Newcomer's Guide to Charlotte

Welcome to the Queen City! Feel free to use this guide as a resource to explore all the things Charlotte has to offer in regards to settling in and enjoying one of the country’s fastest growing cities to live in.

Even after getting settled, check back to get information about your new city’s growth, events, and more because Charlotte’s "Got A Lot" to offer!



City of Charlotte
Photo: City of Charlotte (Twitter)
Queen City Notable Facts:
  • Charlotte isn't known as the "Queen City" for nothing. It's named after Her Majesty Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg and was founded on December 3, 1768.
  • The first Belk store is opened by William Henry Belk on E. Trade Street on September 26, 1780. The chain in Charlotte grew to include more than 400 department stores across the Southeast.
  • By March 3, 1835, Charlotte was the gold mining capital of the United States. President Andrew Jackson signed law authorizing Charlotte as a site for a branch of the U.S. Mint, so coins could be made without transporting the gold to a Mint far away. Architect William Strickland designed the classically-styled building on West Trade Street. 
  • On April 18, 1865, Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, arrived in Charlotte with his Cabinet after the fall of Richmond. He found out about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln while standing on South Tryon Street. There is a plaque that marks the spot today.
  • The city's first textile factory is in the works as machinery arrived on August 21, 1880. Charlotte is the hub of a textile manufacturing region by the 1920s, surpassing the older New England area. You can still see the Charlotte Cotton Mill at N. Graham and W. Fifth streets in the center city.
  • The first electric streetcar ran from center city to Dilworth, also known as Charlotte's first suburb on May 18, 1891. Developer Edward Dilworth Latta assisted inventor Thomas Alva Edison with electrifying the line. Other streetcars to follow were in suburbs Elizabeth, Wesley Heights, and Myers Park.
  • What is believed to be the first patent use of the term "air conditioning" stemmed from an invention by Charlotte engineer Stuart Cramer on April 12, 1906. He filed patent for "Humidifying and Air Conditioning Apparatus," granted May 7, 1907.
  • Rev. Billy Graham, also known as "America's Pastor" was born on his family's farm on November 7, 1918 near what is now Park Road Shopping Center. The Billy Graham Library opened to the public on June 5, 2007, on Billy Graham Parkway near Charlotte Douglas Airport.
  • In the early stages, more than 20,000 people watched NASCAR's first Strictly Stock race take place at Charlotte Speedway on June 19, 1949. At that time it was a dirt track off Little Rock Road. 
  • The first Family Dollar store is opened by 21-year-old Leon Levine at 1510 Central Avenue on November 19, 1959. The Levine family later became some of city's best-known philanthropists.
  • Stores W.T. Harris and W.L. Teeter merge to form Harris Teeter, a 17-store supermarket chain on November 28, 1959.
  • On March 4, 1962, Lake Norman, the largest of the lakes developed along the Catawba River by Duke Power, was filled with water behind the Cowan's Ford dam, still under construction. Duke also became the South's largest electric utility.
  • SouthPark, Charlotte's largest suburban, upscale shopping mall, opened on February 12, 1970. Developed by the Belk and Ivey department store families, it pulled shopper from the center city. Those flagship stores also anchor the mall.
  • With more than 600 restaurants across the southeastern U.S. by its 40th anniversary, the first Bojangles' fast food restaurant began serving customers on West Boulevard on July 6, 1977. 
  • Charlotte Douglas Airport is the second-busiest hub in the U.S. for American Airlines. On May 2, 1982, the first regularly scheduled flights took off from the new terminal.
  • Swearing in as Mayor of Charlotte, Harvey Gantt became the first African-American mayor of a major majority-white city in the U.S. on December 5, 1983.
  • Sue Myrick became Charlotte's first female mayor on November 30, 1987. In 1994, she also won election to the first of six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is known as the first Republican woman to represent North Carolina in Congress.
  • NBA team Charlotte Hornets played its first game at the Charlotte Coliseum on Tyvola Road on November 4, 1988. During the Revolutionary War, British General Cornwallis' lieutenant colonel Banastre Tarleton is said to have called this area a "hornets' nest" of rebellion.
  • At 60 stories, Charlotte's tallest building, and one of the tallest in the South, opens on October 24, 1992. NationsBank Corporate Center was designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli. In 1998 it was reinvented as Bank of America, the first coast-to-coast bank in the U.S.
  • The NFL comes to the Carolinas as the league announced that the Carolina Panthers will become the newest NFL team on October 26, 1993.
  • On September 2, 2012, Barack Obama is officially nominated as candidate for second term as U.S. president at the Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte. The city is set to host the Republican National Convention in 2020.
  • Charlotte ranks as the fastest growing Latino market in the United States says Nielsen, the media research organization on May 1, 2013.
  • Vi Lyles is sworn in as Charlotte's first female African-American mayor on December 4, 2017.

Information courtesy of

Photo: Carowinds (Twitter)

Garbage and recycling collection rules are very important and specific. If you don't know them, you may find yourself paying extra money for collection:

  • All garbage is bagged and there is no garbage outside the cart. Garbage outside the cart will not be collected.
  • The garbage cart is not on the sidewalk.
  • Tear cardboard into small pieces that will fit loosely into your cart. Please do not fold.
  • Put leaves and grass clippings in untied bags no larger than 32 gallons or in a reusable container that does not have a city logo on it. Bags will be collected and not left for reuse.
  • All recyclables are loose in the cart. Recyclables should not be bagged.

Information courtesy of the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services website

Austin Police
Photo: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (Twitter)

If you need to reach emergency services, here are some resources for you:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department 

  • Emergency: 911
  • Non-Emergency: 704-336-7600   
  • Emergency 911
  • Administration: 704-336-4174 

MEDIC Mecklenburg EMS

  • Administration: 704-943-6000

UNC-Charlotte Police and Public Safety

  • Emergency: 704‑687‑2200
  • Non-Emergency: 704‑687‑8300
  • 704-337-2306
  •  704-378-1003
  • Emergency: 704-330-6911
  • Information Hotline: 704-330-6888

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Police Department

  • 980-343-6030

Looking for places to dine in and around Charlotte?

We've tried out dozens of restaurants in and around Charlotte and have the scoop on some of the most popular restaurants! Check out our latest Menu Hopping locations below.

And view a full list of Charlotte dining options here and here.