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Seven Best Places to Live in North Carolina

Drone Aerial of Downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, NC, USA Skyline

North Carolina is one of the most beautiful states in America, with its lush rolling hills, vibrant cities and towns, and stunning natural scenery. It's no wonder that so many people choose to call North Carolina home.

But with so much variety across the state, it can be difficult to decide where to live. From bustling cities to small mountain towns, there are countless places throughout North Carolina that offer something for everyone.

In this article, we will be sharing the seven best places to live in North Carolina so you can find the perfect place to call home.

Why Should You Choose North Carolina?

North Carolina is known for its mild climate, low cost of living, and abundant natural resources. Whether you are looking to retire in a peaceful mountain town or start a business in the bustling city of Charlotte, North Carolina has something for everyone.

In addition to its natural beauty, North Carolina has some of the best schools in the country. The University of North Carolina system is one of the top public universities in the nation and offers plenty of opportunities for students of all ages to pursue their academic dreams.

Finally, North Carolina is home to a vibrant culture that celebrates music, art, and history. From Asheville's famous Blue Ridge Mountains to Winston-Salem's renowned festivals, there is something for everyone to enjoy in North Carolina.

For those looking to make a new home in the South, North Carolina is an ideal choice with plenty of reasons why you should choose it.

From stunning natural beauty to abundant educational opportunities and cultural attractions, North Carolina has something to offer everyone.

Top 7 Places to Live in North Carolina

Here are the top 7 places to live in North Carolina according to US News and World Report:

1. Charlotte

From healthcare to technology, Charlotte is an economic hub in the south. With a vibrant nightlife and plenty of cultural attractions, it’s no wonder why this city is top on the list of places to live in North Carolina.

Also known as the "Queen City," Charlotte is home to the NFL's Carolina Panthers and NASCAR's Hall of Fame. So you can enjoy a football game or take a tour of the museum dedicated to American motorsports.

Now when it comes to housing and expenses, it might be a higher price tag than most but with all the benefits that come with it, you get your money's worth. Being one of the top cities in North Carolina, Charlotte is a great place to live.

Population: 879,709

Median home price: $425,000

Average rent: $1,667

Average income: $65,359

2. Raleigh

Right after Charlotte is Raleigh, the state capital of North Carolina. This beautiful city is filled with plenty of history, culture, and natural landscapes.

The city provides you with all the amenities needed while being surrounded by nature such as lakes, hiking trails, and other outdoor recreational activities. Known to be one of the fastest-growing cities in North Carolina, you can enjoy many retail and dining options in the area.

When it comes to housing, Raleigh has a higher median home price than Charlotte but still provides you with plenty of different options. So when searching for a place to live in North Carolina, Raleigh should be high on your list.

Population: 469,124

Median home price: $486,500

Average rent: $1,630

Average income: $69,720

3. Greenville

Thanks to the low population density, Greenville offers a mix of small city life and rural charm. It is known for its low cost of living, moderate climate, and the robust job market. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in the area like fishing, camping, hiking, and golfing.

The downtown area has many restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues to explore, while the outskirts of town offer a more relaxed, rural lifestyle. Greenville is also home to several universities and colleges, such as Furman University and Clemson University.

The median home price in Greenville is relatively low compared to other cities in North Carolina. This can be a great option for those looking to purchase their first home or settle down in a smaller city.

Population: 88,700

Median home price: $351,450

Average rent: $887

Average income: $42,612

4. Durham

Known as the "City of Medicine" due to its large medical research and healthcare industry, Durham is home to Duke University, the largest private employer in the city.

The city also has a strong economy based on the banking, finance, technology, and manufacturing sectors. With an abundance of parks and green spaces, Durham offers ample outdoor recreational opportunities for its residents.

With its mix of urban and rural attractions, Durham is one of the fastest-growing cities in North Carolina. The city also boasts a vibrant arts scene with numerous art galleries, music venues, and performing arts facilities.

Durham is known for its diverse population and rich cultural heritage. The city offers something for everyone so you can find a variety of activities to enjoy.

Population: 285,000

Median Home Price: $500,000

Average rent: $1,594

Average income: $61,962

5. Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is another great option for those looking to relocate to North Carolina. With its vibrant arts and culture scene, Winston-Salem offers plenty of attractions and activities for residents to enjoy.

The city also boasts a thriving economy with many high-profile employers in the area such as Wake Forest University and BB&T. Also, there are several recreational greenways for exercising outdoors. You can unwind at Bailey Park or enjoy Wake Forest University sports events.

One of the best parts about living in Winston-Salem is the cost of living. With an average monthly expense of $6,000 and a median home price of $320,000, it’s an incredibly affordable city to settle down in.

Plus, residents get to experience all four seasons each year! From summer festivals to winter snowfalls, Winston-Salem is the perfect place to experience all the perks of living in North Carolina.

Population: 250,000

Median Home Price:$320,000

Average rent: $1,203

Average income: $47,000

6. Asheville

Asheville is a charming city located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. With its vibrant and diverse culture, Asheville has attracted people from all over the world.

The small city is home to many great local businesses, restaurants, bars, and breweries that give it an eclectic flair. The Biltmore Estate and North Carolina Arboretum also make great opportunities to explore the city.

Asheville also boasts plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, biking, and skiing which make it the perfect place for people who love to explore.

Though living in Asheville is a bit pricier than most North Carolina cities, with an average monthly expense of $8,000 and a median home price of $524,000.

However, residents get their money’s worth with the wide variety of attractions and activities. Plus, the stunning mountain views make it worth every penny.

Population: 95,000

Median Home Price: $524,000

Average rent: $1,686

Average income: $53,000

7. Wilmington

Wilmington is a vibrant city that embraces its colonial port town vibes and quaint downtown along the Cape Fear River. There are several pristine beaches like the Wrightsville Beach and Oak Island that you may enjoy.

But that's not all, it continues to expand with newcomers choosing to make this great place their home each year.

Wilmington is bursting with youthful energy thanks to the vast student population of UNC-Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College, as well as a continuous stream of college graduates.

Thanks to less population density and a wide variety of housing styles, this coastal city offers some great deals on homes. If you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere with plenty of activities to engage in, then Wilmington, NC should be at the top of your list.

Population: 117,000

Median Home Price:$570,000

Average rent: $1,654

Average income: $51,137


With so many great cities to choose from, North Carolina is a wonderful place to call home. From bustling metropolitan areas to small mountain towns and coastal villages, you can find something that feels just right for you in this diverse state. Whether you’re looking for an affordable home, a vibrant arts scene, or plenty of outdoor activities — North Carolina has it all. With so many great cities to see, it’s easy to see why North Carolina is one of the most popular places to live in the US.


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