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What you need to know about Charlotte

Charlotte is the largest city in the state of North Carolina. It is the county seat of Mecklenburg County and the second-largest city in the southeastern United States, just behind Jacksonville, Florida. Charlotte is the third-fastest growing major city in the United States.
Charlotte is home to the corporate headquarters of Bank of America and the east coast operations of Wells Fargo, which along with other financial institutions made it the second-largest banking center in the United States from 1995 to 2017 and the third-largest from 2017 to present. Among Charlotte’s many notable attractions, some of the most popular include the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL), the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League (USL), two NASCAR Sprint Cup races and the NASCAR All-Star Race, the Wells Fargo Championship, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Charlotte Ballet, Carowinds amusement park, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Charlotte Douglas International Airport is a major international hub, and was ranked the 23rd-busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic in 2013.
It is a major city and commercial hub in North Carolina. Its modern city center (Uptown) is home to the Levine Museum of the New South, which explores post–Civil War history in the South, and hands-on science displays at Discovery Place. Uptown is also known for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which celebrates the sport of auto racing through interactive exhibits and films.

Population: 809,958(2014)
Area: 297.7 mi²

Currency

  • The United States dollar (sign: $; code: USD; also abbreviated US$ and referred to as the dollar, U.S. dollar, or American dollar) is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792.
  • The State of North Carolina issued Continental currency denominated in £sd andSpanish dollars, with 1 dollar = 8 shillings (the York rating). The continental currency was replaced by the U.S. dollar at a rate of 1000 continental dollars = 1 U.S. dollar.

Climate

Charlotte, like much of the Piedmont region of the southeastern United States, has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with four distinct seasons; the city itself is part of USDA hardiness zone 8a, transitioning to 7b in the suburbs in all directions except the south. Winters are short and generally cool, with a January daily average of 40.1 °F (4.5 °C). On average, there are 59 nights per year that drop to or below freezing, and only 1.5 days that fail to rise above freezing. April is the driest month, with an average of 3.04 inches (7.7 cm) of precipitation. Summers are hot and humid, with a daily average in July of 78.5 °F (25.8 °C). There is an average 44 days per year with highs at or above 90 °F (32 °C). Official record temperatures range from 104 °F (40 °C) recorded six times, most recently on July 1, 2012, down to −5 °F (−21 °C) recorded on January 21, 1985, the most recent of three occasions. The record cold daily maximum is 14 °F (−10 °C) on February 12 and 13, 1899, and the record warm daily minimum is 82 °F (28 °C) on August 13, 1881. The average window for freezing temperatures is November 5 through March 30, allowing a growing season of 220 days.
Charlotte is directly in the path of subtropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as it heads up the eastern seaboard, thus the city receives ample precipitation throughout the year but also many clear, sunny days; precipitation is generally less frequent in autumn than in spring. On average, Charlotte receives 41.6 inches (1,060 mm) of precipitation annually, which is somewhat evenly distributed throughout the year, although summer is slightly wetter; annual precipitation has historically ranged from 26.23 in (666 mm) in 2001 to 68.44 in (1,738 mm) in 1884. In addition, there is an average of 4.3 inches (10.9 cm) of snow, mainly in January and February and rarely December or March, with more frequent ice storms and sleet mixed in with rain; seasonal snowfall has historically ranged from trace amounts as recently as 2011–12 to 22.6 in (57 cm) in 1959–60. These storms can have a major impact on the area, as they often pull tree limbs down onto power lines and make driving hazardous.

Language

As of 2010, 89.66(7,750,904) of North Carolina residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a primary language, while 6.93(598,756) spoke Spanish, 0.32 (27,310) French, 0.27 (23,204) German, and Chinese (which includes Mandarin) was spoken as a main language by 0.27 (23,072) of the population over the age of five. In total, 10.34 (893,735) of North Carolina’s population age 5 and older spoke a mother language other than English.

Safety

The crime rate is rather low, but still be careful. If you are uptown, the biggest worry is auto theft/break-in, which is hardly rampant. Violent crime is relatively rare in the central district, as well as the affluent southern side of town. The most dangerous areas are the west and east sides.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) almost always maintain a visible presence in crowded areas. If you have trouble, look for an officer. Note that in certain parts of the city the police are deployed on bikes as well as cars.

Health

Charlotte is not a good allergy city, due to the abundance of flowering trees and greenspace.
Smog has become an increasing concern in recent years, as the city becomes more populated and in turn hosts more auto traffic. Local authorities monitor ozone levels and make public announcements when “vulnerable” groups (children, the elderly, etc.) are at risk. These announcements are carried on local television, radio, and newspapers.
North Carolina is known as “Tobacco Road”, and cigarettes are almost ubiquitous in Charlotte. However, due to changing attitudes about smoking, North Carolina passed a law that went into effect in January 2010 banning smoking in all bars and restaurants in the state. It is still legal to smoke on the street, though you may want to be considerate of others if you are in a crowded area. Smoking is also permitted at most nightclubs provided they do not serve food. At concert venues (such as Bobcats Arena) there are outdoor decks for smokers.
In general, it is a good idea to be polite about smoking… whether you smoke or not. If you smoke, try to do it in an area in which others won’t be bothered by it. If you are a non-smoker, be aware in advance of whether you will likely be bothered by smoke in a particular place. In North Carolina people tend to be much less sensitive to smoking than in other parts of the country, so you will likely be received with a bit of bewilderment if you make a scene about it.

Economy

Charlotte has become a major U.S. financial center and the second largest banking center in the United States (after New York City). The nation’s second largest financial institution by assets, Bank of America, calls the city home. The city was also the former corporate home of Wachovia until its 2008 acquisition by Wells Fargo; Wells Fargo integrated legacy Wachovia, with the two banks fully merged at the end of 2011, which included transitioning all of the Wachovia branches in the Carolinas to Wells Fargo branches by October 2011. Since then, Charlotte has become the regional headquarters for East Coast operations of Wells Fargo, which is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Charlotte also serves as the headquarters for Wells Fargo’s capital markets activities including sales and trading, equity research, and investment banking. Bank of America’s headquarters, along with other regional banking and financial services companies, are located primarily in the Uptown central business district. Microsoft’s East Coast headquarters are located in Charlotte.
Charlotte has nine Fortune 500 companies in its metropolitan area. Listed in order of their rank, they are: Bank of America, Lowe’s in suburban Mooresville, Nucor (steel producer), Duke Energy, Sealed Air Corp, Sonic Automotive, Family Dollar, SPX Corporation (industrial technology), and Domtar (in suburban Fort Mill). The Charlotte area includes a diverse range of businesses, including foodstuffs such as Chiquita Brands International, Harris Teeter, Snyder’s-Lance, Carolina Foods Inc, Bojangles’, Food Lion, Compass Group USA, and Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (Charlotte being the nation’s second largest Coca-Cola bottler); motor and transportation companies such as RSC Brands, Continental Tire the Americas, LLC., Meineke Car Care Center, Carlisle Companies (along with several other services), along with a wide array of other businesses.
Charlotte is the major center in the U.S. motorsports industry, housing multiple offices of NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord. Approximately 75% of the NASCAR industry’s race teams, employees and drivers are based nearby. The large presence of the racing technology industry and the newly built NHRA dragstrip, zMAX Dragway at Concord, are influencing other top professional drag racers to move their shops to Charlotte as well.
Located in the western part of Mecklenburg County is the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which consists of man-made rapids of varying degrees, is open to the public year-round.