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A Newcomer's Guide to Charlotte

Moving to a new city is an exciting adventure filled with possibilities, but it can also be a bit overwhelming, especially when you're unfamiliar with the area. If you're gearing up to call Charlotte, North Carolina, your new home, get ready to immerse yourself in a vibrant community bursting with Southern charm and modern amenities. To help you navigate the ins and outs of the Queen City, here's an extensive guide tailored to newcomers like yourself.


The Neighborhoods of Charlotte


Charlotte is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct personality and allure. Whether you're searching for a bustling urban center or a quiet suburban enclave, you'll find a wealth of options to consider.


friends smiling near street art wall

Uptown

As the bustling heart of Charlotte, Uptown is a thriving urban center filled with towering skyscrapers, trendy restaurants, and cultural attractions. Live music venues, art galleries, and professional sports stadiums add to the neighborhood's vibrant energy.

  

South End

South End is a dynamic neighborhood known for its historic charm and creative spirit. Formerly an industrial district, South End has been revitalized into a hub of art galleries, craft breweries, and trendy eateries. The neighborhood's light rail line provides easy access to Uptown and other parts of the city. South End is extremely lively and energetic.


NoDa (North Davidson)

If you're a fan of art, music, and eclectic vibes, NoDa is the place to be. This funky neighborhood is Charlotte's arts district, boasting colorful murals, live music venues, and a thriving community of local artists. Dive bars, coffee shops, and indie boutiques line the streets, giving NoDa its unique character.


Dilworth

Known for its tree-lined streets and historic homes, Dilworth exudes old-world charm and sophistication. This upscale neighborhood offers a mix of trendy restaurants, boutique shops, and leafy parks, making it a sought-after destination for families and young professionals alike.

Plaza Midwood

Quirky and eclectic, Plaza Midwood is a melting pot of culture and creativity. Here, you'll find a diverse array of restaurants, bars, and specialty stores, as well as colorful street art and a lively social scene. With its tight-knit community and bohemian atmosphere, Plaza Midwood has a charm all its own.


Exploring these diverse neighborhoods will give you a taste of Charlotte's rich tapestry of communities, each offering its own unique blend of amenities and attractions.


Where to Eat


Charlotte's culinary scene is as diverse as its neighborhoods, with a plethora of dining options ranging from Southern comfort food to international cuisine. Whether you're craving barbecue, sushi, or farm-to-table fare, you'll find plenty of delicious dishes to tempt your taste buds.


salmon with a DishCourse menu

Soul Gastrolounge

Tucked away in Plaza Midwood, Soul Gastrolounge is a local favorite known for its inventive small plates and craft cocktails. From sushi rolls to pork belly tacos, the menu is filled with creative twists on classic dishes, making it the perfect spot for a night out with friends.


Good Food on Montford

Experience globally inspired cuisine with a Southern twist at Good Food on Montford. Located in the historic Montford Park neighborhood, this acclaimed restaurant offers a seasonal menu of creative dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.


Kindred

Located just north of Charlotte in the charming town of Davidson, Kindred is a culinary gem known for its modern American cuisine and warm hospitality. Helmed by husband-and-wife team Joe and Katy Kindred, the restaurant offers an ever-changing menu of seasonal dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.


Café Monte French Bistro and Cafe

Transport yourself to Paris with a visit to Café Monte French Bistro and Cafe. Located in SouthPark, this charming bistro offers a taste of France with classic dishes like croque monsieur, escargot, and coq au vin.


Midwood Smokehouse

When it comes to barbecue, Midwood Smokehouse is a Charlotte institution. With multiple locations across the city, including in Plaza Midwood and Ballantyne, this beloved barbecue joint serves up mouthwatering ribs, brisket, and pulled pork, along with all the fixings.


Church & Union

Located in Uptown, Church & Union is a modern American brasserie serving up creative dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. From brunch classics like shrimp and grits to dinner entrees like roasted duck breast, the menu offers something for every palate.


Haberdish

Craving Southern comfort food? Head to Haberdish in NoDa for a taste of classic dishes like fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. The cozy atmosphere and friendly service make it a popular spot for both locals and visitors alike.


Whether you're in the mood for fine dining or casual eats, Charlotte's restaurant scene has something to satisfy every palate. Check out our list of 15 must-try restaurants in Charlotte for some more ideas and options!


Where to Hang Out


After indulging in Charlotte's culinary delights, it's time to explore the city's vibrant nightlife and entertainment options. From rooftop bars to live music venues, there's no shortage of ways to unwind and have fun after dark.


friends smiling in front of Town Brewing Co. van

The Music Factory

Located just north of Uptown, The Music Factory is a premier entertainment destination featuring concert venues, bars, restaurants, and more. Whether you're catching a live show at The Fillmore, dancing the night away at Label Charlotte, or sampling craft beers at VBGB Beer Hall & Garden, there's something for everyone to enjoy.


