Monday, September 17, 2007

Charlotte vs. Portland: A comparison

Charlotte and Portland, OR are frequently compared to one another, thanks to their similar populations and demographics. Also, both are experiencing a boom in high-rise condo construction in their center cities.

This past weekend, while visiting friends who moved there from North Carolina, I found myself pondering those factors that comprise a city’s "quality of life," the factor that keeps newcomers pouring into Charlotte in droves – much faster, in fact, than they’re flowing into Portland, according to Census statistics. Some thoughts:

--Scenery. Both cities are blessed with great natural beauty. Within 20 miles of Portland, we visited the Columbia River Gorge, with stunning vistas and waterfalls easily accessible from the highway. On clear days, Mt. Hood and Mt. Saint Helens are visible on the horizons. It takes a bit longer to drive to the N.C. mountains, but the Oregon mountains don’t have the same fall leaf-viewing season we do because so many of their trees are evergreens, my friends tell me.

--Public transportation. Portland’s system is much more extensive, with a combination of buses, light rail and streetcars. It’s also extremely bicycle-friendly. My Portland friends bike or take trains most places. The transit system is well-used there, probably due to a combination of dense development and a high environmental consciousness among residents.

It remains to be seen how well-used Charlotte’s first light-rail line will be when it opens as expected this fall along South Boulevard, but it’s hard to imagine this city will be anywhere near as bicycle-friendly as Portland anytime soon.

--Weather. Most of the weekend was gray and cool – typical, I’m told, for Portland. There’s no doubt the Charlotte area gets more sunshine – but we also get more extreme temperatures, particularly our summer heat.

--Greenery. Both cities have formidable tree canopies. I was particularly impressed by how many Portland houses had elaborate flower gardens in their front yards. Charlotte is also blessed with a long and abundant gardening season, but I don’t see as many front-yard gardens greeting the passers-by here.

--Fashion. It was a far cry from the buttoned-down bankers-and-churchgoers that dominate much of the public scene around Charlotte. I saw lots of T-shirts, fleeces, jeans, shorts and sandals or flip-flops – and plenty of body art too.

--Food. While Charlotte probably has a similar range of choices now, they’re more scattered about and a bit harder to find. On my final night in Portland, my hostesses and I pondered whether we’d prefer Cuban or Lebanese food – both easily accessible and reasonably priced. I could find both of those in Charlotte but I’d have to drive a lot further. (We went with the Cuban and it was amazing).

Portland also had many great breakfast restaurants, which I enjoyed partaking, but the biscuits were terrible. I’m also told that in Portland you can’t find pork barbecue or any places where macaroni and cheese and banana pudding are considered vegetables. I loved my visit, but I was also perfectly happy to get back home and drink some sweet ice tea.

Charlotte is also frequently compared to Nashville, Raleigh and Austin. Anyone out there have some thoughts on comparisons between Charlotte and these or similar cities?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt any of those other cities have had to hire a consultant to determine why their city lacks any sort of "cool" factor (Charlotte did this, remember). That fact alone should give you some insight about the comparison between Charlotte and those other locales.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is hard when you are surrounded by church-going rednecks to have any sort of culture...

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that "body art" is considered more cultured than a three-piece-suit.

All in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. I think sometimes we let our own little biases get in the way of what we think of as "culture" (see betty bojangle's post above).

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're kidding right? There is no comparison between Charlotte and any other major cities, Charlotte is a town that thinks it's a city just because you have a few big buildings and condos doesn't make you a "city". Your "suburbs" and Charlotte seem to ignore each other when it somes to traffic and other related issues as if one has nothing to do with the other. There is next to zero culture here and the little that is present gets judged by those holier than thou types that seem to dictate what everyone thinks around here. At least places like Portland and Austin have culture and people of different backgrounds who aren't looked at with an evil eye when they stroll across the street and are allowed to express themselves. Before you start comparing Charlotte to other progressive cities please wait until the Charlotte region has the goods to back up the comparisons.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No comparison--Portland wins on every variable except, perhaps, weather. Did you notice how many people were out running, cycling, "hanging out" in Pioneer Square? Portland is a destination. Charlotte is an agglomeration of chains that lacks a clear identity. It's a crossroads where a critical mass of people have been able to congeal around economic growth. Let's hope the other good stuff trickles down over time. I'm not optimistic...

