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  • Writer's pictureSarah Albiston

Remarkable Retirement Destinations: Charlotte, NC

As dreams of a relaxing and fulfilling retirement start to become reality, many seniors decide they want a completely new place to live – a retirement destination. With its mild climate, accessible location, and dynamic sports, cultural, and dining scenes, Charlotte, NC easily sits at the top of the list of best places to retire in the U.S.

#1: Charlotte ranks high as a top retirement destination.

Charlotte, North Carolina, is consistently ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the best places in the U.S. for people 55 or older to retire. Boasting a rich history and a thriving economy, Charlotte is the cultural, economic, and transportation center of the surrounding metro area.

As home to the corporate headquarters of Bank of America, Truist Financial, and the east coast operations of Wells Fargo, Charlotte is well-known for being the second-largest banking center in the U.S.

It is also home to several leading colleges and universities including University of North Carolina – Charlotte, Davidson College, Queens University of Charlotte, Winthrop University, and Belmont Abbey College.

With a lower than average cost of living, and reasonable housing and real estate prices, Charlotte boasts six Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) in the metro area, including Generations at Shalom Park.

#2: Leading-edge healthcare is supported by top teaching hospitals.

The Charlotte area is filled with several magnet hospitals, making it possible to find medical specialists for anything that you might need.

Carolinas Medical Center is the flagship hospital of Atrium Health. It serves as the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and is an approved transplant center for heart, kidney, pancreas, and liver. It has been named a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News & World Report 4 years in a row, making it Charlotte's best-ranked hospital. They also serve as one of North Carolina’s 5 Academic Medical Center Teaching Hospitals, providing residency training for more than 200 physicians in 15 specialties.

Other top 10 hospitals in Charlotte include:

  • Carolinas Healthcare System - Pineville

  • Carolinas Healthcare System - Union

  • CaroMont Regional Healthcare Center

#3: A mild climate, four seasons, and endless outdoor activities.

When it comes to climate, Charlotte offers ideal weather, with few extremes. Moderate and pleasant, with an annual average daily temperature of 71 degrees (high) and 49 degrees (low), Charlotteans are big on the outdoors and enjoy their four distinct seasons.

The gently rolling hills of central North Carolina offer breathtaking places to explore and plenty of things to do in and around Charlotte. Here are just a few...

McMullen & Lower McAlpine Creek Greenway:Mecklenburg County made a decision years ago to unite the city of Charlotte via a web of parks and green spaces. They've poured lots of money into the project, and the result is something beyond amazing. Over 30 miles of greenways have been developed, and almost 150 miles are still being planned. The greenway system is quickly becoming the country's finest and proudly welcomes people of all ages and abilities.

Lake Norman: With 520 miles of shoreline and a surface area of more than 32,475 acres, Lake Norman is where Charlotte's water lovers come to spend summer weekends. Located just north of Charlotte off I-77, it is the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. Fishing abounds, but if you're not having any luck, several "float up" restaurants like The Rusty Rudder are easy to find.

The Charlotte Museum of History: The museum educates visitors about the settlement of the Carolina Backcountry and the ideas and events that led to the American Revolution. As the steward of The 1774 Hezekiah Alexander Home Site, The Alexander House is the last home of a framer of North Carolina’s 1776 Constitution and Bill of Rights and the oldest surviving house in Mecklenburg County. It is consistently ranked as one of the top places to visit in Charlotte.

#4: Enjoy a vibrant, diverse, and award-winning dining scene.

There's plenty to “do” in Charlotte, but if your idea of fun is a great meal in a welcoming spot, then you will love it here! One of the main reasons behind Charlotte's reputation as a gourmet destination is that it is home to the famed Johnson & Wales University. Culinary students from the university are often employed by local restaurants, making the Queen City’s cuisine hard to beat.

The best culinary reviews testify to Charlotte's outstanding cuisine. Check out these articles and be prepared to drool!

Conde Nast Traveller:

Food and Wine:


#5: Charlotte's professional sports scene has taken off.

In 1988 the Charlotte Hornets debuted as the area's first NBA basketball team, changing the reputation of Charlotte as only a NASCAR town. Then in 1995, the Charlotte Panthers became the area's first NFL team. With the buzz around Michael Jordan buying the Hornets in 2010, and the Panthers making it to the Superbowl in 2003 and 2016, sports fans are waiting not-so-patiently for a major championship win.

Charlotte soccer fans have also been doing a bit of waiting - for the first season of the Charlotte Football Club. Originally expected to start in 2021, CFC fans will have to wait until 2022, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, to see their team's long-awaited first kick-off.

In total, nine professional and semi-professional sports teams call Charlotte home, including the Charlotte Knights, a minor league baseball team of the Triple-A East and the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Other sports you can find in the Queen City are hockey, lacrosse, indoor lacrosse, women’s soccer, and indoor football.

#6: You'll have plenty of reasons to welcome visitors!

One other reason that makes retiring in Charlotte a smart idea is that it is close to so many things. Here are approximate driving times from Downtown Charlotte:

Charlotte Douglas International Airport – 15 minutes

Asheville, NC – 2 hours

Blowing Rock, NC – 2 hours

Brevard, NC – 2.5 hours

Chapel Hill, NC – 2 hours

Durham, NC – 2 hours

Myrtle Beach, SC – 3.5 hours

Raleigh, NC – 2.5 hours

Sugar Mountain, NC – 1.5 hours

Wrightsville Beach – 3.5 hours

Whether you want to host friends for a long weekend or take a family vacation, living in Charlotte puts you close to mountains, city, country, or the ocean. As the saying goes, you'll only run out of things to do if you want to. As a retirement destination, Charlotte will give you plenty of reasons to keep busy or to simply enjoy the moment.

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Good Words on Senior Living is my newest blog column. Topic by topic, I'll do my part to inform, demystify, and clarify this industry for you. If you have any specific topics you would like me to cover here, email me at and I will do my best to help.

#GoodWords #senior housing # retirement industry #senior living #copywriting #Charlotte, NC #retirement destinations

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