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Creative Loafing's Urban Explorer Handbook 

Your guide to great Charlotte neighborhoods

Whether it's a cool, funky domicile that's within stumbling distance of your favorite watering hole, or a stately manor with a manicured lawn and a big garage for your new SUV, your living environment affects everything from your state of mind and physical well-being to your overall quality of life. We decided to help you by letting you in on some of Charlotte's best neighborhoods.

We didn't just rely on our sharp instincts and hipster know-how, though. In order to rate Charlotte's best neighborhoods, we combined our own expertise with input from realtors, community leaders, long-time residents and business owners. We also studied statistical information from the City of Charlotte's Quality of Life Study, which defined neighborhoods as "stable," "threatened" or "fragile" according to 20 social, physical, crime, and economic variables. And finally, we consulted a marketing information resources company called Claritas that helped create the "geodemographic" industry. Claritas studies information culled from the US Census, geographic rosters, updated demographics, and behavioral data to reveal several dozen lifestyle factors like social rank, household composition, mobility, ethnicity, urbanization and housing. Analysis of these factors produces basic neighborhood types, which are tested, refined, and calibrated with actual consumer-purchase data from multiple sources. Whew! What that means is the folks at Claritas can pretty much match you up to the neighborhoods (and in some cases, specific streets) that suit you. Out of all that information, we picked eight in-town neighborhoods and in our "Is there life in the suburbs" section, we deliver the goods on two far-flung neighborhoods you might like.

This is our first Urban Explorers' Handbook and we hope it will help you feel at home in Charlotte as well as be your guide to some of the best neighborhoods and experiences the city has to offer.

-- Sam Boykin

Click here to enter The Urban Explorer's Handbook.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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