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many more blogs comparing Charlotte to city X,Y, and Z do we need? Charlotee is BORING! Charlotte is Bubbaville for people who live/love NASCAR. Honestly, how many cities have newspaper columnists that do nothing but run PR for the city?

4:29 PM  
Blogger Cato said...

The Observer has long since ceased being merely laughable in its keep-up with the Jones' mentality in writing about how we compare to other cities. Now it's just tiresome.

No, I don't think this is the greatest place in the world - and its certainly not the worst. But I also don't spend a lot of time worrying about whether someone 2500 miles away is enjoying a broader array of restaurants.

Rather than a comparison of cities, I'd enjoy reading an in-depth profile (to the extent that such a thing is possible) of someone so vacuous as to care. What are their hopes? Their fears? Do they dream of someday being featured in a glossy lifestyle magazine that will elicit winces of envy from their counterparts in Buckhead? What features did they get on their new stainless refrigerators and what do they say about their owners?

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone take Charlotte seriously?

And why are so many people moving here if it sucks so bad?

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am planning a relocation to the Charlotte area, and have been to Portland many times. There are so many differences between the 2 places. Being a CA native, my preference is Charlotte because I love the traditions of the South. Portland is very nice, but the winters are very cold, and year round, the area is too wet/damp - but only an hour's drive to the coast. Also, Portland has outrageous property taxes. These 2 cities have few parallels,

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't been to Portland but I moved here from Austin after living there for many years. Austin is a funky and eclectic town that has a deep-rooted culture of fun, music, natural beauty, and awesome food. Charlotte is much more bland and generic. It is more of a white bread or vanilla kind of town, always concerned with its image or status. I wish Charlotte had some unique defining attribute but it is just a collection of banks, condos, and suburban neighborhoods with numerous shopping centers.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we need a mayor that supports both mass transit and diversity.

It is sad because there are things to do in Charlotte, but people here need to get out of their shells, venture outside of a 5 mile radius around their homes, and GO OUT more. Too many families here. I think that is the problem. Now that downtown is finally taking off we can get more young singles who know how to have FUN. I've seen enough mini-vans for one day, UGH.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's plenty to do here, but too many people are too lazy to go find things to do. They would rather sit at home with their Wendy's value meal and watch some stupid reality TV program.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If charlotte so bad then leave and please quit comparing charlotte to other cities( that includes charlotte observer). I hope charlotte never becomes the cities mention. It does not need to become a city that already exist.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does everyone always complain about Charlotte? Stop complaining and find something to do instead of sitting on your boring ass.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are not complaining...the blog entry asked for comparisons between Charlotte and "similar" cities. We are simply making comparisons. I would argue that most of us do not dislike Charlotte but clearly the other cities mentioned do have more progressive values and more unique cultures.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlotte could be a lot more progressive. Look at the idiots who want to repeal the transit tax. That is being regressive. We also could promote diversity more. Charlotte can be very homophobic. Once people stop acting like Charlotte is a country town then we can move foward.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was 25, I felt the same way about Charlotte that many of the posters here seem to feel. Although Charlotte has gotten so much better in the last 25 years, it's still really built for raising families. I had to chuckle at the poster who said, "they're too many families here!"

Once you age a little bit (I'm 50) and no longer care so much what others think about you, the "cool quotient" has less meaning and value. Portland is lovely but economically less important than Charlotte and that will only continue to amplify over the coming years.

Economic power eventually makes a place for cool. Look at San Francisco (where I live now,) New York, even Dallas. State capitals and university towns have cool built in since young people, you know, are just so cool on their own :)

Young people, go out and make your own cool. That's the only authentic cool, you know.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Charlotte has issues because there are too many "church-goers" and "too many families."

And Charlotte is homophobic.....

As a native Charlottean, there's a reason why people move and STAY in the area.

If Church-goers and families equal boring in your mind, I've gotta wonder where your true values lie..and I'm using the term "values" loosely.

As I visit downtown, I do believe that Charlotte is quite "progressive"

If you don't like it leave, or maybe you can't because our thriving economy is not available in the other "progressive" cities that you prefer!

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep the high-paying jobs coming and Charlotte won't need someone else's definition of "cool", it'll just be wealthy which trumps some vapid definition of "cool" any day of the week.

