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urbanvb

Differences in Raleigh and Charlotte

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I am curious your thoughts and perhaps perceptions of the differences in the Queen City and the Capital City. Most obvious to me is one is much more urban than the other. Charlotte is a banking town whereas Raleigh is the tech capital of NC. So what other differences exists? Are Charlotteans more/less friendly than Raleighites? Which has better drivers and why do ya think? Does Charlotte feel more southern than Raleigh? This thread is not to bash one city but rather to explore the differences of both. Discuss.

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I am from New Orleans so I could be wrong because I am not from there, but when I think of Raleigh I think of fancy words like coorporate, executive, etc. (mainly ALL business). But when I think of Charlotte I think of words like upbeat or nightlife, but at the same time it maintains its business reputation. In a nut shell I think Raleigh is boring because they haven't been able to master the art of being a business city and an exciting city (which Charlotte has).

I think of Charlotte showing more southern hospitality (friendlier) and southern charm. (Due to the business thing again). Drivers: I've been to both cities and Charlotte has CRAZY drivers (coming from New Orleans) and Raleigh has bad drivers too, but not like Charlotte. :P I feel that people in Raleigh never take time to smell the roses, while Charlotte can smell roses and check stocks at the same time....

Charlotte is more dangerous, which is a downside.... Charlotte's crime rate was 8,829.6 and Raleigh's was 7068.2 (almost like New Orleans). I think of Charlotte as being more "ghetto" than Raleigh. I also think it is more southern, not just because it is practically in S.C. I can't really find the exact words, but people in Charlotte are just more laid back.....

One thing they have in common is that they are BOOMING cities and growing rapidly fast!!! I love both cities though, nothing against the other, I just like Charlotte better because there is always something to do!!!

This is coming from an outsider, so I'm not sure what North Carolinians think....... :D

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I think the main diffrence in Charlotte and Raleigh is the fun factor,the type of crowd,diversity,and buissness. Charlotte is to me a way more diverse place than raleigh. Raleigh is just....boring i had no fun at all when i was there, theres not even a theme park there. Buissness in Raleigh and Charlotte is great just one city has a lil more boom than the other. Charlotte has lots of attraction and hopefully another major one coming this year(NHOF). Raleigh has a couple attractions i think. One thing Charlotte does lack is a major university, and another HBCU would be nice to. Many Charlotteans make up the triangles population. Both cities are growing fast and show no signs of slowing down. What is Raleighs boom based on?

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I guess it would depend too on what you like to do. If you like clubs and such Charlotte sounds like the place with more to offer (perhaps more night life) but on the other hand I understand Raleigh has more museums to those who really enjoy that sort of thing.

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I guess it would depend too on what you like to do. If you like clubs and such Charlotte sounds like the place with more to offer (perhaps more night life) but on the other hand I understand Raleigh has more museums to those who really enjoy that sort of thing.

Your exactly right. It does depend on what your interest are. Raleigh is the state capital and therefore seems to have a more political flair to it. It is more democrat than republican. Along with the universities the "Triangle" as the Raleigh is called, has more of an open attitude then Charlotte. I dont think people in the Triangle will be overly concerned with what church you go to, if you go at all. Church seems to play more of a role in Charlotte.

If your looking for quaint areas with art galleries and coffee shops both cities offer them. The only difference would be that Raleighs is centered more around the colleges and Charlottes have just evolved over time.

Charlotte seems to want to be as big and important as she can be, which I personally love. Its fun to watch the city change.

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I very well could be wrong - but my initial impression is the economic base. Charlotte's is primarily white collar as is Raleigh, but is mostly centered in their downtown. Raleigh's is a combination of academic & government - mostly centered in downtown but mostly in a suburban mega-office park.

Which to me lies the potential for either city developing an urban core - Charlotte would still be most favorable, as it is already in that direction.

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Charlotte's is primarily white collar as is Raleigh, but is mostly centered in their downtown.

I don't know about primarily, but a decent amount..... (I might be wrong)

Raleigh is more democratic than Charlotte, but both cities and counties went Kerry.....

