I feel like I have committed a mortal sin, and my sentence is to be served out in Charlotte, North Carolina. As someone who travels around the world (and writes about it) it is ironic that I have ended up in a place that has so little to offer. Many people have chosen to flee the people’s republic of New York (among other northern cities) in search of new horizons. I am one of those northerners. They are being sold a story of a better life in the new world; where things are cheap, communities are safe, and milk, honey, and BBQ sauce flows from the streams. Charlotte looks great on paper, but when you peel the layers the truth comes out..
Let me first address the obvious question many will ask. With all these bad things in Charlotte, NC why are you still there? My simple answer to this is “We are working on leaving”. I am not just a disgruntled northerner that just wants to bash the south. It is I see the worst aspects of the north permeating the area, while the good things never made it down. The list below mentions the “top ten things I hate about Charlotte” but I can probably go on for at least 30.
Traffic in Charlotte, NC is awful
The city is growing by leaps and bounds, yet somehow very little is being done to alleviate the traffic problem. I used to think the Long Island Expressway was terrible, now I am on 77 and at times I feel like I can walk to work faster. The side streets are even worse, with countless cheap condos being slapped up the roads rarely grow in size. Somehow the roads simultaneously stay the same and yet they are always under construction. By construction I of course mean 5 miles of cones, followed by two fat guys staring at a hole while eating a sandwich. By the time anything actually gets completed, our population has doubled and we need to start over.
Crime in Charlotte is spinning out of control
Who knew that Charlotte was more dangerous than New York on a per capita basis? Our murder rate is 49 so far this year, double that of last year. In terms of population that is higher than many cities in the country. I had the pleasure of being a victim of crime twice last year (car break ins). It is funny that people leave for safer havens only to be confronted with a worse situation.
The Food in Charlotte is Atrocious
Probably the number one thing I hate about Charlotte, NC is the food. I run another site, Eatitcharlotte.com, which is a food blog reviewing local restaurants. Charlotte is not known for anything food wise. We are a southern city, yet our BBQ is terrible. We don’t have seafood like Seattle or pizza like New York. What you do get are ton of chains. Any half way decent place clones themselves until their fifth franchise is just a muddled down version of the first. Our ethnic food is also a joke, there are no decent Chinese or Indian restaurants to speak of and that goes double for Italian restaurants. When something new opens it is a fusion restaurant that copies the latest gimmick that is running around the country. I am counting the days before we get our first Croughnut. Food wise the city has no identity.One positive thing I can say is that the food is better than Myrtle Beach and that is not saying much.
This is ironic because one of the reasons I left New York was due to the terrible weather. I never thought I would miss snow until I spent a July in Charlotte. The heat is terrible and it gets incredibly expensive due an enormous A/C bill. I also feel like the winter should be cold. Nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit more than a brisk 80 degree December day. Well at least we don’t have tornadoes or hurricanes…oh wait! Charlotte was hit with a major hurricane some years ago which did extensive damage, so it does happen. As for Tornadoes, take a look at my home below. I lived through one, meaning I was inside my home when a tornado ripped the roof off. That was about as much fun as playing dodge ball with hand grenades.
Charlotte’s City Government is a Joke
So, we have terrible traffic, high crime what do we need to spend money on? Let’s send a couple of hundred million dollars to the billionaire owner of the Panthers. Who needs new school books when we can have a shiny new soccer stadium? The things the city government spends OUR money on borders on lunacy. A trolley that goes literally 2 miles which has done nothing to revitalize. The Charlotte government builds little trains while people spend their lives in traffic. I guess you don’t need a car to get to the rock that the city government lives under. What is even funnier is that our former mayor was arrested for bribery. Nice to know there is good mix of corruption and incompetents. The city government is one of the major things I hate about Charlotte NC, because it affects so many other areas.
Charlotte is a Cultural Wasteland
I have seen first grade walls with finger paintings thrown across them that have better art work then what is in Charlotte museums. One day my wife and I literally visited all the museums Uptown in an afternoon. The experience was atrocious. Very few well-known artists or historic pieces. It is like they held an open call to furnish the museum and only two people showed up. At least we were spending our money wisely when they decided to build the Nascar Hall of Fame. Who needs a Van Gogh when you could see a wrecked car?
Charlotte’s Local News Is Awful
One of the main things I hate about Charlotte, NC is the local news. I get the fact that most local news is bad, but we take the cake. I have been on the news twice and can honestly say that these reporters need some training. Charlotte news is like the mother of a fat kid who always gets picked last for sports, posting on Facebook. No matter how bad it is they are cheerleaders for the town. Everything in the city needs recognition, no matter how small or mundane. They feel the need to talk things up to avoid the truth coming out. Someone needs to tell the local news that if Charlotte wants to be a world class city it should act like one. Instead it depends on the news to boost its self esteem.
Prices are increasing in Charlotte, NC
I have listed seven things I hate about Charlotte, NC and I feel like I have just gotten started. One thing that surprises me is just how expensive it is getting here. I was promised a cheaper standard of living; compared to New York and San Francisco it is cheaper ….in some areas. It is hardly as cheap as it used to be, people realized that droves of Northerners brought their check books and started charging accordingly. Drink prices in particular have gotten out of control. I have paid $20 a drink at a sub-par establishment because I wanted to taste alcohol in my cocktail. Home prices are slowly creeping to become on par with New York as well. Our taxes are still cheaper (although we paid $500+ for a car tax). Unfortunately, given the generosity of the Charlotte city government it won’t be long until we are on par with New York here also.
Charlotte is not Walkable
One thing I like about a bigger city is you can walk from one neighborhood to another. I easily walk several miles in other places and hardly realize I have switched neighborhoods. Charlotte on the other hand, is broken up into sections. Each area is so spread out that you need a car (and to find parking) in each. Even if you did want to walk from one section to another, it wouldn’t be recommended due to crime or a road system set up to stop pedestrians. The result is I either need to go to the same two bars/restaurants or I need get in my car to find someplace decent (and fight for parking).
Charlotte is Boring
Finally, I hate that Charlotte lacks Energy. Every city I go to has a “feel” or “energy” of its own. My relationship with Charlotte is like that couple who got married at 18 and realize they never had anything in common. The city is boring, there are very few interesting to do or see. It is a city that is just going through the motions. Every event or festival (I’m looking at you Greek Festival) is all hat and no saddle,. Meaning it is overhyped and it under delivers. I am sleeping just writing about this.
I am not sure if this list is a vent or a warning. If you have never been to Charlotte, put it last on you list, behind Aleppo. If you are planning on moving here…come on down! I will always need someone to rent out my condos when I leave.