enough that it makes sense to consider them when choosing where to live and work.
The overall cost of living in both Charlotte and Charleston is not extreme in any way, so choosing an area like this could help you keep your finances in check and feel more balanced about the way you are spending your money.
The average salary in Charlotte is a bit higher than it is in Charleston.
Those who live in Charleston will have a salary of around $61,000 on average.
The average in Charlotte is closer to $70,000.
There are quite a few reasons behind this, and it is essential to understand how this salary rate will impact the overall cost of living in Charleston and Charlotte.
The main reason that salaries are higher in Charlotte is that this is a big city.
The city has quite a few new large companies that are involved in finance and tech, and these will have very high average salaries.
This brings up the top end of the salary range in the Charlotte area.
Charleston is an older historic city with a much smaller population.
Since the population in Charleston is not relatively as high, larger companies do not tend to come to the area and set up their campuses.
This means that a lot of the jobs in Charleston are more tourism-based and not necessarily finance and tech like you will find in Charlotte.
This type of job will have a lower overall salary and is partially the reason that you see these lower averages in the city of Charleston.
Overall, both Charlotte and Charleston are not necessarily known for having extremely high salaries, but instead, consider the salaries to be fair, with the cost of living and real estate prices factored in.
The unemployment rate in Charleston is around 3%.
In the city of Charlotte, you can expect the unemployment rates to be a little higher, closer to 4%.
Many of the jobs that are necessary for Charleston are in the service industry because of all the tourism in the city.
With these jobs having such high turnover, it is typically relatively easy to find a job that will work for your needs as a Charleston resident.
Overall, the unemployment rates in both of these cities are quite low and not something that residents should be too concerned with.
Try to ensure that the type of profession you are looking for will have openings in the Charleston or Charlotte area before you make your final choice.
6. Real Estate
The average cost of a home in Charleston, SC, is going to be about $100,00 higher than it is in Charlotte.
The average cost of a home in Charlotte is around $350,000, and in Charleston, that same home would be around $450,000.
The one reason that you will notice this is that Charleston is a lot smaller than Charlotte.
Because of that, the area is more condensed, and people try to live in a specific location that is close to the downtown.
When the area is preferred like this, the number of people who try to move there increases, the demand goes up, and the pricing goes up as well.
Overall, the real estate costs in both Charlotte and Charleston are rather fair, and there are some great places for people to call home.
The real estate market in both cities is very strong, and the inventory is as low as it has been in years.
Keep this in mind if you are planning on buying or selling in either of these areas.
The lifestyle in Charlotte and Charleston will also be a little different.
Charlotte is more of a modern city, and it is quite a bit bigger.
Even though Charleston is a city, it has more of a small-town feel.
When you walk around in Charleston, it is more of a quaint village-like feel, and there are times of the year when it can actually be a little quiet.
Charlotte is not quite the same.
It is a busy area, and the traffic is usually quite prominent.
You will probably end up feeling as though Charleston is really not much of a big-city type of life compared to the life you live in Charlotte.
There are positives and negatives to this city type of life, so you have to choose what works best for you and what type of lifestyle you enjoy.
Chances are you are going to lean one way or the other based on how many people you want to have around you.
The sports scene in Charlotte is a bit more involved than the sports scene in Charleston.
Remember that Charleston is known for its history, quaint feel, vibrant colors, and small bars and restaurants.
Charlotte is a bigger city with about three times the number of people living there.
The Charlotte residents are big fans of the Carolina Panthers.
Sports are big in this area, and living in downtown Charlotte will give you access to sporting events and bars and venues that allow you to enjoy sports.
If you are a person who spends a lot of time following professional sports, Charleston will have some sports bars, but it is not the same feel on game day as it would be in Charlotte.
The crime rate in Charlotte is going to be a bit higher than the crime rate in Charleston.
The reason behind this is that the Charleston area is much smaller and does not have this same big city feel.
Big cities are busy places, and there are typically opportunities for more crime.
Safety in Charlotte is not to the point that people are slowing down on moving to the area or moving away.
The area has worked on reducing the crime rate through the years, and it can only work as much as the citizens of the city will work on reducing the crime as well.
Charleston, South Carolina (Pros, Cons)
Now that you have a bit better idea as to what makes Charleston and Charlotte differ, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of living in Charleston.
Living in Charleston, SC certainly has more positives to it than negatives.
Residents will be happy to see how beautiful the city is and all that it has to offer the people who come there to stay and live.
Here are a few of the positives and negatives to consider.
1. Historic City
Charleston is a historic city.
There are quite a few landmarks in the city, and it was used as one of the first early cities in the country, along with the Savannah area.
When you spend time in Charleston, you are going to find many historic landmarks and access to historic tours.