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I have a few questions regarding the two areas as well:

Which of the two areas is more friendly to us "yankees" moving in? I hear that Cary, NC has a special nickname regarding that :whistling:

Is Nascar an OVERWHELMING influence on Charlotte (or just the Concord area)? I am not particularly a race fan, and I see that Charlotte is home to many racing companies in addition to the speedway.

I plan to make a trip down late November, so I would like to concentrate on one or the other.

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I have a few questions regarding the two areas as well:

Which of the two areas is more friendly to us "yankees" moving in? I hear that Cary, NC has a special nickname regarding that :whistling:

Is Nascar an OVERWHELMING influence on Charlotte (or just the Concord area)? I am not particularly a race fan, and I see that Charlotte is home to many racing companies in addition to the speedway.

I plan to make a trip down late November, so I would like to concentrate on one or the other.

1) Both cities are Yankee friendly.

2) No. I am not a NASCAR fan, but if you want it, you can have it. If you don't you would never know it existed, outside of the once a year speed street, and the traffic that can be a pain north of the city.

(Most Racing teams converge in the Iredale County/Moorsevelle area. Charlotte/ Mecklenburg can not lay claim on having that many raceing teams in the county and city.)

Hope this helps,

A2

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1) Both cities are Yankee friendly.

2) No. I am not a NASCAR fan, but if you want it, you can have it. If you don't you would never know it existed, outside of the once a year speed street, and the traffic that can be a pain north of the city.

(Most Racing teams converge in the Iredale County/Moorsevelle area. Charlotte/ Mecklenburg can not lay claim on having that many raceing teams in the county and city.)

Hope this helps,

A2

I was hoping that was the case, because I like Charlotte better so far ;)

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My preference is for Charlotte because it is close to the mountains. Good for skiing in the winter and getting away from the heat in the summer. Charlotte is also surrounded by 3 lakes which is good for boating which is my summer hobby. I have family in Myrtle Beach which is also closer to Charlotte.

I think RDU is a bit more sophisticated than Charlotte.

If the two cities were states then Charlotte = Texas and RDU = California, if that helps.

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I think RDU is a bit more sophisticated than Charlotte.

Totally agree. Education of the population up here (in the Triangle) is on another level as well and the people tend to be a lot more interesting. Actually Raleigh is in decent proximity to a couple of lakes (Jordan, Falls, Kerr, Gaston). We are closer to the coast (2 hours to Wrightsville, 3 hours to Atlantic Beach). There were better hiking options living in Charlotte as I could be at the South Mountains State Park in about 1.5 hours and the Asheville area in a couple of hours. I can still get to Stone Mountain from RDU in about 2 hours (leaving early in the morning).

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Waring! This became a lot longer than I expected, and isn't as organized as I'd like, but compares the two in a number of ways whose relevance/importance depends on the reader.

I've lived in both cities, Charlotte from 77-84, Raleigh from 91-present (and Durham from 89-91) and

I have family in Charlotte so visit there a few times a year.

Charlotte and Raleigh are more "regions" than pure cities, but the city of Charlotte covers a lot more

physical land than the city of Raleigh, wheras the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill/Cary/Johnson Co./etc. "metropolis" covers more land than Meck/Cabarrus/Gaston counties, making Charlotte feel more "urban".

I don't think as a whole one city is more friendly -- both cities have parts that are more and less friendly than others. The state as a whole feels more friendly to outsiders than the rest of the south, except maybe Atlanta and Orlando.

