If wide open spaces, closely-knit communities and a rapidly growing economy sound like just what you’re looking for then Charlotte has plenty of picture perfect suburbs to call home. Trying to figure out where to settle in can be hard, particularly in a metro area of nearly 2.7 million people. To help guide you in the right direction we’ve put a guide together with the help of Niche.com to help you choose from the top 5 suburbs to move to in the metro Charlotte area for 2020. 

Our guide takes into account a wide range of factors ranging from crime rates, to unemployment data, to local school quality, to help you understand the overall quality of life across these 5 Charlotte suburbs. We provide you with some key data like population, distance from downtown, and most importantly average rush hour commute time to downtown!

1) Davidson, NC

Population: 13,108
Distance from Downtown: 21 miles
Average Commute Time to Downtown: 25-45 minutes

Davidson is a lakeside town which is populated by a close-knit community. It sits north of downtown Charlotte and is considered a bedroom community. Schools here are fantastic and real estate ranges from condos to large single family homes. Davidson is known for the outdoor opportunities available to locals and tourists alike. If you love eating fresh produce, Davidson is also known for their great farmer’s markets in the area. If you want to hang out by the lake with your family, Davidson is also home to the beautiful Lake Norman. The area attracts numerous events with the picture perfect lake being the star. Staying active is easy in Davidson because of the numerous amounts of hiking and biking trails to choose from. Jetton Park and Ramsey Creek Park are just a few from the list.

Homes here average just north of $408,000 and the community is the perfect place to start a family if you’re just relocating to Charlotte. Commutes typically run 45 minutes to downtown although with lessened traffic you can make the 21 mile journey in just over 20 minutes.

2) Fort Mill, SC

Population: 19,843
Distance from Downtown: 18 miles
Average Commute Time to Downtown: 25-40 minutes

Fort Mill is a neighbor friendly suburb south of downtown Charlotte in neighboring South Carolina.The city was founded in the late 19th century and homes available in the area range from newer single family homes to older historic bungalows. Population growth here has been rampant with the town growing its population by 33% since 2015.

The area is known for its great dining options, breweries, and wineries like Amor Artis Brewery and Lake Wylie Brewing Co. Fort Mill is also the home to the haunted Devil’s Tramping Ground, a spooky attraction particularly popular around Halloween. The Aloha Safari Zoo in nearby Cameron, would be an excellent place to entertain the family for the day as well. Fort Mill also has a local strawberry festival that you can attend. Fort Mill is a wonderful booming suburb and would make a great place to settle if you’re seeking more land and a charming historic downtown filled with breweries. Nearby Lake Wylie adds to outdoor options for recreation.

Homes in Fort Mill average just north of $318,000 and a 20 mile commute into the city takes on average 35-40 minutes. For those looking at more affordable options with all the amenities of a booming suburb then Fort Mill, SC as a great bet for anyone looking at relocating to Charlotte.

3) Cornelius, NC

Population: 29,718
Distance from Downtown: 20 miles
Average Commute Time to Downtown: 27-50 minutes

Home of the Cornelius Art Center, Cornelius is a good place for aspiring artists to visit. Cornelius also offers a unique dining experience, with restaurants like 131 Main and Mac’s Speed Shop for authentic NC bbq. Cornelius is also located near North Carolina’s Lake Norman and Jetton Park, allowing you to hike or ride bikes at your leisure. As for the neighborhoods, many people live in Cornelius and tend to commute to work in Charlotte. Some of the best neighborhoods in Cornelius are Jetton Cove, Oakhurst, Sterling Pointe, and many others. Residents in these neighborhoods have the inspiring scenery of Cornelius around them.

Properties average $315,500 in value as of writing in 2020 with commutes taking 45 minutes on average into downtown Charlotte. Cornelius is a wonderful town for new families looking at affordable options, adjacent to nearby Davidson and all the amenities of a college town. Homes here are still relatively affordable and proximity to the lake make it an attractive option for anyone looking for more cost friendly alternatives north of downtown Charlotte. 

4) Harrisburg, NC

Population: 16,240
Distance from Downtown: 19 miles
Average Commute Time to Downtown: 25-40 minutes

Harrisburg is an area that is known for its copious number of creeks and natural land. As of 20 years ago the area was largely undiscovered however over the past decade population has nearly tripled. The town provides its residents with good public education, safe environments, and affordability. The area is also known for its town center, offering many community events for visitors and residents to attend. About half an hour away from Charlotte, this would be a good place to live while still being able to work in the city. Some of its main attractions are the Harrisburg Farmer’s Market and the Rockin’ the ‘Burg Spring Concert. Harrisburg offers a wide range of dining experiences from Home 231 to The Millworks.

Property values in Harrisburg, NC sit at $315,000 as of June 2020. The town is well suited to families and those seeking a very suburban experience. As it is largely a newer community expect sprawling suburbs and less of a downtown. For many, safe wide open spaces, well planned communities, and a commute time of half an hour may be the perfect fit. For young professionals we advise other options as nightlife in Harrisburg is largely limited.

5) Huntersville, NC

Population: 57,040
Distance from Downtown: 14 miles
Average Commute Time to Downtown: 18-30 minutes

Another suburb that is located near Lake Norman, Huntersville allows families to come together to swim, boat, and fish on the nearby lake. The area was largely undeveloped 20 years ago and has grown nearly 5x since the early 2000s. Huntersville is also a great place to raise children, being home to Discovery Place KIDS, a local children’s museum and an annual Renaissance Festival. If you like wildlife, you can also find entertainment by visiting Carolina Raptor Center, a place that allows you to see different species of birds up close. Some of the highly recommended eating options Huntersville offers is Café 100, Pinky’s Westside Grill, and Mama Mia Too. The different neighborhoods in the area like Northstone and Vermillion are considered quiet and peaceful neighborhoods. 

Huntersville, NC sits due north of downtown Charlotte on the way to lakeside communities of Davidson and Cornelius. Properties are a bit more affordable than the Lake Norman adjacent towns with homes costing on average $329,456. The area is perfect for those wishing to be near the lake, yet prioritize cutting their commute time in half.