Raleigh has been frequently named the number one city to live in by many acclaimed sources for the past few years. It is the capital city of North Carolina and a growing technology hub, due to its home of Research Triangle Park (RTP). Due to RTP’s location in Raleigh, some even say that Raleigh is the Silicon Valley of the East Coast. Along with being a prominent technology and business hub, Raleigh is also a big college town as it is home of North Carolina State University, Meredith College, William Peace, and nearby Duke University as well as University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. In recent years, Raleigh has rapidly grown into what it is today – a technology hub, college town, and an international city, too. In fact, it has grown a ton in the four years that I have lived here and it continues to do so. Raleigh is an extremely livable city and it has become well-liked by many all across the United States.
- Lucky Tree (3801 Hillsborough Street) – a cafe that also has local art exhibits and sells local artisans’ pieces. They also have open mic nights every other Monday night.
- Sola Coffee (7705 Lead Mine Road) – known for its notorious “I Believe in Raleigh” mural & attracts several visitors throughout the city and outside of the city.
- Jubala Coffee (2100 Hillsborough Street) – located on Hillsborough Street where its customers can easily take in the stunning NC State University bell tower.
- Cha House (3001 Hillsborough Street) – serves up unique teas and coffees in a funky atmosphere.
- Cafe Carolina Bakery (401 Daniels Street) – a simple, casual place to enjoy classic brunch eats.
- The Flying Biscuit (2016 Clark Avenue) – Southern style brunch foods served 24/7 with great cocktails and mimosas to choose from, too. The Flying Biscuit is also a breakfast chain that you can find in a variety of other Southern cities, including Charlotte, North Carolina.
- State Farmers Market Restaurant (1240 Farmers Market Drive) – a local brunch restaurant that serves up diner-like specialities at the State Farmers Market.
- Coquette Brasserie (4351 The Circle at North Hills Street) – a French-themed upscale restaurant.
- Layered Crossanterie (911 N West Street Suite 107) – an adorable cafe-like croissant bakery.
- La Farm Bakery (4248 NW Cary Parkway, Cary, NC) – a modern-day French cafe.
- Simply Crepes (8470 Honeycutt Road) – an adorable European-style crepe restaurant.
- Plates Neighborhood Kitchen (301 Glenwood Avenue #100) – a super-fun restaurant in the heart of downtown Raleigh, complete with affordable mimosas.
- Bruegger’s Bagels (3510 Wade Avenue) – a New York-style bagel joint with an adorable mural outside!
- Rise (530 Daniels Street) – an amazing grab & go biscuit joint that also carries donuts!
- Neomonde (3817 Beryl Road) – the BEST Middle Eastern place I have been to! Neomonde serves up authentic Lebanese cuisines and also has a market filled with authentic Middle Eastern products for you to enjoy at home, too.
- Slice of NY Pizza (2316 Hillsborough Street) – genuine New York-style pizza served by the slice in the form of massive slices.
- Fox & Hound (4158 Main at North Hills Street Suite 111) – an amazing sports bar with delicious lunch goods and great lunch deals and drinks.
- Brickhouse (3801 Hillsborough Street) – a super fun sports bar and pub with karaoke nights every Friday night. Moreover, folks enjoy watching local sports games on the weekends.
- Jasmin & Olivz (2430 Hillsborough Street) – a local Raleigh Mediterranean chain.
- Village Deli (500 Daniels Street) – a super adorable sandwich and chips deli.
- Penn Station Subs (3001 Hillsborough Street #122) – a really cool sub shop that serves fries on the side!
- Cantina 18 (433 Daniels Street) – a Mexican joint but make it healthy and guilt-free, yet still delicious!
- Angus Barn (9401 Glenwood Avenue) – a popular steakhouse in Raleigh that is notorious for its Christmas decorations and spirit during the holiday season!
- Winston’s Grille (6401 Falls of Neuse Road) – a steakhouse and seafood restaurant that is retro-themed and has a magical atmosphere.
- Gonza Tacos y Tequila (2100 Hillsborough Street Unit 110) – a super fun Mexican joint with great drinks and fun for all.
- The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar (4208 Six Forks Road Suite 100) – a burger AND sushi joint – yes, both taste AMAZING – they also have great milkshakes and cocktails!
- Irregardless Cafe (901 W Morgan Street) – a super elegant farm-to-table restaurant.
- Kabob & Curry (2412 Hillsborough Street) – probably my favorite Indian restaurant! Kabob & Curry specializes in Nepali and North Indian cuisines, which are the super kind owners’ heritage and local cuisines. Not to mention, the food is amazing and each dish can be customized to your preference when it comes to level of spices.
- Caffe Luna (136 East Hargett Street) – an elegant Italian restaurant located in the heart of downtown Raleigh.
