North Carolina is no doubt one of the most exciting states in the U.S. You want festivals? North Carolina has you covered. Bars and parties? Absolutely. And don’t even get me started on the restaurant options NC has for all the foodies out there (especially the barbecue lovers).
The point is, this state pretty much has it going on—well, depending on where you are. In the latest analysis here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog, we discovered that not all North Carolina cities are created equally exciting; not by a longshot. Even among the top 50, there were 10 that stood out from the rest:
- City of Chapel Hill
- City of Wilmington
- City of Raleigh
- City of Asheville
- City of Charlotte
- Town of Matthews
- Town of Huntersville
- City of Durham
- City of New Bern
- City of Hickory
How We Created This Ranking
For North Carolina’s Most Exciting Places, we used the U.S. Census (2010) to create a list of all of the places in the state with populations of 25,000 or more, which left us with a total of 34 places. Then, we used the U.S. Census and business listing to find relevant data for the following eight criteria:
- Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
- Live music venues per capita
- Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
- Arts and Entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.)
- Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
- Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the higher the better)
- Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better)
We then ranked each place from one to 34 according to each criterion, with one being the best possible score. From there, we averaged the rankings for each place into one overall Big Deal Score, with the lowest number being our winner.
So if you think you can handle the excitement, keep reading to find out just what makes each of our top 10 more thrilling than the rest. Otherwise, feel free to head down to the bottom of the post for a look at how all 34 places in the state ranked.
3. Raleigh, NC
The capital city of NC is known as the home to North Carolina State University (hence the 32 percent of people between 18 and 34), being a part of the Research Triangle, and, of course, a whole lot more exciting things. Things like the Lincoln Theater, the Pour House, and the Red Hat Amphitheater. In fact, it was for music venues in particular that Raleigh ranked so well in our analysis, with some of the most per capita. Live music not your thing? Don’t worry, Raleigh has tons of other nightlife options, from the more clubby like Solas to straight up dive bars like The Goat.