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ugh shut up already (especially you anonymous 11:02 pm)

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Church going people are mostly uptight, bland, boring, sheltered, and homophobic. Guess that explains Charlotte.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need more liberal minded people.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlotte has more liberal-minded people than ever. You might notice that the city voted for Kerry in 2004 for President and had not voted for a Democrat for President since 1976.

Remember too that coastal cities tend to have a broader array of people from other places just because they're on the coast. Charlotte has much more diversity than ever.

Charlotte is lovely. But I understand why 25-year old gay men and lesbians despair because I once did myself.

Wealth and power is here and continues to come here. The cool will follow and has already started to do so.

And please..."shut up already" sounds like you don't have a rebuttal. Cool people can always engage in civil discourse :)

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


But, Charlotte is much more livable. The weather is better ovreall and I can afford to buy a condo (barely) uptown. Not so in Portland, I would be renting downtown.
I gotta say the thing that impressed me most about Portland was the quick drive to the mountains or coast and the acceptance of ALL people.
Charlotte is changing rapidly and I am glad for it. Moving uptown was the best thing I have ever done for myself. The burbs of Charlotte were filling my brain with mush. But I do find myself traveling up to NoDa, Central/Plaza areas quite often just to loosen up and not feel like I have to be dressed for a night club 24/7.
Charlotte should be great in 3 to 5 years. Already stores are starting to open on the weekends uptown. New retail in the condos are just around the corner. Things are looking up.

6:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question regarding this "diversity" component. What is it? What do you want? Is it only about tolerance of gays and lesbians? Purple-haired waifs asking for money like in Portland? If you want diversity, move to University City. It's got it, but most folks in Charlotte love to point out how dreadful U City is. It makes me wonder if people really want diversity.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's funny is that, because of Charlotte's economic position, it actually offers MORE opportunity to minorities of various types than so-called "progressive" cities that have stagnant economies. BET recently confirmed this by naming Charlotte the BEST place in the country to be a black businessman. The same is probably true of Latinos, GBLT, etc... money is power and Charlotte has LOTS of money.

In 20 years you're going to see a whole generation of gay men who grew up in Charlotte and became CEOs by hooking into the local business climate. That's where real progress is made (see Oprah), far moreso than some cliche' gay bar district.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again...comparing ourselves to others- who cares??? Grow up or move to a "cooler" place. I'm so sick of hearing about how Charlotte is small minded, redneck, boring, or whatever. No one asked for your apporoval If you hate it- leave!!!!

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the standpoint of a musician, examine a calendar from one of the many venues in places like Atlanta, Asheville, or Chapel Hill/Raleigh, then ask yourself why many of those bands bypass Charlotte.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlotte is great - except for the locals.

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All Charlotte needs to be cool is a vibrant Center City with a variety of entertainment for all. Cities like NY, Chicago, Portland, Atlanta, and even Memphis are "cool" because the center of their city thrives with variety and diversity. Heck, even downtown Charleston is way cooler than Uptown Charlotte. Condos and office builders are needed but, Uptown needs lots of diversity and culture.

First, I’m sure retail will follow the condos, but Uptown desperately needs brand name retail. I hope retailers such as Bloomingdale's, H&M, Gucci, A/X Armani, Theory, Via Spiga, Barnes & Noble, Nike Factory, The Disney Store, and The Discovery Channel Store will come to the area.

Second, it would be nice to see ethnic cuisines along major streets (Trade & Tryon) in Uptown. An African, Asian, European, and South American cuisine would diversity in the area. A nice Blues Cafe (BB Kings) would be great as well. Ethnic restaurants and businesses in the center of any city give it a “world class” feel. Mentioned cities are successful because they whole-heartedly embrace the world, not just their regional natives. Observer Blogs that promote North vs. South are not good for the cities desire to become international. The Civil War is over, move on.

Lastly, the area needs more museums and educational attractions would be good.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Portland is in a league of cities that include Austin, Minneapolis, & Seattle. These cities have large student and minority populations. They have thriving music and theater scenes. They are all very politically active. Overall, they are progressive places. Charlotte, on the other hand, has a long way to go before it can be compared to Portland and similar cities.