Charlotte has had a lot of money go into it via the banks. Charlotte has more of a rivalry with Raleigh than the other way around. It has blue collar roots, from being a transportation crossroads, first trade routes, then later trains, followed by the interstate system (I-85 and 77). To me, there is a sense of need for something newer, shinier, which is both good and bad. This fall marks the opening of the third major arena in the city limits, with the first (now Independence arena) and second (Charlotte Coliseum, out by the airport) still appear to have usefullness right now. Shopping (at least malls) there have taken a similar path, with older suburban stalwarts like Freedom, Outlet Square/midtown, and Eastland giving way to shiny/new/further from the CBD areas like Birkdale + Concord Mills/UNCC/77 corridor to the north, and Carolina Place/Ballentine/Piper Glen and the two new malls coming online. South Park is the only area to successfully stay relevant, though it is now the same in name only compared to how it was when I was there. Again this can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. This has led to some dead/decaying areas, surrounding the malls mentioned before, and along some corridors like Independce and South Blvds. Some areas, like parts of 51, woodlawn, etc. seem to be in perpetual flux, though that may be just my quick drive throughs. Other areas, like Myers Park, Quail Hollow, and now uptown, are

growing as big money meccas.

Charlotte feels "cheated" (maybe rightfully so?) because it thinks the legislature throws more cash Raleigh's way since that's where it conducts business. But they did what was needed to go from double A baseball (charlotte O's) and a lost hockey team (the first iteration of the Checkers) to land the Charlotte Hornets, which really put the city into another league (well technically the Assocation). Getting the Hornets, and the years of consecutive sellouts, led to a lot of outsiders to not write off the area as "country folks". When NFL followed, coupled with the 90s rise of NASCAR, and in recent years the Wachovia PGA event, Charlotte cemented itself as a major league sports city in the late 20th/early 21st century. It has "liberal" pockets (like North Davidson) but the combination of banking, trucking, NASCAR, Waffle Houses, and Krispy Kreme gives the area a conservative feel, represented by mayors Myrick, McCroy.

Raleigh's problem and/or benefit is that it is just one leg of the Triangle. It is the largest leg, due to being the capitol city and home to NC State. Durham has a history for its tobacco, which begat both it's former recognition as "black wall street" and the Duke family funding it's namesakes university. Chapel Hill is home to the country's first public university, which has given it over 200 years of tradition to fall back on. Carolina and Duke have also fostered an environment of liberalism, which is countered by the conservative climate inherited by the engineering and agriculture programs at NC State.

Charlotte also has a collection of colleges -- UNCC, J.C. Smith, Queens College, CPCC, and now J&W. Ralegih itself has NC State plus Shaw, St. Augustines, Peace, and Merideth, and Durham has NC Central.

The triangle population has a high percentage of residents with at least a bacheolor's degree, due to the schools' alumni putting roots down and the Research Triangle Park. RTP is the source of all the high tech jobs -- IBMs largest non-HQ presence, Cisco systems, the EPA, Glaxo Smith Kline, and a lot of smaller tech-driven companies. Unfortunately, this also lead to the area being so spread out, with three downtowns, county governments, etc.

Until the 90s (and to an extent to today), the triangle's cities compete with each other instead of working together. Where Charlotte had the original Coliseum, the triangle had several smaller arenas. Since these arenas (Reynolds at NC State, Cameron Indoor at Duke, eventually the Dean Smith center at UNC) were on college campuses, they were more showplaces for the universities than their cities or the region as a whole.

The popularity of college athletics in the triangle came at the price of scaring off professional sports.

The Durham Bulls were only single A, the lowest in professional baseball, but were well supported by hometown fans and inspired the movie Bull Durham. That movie gave Durham the backhanded compliment of most popular minor league, the biggest fish in the small pond. Many sports franchises have come and gone, including the one season/zero wins Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks of the World League of American Football (which morphed into today's NFL Europe), an arena football team (the carolina cobras, which moved to football-friendly Charlotte (which lost an earlier AFL team, the rage) when the hurricanes became the pro team of choice), a couple of minor league basketball teams, a women's soccer team (lost when that league folded), and a minor league hockey team, displaced by the Carolina Hurricanes/former Harford Whalers. The Hurricanes moved here due to the vaccum of pro sports, and attractive demographcis, with a lot of northern transplants in the area. The town of Cary is sometimes jokingly referred to as a Concentrated Area of Relocated Yankees, and parts of North Raleigh are "IBM Ghettos". Of course hockey purists pointed to the move south as what is wrong with hockey, and the combination of sub-par talent (minus the stanley cup run) and NHL lockout led to a lot of questions about the franchise's future, but it seems committed to the area, for now.

