It can be a real hassle to search for summer housing if you’re not from around Charlotte and you don’t go to school around here, either. I’m from the Triangle area and am a rising junior at UNC-Chapel Hill, so when I was trying to find housing options in Charlotte I had zero idea of what I was doing.
Here’s how I searched for a nice apartment with a low price tag.
First of all, I didn’t even attempt to look for an apartment in Uptown because I figured it would be way over my budget and difficult to find a place for only two months.
However, if you really have your heart set on experiencing life in the heart of Charlotte, I’d recommend looking at Airbnb. They have rentals available in Uptown which offer the entire home or apartment to you, costing as low as $40 a night depending on the place.
Uptown housing was not the best option for me, since even at the lowest rental price I saw on Airbnb, rent would’ve been $280 a week, or over $1,000 a month. I don’t think ther ares many of us summer interns that can afford a rent above $1,000 a month, so that quickly became a big fat “nope” for me.
With Uptown housing out of the picture, I started looking for other options.
I discovered Queens University’s summer intern housing, a very viable option for those who want to be very close to Uptown without the high price tag of actually living in Uptown.
Queens’ housing is located in Myers Park, which is south of Uptown and north of SouthPark. South Charlotte, especially SouthPark, is known for its fancier activities. SouthPark Mall is more upscale, and the surrounding restaurants and retail in the area tend to lean that way as well. And while it’s preferable to live in such a nice area, I personally felt it wasn’t the right place for me due to the cost, once again. Plus, I don’t necessarily have a ton of money to spend on Louis Vuitton and expensive food in South Charlotte, anyway.
Queens’ summer intern housing gives you a couple options.
You can live in Byrum Hall for $35 a night or Wireman Hall for $25 a night. Even at the cheapest option of Wireman Hall, that still makes your rent $700 a month. And while there are definitely perks to living there, like being surrounded by other college students and having easy access to Uptown and SouthPark, I still felt like I could find a great place for less than what I had seen so far.
Which led me to University City.
I joined the “UNC Charlotte (UNCC) Subleases, Roommates, Housing & Apartments (also CPCC)” group on Facebook, where a ton of UNC Charlotte students list their apartments around campus and University City for summer subletting.
There’s a TON of options on this page; it’s honestly limitless. Obviously, rent varies, but it’s pretty common to negotiate the rent down to a more affordable price when you summer sublet. There are some that are a little pricier at $600 a month, but that’s for one of the nicer and newer apartments like Millennium One, and that’s still less than you would pay to live in a dorm at Queens. For those really on a budget, there are students offering up their apartments for as little as $400 a month.
I ended up snagging a place off this list for $505 a month including utilities. I have my own bathroom, and the apartment complex has a pool, a gym, and an outdoor fire pit lounge area. I wouldn’t have been able to get this many amenities anywhere else — at least, not for the same price. Plus, in this area you’ll be surrounded by other college-age students, which makes it easier to meet some friends this summer.
If you are worried about not getting the true Charlotte experience by living a 20 minute drive from Uptown, never fear: By next summer, the Blue Line Extension of the light rail is set to be complete, meaning that summer interns living in University City will have a fast, easy, car-free route from the UNC Charlotte area into Uptown.
The light rail extension will do a lot to bridge the gap between UNC Charlotte and Uptown Charlotte, so you can very easily live in University City for cheap but still experience all of the activities and nightlife that Uptown has to offer. Plus, you could even use the light rail to commute to work if you really, really hate Uptown parking.
And so, there you have it. My final ruling is that subletting from another student in University City is by far the best option cost-wise and lifestyle-wise, too, since you’ll be surrounded by other college students and businesses with student-friendly prices. Check out that Facebook page or a number of other UNC Charlotte sublet pages, including “Charlotte Housing, Rooms, Apartments, Sublets” or “UNC Charlotte Craigslist.”