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Old 10-25-2009, 06:06 PM
7,105 posts, read 9,701,079 times
Reputation: 2564


Originally Posted by Matt_11 View Post

Hello coastalgirl - I'll answer your questions below, and thanks for the candid reply without needless focus on the typo!

Were you interested in the family activities in our area? Yes, I'm interested in what kind of family activities Charlotte has to offer over Raleigh.

Or what makes Charlotte a good place to raise a family? Yes, that is a good way to frame it. What makes Charlotte a great family town.

What is it that turns you off about Florida, and why don't you want to stay in Chicago? Florida seems to be full of creeps (watch the news lately?) - not to mention I think the neighborhoods are way to cookie cutter type, all the houses look the same. Chicago is a stressful city to live, and gets way too cold.

What types of activities do you enjoy as a family (other than nightlife and cultural events)? We enjoy carnivals, block parties, festivals - things of that nature.

How long of a commute time are you willing to commit to? To the airport ? 30 minutes.

Do you need to be close to the airport, since you will be flying to Chicago for work? Yes

Do you want to be in a public school system, or are you planning on private or homeschool? Public.

Let me outline a perfect family neighborhood.

- you can leave your doors open and not worry.
- your neighbors know who you are and say hello when they see you.
- kids on every block.
- everybody on the block keeps an eye out for the kids.
- houses don't all look the same.
- when someone needs help, everybody pulls together and pitches in.

Thanks !
Serious now. Maybe #2. #3 definitly. All the rest--IMO no.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:15 PM
445 posts, read 1,021,716 times
Reputation: 188
I have lived in both places, but was just a little kid when I lived in Raleigh- but I do visit fairly often. Again, I think they are both great places to live. Charlotte is larger, and the downtown (uptown to Charlotteans) is nicer than Raleigh. There are some great suburbs and smaller towns on the "outskirts" that have most of the things you are looking for. Harrisburg is a small community right across the Mecklenburg County line in Cabarrus County. It is near major highways (I-485 and 85) with pretty easy access to the airport. There is still a "small town" feel and the schools are good. Mint Hill and Matthews are also "towns" within the Charlotte metropolitan area that still have a "small town" feel with the convienence of the city close at hand.

Charlotte has a number of festivals and many of the small towns have their own festivals as well. There are some nice parks, there is Carowinds - a large amusement park with a water park, there is a Whitewater rafting center (it's pretty new and very impressive) with a climbing area as well. Charlotte is about a 2 hour drive to the mountains which are very beautiful. You can also drive to the South Carolina beaches in about 3 hours.

Charlotte also has a nice uptown area with some nice dining and entertainment options ( although the restuarants and theater won't rival Chicago). There is a professional basketball team and football team ( though neither are especially strong right now) and a minor league baseball team in nearby Ft. Mill, S.C.

Charlotte has a strong faith community if you are a church-goer. There are lots of youth sports leagues from low-key rec/church leagues to more competitive club/AAU types if that is something your kids like.

One great thing about Raleigh is you are only about an hour and a half from the beach. Raleigh is, of course, the capital of N.C., so there is the state government and lots of emphasis on state politics. N.C. State University is located in Raleigh and two other well-known universities, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University are close by. With all the universities, the population of Raleigh tends to be more educated than the average place.

There are some nice museums in Raleigh and the state fair is held there every year. It is smaller and more "cerebral" than Charlotte and a little more traditionally "southern" in my opinon. Charlotte is more business-oriented and has a more modern urban feel.

I think you may just have to visit to make a decision.
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:27 AM
6,270 posts, read 9,995,686 times
Reputation: 4723
Originally Posted by Matt_11 View Post
Sorry Lumbollo for the offensive Typo - no your wrong, I did look up on the map.
Don't bother replying to me again, I didn't like the arrogant tone of your post - gee I sure hope all North Carolinians dont have your attitude.
Trust me Matt, you ARE NOT the only one that feels this way (about the poster you are talking to). It amazes me how some folks can't help others without insulting or attacking them (which is against city-data's TOS).

Anyways, welcome to Charlotte!!! I am sooooo glad that you are interested in our city. I honestly feel that Charlotte is "less of a step down" from Chicago than Raleigh (eventhough they both are pretty big steps down). In Charlotte (as you probably have guessed) you will find more of your typical medium-large sized city. Raleigh is kinda on the medium-small size. This leads to Charlotte having a more urban "big city" downtown area with the weekend nightlife that you and your wife are looking for.

Here are some videos of Uptown Charlotte at night.

YouTube - urban charlotte YouTube - Bobcats game night

YouTube - urban charlotte YouTube - urban charlotte

Add to this the fact that Charlotte has the ONLY major Theme Park in the state and it CLEARLY becomes a question of larger city (more to do) vs smaller city (less to do). Check out these videos of Charlotte's Theme Park (Carowinds).

