Travel

Charlotte vs. Tampa: A Tale of Two Cities


Nighttime skyline of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Photograph by Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty

Nighttime skyline of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Hosting a political convention may not be as demanding as hosting the Olympics Games, but in the coming weeks, Tampa, Fla., (home of the Republican National Convention, which begins on Monday) and Charlotte, N.C., (home of the Democratic National Convention, which runs Sept. 3 to Sept. 6) will both receive thousands of enthusiastic visitors and be thrust into the harsh media spotlight.

But politics aside, how do these two historic, East Coast cities stack up against each other in civic accomplishment? Which city has the better real estate prices? Which city has cooler celebrity residents? Which has a better nickname? Herewith, Bloomberg Businessweek’s decidedly unscientific breakdown.Skyline of Tampa, FL.Photograph by Murat Taner/GettySkyline of Tampa, FL.

 

POPULATION

Charlotte: 751,087

Tampa: 338,494

 

NICKNAME

Charlotte: The Queen City

Tampa: The Big Guava

 

WORLD HEADQUARTERS LOCATION

Charlotte: Bank of America

Tampa: Ironman Triathlon

 

AVERAGE REAL ESTATE PRICE PER SQUARE FOOT

Charlotte: $65

Tampa: $92

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL FAMILY INCOME

Charlotte: $68,100

Tampa: $52,847

 

AVERAGE COMMUTE TIME

Charlotte: 27.4 minutes

Tampa: 28.3 minutes

 

LOCAL SPORTS

Charlotte: The Charlotte Bobcats, owned by Michael Jordan, ended last season with a 7-59 record, the worst in NBA history.

Tampa: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL, the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL, and the Tampa Bay Rays, an overachieving Major League Baseball club based in nearby St. Petersburg.

 

CULTURAL HOTSPOTS

Charlotte: Nascar Hall of Fame

Tampa: Busch Gardens Water Park

 

LIKELIHOOD THAT IT’LL BE DECIMATED BY A HURRICANE

Charlotte: Medium. Although located closer to western North Carolina, inland from the coast, the name Hugo still makes locals flinch.

Tampa: High. Hurricane Isaac is building steam just off the coast of Puerto Rico, and meteorologists predict it will barrel toward Florida.

 

LOCAL CELEBRITIES

Charlotte: Nascar driver Jeff Gordon, evangelist Billy Graham

Tampa: Former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, Bubba the Love Sponge

 

MOVIE FILMED IN THE CITY THAT MAY BE SENDING THE WRONG MESSAGE

Charlotte: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Tampa: Cop and a Half

 

MOVIE FILMED IN THE CITY THAT MAY BE SENDING THE RIGHT MESSAGE

Charlotte: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Tampa: Magic Mike

 

COSTUMED OUTLAW POPULATION

Charlotte: Biker gangs, including the Hell’s Angels.

Tampa: People dressed like pirates, especially (but not exclusively) during the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in January.

 

CONVENTION SECURITY

Charlotte: Mailboxes, news racks, benches, planters, trash bins to be temporarily removed.

Tampa: Ordinance banning water guns, hatchets, and chains—but not actual guns.

 

DUBIOUS ACHIEVEMENTS

Charlotte: Former Guinness World Record holder of world’s biggest stir-fry, at 1,805 pounds (defeated last year by the University of Massachusetts).

Tampa: Bayshore Boulevard, world’s longest continuous sidewalk, at 4.5 miles.

 

BEST PLACE TO GET A $40 FILET MIGNON AND WATCH EXOTIC DANCERS

Charlotte: The Men’s Club

Tampa: Scores Gentleman’s Club

 

CHANCES OF A SHARK ATTACK

Charlotte: Zero.

Tampa: Just 11 shark attacks in 2011, but during the last major election year, 2008, there was a record 28.

 

LOCAL DELICACIES

Charlotte: Funnel bacakonator (funnel cake with bacon), available at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Tampa: Deep Fried Butter and Krispy Kreme Hamburgers, available at the Florida State Fair in Tampa.


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