Chicago vs Charlotte

I've been researching different cities with strong finance in the US recently and have been stuck between two cities: Chicago and Charlotte.

The decision will probably be made by job offers; however, what do you guys think is the better city? All inclusive. I've read Charlotte has been huge in banking in recent years. But Chicago is the Second City... Charlotte weather would be way nicer than Chicago, but Chicago has way more things to do. Charlotte has a lower cost of living, but Chicago is actually pretty affordable.

Thoughts? (I want to go into public finance if that's any consolation)

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Comments (57)

Jul 8, 2014 - 1:36pm
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Chicago by a country mile. A world-class city that has tons of stuff to do but relatively affordable, high quality of life, clean, beautiful aesthetics, perfect summers, vibrant nightlife, tons of hot girls, etc. Charlotte is small and boring by comparison, with oppressively humid summers. The only advantage is the cost, but you get what you pay for.

Jul 8, 2014 - 2:07pm
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP, if you have 2 offers in hand and the only difference is city, I'd pick Chicago if you're young & single, Charlotte if you have a family. Charlotte's only advantage is not cost as above suggests, because of the weather (2 months of winter instead of 3 months of above freezing), there's tons of outdoor stuff to do in the downtown area pretty much all year round. the humidity is bad, but not oppressive (and before you argue, I've spent time pretty much everywhere in the South; San Antonio is oppressively hot, Mississippi is oppressively humid, Charlotte is doable), Southern girls are a thing of beauty (Charlotte definitely has a different breed compared to other places, but still quality), aesthetically Charlotte is great. travel north on Providence road, see all the trees lining the road as you enter Dilworth and eventually downtown and you'll know what I mean. All of that said, Chicago is still awesome, but I just didn't want another Southern city to get slandered here.

If you're fishing for comments, I think you're asking the wrong question. Go out there and bust your ass to get some job offers, I think you'll find that unless you have a ton of offers, it won't really come down to what city you're in, and either way, you'll have plenty of opportunities in either.

Jul 8, 2014 - 2:12pm
GoldenCinderblock, what's your opinion? Comment below:
thebrofessor:

OP, if you have 2 offers in hand and the only difference is city, I'd pick Chicago if you're young & single, Charlotte if you have a family. Charlotte's only advantage is not cost as above suggests, because of the weather (2 months of winter instead of 3 months of above freezing), there's tons of outdoor stuff to do in the downtown area pretty much all year round. the humidity is bad, but not oppressive (and before you argue, I've spent time pretty much everywhere in the South; San Antonio is oppressively hot, Mississippi is oppressively humid, Charlotte is doable), Southern girls are a thing of beauty (Charlotte definitely has a different breed compared to other places, but still quality), aesthetically Charlotte is great. travel north on Providence road, see all the trees lining the road as you enter Dilworth and eventually downtown and you'll know what I mean. All of that said, Chicago is still awesome, but I just didn't want another Southern city to get slandered here.

If you're fishing for comments, I think you're asking the wrong question. Go out there and bust your ass to get some job offers, I think you'll find that unless you have a ton of offers, it won't really come down to what city you're in, and either way, you'll have plenty of opportunities in either.

Can you elaborate on how Southern girls are different and on how one must handle them differently?
heister:

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Jul 8, 2014 - 3:33pm
Licked, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Xepa:

I think you'd find better wife material in Charlotte as well. And seriously, "cost of living" is actually a big factor if you save/invest that money. Compound returns!

I have a friend that is a SA for WF in Charlotte and he loves it there. Super cheap compared to other cities with only like a 5-10% less pay, that doesn't sound too bad to me.

I 100% hate the cold, being born and raised in south Florida so heat doesn't bother me one bit. I've been through NC and its a great place. I can't really comment on Chicago or NYC but let be honest, thats where its happening. Charlotte may be a better choice once you decide to settle down, but by no means would I be mad if I was stuck there.

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Jul 8, 2014 - 2:26pm
ArcherVice, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Chicago is a great city.

But do not discount being down south. How does the saying go, save a horse ride a cowgirl?