Retail in the Triangle has been somewhat lackluster, though it has the first shopping center in the southeast in Cameron Village, which is still vibrant today. The area's first enclosed mall, North Hills, has recently been reinvented as an outdoor lifestyle center. Four of the area's other older malls (Crabtree, Cary Town Center, Northgate, and University) have done a good job of changing with the times. Only one mall has been razed, South Square, which was "replaced" by Soutpoint a few miles to the south, with convienent interstate access.

Since Durham got Soutpoint, Raleigh had to get a new mall too, in the form of Triangle Town Center. They both have outdoor main street mimicing components, Soutpoint received the state's first Nordstrom, and TTC eventually landed the first Saks Fifth Avenue between DC and Atlanta.

Museum/culture wise, it's a bit of a toss up, with the Triangle having the NC Museum of Art, History, and Natural Sciences, Exploris, a "global experience", galleries at the universities and in the downtowns. Charlotte has the Mint Museum and Discovery place, and some devloping artist areas. Raleigh is the home for the NC Symphony, and both cities have several touring broadway shows come through town.

Charlotte's money has recently attracted a varitey of restaurants, while the triangle holds its own with institutions like the Angus Barn, Fearington house, complimented by a concentration of eateries in Durham and Chapel Hill. Raleigh has been slow to the table, but its downtown renissance has produced a wave of unique restaurants.

I need to go home, and have written a lot more than I expected, but wanted to contribute!

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Yes, I usually don't like long threads, but that was about the best synopsis of any two areas I have ever read!

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Shopping (at least malls) there have taken a similar path, with older suburban stalwarts like Freedom, Outlet Square/midtown, and Eastland giving way to shiny/new/further from the CBD areas like Birkdale + Concord Mills/UNCC/77 corridor to the north, and Carolina Place/Ballentine/Piper Glen and the two new malls coming online. South Park is the only area to successfully stay relevant, though it is now the same in name only compared to how it was when I was there. Again this can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. This has led to some dead/decaying areas, surrounding the malls mentioned before, and along some corridors like Independce and South Blvds.

Just a couple of things to add to this. You're absolutely right about Freedom mall being irrelevant, and Eastland mall probably has at least one foot in the grave already. Outlet Square/Midtown, however, is finally on its way to becoming an important part of the city. It's easily one of the most exciting infill projects happening right now.

The other point is that the South Blvd. corridor will have LRT operating by 2007. The project will hopefully eliminate the blight along South, increase density, and provide more urban options for people who don't want to pay Uptown prices. So I don't think it's fair to call the area "dead."

Oh, and I also disagree with your summary of the museum situation. Raleigh is way ahead of Charlotte in terms of museum offerings. When it comes to the arts, Charlotte gives off a sort of "We'll get to that later" vibe, which frustrates a great deal of people.

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I just found the thread on the Midtown redevelopment and it looks like it will be quite something! I saw my first rated R movie at that theater, Rodney Dangerfield's Easy Money, because Jaws 3D was sold out. It is a shame that things have to get so bad before they get better.

I only went to that mall once or twice, because Eastland was a lot closer, and Mom and sister were

big into ice skating. I'd like to go through both of those areas now, and the old house (a mile or two south of east meck high school) but dad doesn't like to (or have to) venture too far from his place near the sc line off "old" lancaster highway.

I vaguely remember Queens Park being a drive in, and then one of the first large multiplexes (who can see all 8 or 10 movies???) and the HUGE arcade, the Lionel Toy Warehouse, the putt-putt near zayers/heckengers/not sure what it is now, even the water slide (zoom flume? four lanes that just kind of curved into a pool, on the west side of a steep part of south blvd a mile or so north of the 485 intersection). We used to play on the par 3 course/driving range where the Winn Dixie and Walmart are (were?). Celebration Station kind of fills the putt putt and driving range now south of 485.

