Raleigh is the capital city of North Carolina and the second most populous city in the state. It’s known for the numerous educational, cultural and historic sites that add to the city’s recreational appeal. Raleigh has been nationally recognized as one of the best places to live by Businessweek, EcoSalon and Forbes. In fact, Forbes has ranked Raleigh highly in terms of one of the best cities for raising a family, best cities for newlyweds and best places for bargain retirement homes. Some call Raleigh the “city of oaks,” for the oak-lined streets in the heart of the city, while others know it as part of the Research Triangle area that includes Durham and Chapel Hill. The city of over 450,000 people boasts a diverse demographic that includes university students, working professionals, families and singles.
Raleigh is home to a number of museums including the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. With so many universities in the area like North Carolina State, William Peace and Shaw, Raleigh was ranked third most educated city in the US by Time in 2011. The arts scene is also a big part of the city, and a number of organizations such as the North Carolina Symphony and Carolina Ballet call Raleigh their home. Theater shows, music concerts and other acts are held throughout the year in Raleigh’s performance venues. Outdoor movies and concerts are particularly popular in the summer, and the North Carolina Museum of Art and Koka Booth Amphitheater hold events throughout the summer months. If you’re into sports, rally to Raleigh for a home game or two. Hockey fans might be able to catch the Carolina Hurricanes at the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena. Collegiate teams from North Carolina State University play at Carter-Finley Stadium, Reynolds Coliseum and Doak Field. The North Carolina State Capitol and Raleigh City Museum are great for history buffs, while Marbles Kids Museum and Pullen Park offer fun for families with kids.
Traveling from Raleigh by car, train or bus, can get you to a neighboring region and back within the day. Charlotte, North Carolina is a popular tourist hub with attractions like the NASCAR Hall of Fame; US National Whitewater Center, which is a river rafting adventure park; and the Mint Museum, which has collections of global art. Choose from among North Carolina’s coastal cities to make a day trip from Raleigh. Morehead City has family-friendly beach spots as well as attractions built upon North Carolina shipwrecks and the city’s history. Nags Head is another coastal destination that has been called one of the Outer Banks’ most established tourism destinations. The beaches and sand dunes of Jockey's Ridge, as well as the quintessential beach town are definitely worth the three-hour drive from Raleigh.
Downtown Raleigh will give you a mix of something old and something new. While you’ll be able to find historic buildings and accommodations such as the Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel, which was built in the early 1900s, you’ll find newer or restored areas such as the City Market or Fayetteville Street downtown business district. Midtown Raleigh is a mix of residential and commercial, with shopping centers that add a bit more bustle to the residential area. West Raleigh is home to a number of universities including North Carolina State, Meredith College and Saint Mary’s School, and is close to Lake Johnson, Cameron Village and Pullen Park. North Raleigh is a growing suburban district with newly built subdivisions and a residential feel.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport is your way out of the city by air, offering service to more than 35 international and domestic destinations. Amtrak is also a way in and out of the city, and it has been said that Raleigh’s train station is one of Amtrak’s busiest stops in the south. Public transportation in Raleigh is provided by Capital Area Transit, which has 33 fixed bus routes throughout the city. Triangle Transit is another way to get around in the form of fixed-route regional and commuter bus services between Raleigh and its neighboring cities of Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill. It also offers vanpool and rideshare programs for popular commute destinations. North Carolina State University also offers free bus services around the university’s campuses for the general public.
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