Jul 8, 2014 - 2:39pm
Industry84, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've lived in both the Midwest and Charlotte, and I would pick Charlotte hands down. Great weather, low cost of living, good restaurants and nightlife, about an hour drive to the Appalachian mountains, and less than a 3 hour drive to the ocean. It is actually a great city for a young single guy too - lots of young professionals and girls. You'll also find that there are plenty of transplants from the north so it's easy to meet people.

If you're into museums/shopping or you feel that you need 200 good bars to choose from instead of 50, then yes you might find more to do in Chicago (when it's warm enough to leave the house). Charlotte is the 16th largest city in the US with 2.2M in the greater area - it isn't NYC or Chicago but I wouldn't exactly say it's a small town either. I may be biased because I lived there but it is a pretty great city that gets overlooked too often.

Jul 8, 2014 - 3:11pm
MMBanker14, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Industry84:

I've lived in both the Midwest and Charlotte, and I would pick Charlotte hands down. Great weather, low cost of living, good restaurants and nightlife, about an hour drive to the Appalachian mountains, and less than a 3 hour drive to the ocean. It is actually a great city for a young single guy too - lots of young professionals and girls. You'll also find that there are plenty of transplants from the north so it's easy to meet people.

If you're into museums/shopping or you feel that you need 200 good bars to choose from instead of 50, then yes you might find more to do in Chicago (when it's warm enough to leave the house). Charlotte is the 16th largest city in the US with 2.2M in the greater area - it isn't NYC or Chicago but I wouldn't exactly say it's a small town either. I may be biased because I lived there but it is a pretty great city that gets overlooked too often.

I pretty much agree with everything here, although I'd take Chicago over Charlotte. Charlotte is still a fun city though. Chicago isn't as cheap as Charlotte, but it isn't super expensive. Better restaurants, nightlife, and sports options. It's not an ocean, but Lake Michigan is great during the summer. If you're into winter sports you'll be able to do that in Chicago. If you don't care for winter sports or hate cold weather, Chicago would suck for you for at least 1/3 of the year, though.
Jul 8, 2014 - 3:32pm
ArcherVice, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well Austin is a fucking blast. So there is that.

Jul 8, 2014 - 4:09pm
MMBanker14, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As far as the women in Texas go, you could say a lot of the same things that the the brofessor posted.

A few things -

Some Texas women are only interested in country-type guys. If you've lived somewhere like NYC your whole life and don't own a pair of boots and love George Strait, you just won't fit the type that some women go after. On a related note, if you're moving to Houston, Austin or Dallas for a few years and think you'll find the woman of your dreams and then move away from Texas for good after that, good luck. A lot of Texas women don't want to move to another state. Ever.

Women in Texas will rarely make a first move. They expect you to lead. This is true most places, but especially true in Texas. Be decisive.

A lot of girls are much lower maintenance than you'll find elsewhere. Girls here will actually go to bars and drink cheap beers with you. Don't be a finance douche or think they'll drop their pants for you just because you took them out for a nice dinner.

Women in Texas are generally nicer and more approachable than women up north.

Don't expect women to be impressed that you're a banker. 97% of them won't know what an investment banker does and won't recognize your prestigious bank's name unless it has a retail banking arm.

If you're the kind of guy looking for single girls in their late 20s or 30s, Texas is not the place for you.

Jul 8, 2014 - 5:55pm
................, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'd say Chicago by a mile, especially early in your career. I could not imagine started my career in Charlotte. Not nearly as many opportunities, and there is no better place in this country during the summer than Chicago.

I would agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.
Jul 13, 2014 - 2:47pm
cphbravo96, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As someone who was born in Wisconsin...

If there is no place better than Chicago in the Summer, why does everyone leave the city and head North to the Dells??

I'm only kidding.

Regards

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so." - Ronald Reagan
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Jul 15, 2014 - 12:07pm
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

rogersterling is right. Chicago is the BEST summer city in the U.S., without a question. It's the total antithesis of NYC, which during the summer is hell on earth.

Jul 9, 2014 - 9:33am
mark198, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the responses, interesting stuff.

One of the things I was worried about (which after further reading I'm almost dropping it) is Chicago's "decline". I mean that in the population sense. Charlotte is growing like mad, at least in population, while Chicago has been losing people for quite a while. Is this legit to consider? I'd like to be a part of something new and growing. However, I read recently that Chicago has a bigger economy in terms of GDP than most cities in the world, even bigger than Paris, and it keeps growing despite population loss.

