The capital of North Carolina and the largest city of the Research Triangle, Raleigh is the primary political and economic driver of the metro area. Indeed, business and politics are the main draws to Raleigh, which lacks the more trendy feel or active arts scene of Durham or Chapel Hill to the west. That said, visitors will find many of the state's cultural institutions here, namely a major performing arts center downtown and three state museums, and a college town atmosphere in the neighborhood around the campus of North Carolina State University, the state's largest university.
The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau operates the Raleigh Visitor Information Center. The Visitor Information Center (VIC) is located at 500 Fayetteville Street between the Raleigh Marriott City Center and The Raleigh Convention Center. Phone: 919-834-5900 / 800-849-8499. The VIC is open Monday thru Saturday, 9AM to 5PM and offers brochures, event calendars, coupons, maps, and other visitor information. Stop by and pick up a brochure or visit the website to view a visitor guide online or order one to be mailed before your trip.
- Raleigh-Durham International Airport (IATA: RDU). A former hub of American Airlines and Midway Airlines, the airport today is one of the larger national airports without official hub status - some 9 million passengers embark and deplane annually, making it one of the nation's fastest-growing airports. American's strong continued presence here gives RDU a direct flight to London Heathrow, and a broad span of carriers (both traditional and low-cost) offering flights to most East Coast and some Western cities (Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and occasionally Los Angeles and Denver).
- Interstate 40 goes to points west including Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Asheville. Two and a half hours east on I-40 is Wilmington.
- Interstates 85 and 95, though they do not directly enter Raleigh, provide easy access to the city from up and down the Eastern Seaboard; large access routes from these interstates provide easy access to the city.
- US 1, the East Coast corridor route, cuts through Raleigh on its way from New York to the Florida Keys; within the city limits US 1 is known as Capital Blvd.
- Amtrak, 320 West Cabarrus Street. Three routes serve the Raleigh station: the Piedmont runs twice-daily to Charlotte, a trip of just over three hours. There's also two long-distance routes, both daily runs: the Carolinian and Silver Star lines, both of which head north through Richmond, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia to New York City, while the Carolinian follows the Piedmont south to Charlotte and the Silver Star heads south through Columbia and Savannah to Florida.
- Greyhound, 314 W Jones St, +1 919 834-8275.
- Megabus stops in nearby Durham.
- Triangle Transit, +1 919 549-9999. The Triangle's inter-city bus service runs routes between Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and RDU, with a hub in the Research Triangle Park. Fares are $2.50 per trip.
Within the I-440 Beltline are mostly fashionable older neighborhoods and the NC State University area. The North Raleigh neighborhoods are aligned along the "spokes of the wheel"—major thoroughfares emanating from the I-440 Loop and passing through the northern edge of the much larger I-540 loop.
Downtown Raleigh provides easy travel and access through its grid of one-way streets. If you're just passing through, the major thoroughfare is Capital Boulevard (US 401), which splits into Dawson Street heading south and McDowell Street heading north. From the west, it is Hillsborough Street, interrupted midway by the state Capitol building. To the east, it continues as New Bern Avenue (US 64).
The I-440 Beltline was once denoted with "Inner" and "Outer" labels, but they have been phased out in favor of "East" and "West." I-440 West was previously the Outer Beltline, and I-440 East was previously the Inner Beltline. I-440's concurrency with I-40 through the souther portion of Raleigh has also been removed; therefore, the Beltline no longer loops back on itself.
Raleigh is known for particularly aggressive parking enforcement and towing, so be sure to follow all parking signs and rules.
For information on routes, schedules and fares, check GoTriangle.org, for a helpful trip planner.
- Triangle Transit Authority, +1 919 549-9999. Routes between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill as well as Research Triangle Park and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
- Capital Area Transit, +1 919 828-7228. Routes within Raleigh city limits.
There are 36 licensed taxi operators in Raleigh of varying quality. Spanish speakers will appreciate Velo Taxi (919) 271-5719, Taxi Poly (919) 538-1750, or Amigo taxi (919) 862-6162.
- Raleigh City Museum, 220 Fayetteville St. Tue-Fri 10AM-4PM; Sat, 1-4PM. An excellent place to start your visit to the City of Oaks. Free.
- North Carolina State Capitol, 1 E. Edenton St. M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. Built between 1833 and 1840 and originally housed the governor's office, cabinet offices and more.