You can spend days just learning about the history of the city if this is something that interests you.
For any American who is interested in the early beginnings of our country, Charleston is a great area to live and to visit.
If you do not live in the Charleston area or in the south, you may be interested in this area and how different it will be from other areas of the country.
2. Small Shops And Access To The Ocean
When walking around downtown Charleston, many of the buildings are hundreds of years old.
You can walk into small shops and restaurants that have been around for many years.
Another great thing about Charleston is that it is very close to the water.
If you enjoy coastal towns that will give you a view of a harbor, this is a great place to be.
There are even ferries and boat rides to take you in and around the Charleston and Mt. Pleasant area.
The Charleston area is a big stop for cruises as well.
This can be helpful if you live in the area and are looking to take a cruise, but it is also nice to know when planning vacations that you can add Charleston as a stop on your itinerary.
3. Southern Feel
Charleston has a friendly, southern feel to it.
When you walk around the town, there are horse-drawn carriages, and people are generally quite friendly.
The city has an overall positive feel to it, and it seems safe, clean, and enjoyable as a whole.
This can be said for many cities, but it doesn’t get much more southern than living in the Charleston area.
If you can’t understand a southern accent, you may want to practice before you make it to the Charleston area.
4. Small City With Limited Opportunities
One of the negatives to living in Charleston is that it is a smaller city.
If you are looking for certain job opportunities or openings, you may not have the chance in Charleston.
When we compared Charleston and Charlotte, you likely saw that these differences made Charlotte a much easier place to find finance and tech-related jobs.
If you are looking to move to an area to see what opportunities can come up, Charleston is likely not going to be your best bet.
Think about this before planning your move so that you don’t end up regretting the decision.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, NC is a very popular place in the country to live.
The city has close to three-quarters of a million residents who enjoy all that Charlotte and the surrounding area have to offer.
With access to Lake Norman just 20 minutes away, the general Charlotte area is an excellent place for people to live.
Of course, like any area in the country, there are some negatives about the Charlotte area as well.
Let’s take a look at a few of the positives and negatives of this area.
1. Access To Mountains
Access to the mountains is one of the best benefits of living in Charlotte.
The North Carolina mountains are beautiful, and they have many quaint towns, impressive hiking trails, and even waterfalls for you to enjoy.
If you like being outside and in the wilderness, this is a part of the country that you will really enjoy.
There are many people who live in Charlotte and own a small cabin or a home in the mountains as well.
With the proximity and beautiful views, mountain life is a huge benefit for those in the Charlotte, NC area.
2. Affordable Communities To Live
Another great thing about Charlotte is the fact that there are some very affordable communities to live in.
For young families coming from an area with a high cost of living, the Charlotte area has some really smart places to make an investment.
When you live in the Charlotte area, you can plan on spending quite a bit less money than other areas, yet you still get to be a homeowner.
These communities do not just offer lower pricing on the homes, but they are also enjoyable and well-kept communities that allow people to enjoy their quality of life.
3. Strong Job Market
The Charlotte area is known for having a strong job market.
Many people who attend colleges in North Carolina and South Carolina will end up settling in Charlotte.
The lower cost of living, great first-time homebuyer opportunities, and a strong job market can make a really great combination for a younger person.
In addition, the Charlotte market will attract older people looking for a bit more time to enjoy the outdoors, with mild temperatures but still want some kind of employment.
Keep this in mind if you are looking for a job or think that you may be looking to advance your career when you move to Charlotte.
The more you can understand about the job market and how it will impact you, the better the chance you have of being able to stay in this city.
4. Busy City-Like Feel
One of the negatives to Charlotte is that it has a busy city-like feel to it.
When you walk around, it will not have that same quaint neighborhood feel that Charleston has.
For some people, this is completely fine, and it will not impact them in any way.
However, for others, the fact that there are people everywhere and the traffic is heavier may be a bit of a turn-off.
Only you will know if you can handle a busy city and whether or not it will be a good fit for you.
If you can, then Charlotte will have lots of great opportunities.
If you think that a smaller town feel is a better fit, looking into Charleston would be a smarter overall decision.
We hope you now can understand some of the differences between Charleston and Charlotte.
The two cities do have a lot in common, but simply by the fact that one is a coastal town and one is not, they have quite a bit that is different.
Overall, there would be no way to say that one of these cities is better than another.
Instead, the city will have to be something that fits your needs as a place to live or even as a place to visit.
Ensuring that you understand the way the cities differ will help you make a better decision.
Overall, people are very passionate about both of these cities and generally look upon them both favorably.
If you are new to the south and looking for a place to settle, it is worth keeping both Charlotte and Charleston on your list.