Charlotte is more of a southern experience, trying hard to be Atlanta.
Raleigh is more of a modern experience, trying hard to be Portland, OR.
Based on your choice of words, Raleigh is in your future.
If you want the urban-lite feel, I imagine Charlotte has more of it, but Raleigh has bit of it, with the North Hills complex (apartments and businesses in high rise in close proximity) and a copy cat of that in planning stages in Cary. In neither place will you achieve the car-free life of NYC, nor car-full life of LA.
Durham is up and coming, and for the record, a totally different place than Raleigh.
Where ever you end up.... good luck.