- N.C. Museum of Art, 2110 Blue Ridge Rd, ☎ . With rotating exhibits, summer outdoor film series, and groovy sculpture garden.
- N.C. Museum of History, 5 East Edenton St, ☎ . M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su Noon-5PM. Home to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, with exhibits personal items donated by approximately 360 inductees. Free.
- N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, 1 W Jones St, ☎ . Contains a huge new wing, the Nature Research Center, with 3-story multimedia globe structure and exhibits such as a 10,000 gallon aquarium. Free.
- Marbles Kids Museum, 201 E Hargett St, ☎ . Closed M, open Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. The former Exploris museum has merged with Playspace to form Marbles, an interactive kid's museum, still with an IMAX theater. $5 for adults and kids (1-99), prices for the IMAX theater vary.
- Joel Lane Museum House, 160 South Saint Mary's St (Corner of St. Mary's & Hargett Streets), ☎ . Hours vary. A Georgian-style manor plantation house built circa 1770 by Colonel Joel Lane, patriot, statesman, and planter, Col. Lane's home has been faithfully restored and is filled with period artifacts. The site houses three historic structures, including a very simple circa 1790 middle-class home interpreted as a kitchen and a circa 1840 Visitors Center. $5.
- Cameron Park
- Triangle Segway, 327 Blake St (In historic City Market, downtown Raleigh.), ☎ . Tue-Su 10AM-6PM. Triangle Segway offers guided Segway tours of downtown points of interest and historic sights. All tours are fully narrated. Advance purchase required.
- Carolina Hurricanes, 1400 Edwards Mill Rd, ☎ , toll-free: . Raleigh's NHL hockey team plays at the RBC Center. NHL ice hockey. A good atmosphere and family-friendly crowds make this an excellent place to spend an evening during fall and winter.
- Pullen Park, 520 Ashe Ave, ☎ . Outdoor plays, a 1911 carousel and, of course, an excellent aquatic center.
- William B. Umstead State Park, 8801 Glenwood Ave. Picnic, hike, go fishing, or just rent a canoe and relax. A nice quiet place near Raleigh-Durham airport.
- North Carolina State Wolfpack. The sports teams representing North Carolina State University, competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference along with 11 other schools along the East Coast. Football and basketball games are popular in addition to other sports.
- Carolina Mudcats. Minor-league baseball. About a 20-minute drive east of town. Tickets are affordable at $3-$9; unlike the nearby Durham Bulls baseball stadium, Mudcats' parking is ample.
- North Carolina State Fair, 1025 Blue Ridge Blvd, ☎ . Raleigh. One of the largest fairs of its kind in America, this ten day long event has recently drawn over 1,000,000 to the State Fairgrounds to sample North Carolina produce, attend concerts, ride fair rides and feast on deep-fried Twinkies. October 17–27, 2013.
- Lake Johnson Nature Park, 4601 Avent Ferry Rd, ☎ . Open during daylight every day of the week. A pleasant nature trail winds about 3.5 miles around the eastern half of the lake, and another dirt trail exists on the northwestern shore of the lake. Ideal for hiking and biking. Paddle boats can also be rented. Free.
- Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 East South St (Downtown between Salisbury and Wilmington streets, 5 blocks south of the State Capitol), ☎ . The performing arts center includes 3 primary venues. Memorial Auditorium is the largest and hosts diverse events such as the Carolina Ballet and traveling theater productions of Broadway Series South. Meymandi Concert Hall is home to the North Carolina Symphony. Fletcher Opera Theater is a more intimate setting and hosts events such as Raleigh Chamber Music Guild concerts.
- Cameron Village, located inside the Beltline on Oberlin Road between Hillsborough Street and Wade Ave, ☎ . The first shopping center between Atlanta and DC, Cameron Village is today a major destination point. Home to many of Raleigh's oldest boutique stores, the development also includes restaurants, a grocery store, and the Wake County's flagship public library. Hours vary depending on the store.
- Crabtree Valley Mall, on Glenwood Ave (just outside the Beltline). Su noon-6PM, M-Sa 10AM-9:30PM. Belk, Macy's and Sears anchor. Largest mall in the region, featuring the state's only H&M store.
- Triangle Town Center, on Capital Blvd (just south of I-540), ☎ . Su noon-6PM, M-Sa 10AM-9PM. Includes Dillard's, Belk, Macy's, Sears and North Carolina's only Saks Fifth Avenue.
