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jae

Greensboro vs Charlotte

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I'm considering moving to NC and i'm interested in the differences between Charlotte and Greensboro. I'm interested in an area that's interesting and somewhat urban and ethnically diverse...sorta like a "small" Atlanta or D.C. But without the frenetic pace and expense...with relatively friendly people! I've heard that Charlotte has all of that, but i'm worried that Charlotte may already be too huge. :unsure: How does Greensboro stack up in comparison?!? I am a single 38-year-old and my priorities are also:

1. affordable housing

2. low crime relative to population

3. decent public transport ( I will have my own car, but it's nice to have the bus or possibly a subway/train as an option)

4. parks, gardens, and other scenic outdoor spots

5. withing driving distance of culture - concerts, museums, ethnic restaurants

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as an impartial outsider, i'd have to say you definitely need to go with Charlotte on this one. Any reason you haven't considered Raleigh?

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Well, most of what i've read about Raleigh (mainly on this site) classifies it as somewhat more conservative (and expensive) than what i was looking for. How is it really....as far as entertainment and nightlife is concerned?!

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Truth is everyone will give you a slant on where to live......everyone thinks their city is the best. I think you will be fine in any of the following cities: Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and I would even include Asheville in there, even though it is small. I guess Durham would be ok too. I don't think Charlotte is too huge yet.......I am here in Greensboro and a few months ago I visited Denver, CO wich is roughly the same size as Charlotte and it didn't seem too big or overwhelming at all. I will say though that it is out west, so it is going to be even more laid back, just in a different way. I think the economy is better off in Charlotte than here in the Triad, and Charlotte is ahead of us in several ways including mass trans.

The Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel-Hill) is very nice, but I think it is most expensive over all out of the 3 metros.

Hope this helps some. :unsure:

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I live in Charlotte, but based on your description I would say that Greensboro might be a better choice for you. It is a great city, there are plenty of confortable affordable neighborhoods near the center city, and the CBD is undergoing a nice revival. On Oct 1, the new downtown train station will open which continues with the ongoing investment there. Greensboro also benefits from being in the center of the state which means the Triangle and Charlotte are just a short drive (or train ride) away if you decide you want to visit one of those metros.

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I would have to agree with monsoon. Greensboro is located perfectly between Raleigh and Charlotte. It has that small town feel a great university and like other major cities in the state it is over-all open to all types of ideas and people.

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Understand that most NC metro areas have two types of places in them:

1. tiny pockets of urbanity.

2. vast seas of crappy sprawl.

While I believe that most of Greensboro as exemplified by High Point Rd would be improved by safely moving all the people out, burning it to the ground, and starting over - there is apparently a lot of momentum near downtown. Frankly, I feel like they are playing catchup to smaller, hipper, Winston-Salem, but the more people I run into who have been to central Greensboro recently praise it. And with the train station opening soon, that's a big asset. Local public transport is pathetic, though.

In Winston-Salem, it's downtown, West End, and Ardmore all the way. Wake Forest is a tremendous asset to the city, and the other colleges are also enriching. The rest of the city is mostly pretty sprawl with not-too-bad traffic. But it's still sprawl and is a very conservative culture that sometimes pretends to like young leaders, but only likes them if they are just like the old leaders.

I find Charlotte, full of bankers as it is, to be more conservative than Raleigh. That said, Charlotte has the most powerful center city of any in the state, the most urban momentum, and the biggest level of buy in among business and government leaders. They're mostly on the same page, and they are accomplishing a lot. Living inside the first 4 wards of Charlotte or the NODA area would be satisfying to most city types.

To me, Raleigh seems solidly middle of the road, except for some of the ideologues who all seem to roost in N Raleigh. The western half of the Triangle is probably the most liberal part of the state.

If you consider yourself truly FUNKY, then Asheville and Chapel Hill/Carrboro are probably your best bets.

There are some truly great places in just about every NC city I've been too. The challenge is that most also need to heal many of the self-inflicted wounds of bad land use planning that occurred over the last 40 years. Unfortunately, outside of downtowns, these metro areas continue to practice all their bad sprawl habits.

As for me, if I had to pick between Charlotte and Greensboro, I'd go to Charlotte.

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I have lived in both cities. I think both are milquetoast but I like Greensboro better-it seems like it may actually have a soul.

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If i had to choose a NC to live in, it would be Greensboro. Great location, nice people overall.

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Well, most of what i've read about Raleigh (mainly on this site) classifies it as somewhat more conservative (and expensive) than what i was looking for.

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You know, I am not a political person but I find it strange how people always say that Charlotte and Greensboro are more conservative than Raleigh, even though Wake county (Raleigh) barely went red and Meck. county (Charlotte) and Guilford county (Greensboro / High-Point) barely went blue last election. Now I think the Triangle as a whole is prob. the most liberal section in the state, but I don't know about the CITY of Raleigh compared to the CITIES of Charlotte and Greensboro.

