Transience is a common denominator for many Charlotteans. You’re from New York, he’s from Ohio, she’s from Atlanta, and so on.
It’s no secret that our city is an amalgamation of many who offer their “Oh, I’m originally from ___, but I’ve been in Charlotte for 2 years” without hesitation. Probably no surprise for anyone who jumps from one banking city to the next…
However, calling the Queen City “Home” is something that more and more are starting to wear as a badge of honor.
What is so magnetic about this city? There’s no real “I’m a Charlottean” pride for anyone who lives here… at least not like that of NYC or maybe the entire state of Texas. We don’t call our city a dream vacation spot – But there seems to be a glint of something that is catching on with more and more of the populace.
I guess I’m one of those.
I had the astute pleasure of moving to Charlotte in 2009 (guess we’re already reminiscing about good ol’ 09), moved to Atlanta in 2013, and just moved back in early June of this year. It was just too difficult to stay away from Price’s Chicken Coop, man. It’s the only place I’ve lived where “love” was the descriptor I would use after living here for a few months. It immediately became MY home. I wanted it to be. I let it be. It was just oh-so sweet and bustling with newness.
For old time’s sake, let’s jump back to ’09. A few hotlist items come to mind –
- The Duke Energy Building wasn’t even completed. No awesome colors shining through a rainstorm just yet.
Going to miss this place dearly. A photo posted by Benjamin Getz (@thebengetz) on
- The Penguin was still THE Penguin. RIP.
- Amelie’s blew every single UNCC and CPCC student’s mind. 24-hour bakery with free Wi-Fi. Win.
- A Gallery Crawl in NoDa was the pièce de résistance for Friday night entertainment.
- No Hornets yet, friends.
Now, let’s fast forward to today –
- King of Pops has enlightened every corner of Charlotte on the magic of their gourmet popsicles.
- We now have a Ramen restaurant in South End. What?!
- Apartments. Everywhere.
- University City is literally its own city.
- 485 is a perfect loop and looks pretty on Google Maps. Hooray.
- The Knights play in Uptown now and it’s amazing.
And so much more that I could fill up an entirely different story. Suffices to say that Charlotte has grown up quite in a bit in the past 6+ years. But what is this je ne sais quoi about Charlotte that contagiously makes transient folk into perma-Charlotteeans?
I can break it down into two rather tangible factors –
(1) Charlotte is an inherently welcoming city. It felt exactly the same back in September of 2009 as it did in June of this year. Passing by all of those day lilies at the NC Welcome Center is like a bright, warm hug. The Uptown skyline is stunning and everyone knows how pretty it is. There’s nothing about this city that feels like a clubhouse. If you’re in, you’re in. If you leave, you’re always welcome back. Just like your grandma’s kitchen table.
(2) Anyone can be a part of how (quickly) Charlotte is growing. You don’t have to be a “cool kid” to be in the know. It’s fun for everyone to cheer on the Knights in Uptown. Everyone can watch in awe as South End grows. Newcomers and old-schoolers alike can enjoy the perpetually burgeoning brewery scene. The list goes on and on. There’s something for everyone here.
To live in Charlotte, move away, and then move back is pure bliss.
I feel proud to have been a part of a pivotal time in Charlotte’s growth and now? Boy, oh boy, are we going somewhere. Just imagine what the next six years will hold for the Queen City – more local businesses popping up, small neighborhoods ending up on the mainstream radar, and even a 26-mile bike trail.
If history is a predictor of the future, it’s going to be fantastic for Charlotteans old and new.