I'd like to be a part of one of the booming Texas cities, but no thanks on Texas. Another important question - how do the two cities rank on their scales of being progressive? Charlotte's in the South, but it's still a big city, but neither are the northeast.

Array
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Jul 9, 2014 - 9:41am
GoldenCinderblock, what's your opinion? Comment below:
samtyler94cc:

Thanks for the responses, interesting stuff.

One of the things I was worried about (which after further reading I'm almost dropping it) is Chicago's "decline". I mean that in the population sense. Charlotte is growing like mad, at least in population, while Chicago has been losing people for quite a while. Is this legit to consider? I'd like to be a part of something new and growing. However, I read recently that Chicago has a bigger economy in terms of GDP than most cities in the world, even bigger than Paris, and it keeps growing despite population loss.

I'd like to be a part of one of the booming Texas cities, but no thanks on Texas. Another important question - how do the two cities rank on their scales of being progressive? Charlotte's in the South, but it's still a big city, but neither are the northeast.

There's plenty of shit going on here. Chicago's prominence isn't going anywhere. It's a pretty progressive city if that's something you care about. Drive 90 minutes South though and it's a different story. Why don't you wanna go to Texas? Austin's up there on my relocation considerations.

Anyone going to Pitchfork this weekend? I think I'm gonna buy Saturday tickets. Schoolboy Q performs Sunday though and that's sold out, so I'm gutted brehs

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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Jul 9, 2014 - 10:03am
ManyHenny, what's your opinion? Comment below:
GoldenCinderblock:

Anyone going to Pitchfork this weekend? I think I'm gonna buy Saturday tickets. Schoolboy Q performs Sunday though and that's sold out, so I'm gutted brehs

Big fan of your other posts. Bigger fan now that you mentioned Schoolboy Q.

Jul 9, 2014 - 3:17pm
SumOne, what's your opinion? Comment below:
GoldenCinderblock:
samtyler94cc:

Thanks for the responses, interesting stuff.

One of the things I was worried about (which after further reading I'm almost dropping it) is Chicago's "decline". I mean that in the population sense. Charlotte is growing like mad, at least in population, while Chicago has been losing people for quite a while. Is this legit to consider? I'd like to be a part of something new and growing. However, I read recently that Chicago has a bigger economy in terms of GDP than most cities in the world, even bigger than Paris, and it keeps growing despite population loss.

I'd like to be a part of one of the booming Texas cities, but no thanks on Texas. Another important question - how do the two cities rank on their scales of being progressive? Charlotte's in the South, but it's still a big city, but neither are the northeast.

There's plenty of shit going on here. Chicago's prominence isn't going anywhere. It's a pretty progressive city if that's something you care about. Drive 90 minutes South though and it's a different story. Why don't you wanna go to Texas? Austin's up there on my relocation considerations.

Anyone going to Pitchfork this weekend? I think I'm gonna buy Saturday tickets. Schoolboy Q performs Sunday though and that's sold out, so I'm gutted brehs

I just started listing to TDE stuff, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q and Isiah Rashad are legit. They restore my faith in hip-hop.

Jul 9, 2014 - 10:43am
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Chicago has been and always will be a major U.S. city. However, as much as I love the city, its primary weakness is the midwestern location and lack of primacy in any core industry. NYC has finance, D.C. has government, SF has tech, L.A. has entertainment. Chicago doesn't dominate in any one area, and its lack of good finance opportunities for a city its size is sort of disturbing. Even Boston, a much smaller city, has way more solid finance jobs than Chicago.

For me, the primary pros for Chicago are lifestyle and cost related, not professional.

Best Response
Jul 13, 2014 - 3:55pm
cphbravo96, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As someone sitting in Charlotte as I type this, I'm probably a bit biased. While Chicago has a certain appeal, I find myself liking Charlotte more and more each day. For the record, I would very likely choose a job in Chicago over a similar job in NYC. Essentially, I have a much more laid back personality, so Chicago would suit me better than NYC, but Charlotte suits me even better than Chicago.