- North Hills Shopping Center, 4217 Six Forks Rd. Recently transformed into a mixed-use center, North Hills has transformed itself from a drab 1960s mall to a mixed-use mecca. Along with Cameron Village, the complex houses a large number of trendy boutiques in Raleigh; the center also is home to a grocery store, movie theater, Target, JC Penny, and a variety of restaurants and retail. Hours vary according to the store.
- Seaboard Station (downtown near Peace University). Individual business hours vary. Designed to showcase the local, independent retailer, shopping at Seaboard Station is a bright, airy prospect. Along with many unique specialty shops, you'll also find a salon, fitness center and options for dining.
- City Market (Moore Square, downtown Raleigh). Home to art galleries, restaurants and specialty shops. Cobblestone streets lit by lamps give the area a 19th-century feel.
- Raleigh Flea Market, 1025 Blue Ridge Rd (NC State Fairgrounds). Every Saturday and Sunday 9AM-6PM. The Flea Market, featuring 600 vendors offering all sorts of antiques, collectibles, furniture, electronics and more. Parking and admission is free.
- Blue Water Spa, 10941 Raven Ridge Rd (Near Falls of Neuse and Durant Rd), ☎ . Voted best medical spa in America 3 consecutive years. The home spa boutique is a great place to indulge or to pick up a great hostess gift.
- Armadillo Grill, 439 Glenwood Ave, ☎ . "A taste as big as Texas!" Awesome tacos, etc., although not very traditional Mexican food. Great atmosphere and cheap (plus free refills on drinks and chips)!
- Big Ed's, 220 Wolfe St, ☎ . Big Ed's signature breakfasts are the Southern standards: homemade biscuits, grits with red-eye gravy, etc. Come Saturday mornings for live Dixieland jazz.
- Boylan Bridge Brewpub, 201 South Boylan Ave, ☎ . Amazing view of Raleigh from the Boylan Bridge, great place to eat or drink outside while overlooking the city.
- Casa Carbone Ristorante, 6019-A Glenwood Ave (Oak Park Shopping Center), ☎ . Tu-Sa 5PM-10PM Su 4PM- 9PM. A family restaurant with an extensive menu that includes everything from classic spaghetti and lasagna, to more intricate entrees such as grouper puttanesca and beef braciole. Excellent wine choices as well. Affordable and delicious.
- Casalinga Ristorante Italiano, 4538 Capital Blvd, ☎ . A great local Italian restaurant.
- Donatos, 111 Seaboard Ave, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:30AM - 11PM. Offers delivery and catering with pizza, subs, salads, and wings. Gluten free also available. Famous for edge-to-edge thin crust. $5-15.
- Falls River Smokehouse, 8320 Litchford Rd (in Litchford Village), ☎ . W-Sa 7AM-9PM. Local favorite for eastern-style barbecue.
- Farmer's Market Restaurant, 1240 Farmer's Market Dr, ☎ . Mon-Sat 6AM-3PM, Sun 8AM-3PM. Solid, hearty food with fresh ingredients from the state farmer's market right next door. Serves breakfast and lunch.
- The Irregardless Cafe, 901 W. Morgan St, ☎ . A Raleigh institution since the 1970s, the Irregardless offers an eclectic menu including creative vegetarian options. Jazz music every night and dancing on Saturday nights.
- Krispy Kreme, 543 North Person St, ☎ . The popular Winston-Salem-based doughnut maker is a landmark that nearby residents use to give directions. Look for the "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign for a little round piece of glazed heaven. Quite popular with the students of nearby Broughton and Enloe High Schools, especially in the early morning hours, so plan accordingly.
- Lilly's Pizza, 1813 Glenwood Ave, ☎ . Part hippie, yuppie, bohemian, and retro, Lilly's is an experience all to its own. Located in the popular Five Points district means that parking can be a problem, especially when a popular film is screening at the nearby Rialto theater. If you're adventurous, you can access Five Points by the number 2 CAT bus.
- Mura, 4121 Main (at North Hills St), ☎ . Japanese fine dining. Serves excellent Kobe beef, a variety of steaks, seafood, fusion cuisine and the finest grade sushi with many one of a kind rolls and visually pleasing artistic presentations.
- Neomonde, 3817 Beryl Rd, ☎ . A delicious Mediterranean market and deli. Their fantastic hummus and baba ghanouj with pita bread alone make any meal great.