I remember a small mall closeish to South blvd, (on tyvola? was more of an enclosed strip mall than a "real" mall?) that is now a costco I think.

My dad used to have an office near Woodlawn and South blvd, and he's showed me where a lot of buildings between South and Old Pineville were taken down for the train. It is kind of ironic that the car dealerships on the southern end of South blvd sold even more cars that choked the road in front of their bigger/better/shinier salesfloors. Since widening South Blvd was never going to be a viable option (and a lot of through traffic uses I-77 instead), it seems businesses gave up on the traffic hassels in the area north of the dealerships. I really hope the train (as a car supplement or replacement) does wonders for the area, but time will tell.

The arts in general in charlotte do seem to lag raleigh -- Ovens Auditorium vs. Raleigh Memorial is hardly fair, though I've heard Blumenthal (sp?) is nice. I vaguely remember Spirit Square from my two years at First Ward elementary, but I guess nothing happened with that? We went to a few Pops in the park at the freedom park bandshell (is that still there?) I agree that for a city the size of Charlotte, that is not nearly enough.

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I remember a small mall closeish to South blvd, (on tyvola? was more of an enclosed strip mall than a "real" mall?) that is now a costco I think.

I believe that was called the WestPark mall. When it opened in 1977, I think, it was bound on either end by a Richway dept. store and a Kroger Save-On. There is a very similar NorthPark mall at Eastway & Tryon. It's still there, but Richway (later bought out by Target) and Kroger are long gone.

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I was reading in the Triangle forum today that the city expects to double their population in the next 10-15 years which really is staggering. Anyone have any idea where Charlotte expects to be at that same time period ?

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whereas Raleigh is the tech capital of NC

i keep hearing that but am confused a bit here. I am a software engineer who relocated here from NY. When I was in the process of choosing a city to relo to, my main criteria was "how many tech jobs" there are.. Raleigh PALED in comparison to how many programmer/dba/software engineer gigs were in Charlotte!!! I mean in the banks alone I think there are more techie gigs than in all of Raleigh.

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i keep hearing that but am confused a bit here. I am a software engineer who relocated here from NY. When I was in the process of choosing a city to relo to, my main criteria was "how many tech jobs" there are.. Raleigh PALED in comparison to how many programmer/dba/software engineer gigs were in Charlotte!!! I mean in the banks alone I think there are more techie gigs than in all of Raleigh.

Well actually I don't believe that to be the case. The two big banks employ a total of 32-35K people in the CLT area and they can't afford to have a huge # of this population doing IT work. But lets be very generous and say they have a total of 10K IT people between the two of them. Compare that to just IBM in the Triangle. RTP is their largest location in the world and they have about 15,000 people employed there and I dare say that a much much higher percentage of these people are in the IT field.

You description of PALED means you don't really understand what is going on in both areas or this was a boosterism post based on opinion which we frown on here.

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I was reading in the Triangle forum today that the city expects to double their population in the next 10-15 years which really is staggering. Anyone have any idea where Charlotte expects to be at that same time period ?

The stats that I have put Charlotte/Mecklenburg at 1,000,000+ by 2012. The Charlotte Metro Region will be at roughly 3,500,000 in 15 years.

A2

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Well actually I don't believe that to be the case. The two big banks employ a total of 32-35K people in the CLT area and they can't afford to have a huge # of this population doing IT work. But lets be very generous and say they have a total of 10K IT people between the two of them. Compare that to just IBM in the Triangle. RTP is their largest location in the world and they have about 15,000 people employed there and I dare say that a much much higher percentage of these people are in the IT field.

You description of PALED means you don't really understand what is going on in both areas or this was a boosterism post based on opinion which we frown on here.

my observation was based on job reqs for new jobs. i didn't take into account current jobs you are correct. as far as new jobs go though, i stand by the statement that charlotte has far more new tech job reqs coming out than raleigh.

*EDIT

just another note in regards to this. you mentioned IBM, you might want to check up on the latest layoff/offshoring numbers coming out of IBM.

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