The only thing Charlotte has in common with the above cities is that it too is experiencing a downtown condo boom.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seattle has almost no minorities and Portland has even less.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bands bypass Charlotte because people don't go to shows (especially during the weeknights) unless its arena shlock rock/country. Bands, booking agents, and promoters all know this.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Main reason Portland BLOWS Charlotte out of the water,
Commissioner meeting yesterday:

"I was undecided six months ago. I'm now very much for repeal," Bishop said. Bishop said government leaders are using the transit plan to push people into high-rises instead of "houses with lawns."
"The government wants to control how you live,"

Commissioner Dan Bishop

"My constituents won't ride the buses or trains they've been paying for.
"The only rail they're going to ride is the one that goes around Disney World,"

Commissioner Bill James (AKA - Jesus)

"The light rail planners want to get away from cul-de-sacs."

Commissioner Karen Bentley

By the way, all Republicans.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlotte needs a consultant from a larger state to come here and make suggestions ; Someone from LA, NEW YORK, Toronto or Britian , somewhere that has a distinct flavor.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's get something straight:

Austin: 65% white, 16% Pacific Islander, 5% black, 4% Asian
Minneapolis: 65% white, 17% black, 6% Asian
Seattle: 67% white, 17% Asian, 10% black

Portland: 78% white, 7% black, 6% Asian
Charlotte: 58% white, 33% black, 4% Asian

Of all these cities, Charlotte is the least "white bread", defying a stereotype that seems to be accepted without question in this conversation. If anything, Portland is the city that desperately lacks diversity; its culture is almost totally centered around White Middle America's concept of "alternative", with almost no actual physical presence of minority groups.

This notion that "diversity" consists of having lots of different kinds of restaurants is, in reality, a form of racism. What is wrong with legitimate local restaurant chains like Bojangles and Showmars which are, after all, reflective of the real local culture? We don't need to import exotic cultures to replace our own; they are welcome, of course, but we don't "need" them any more than London "needs" Price's Chicken Coop.

If you really think Charlotte has no culture, I would question the breadth of YOUR cultural horizons. This cheap, Disneyland concept of "Diversity" has become a real detriment to the progressive movement, in that it makes appalling racist assumptions that are simply not acknowledged (for instance: why do we think of the nation's whitest cities as the most "vibrant" and "diverse" in spite of hard data to the contrary?).

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree 10:54 anon- as a native Charlottean who has lived in a "northern, cultured, metropolis, diverse" city I saw more racism and segregation in that part of the country than I ever saw growing up or currently living in Charlotte. If anyone thinks they are open minded just because they live in a big city, they are thoroughly misguided. It is so much easier to say that you believe in diversity when you never see or deal with people of other races or cultures. It is nauseating to hear the assumptions made by people from other parts of the country (and some recent transplants) on this issue.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The term "white bread" was used to refer to the generic nature of Charlotte's culture (e.g., Harris Teeter or CVS on every corner and the generic skyscrapers and condos downtown and the look-a-like suburban neighborhoods) not the percentage of white folks in its population. As you pointed out, Bojangles is a chain. Showmars is a chain. The Bojangles in Charlotte is exactly like the Bojangles in Asheville or any other city - these places are not unique to Charlotte. Once again, it is not simply that Austin or Portland scores a 100 on the vibrant culture scale and Charlotte scores a 0. We are simply saying Austin and Portland have a more vibrant and unique culture than Charlotte. This doesn't have much to with race. By the way, in the figures you quoted, are Austin's Hispanics (a large contributor to Austin's culture) included in the white category?

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Portland is beautiful but I'm not sure I'd call it "vibrant." I live in San Francisco and we think of it as sleepy. Austin is terrific and renowned for its music scene but you might expect that from a major state capital and home of a large university.

When I was much younger and lived in Charlotte, I also thought it was boring and sleepy. Now that I'm older and have lived in a lot of places, I place great value on Charlotte's beautiful trees, gorgeous in-town neighborhoods, glittering skyline and fabulous spring and autumn.

It's easy to avoid "church-going rednecks" in Charlotte if you want. But I know it's much easier to complain about them, sit around and make no effort to build a creative scene in Charlotte that appeals to you.