And Charlotte, or any other Southern city for that matter, often gets a bum rap from people that live in NYC. Although I see the other posters' points about being a great place to settle down, Charlotte does have a lot to offer young, single professionals. As far as sports go, we've got you covered (with a few caveats). We don't have an MLB team, but we do have minor league ball...in fact, I'm watching today's game from my office window as I write this. Additionally, I can see the endzone score board for the NFL team from the same seat and can walk to the conference room on the other side of the office if I want to see where the NBA team plays. Outside of that, we have a USL soccer team, essentially third-tier professional soccer, and an MLL lacrosse team. Now I certainly understand that having some semi-pro or minor league teams isn't the sexiest selling point, but if you like the idea of choosing between a wide variety of sports team, enjoy paying reasonable prices ($5 for a locally brewed beer and a few bucks for gourmet style hotdogs) then these less then pro options aren't so bad.

As others have pointed out, there are lots of things to do within a few hours drive. There are a couple great lakes (not Great Lakes, lol) just 30 minutes away, nice mountains within 2-3, and beaches within 3. Generally speaking, I think cities like Atlanta and Charlotte have virtually all the amenities that a NYC or a Chicago does, they just don't have them in the same quantity. That essentially means you are going to recycle the bars and restaurants you go to, but I feel like everyone does that everywhere. Also worth mentioning is the airport. Certainly isn't O'Hare, but I think that's the selling point. Sub 20 minute drive, valet business parking, and a short trip through the security line. It's also a hub for US Air, so you can get most places without an issue.

There's also decent museums and historical stiff to see in the area.

As far as the race stuff is concerned, there are people here that have issues with other races. Anecdotally, if you browse through profiles on dating sites/apps, you will undoubtedly run across people that state they will absolutely not date a person of a particular race...but in no way do I think that is unique to Charlotte. I've seen black females specify for black males to not contact them because they aren't interested and I've seen white females say the same. Maybe those folks really don't find people of that given race attractive, like they generally mention, or maybe they are harboring racist tendencies.

And as everyone has said, I don't want this to turn into a race debate, but here are some of my thoughts around the mentalities I feel I've encountered in the South among folks. Race-based views and opinions aren't a light switch, so they aren't easily turned on or off. In my opinion, the mentality around racial integration/relationships/etc. are very similar to the religious views that were previously described by thebrofessor. I grew up going to church and religious principles were certainly a meaningful part of my upbringing...but, I live on my own and no longer go to church except when I'm home visiting my folks for the holidays, etc. Similarly, I think negative opinions of interracial relationships was very prominent years ago and is slowing dying away in the South, generation by generation. While I think some would argue that the previous point is a perfect example of modern day racism, I view it slightly differently. Personally, I don't see the decision to not date a person of color made from a place of hate...that is to say, I don't think most of the southern girls not willing to date a black guy are doing it because they think black people are beneath them, or anything of the sort. In many instances they have 'just' come from a background where that wasn't acceptable, or maybe 'just' wasn't encouraged, so it has to do more with their level of comfort around...or the unfamiliarity with...it than anything. I certainly don't think that makes it right, or ideal, but I hesitate to call it racism because it seems much more nuanced than that.

From my perspective, I've found both Atlanta and Charlotte to be far more 'integrated' than many posters here would give it credit for. In fact, the racism I've personally witnessed has been from a black person towards a white person...which I realize is entirely anecdotally and not scientifically relevant, but worth mentioning.

Anyways, Charlotte is a great city with a low cost of living, tons of fun stuff to do, and a great bunch of people.

Regards

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so." - Ronald Reagan
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Jul 15, 2014 - 12:10pm
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Very good post as usual. But without turning this into a race debate, I STRONGLY disagree with your last assertion on interracial dating. You can call it what you want, but if a person automatically excludes an entire ethnic group or race from his/her potential dating pool, that is racism pure and simple.

Jul 15, 2014 - 10:55pm
cphbravo96, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For the record, I have thrown NO monkey shit, lol.

I certainly understand where you are coming from, and maybe we are just splitting hairs (refer back to my comment about being very 'nuanced') but I think there needs to be some ill will or malice or, as ArcherVice has stated, that sense of superiority/inferiority (depending on which direction the person is looking). My thought is, the person probably just doesn't find themselves attracted...now, underneath that, maybe there is some sort of subconscious animosity/discontent that drives that lack of attraction (maybe a result of their upbringing, etc.), but they might not be the slightest bit aware .

