Is there any legal or practical difference between a "city," a "town," or a "village"?

Not in North Carolina. Although in some states a "city" has a different set of statutory powers than a "town" or a "village," that is not the case here. It is simply a matter of the community's own perception of itself. As a general rule, larger municipalities are styled as cities and smaller ones as towns or villages, but there are many exceptions. The Town of Cary, for example, is the seventh largest municipality in North Carolina, with more than 120,000 residents, while the City of Saluda has only a few hundred residents.