You might think again about that tricolor hair and holes and ink in your skin. Tell me again, what have you created, built, nurtured or passed down to future generations? My experience is that most people who complain endlessly about the lack of cool contribute nothing themselves to the culture. They remind me of junior-high kids who write in slam books and engage in cyber-bullying of the kids they have decided aren't cool. In reality, they are consumed by self-loathing and a burning desire to be accepted by the glitterati that will never happen for them. Most Charlotteans-the white bread type you love to scorn-are far more open and tolerant than you give them credit for.

And if all else fails, learn how to earn. If you can't beat em, join em. Money trumps everything, even the latest piercings for the tongue.

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Let's get something straight:

Austin: 65% white, 16% Pacific Islander, 5% black, 4% Asian
Minneapolis: 65% white, 17% black, 6% Asian
Seattle: 67% white, 17% Asian, 10% black

Portland: 78% white, 7% black, 6% Asian
Charlotte: 58% white, 33% black, 4% Asian

So Charlotte is more diverse because it is a city made up of primarily whites and blacks? Do you really think that's diverse?

I looked into Minneapolis and it is a top ten gateway city for immigrants. The Minneapolis area has the largest Somali, Hmong and Oromo populations and second largest Tibetan and Liberian populations in the country. In my opinion, this mixture of cultures is far more vital to a city than just white and black.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... if you want to live amongst all of that diversity and think its so great...go, leave, see ya, bye!!! Why did you move here in the first place if you think its so terrible? If you can't accept where you are for what it is or try to change it to suit your needs, stop complaining and do something about it. Again, no one asked you for your approval. You may not like us natives who appreciate this place for what it is, but you moved here, so cultivate some manners and discretion and keep your complaints to yourself. I really wish the Observer would stop baiting these people.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:57 - In the US census, "Hispanic" or "Latino" can fit into any other race group (some are considered white, some black, some Asian, some Native American), so they can't be tracked as a different ethnicity. But I think it's a fair bet that the Charlotte area has a higher percentage of Latinos than Portland or Seattle, and probably Minneapolis too. This is not a "black and white" city by any means.

So Charlotte is more diverse because it is a city made up of primarily whites and blacks? Do you really think that's diverse?

Again, there is a ghastly racist assumption behind this line of thinking. If Charlotte had a huge Latino population (like Miami) or a huge Asian population (like Honolulu) it would be lauded for its diversity. But it just has plain old black people, who are just not as exciting as other minorities. All they ever did was shape the food, music, language, and dress of the entire nation (and most of the rest of the world) in the last century. Darn, how did we get stuck with such a humdrum minority when we could've had something exciting like Tibetans or Hmong?

Again, the fact of the matter is that Charlotte is fully TWENTY percent more diverse than Portland. That is a huge number in terms of an overall population; we are not splitting hairs here, this is something that is plainly noticeable walking down the street. As another poster said, it's easy to pat your city on the back for embracing diversity when it's one of the whitest metropolitan areas in North America and experiences most of its cultural activity via upscale ethnic dining and Disneyfied minority festivals.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frankly, when I get done with college, I'm moving back to the Portland area. Yes the property tax is high, but that's only to make up for no sales tax. Plus the people are more culturally diverse and more accepting of other cultures and tastes. Plus there's no humidity (or very little), it's a quick drive to the mountains/coast/desert so that's a plus for those environment enthusiasts and families/people who just want to get away.

Plus a big thing I've noticed is when it rains here in Charlotte people freak out and there are wrecks galore. But since those who live on the West coast are used to rain (mid Oct.-May is when it rains the most) there are less accidents and I believe people drive better, weather wise.

The writer also talks about restaurants. Here in Charlotte yes there are different cultural restaurants but you usually have to drive to one part or the other of town to get to one, and Charlotte is still growing in that aspect. But Portland, when you go into the “center city” section (more homes, shops, and small businesses) you are surrounded by different cultural cuisines (Cuban, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, etc.).

Yes there are things to do here in Charlotte, but if you’re not a clubber or not into the theme parks then there some but not much. I’m still trying to find good family festivals (small, homey, welcoming feel), garage sales galore, cultural gardens (Portland has Chinese Gardens, Japanese Gardens, etc.) that not only introduce you to a different culture but give you a great place to relax and enjoy scenery.