And TNA hit on my next point...that dating, in general, is just a big crap-shoot. If someone is racist because they don't/won't date a black person, than am I a sexist because I refuse to date men? Or am I discriminating against dwarfs and handicapped people and women taller than me because I not actively seeking dates with them and, could willingly admit that I've determined that I'm probably not particularly attracted to any of them (knowing full well that I haven't met or even seen a significant number of them)?

I see this all the time on dating apps...women will either hint at how tall a man has to be by saying, "oh, and I'm 5' 9" and I absolutely love to wear heels..." or, half the time they just state, "if you are under 6' 1" don't bother messaging me..."

I get that they've whittled down who they are attracted to...or think they are attracted to...so I'll respect that enough not to say, or assume, that they are a terrible person.

Lastly, and I hope this doesn't fan the race flames here, I can't help but think that some people, maybe a lot of people, would have a twisted or hypocritical view of this particular topic...that is to say, if a white female said she would never date a black guy a fair number of people would also think/label her a racist. However, if a black female said she had no interest in dating white men, I don't think many people would view it in the same light.

And all of that leads to one of my favorite episodes of the Montel Williams Show...actually, it might be the only episode that I ever saw, lol...but it was all about how a certain gender of a certain race refused to date the opposite gender of that same gender because of whatever stereotype they believed in. It was more in-depth than this, but essentially the black woman/women disliked the white woman/women because they were 'stealing' all of the 'good' men (in this case, these guys were educated and employed and/or good fathers to their kid, etc.) and the white woman/women didn't care for the black women because they thought the black woman/women were too opinionated and that they didn't treat their men right, which is how they got to steal them away in the first place.

At the end of it all, it boiled down to a couple simple things...the black men said they could come home to a black woman and get bitched at as soon as they came through the door, asking where they had been, who they had been with, wanting to check their phone or call the guy's friends to see if his alibi would hold up. Or, on the other hand, he could come home to a white woman that would greet him with a kiss, a nice meal, and a blowjob...or something along those lines, lol.

Regards

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so." - Ronald Reagan
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Jul 15, 2014 - 11:45am
eignenvector, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Race war begins........kidding

"When you expect things to happen - strangely enough - they do happen." - JP Morgan
Jul 15, 2014 - 5:46pm
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Men and women can date whomever they want for whatever reason they want. Anyone who can't deal with that is a bitch.

Jul 15, 2014 - 6:11pm
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I agree. We can also be friends with whomever we want to be, and if someone refuses to become friends with a black person for whatever reason, it's his prerogative as long as he doesn't hurt others or break the law. Nonetheless, that person is still a racist.

Anyways, back to the relevant topic. The two cities are so different that it's going to boil down to your priorities and what you value more. If you hate driving, avoid Charlotte. If freezing weather is unacceptable to you, avoid Chicago. Charlotte has enough stuff going on that you probably won't be bored, but being in a large city with public transportation and tons of restaurants/bars/club is a huge boon when you're in your 20's.

Jul 15, 2014 - 6:32pm
ArcherVice, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Racism implies a superiority complex. Not being attracted to someone or group of people is a matter of preference, an important distinction.

Jul 15, 2014 - 6:36pm
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Calling someone racist is such a lame ass thing. And how would you know unless someone said I only date xyz people because they aren't inferior.

Women and man date people for so many arbitrary reasons, who cares.

IMO, I'd take Chicago over Charlotte simply for the cultural and career flexibility. But if cold is an absolute deal-breaker then avoid Chicago. I'm pretty open to wherever as I don't want to live in one place forever.

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Jul 15, 2014 - 10:58pm
MN guy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have heard mixed reviews from Charlotte. Some people hate it. Some people love it. I banking is the shit there. But if you are going to do sales and reason at wells. Get the fuck out and go somewhere else.

Jul 16, 2014 - 11:11am
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yah, those girls are called walking home at 230am or paying for dinner themselves. Haha

Jul 16, 2014 - 11:22am
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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