Charlotte is North Carolina's largest city. It's best known for its mix of cosmopolitan flavor and charming Southern hospitality. Charlotte is also a major player in the financial industry – most people are surprised to learn that it's the second largest financial center in the U.S. after New York City. If you're looking for apartments in Charlotte, here's what you need to know:

The basics
The average rent in Charlotte is $840 per month across all rental types, while a one-bedroom rental averages $740 per month and a two-bedroom apartment costs an average of $885. Charlotte also has a pretty high vacancy rate – about 5 percent – which means it's a renters' market and you might be able to bargain on your rental price.

When you're ready to move, you should get a Right of Way Use Permit, which is free of charge and available through the Charlotte Department of Transportation. There's really no bad time to move in Charlotte – it has a temperate climate, unlike the Deep South, so summers aren't blazing hot.

Having a car in Charlotte is a must, but luckily, parking is readily available and inexpensive. Also, commute times are generally pretty short compared to other major cities.

The neighborhoods
Charlotte proper is spread out, with around 700,000 people in 297 square miles. Here are some of the top neighborhoods for young professionals:

  • Center City: If you want to live right downtown, Charlotte's Center City has four distinct wards, all of which are a bit pricier than other neighborhood options. One of the best for housing is the First Ward, called the "Garden District," which has everything from studios and lofts to single-family homes with rooftop patios and cozy porches. Third Ward is also a hip neighborhood for young people. It has high-rises and townhomes, and it's right in the middle of all the best entertainment and dining.
  • South End: This former industrial neighborhood southwest of downtown now boasts apartments and lofts in renovated mills and factories. It's a bustling destination for entertainment and shopping.
  • NoDa: North Davidson – the Art District – is northeast of the city center and brimming with galleries, music venues, theaters and hip condos and apartments.
  • Elizabeth: This neighborhood is southeast of downtown and has many charming historic homes and large old trees. It's idyllic and also close to the city center. Most major hospitals are located here.

Insider tips
Charlotte is named after Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III of Britain, and it's still often called the Queen's City by locals. Also, be prepared to be enchanted by locals' geniality – "Well bless your heart!" is a common refrain here.