Just an observation.

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You know, I am not a political person but I find it strange how people always say that Charlotte and Greensboro are more conservative than Raleigh, even though Wake county (Raleigh) barely went red and Meck. county (Charlotte) and Guilford county (Greensboro / High-Point) barely went blue last election.  Now I think the Triangle as a whole is prob. the most liberal section in the state, but I don't know about the CITY of Raleigh compared to the CITIES of Charlotte and Greensboro. 

Just an observation.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The city of Raleigh is still fairly moderate, but it leaned democratic. The confusion might come from Wake county having Raleigh's quite red suburbs as well as Raleigh itself, turning the tides.

In contrast, Greensboro and Charlotte are the only major populations in their respective counties.

Wake:

B - 177,000 : K - 169,000 out of a population of 650,000

Mecklenburg:

K - 166,000 : B - 155,000 out of a population of 650,000

Guildford:

K - 100,000 : B - 98,000 out of a population of 450,000

Asheville is a relatively liberal city, but Bumcombe county went to Bush at 52,000 to 51,000 out of a population of 200,000. Asheville's suburbs are quite a contrast to the city itself.

This all doesn't matter though, because these are all swing counties. In the 2000 election, they were the exact opposite almost. There's no way of predicting how they will turn out.

For a better picture of the situation, look at Raleigh's local government. Compared to Greensboro or Charlotte, what are the local governments doing?

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Okay, next question.....

How Hip, trendy,and exciting is Greensboro? I lived in the Washington DC area for 10 years, so i'm a bit spoiled. What types of things are there to do on a random weekend? Are there alot of "yuppies"? Is there a large middle-class? Is the work force mostly White-collar, mostly Blue-collar...equally dispersed between the two? Are there any 5-star restaraunts, trendy little enclaves similiar to Georgetown, upscale shopping like Neiman's or Bloomingdale's? Or does the place just drop off after rush-hour is over?

Don't misunderstand, i'm not knocking anything...i actually want a little of the things i mentioned... but with a touch of a laid-back feel...some of the hipness and progressiveness of the big city, with the slower pace of a smaller one. It doesn't have to be huge, just INTERSTING.

Call me greedy but i guess i just want it all! :rolleyes:

Any suggestions?!?! Help!! :(

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I am not really into nightlife, but it has been reported here that Greensboro has a good nightlife with things to do, and that it is gaining momentum.

Being the 3rd largest city in the state after Raleigh and Charlotte, I am sure there are plenty of things to see and do.

I personally find Greensboro to be very blue-collar industrial compared to the overall more yuppie white-collar feel of Charlotte. Now, I have only visited Charlotte a few times, but it felt more white-collar than Greensboro.

Someone who gets out a lot more than me can answer you on upscale shopping, dining, etc.

I will say that Four Seasons Mall is pretty nice.

I hope others won't get offended by this, but Greensboro feels more "real" than Charlotte and Raleigh........boy THAT is going to piss some people off!! It feels older, more industrial....like it has more of a past or something....

Hope that was some help.

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I hope others won't get offended by this, but Greensboro feels more "real" than Charlotte and Raleigh........boy THAT is going to piss some people off!!  It feels older, more industrial....like it has more of a past or something....

Hope that was some help.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No pissing. It's fine. I think the warehouse district in Raleigh and parts of Hillsboro street are very city-like in the same manner. What would you say about Durham though? Durham has a very old-urban feel around downtown, and the architecture branching off is generally brick buildings and retail. There's a lot of evidence of industry, with the tobacco complex and other factories scattered about.

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I am from Charlotte originally and went to college in the Triangle. While I was in college I kept hearing how great Charlotte was and how much it had changed so I decided to move back after college. What I found was a city that did change and not for the better. Whatever character it did have was lost. I like to call it a city without a soul. People keep talking about what a great downtown there is-what the hell is down there but chain restaurants/bars and a Disney-like facade? People in Charlotte slag other cities like Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Winston but at least these cities maintain their character and soul. Needless to say I left after a short period and will never return. Hugh McColl, god in Charlotte, said that his main goal was to be able look out from the top of the BOA tower and not see any ghetto (ie public housing)-I think that gives you a sense of what this town is all about. In short I like the Triad and Triangle better.

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Don't you people ever get sick of the constant dick-waving caused by these threads?

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Okay, next question.....

How Hip, trendy,and exciting is Greensboro?  I lived in the Washington DC area for 10 years, so i'm a bit spoiled.  What types of things are there to do on a random weekend?  Are there alot of "yuppies"? Is there a large middle-class? Is the work force mostly White-collar, mostly Blue-collar...equally dispersed between the two?  Are there any 5-star restaraunts, trendy little enclaves similiar to Georgetown, upscale shopping like Neiman's or Bloomingdale's?  Or does the place just drop off after rush-hour is over? 