YouTube - Cedar Fair Carowinds Carolina Cobra POV

YouTube - Carowinds Top Gun

YouTube - Nighthawk at Carowinds

MANY folks will tell you that Charlotte is less family oriented. Honestly, the suburban/family neighborhoods of Charlotte are no different than the suburban/family neighborhoods of Raleigh (or any city for that matter). This is why it is best to visit both towns first. I stress visiting both because there are quite a few folks (that I know personally) that never stepped foot in Charlotte and chose Raleigh. I know they had never stepped foot in Charlotte because I see the reaction on their faces the first time they finally make their way down to Charlotte (after already living in Raleigh for a year or two). It is a look of "if only we had known". Don't be one of those "if only we had known" people Matt. Do your family a favor and visit both places. That way, there are NO surprises.

Also, go grocery shopping in both cities. Visit the most popular malls of both cities. Check out the daily flights to Chicago both cities offer. Don't just take my word for it. DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! Trust me, what I am telling you will make perfect sense the more you research which city will suit your needs and wants the most. Both places offer nice family oriented neighborhoods. Charlotte just so happens to offer this with a "plus". That "plus" is more things to do and see. This is why another poster said Charlotte is more of a "real city". It really is compared to Raleigh (no offense to my Raleigh people, just being honest).

Last edited by urbancharlotte; 10-26-2009 at 03:42 AM..
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:36 AM
4,010 posts, read 8,926,101 times
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Originally Posted by Matt_11 View Post
.....What is it that turns you off about Florida, and why don't you want to stay in Chicago? Florida seems to be full of creeps (watch the news lately?) - not to mention I think the neighborhoods are way to cookie cutter type, all the houses look the same. Chicago is a stressful city to live, and gets way too cold.....
This seems like a broad generalization for a state that stretches from the tropics to Georgia. The Northern parts of Florida are very similar to the Carolinas and nothing like South Fla. This would be like looking at South Chicago and then commenting on Schaumburg.

Raleigh is over 3 hours from Charlotte by automobile. As a practical matter I don't think that because both are in NC, a state that is close to 600 miles across, you can find people who are familiar enough with the family life of both to tell you which is better. Most people who have moved to the state, moved to one or the other city and don't know much about the other. And natives won't discuss this in terms that matter with outsiders because they wouldn't understand.

However I will tell you, as a native, that given your questions, that both places are fine for raising families. In fact, in the vast suburbia that surrounds both, you probably couldn't tell which city you are in. Like everyone else has said, you will need to come here if this is what you need to decide.
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:05 AM
Location: Charlotte
2,447 posts, read 6,643,522 times
Reputation: 1389
To see some of the festivals and cultural events in Charlotte check out these websites Charlotte Culture Guide and Charlotte's Got A Lot

Also this thread - October 2009-Events-Fun things to

I agree that both cities are good for family life. Of course in both cities you will find the usual kid places Chuck E. Cheese, Build-a-Bear, indoor play places (Monkey Joe's etc). Sports leagues, gymnastics and dance classes, girl and boy scouts, YMCA programs.

Here are some links for things in Charlotte

Public Libraries -lots of children's activities

Children's Library in uptown
ImaginOn- "ImaginOn brings stories to life through extraordinary experiences that challenge, inspire and excite young minds"

Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Children's Theatre of Charlotte creates award-winning professional theatre for families and provides exceptional classes and summer camps for ages 3-18.
Discovery Place Science Museum in uptown
Discovery Place KIDS will open next year
Discovery Place, Inc. strives to create innovative solutions to meet the needs of families in our ever growing region. Our community’s highest rates of residential growth and concentrations of families with young children are found in outlying municipalities such as Huntersville to the north, Matthews to the south, and counties surrounding Mecklenburg.

Discovery Place is responding by developing a new museum model to meet the needs of families with children birth through second grade. Discovery Place KIDS, created by Discovery Place, Inc, will be a network of community-based children’s museums located in the fast-growing suburbs of Mecklenburg and the surrounding counties.

Discovery Place KIDS aspires to maximize the whole child by providing extraordinary and rich play experiences that value imagination, fun and learning.
Charlotte Nature Museum

Charlotte Parks and Recreation (http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/Park+and+Rec/Home.htm - broken link) Parks, greenways, nature persrves and recreational places including Ray's Splash Planet
Ray's Splash Planet is unlike anything in the Carolinas!! Ray's includes a one-of-a-kind water park with fun-filled features AND the Planet is home to a state of the art fitness center with an aerobic & dance room, cardiovascular theater, free weights and resistance equipment.

Ray's Splash Planet, owned and operated by Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, is a regional attraction open to residents of other counties and states as well as citizens of Mecklenburg County. There is a discount on admission and memberships for Mecklenburg County residents.
Carolina Raptor Center


Plaza Fiesta Playground (http://www.plazafiestacarolinas.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=105&Item id=58 - broken link)

U.S. National Whitewater Center

In nearby Mooresville - Lazy 5 Ranch, Drive Through Animal Park with over 750 animals.

Last edited by NCgirl; 10-26-2009 at 09:55 AM..
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