Food Halls

Charlotte's food hall scene is booming, offering a diverse array of culinary delights under one roof. Head to Optimist Hall in the Belmont neighborhood to sample dishes from a variety of local vendors, or check out Camp North End for a unique dining experience in a historic setting.


Town Brewing Company

For craft beer enthusiasts, Town Brewing Company is a must-visit destination. Located in the Wesley Heights neighborhood, this beloved brewery offers a rotating selection of small-batch beers, along with a cozy taproom and outdoor patio perfect for relaxing with friends.


Freedom Park

If you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Freedom Park for a relaxing day outdoors. Located just south of Uptown, this expansive urban park features walking trails, picnic areas, and scenic views of Little Sugar Creek. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day soaking up the sun with friends and family.


The Wine Loft

We consider this one a true hidden gem. Known for its delicious small plates and boutique, speakeasy vibe, The Wine Loft is a fantastic place for a date, girl’s night, or to simply relax while trying one of their signature wine flights. This spot offers comfortable seating and hosts live music Thursday through Sunday. 


US National Whitewater Center

For adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts, the US National Whitewater Center is a must-visit destination. Located just west of Charlotte, this sprawling outdoor adventure complex offers whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, zip-lining, and more. Whether you're a seasoned thrill-seeker or a first-time adventurer, there's an activity for everyone to enjoy.


From lively nightlife districts to serene outdoor spaces, Charlotte offers endless opportunities for entertainment and relaxation.


Nearby Getaways


When you're ready to explore beyond the city limits, Charlotte's prime location provides easy access to a variety of nearby getaways, from scenic mountains to picturesque shores.


Appalachian mountains at sunset

Asheville

Just a few hours' drive from Charlotte, Asheville is a vibrant mountain city known for its stunning scenery, thriving arts scene, and craft beer culture. Explore the historic Biltmore Estate, hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway, or simply wander through downtown Asheville's eclectic shops and galleries.


Lake Norman

North Carolina's largest man-made lake, Lake Norman offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Spend the day boating, fishing, or picnicking along the shoreline, or explore the quaint lakeside towns of Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville.


Blue Ridge Parkway

Embark on a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America's most iconic roadways. Stretching for 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains, this picturesque route offers breathtaking views of rolling hills, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls. Pack a picnic and stop at one of the many overlooks for a scenic lunch break.


Charleston

Venture south to Charleston, South Carolina, for a taste of Southern hospitality and coastal charm. Explore the city's historic downtown district, stroll along the Battery promenade, or take a boat tour of nearby Fort Sumter. With its cobblestone streets, antebellum architecture, and world-class cuisine, Charleston is a destination not to be missed. You can also take advantage of its proximity to the beach, by taking a trip to Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, or Folley Beach!


With so many nearby destinations to explore, you'll never run out of weekend getaway options in Charlotte.


How to Make Friends


One of the most daunting aspects of moving to a new city is building a social circle from scratch. Fortunately, Charlotteans are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming spirit, making it easy for newcomers to find their tribe.


Follow Charlotte’s Social Calendar

Keep an eye out for community events and festivals happening around town. From food truck rallies to art walks to neighborhood block parties, these events are perfect opportunities to meet new people and get involved in the local community. You can stay in the loop by following checking local calendars, like Axios’ planner.


Volunteer

Giving back to the community is not only rewarding but also a great way to meet new people who share your values. Consider volunteering with local organizations or nonprofits that align with your interests and passions.


Join Tone and Tap

If you're looking to stay active and meet new people, check out Tone and Tap. This company hosts social workout classes at local breweries, combining fitness with fun in a relaxed and welcoming environment.


Try DishCourse

We wouldn’t be here unless we were part of the Charlotte community and experience! We host dinner parties for strangers based on common themes, allowing newcomers to quickly connect with others who share their interests. DishCourse can help you grow your social circle and feel at home in your new city. Each event is professionally hosted and facilitated from start to finish, taking the pressure off of you and allowing you to focus on connecting with new people.


women gathered around table holding wine glasses

Making friends in a new city takes time and effort, but with a little initiative and an open mind, you'll soon find yourself surrounded by a supportive network of friends and acquaintances.


Welcome to Charlotte!


Moving to a new city can be an exciting yet challenging experience, but with the right resources and a positive attitude, you'll soon feel right at home in Charlotte. From exploring vibrant neighborhoods and sampling delicious cuisine to embracing the city's cultural offerings and making new friends, there's so much to discover and enjoy in the Queen City. So pack your bags, lace up your shoes, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Charlotte, where every corner is filled with possibilities. Welcome to the Queen City!


Ready to make some new friends in Charlotte?


DishCourse is ready to help you build your new social circle. Head to our events page to see which events and themes we have on the calendar. Our events are small and intimate, with a focus on quality conversations and real connections.

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