Don't misunderstand,  i'm not knocking anything...i actually want a little of the things i mentioned... but with a touch of a laid-back feel...some of the hipness and progressiveness of the big city, with  the slower pace of a smaller one.  It doesn't have to be huge, just INTERSTING.   

Call me greedy but i guess i just want it all!  :rolleyes:

Greensboro is not hip or trendy. Most of its dining is chain retail. If you're going to be in the Triad, Winston-Salem has a far superior local music scene. You can always drive to Greensboro for a night to see a big show at the Coliseum.

If you're looking for someplace like Adams Morgan, etc., I'm not sure that such a place exists in NC. There are vestiges of it in Glenwood South in Raleigh, in downtown Asheville, in Chapel Hill/Carrboro, and maybe in some parts of Charlotte.

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I think Durham is underrated. People always poo-poo it, but I kinda like the city. I admit, I haven't been all over the city, but I have been to Durham a couple of dozen times. I think it has that industial feel like Greensboro or Winston. It would be really cool if University Tower off of 15-501 would be downtown.....it is a very downtown building. :D

Kinda getting off topic here though. :unsure:

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Greensboro is not hip or trendy.  Most of its dining is chain retail.  If you're going to be in the Triad, Winston-Salem has a far superior local music scene.  You can always drive to Greensboro for a night to see a big show at the Coliseum. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There are lots of wonderful, locally-owned restaraunts in Greensboro. :wacko: The local music scene in GSO has been hurt by not having good venues, ceertainly not from lack of musicians. This is changing though with a large, live music venue that will be soon opening downtown.

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I think Durham is underrated.  People always poo-poo it, but I kinda like the city.  I admit, I haven't been all over the city, but I have been to Durham a couple of dozen times.  I think it has that industial feel like Greensboro or Winston. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It's true: Durham is a great city, and they're really doing cool things downtown, the Am. Tob'o project and the performing arts center will really reansform the area around the ballpark. We still go there often for art, music and food. But having lived there, I'd say that until they do something real about the crime situation, we wouldn't recommend it to our friends.

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I grew up in Durham, lived there until 1995, and while I wouldn't move back to the street where I grew up I would definately move back to the city. There are many established areas that are quite charming, especially north and west of downtown. It's like anywhere else, if you buy a home in a neighborhood where the gas station down the street has bars on the windows/doors as do your neighbors you might need to consider buying an alarm for your house. I mean seriously, just use common sense and you'll be fine. Of course Southern Durham is to Durham as North Raleigh is to Raleigh, it's full of upscale cookie cutter subdivisions and shopping centers....

For the record I have never been mugged, attacked, or my car broken into in Durham. Oddly enough the only time I've had anything stolen was in Wilmington, someone stole my bookbag out of my car with all of my college books and notes in it. I was quite upset :-/ Ever since then I lock my car, even in Cary ;-p

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There are lots of wonderful, locally-owned restaraunts in Greensboro.  :wacko:  The local music scene in GSO has been hurt by not having good venues, ceertainly not from lack of musicians.  This is changing though with a large, live music venue that will be soon opening downtown.

I agree with you about the music scene, and the venues are key. There are many very talented Greensboro-based musicians. What venue is opening downtown soon? Is it another Action Greensboro project, or is it grassroots?

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People keep talking about what a great downtown there is-what the hell is down there but chain restaurants/bars and a Disney-like facade?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Not to debate this entire post, but the comment about the chain restaurants is a bit absurd. Easily less than 10% of the bars/restaurants are non-local chains. And what about the Disney-like facade? If you want to say this is true in SouthPark, or any of the sprawl areas, then I would agree completely, but most of the storefront downtowns are either from original buildings, are are built with architecture consistent with the building using "real" materials.

To me, it seems that you might enjoy Charlotte more, but certainly you would be looking at only a few areas of the city.

Charlotte has:

By the far the most comprehensive public transit system in the state, and is constructing the first modern rail based mass transit in the state.

A Neiman Marcus under construction...the only one in the state (only mentioned because the original poster specifically mentioned it) Also, most high-end boutiques that have only 1 store in the state will be in Charlotte.

The rest of the items you asked for specifically, are present in all three cities, though I would suggest that Charlotte also has the most "upscale" restaurants of the three, though I'm not sure any are "rated".

Living here, I can attest to the tremendous momentum in regards to urban infill. I believe Greensboro perhaps has more older buildings that could eventually be regenerated into housing, offices etc, but the city is still several years away before the momentum is there to see this through (just my opinion).

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What venue is opening downtown soon?  Is it another Action Greensboro project, or is it grassroots?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It will be called the Flying Anvil and will be located under the Eugene Street bridge in a former auto repair shop. Milton Kern bought the building and recruited a couple partners with night club experience to manage it. The building is currently being renovated to be an accoustically sound live music venue that will hold around 700 people. Carey Sound of Greensboro is designing the acoustics and the sound system. It is being modeled after the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill. They are targeting it to be open before the end of the year, however it may not be ready until the first of next year.

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