Overall, Portland is better than Charlotte (yes my opinion, got it). Charlotte just has a long way to go before it can be truly used to compare to other cities of value.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, obviously there are pros and cons for living in any city. It would be more productive to actually do something about making this city into what you want it to be rather than whining about how Charlotte isn't this or that.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so true stacy b.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen so many people (with this article say "stop whinning and do something about it." I would say the same, yet there is only a certain amount that you can TRY to do to improve living in Charlotte, and other than that it either takes years to improve/add or it doesn't really do much and money is usually used for something not to important and should (from what I've been hearing as of late) be used towards improving schools around here and roads.

So I would have to lean towards the "whinning" side

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Portland has a vibrant downtown and is in a much prettier part of the country. Charlotte's downtown is basically just an office park. I'd rate the weather about even- Charlotte is sunnier, but the weather in Portland, even when dreary, is comfortable enough to jog/hike/bike almost every day of the year. Portland also has a lot of historic architecture and has been a decent sized city for a long time- so it feels more like a city and has a more established feel (old social clubs, old theatres, older buildings). Charlotte has more in common with Dallas and Phoenix- two towns that boomed after the advent of the automobile. In addition, Portland is a true port city because of its location at the Willamete and Columbia river. Charlotte is land locked. But Charlotte exceeds Portland in business and career opportunities.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if people that don't like charlotte move away will it be better a place?

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a sports fan, Portland doesn't come close to touching Charlotte.

Portland = NBA

Charlotte = NBA, NFL, nearby NHL, NASCAR, PGA, NCAA basketball everywhere, and MLB not too far away.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, specator sports- whoopee. In all other aspects, Portland far exceeds Charlotte. Charlotte is more comparable to Indianapolis- bland, corporate, conservative. Portland is far more authentic, prettier, closer to majestic outdoors, more urban, more artistic, better food, better nightlife, more interesting people. Charlotte is the king of chains and shopping malls. Yawn.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How nice a city is and how much "culture" is always relative to personal tatse. Never forget that! Charlotte is FULL of culture for transplanted black people, families and some others. Just as Miami is to Hispanics (and no, most Hispanics I know and grew up with never identify themselves as white, btw).
People who love Portland and Austin's "culture" usually are white or are in their twenties or someting along those lines.
I am not from Charlotte, been here for three years but I would NEVER choose Portland (I've been there) over this city any day of the week simply becuase it offer to me almost nothing, culturally speaking. Same with Austin, which IMO has to be the most overrated city in America!

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why the heck is everyone so obsessed (like to the point of hissy-fits) with their city having to be crowned the "coolest" or the most "diverse"?? All those people who supposedly want "diversity" and view it as an all-encompassing, gold-star attribute to any "cool" city, are being totally hypocritical! Charlotte and Austin and Portland are ALL different, SO WHAT!!! That's what makes our COUNTRY diverse! We live in America, you are free to choose whatever city you want to live in! If you call yourself a proponent of so-called "diversity" and then point an accusing, insulting finger at "redneck church-goers" or want to split hairs about exact population figures...well you don't sound like you are very tolerant of diversity to me!! I have always found that people who feel the need to stand on soapboxes and preach to the world about how fabulous and culturally cutting-edge they are they are for embracing "diversity" are extremely selective and actually tend to reject any culture, practice or skin color that doesn't match their paricular ideology of "diversity"- it's a bit ridiculous. I have found myself chuckling through some of the posts. Let's face it, it is politically correct to say you are "for diversity" it! Our country is great...cities ARE different and you can live wherever you want. But people are funny, so obsessed with being "cooler" than someone else! It's like they say, if you have to make such a point of being cool, then you probably aren't!

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just moved here from Los Angeles, CA to be closer to some of my friends and cheaper living. I find this place boring and when I read these remarks it makes me depressed. I am hoping to move back after my lease is up.
but I do love the south... just this city is really lacking culture and open-mindness.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to live in charlotte, and it honestly is the most boring place ive ever lived. its all nascar and country music. and if its not that, its old, ex frat boys being idiots. Downtown has nothing going on. the parks suck, no bands or shows. i moved to atlanta and was immediately impressed. plenty to do, diverse neighborhoods, and culture all over. i would suggest that you charlottans who dont like it, move to a bigger city .. like topeka, or charleston. charlotte is a small country town. thats why it's where athletes go to die. no one with any talent wants to live there either.

1:16 AM  

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