- Roast Grill, 7 South West St, ☎ . If you're looking for a hot dog and a bottle of Coke, this is the place in downtown Raleigh. If you're looking for ketchup, though, you may just be asked to leave. Run by a family of Greek immigrants in a tiny room added to the front of their house since 1940.
- Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern, 300 Hillsborough St, ☎ . Gourmet fare in the restored Dodd-Hinsdale House, built in 1879 in the Second Empire Victorian style.
- Sushi Nine, 3812 Western Blvd, ☎ . 11AM-11PM. A great selection of BOGO sushi rolls offered all day everyday. Also offers a mix of Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, and Chinese entrees. Full bar.
- The Village Deli, 500 Daniels S, ☎ . Soups and sandwiches in the heart of Cameron Village. There's no end to the diversity of shoppers who frequent the popular spot. Really awesome chili!
- The Village Draft House, 428 Daniels St, ☎ . They're the best ever. Don't forget the pickle chips! $3 wings on Sundays.
- Watkin's Grill, 1625 Wake Forest Rd, ☎ . Greasy-spoon with Civil War memorabilia on the walls.
Southwest Raleigh, particularly the area along Hillsborough Street, resembles a college town, so there are plenty of places to find a drink. What is more, the city has a number of microbreweries. For cheaper places, try near the campus of North Carolina State University on Hillsborough Street. (A scene in "Bull Durham" was filmed in Mitch's Tavern.) The downtown area known as Glenwood South has a few more upscale bars and is located between Glewood Ave and Harrington Street and between Peace Street and Hillsborough Street just northwest of downtown. The City Market area around Moore Square also offers a good mix of both. Some good places to start would be:
- Carolina Brewing Company, 140 Thomas Mill Rd. In Holly Springs - CBC conducts weekly tours on Saturday afternoons, and it's best to arrive anywhere from 15-30 minutes early to make sure you get a sample of their beer both prior to the tour. No fear if you arrive late, however, as the taps are typically open for an hour afterwards as well. CBC brews an India Pale Ale, a Nut Brown Ale, and the Carolina Pale Ale year round (available at the brewery, in local stores, and in many local bars and restaurants) and usually has one or two seasonal beers available only at the brewery or on tap at select local establishments.
- Big Boss Brewing company, 1249 Wicker Dr. In Raleigh - Big Boss conducts monthly tours on Saturday afternoons, and it's usually best to check the website to find out exactly when. As with CBC, it's a good idea to get there a bit early, as there's usually a pretty good crowd there. Big Boss brews an assortment of seasonal beers that are distributed locally in addition to their year-round Bad Penny Brown Ale, Helles Belle Belgian Blond, and Angry Angel Kolsch Ale that are also sold in bottles at local stores. Big Boss also features an on-site pub called Horniblows Tavern. Though not located in one of the trendy areas of town, Horniblows is a great place for knocking back a couple of brews and solving the world's problems with your mates.
- Lonerider Brewing Company, 8816 Gulf Court #100. In Raleigh near the airport and Brier Creek. One of the areas nearest breweries, it has quickly penetrated the market. Often considered a brewers brewery, they offer a handful or more of well-crafted beers. Brewery tours fairly regularly at about once a month.
- The Raleigh Times Bar, 14 E. Hargett St. Snug in the offices of the former Raleigh Times newspaper, this broadsheet turned gastropub is the place for people watching over a pint (or a half pint) of craft-brewed beer.
Those not from the American South should be sure to order "sweet tea". Sweet tea, along with Sundrop and Cheerwine, has long been considered a native beverage, and is served in most restaurants. The sweetness will vary in accordance with the locale, but is nevertheless much sweeter than any tea served elsewhere in the nation.
- Natty Greenes Brewing Company, 505 W. Jones St, ☎ . Natty Greene's is a restaurant and brewery with a good selection of beers, and above average bar food. Thursday is half-off pint night, but be aware that it will be busy. If you're only drinking a couple, come on another night when you will have a better chance at using the shuffleboard and pool table.
- Crank Arm Brewing, 319 W. Davie St, e-mail: email@example.com. Brewpub in the warehouse district that opened in 2013.
Downtown, there are three major hotels: the Clarion, Marriott City Center, and the Sheraton.
- AmeriSuites Raleigh/RDU Airport-RTP, 200 Airgate Dr, ☎ . Adjacent to Raleigh Durham International Airport and the Research Triangle Park.
- Clarion Hotel, 320 Hillsborough St, ☎ . The 20-story hotel is undergoing its first major renovation since the 1960s. Try to get a room on the lower floors, which are being fixed up first.
- Comfort Inn & Suites Crabtree Valley, 6209 Glenwood Ave, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. 6 ml from Raleigh Airport, with free airport transfers. $75-115.
- Days Inn, 300 North Dawson St, ☎ . Closest to Glenwood South, where many bars and restaurants are located.
- Embassy Suites Raleigh - Crabtree, 4700 Creedmoor Rd, ☎ . All-suite hotel with tropical atrium featuring full-service amenities, indoor pool, and fitness center. Free breakfast and reception daily for all guests.
- Fuquay Mineral Spring Inn and Garden. Bed and Breakfast.
- Marriott City Center, 500 Fayetteville St, ☎ . Attached to the new Convention Center.
- Marriott Crabtree Valley, 4500 Marriott Dr, ☎ . Close to Crabtree Valley Mall, NC Museum of Art and Time Warner Cable Pavilion at Walnut Creek.
- Microtel Inn & Suites Raleigh, 1209 Plainview Dr, ☎ .
- Oakwood Inn - Bed & Breakfast, 411 North Bloodworth St, ☎ . B&B in a historic neighborhood.
- Ramada Blue Ridge Hotel, 1520 Blue Ridge Dr, ☎ .
- Renaissance Hotel, 4100 Main (at North Hills St.).
- Sheraton Hotel, 421 South Salisbury St, ☎ . Another 20-story hotel, a touch fancier, but located on the mostly uninteresting Fayetteville Street Mall.
- The Umstead Hotel & Spa, 100 Woodland Pond Dr, ☎ . Convenient to downtown, the newer Umstead is the only 5 star hotel in the area.
- Wingate by Wyndham State Arena Raleigh/Cary (Raleigh North Carolina Hotel- Wingate Raleigh RBC Center), 115 Corporate Ridge Rd (Nearby to Raleigh's downtown), ☎ .
Raleigh crime is below average for an American city of its size, but one still must be cautious and intelligent. In particular, stay to the busy and well lighted parts of downtown after dark, and avoid the neighborhoods immediately south or east of downtown after dark. The NC State University campus and vicinity are safe and heavily trafficked during the day and evening, but use the university’s public safety escort service in the early hours of the morning. Throughout Raleigh, you should think before using an automated teller machine (ATM) after dark, unless it's located in a mall or other heavily traveled, well-lit area.
- Helios Coffee Co., 413 Glenwood Ave, ☎ . W-Sa until midnight. A coffee shop in Glenwood South with many hipsters. Beer and wine also available. Free wireless access.
- Panera Bread, 4421 Six Forks Rd Ste 119, ☎ . Free wireless access.
- Canada, 3737 Glenwood Ave Ste 100, ☎ , fax: +1 919 573-1809.
- Mexico, 336 E Six Forks Rd, ☎ , fax: +1 919 752-1726.
- Umstead Park, easily accessible by car, bus, or bike, Umstead is a natural haven from the Triangle's urban zones, centrally located next to RDU Intl. Airport. Miles of trails, both paved and unpaved, provide access for hikers, campers, bikers and joggers to three lakes and over 5380 acres.
- Fearrington Plantation, located in Pittsboro, is an ideal weekend getaway to the countryside. Home to one of only a few AAA four-diamond hotels in the state, this inn (and complementing village of shops) can run heavy on the wallet, but the luxurious experience is more than worth it. Perfect for a romantic weekend getaway.
- Chapel Hill, about 25 miles from Raleigh, is home to the University of North Carolina (UNC-CH). Chapel Hill has many good restaurants and bars on Franklin Street, adjacent to the UNC campus.
- Durham about 25 miles away, the home of Duke University. Durham has many trendy cafes, bars, theaters, art locations and four star restaurants.
|Routes through Raleigh|
|Chapel Hill ← Cary ←||W E||→ Benson → Wilmington|
|Richmond ← Henderson ←||N S||→ Cary → Columbia|
|Lexington ← Cary ← ends ←||W E||→ Zebulon → Rocky Mount/Greenville|
|Greensboro ← Durham ←||W E||→ Smithfield-Selma → Morehead City|