- Firebirds (4350 Lassiter at North Hills Avenue) – a restaurant serving wood fired grill delights.
- J. Alexander’s (4600 Crabtree Valley Avenue) – a contemporary American-style restaurant serving up wood fired cuisines.
- Amedeo’s (3905 Western Blvd) – a casual Mom & Pop Italian restaurant serving up some of the best in Raleigh!
- El Rodeo (329 South Blount Street) – an authentic and casual Mexican restaurant with some of the greatest Mexican foods!
- Wild Cooks Indian Grill (3212 Hillsborough Street) – a locally-owned Indian restaurant serving up some of the greatest Indian delights in Raleigh!
- Taco Bell Cantina (2304 Hillsborough Street)
- Raleigh Beer Garden (614 Glenwood Avenue)
- Drive Shack Raleigh (6901 Play Golf Way)
- Mitch’s Tavern (2426 Hillsborough Street)
- Watts and Ward (200 South Blount Street)
- Dueling Piano Bar (510 Glenwood Avenue)
- Boxcar Bar and Arcade (330 West Davie Street)
- Tin Roof (300 Glenwood Avenue)
- Level 7 Rooftop Bar (101 Park at North Hills Street)
- Whisky Kitchen (201 West Martin Street)
- Chatham Hill Winery (8245 Chapel Hill Road, Cary, NC)
- Bittersweet (16 East Martin Street)
- The Chocolate Boutique (8480 Honeycutt Road) – an adorable Black-owned chocolate boutique, complete with tastings, and classes.
- Southern Sugar Bakery (4517 Lead Mine Road) – while they do not have an actual shop to walk inside, cookie orders are always up for grabs. This Meredith College alumni-owned cookie shop serves up the most delicious cookies, complete with cookie decorating classes!
- ICool (3001 Hillsborough Street #120) – serves up rolled ice cream and bubble tea. Their walls are also filled with empowering quotes and sticky notes from their customers!
- Goodberry’s (2042 Clark Avenue) – an amazing frozen custard chain that is all across Raleigh.
North Carolina Museum of Art
North Carolina’s Museum of Art is filled with magnificent collections of works internationally. While this museum does not offer an entry fee everyday of the week, certain days the museum is open to visitors for free like Friday’s and Wednesday’s. They also offer college student nights and other fun specials. As someone who has studied abroad a ton, I was extremely impressed with the collections that the North Carolina Museum of Art has to offer. In addition to its extraordinary collections on display pretty often, the North Carolina Museum of Art offers special exhibits, including the Frida Kalho exhibit which was on display in November 2019. Along with the amazing exhibits that this museum has to offer, the North Carolina Museum of Art is also extremely photogenic on the outside!
From murals to shopping to restaurants, Village District has been one of my favorite places to hangout since starting college at Meredith! Many of my favorite restaurants and local shops have their home here. Recently, Village District put up a bunch of super fun murals that are all about empowering one another making it even more of a fun and photogenic place. Village District is also home to the “Queen Chick Fil-A” – a massive two-story Chick-Fil-A joint that you don’t want to miss!
JC Raulston Arboretum
A super stunning arboretum that is great for strolls, admiring nature, and for taking photos.
Historic Yates Mill County Park
Yates Mill County Park consists of the Yates Mill – a historic and fully restored gristmill – located on the Yates Mill Pond. Although visitors cannot go into the Yates Mill, there are plenty of opportunities to take in the breathtaking mill along the Yates Mill Pond Trail, which goes along the perimeter of the pond. There are also a ton of opportunities to learn about the history of Yates Mill, too!
Pullen Park is a super adorable and fun park targeted at elementary-aged and preschool-aged children and their families. However, Pullen Park is definitely worth visiting if you are older, too. While the park has attractions such as a playground and rides – carousel, train, and paddleboats galore! – there are also plenty of opportunities to walk around the drawbridges along the super pretty ponds and picnic. You can even enjoy a popsicle at the refreshments bar and even enjoy the rides for yourself!!!
North Carolina State Capitol
Visiting any state capital is a fun way to learn about any state and their culture. The North Carolina State Capitol is open to visitors to tour and enjoy witnessing how North Carolina state government works. It has free entry! The state capitol building also has super great skyline views of Raleigh.
Dorothea Dix Park
From sunflowers to daffodils and skyline views in between, Dorothea Dix Park has it ALL!!! Dorothea Dix Park is notorious for its sunflowers planted every summer for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. The same concept goes for their daffodils. At the same time, Dorothea Dix Park offers stunning skyline views of the city.
North Carolina Museum of Sciences
The North Carolina Museum of Sciences offers a super unique experience for its visitors. The museum is free to enter and it offers a ton of super cool interactive experiences on the state of North Carolina’s nature along with the sciences. This museum also offers great learning experiences for people of all ages!
Like Village District, North Hills is another one of my favorite places to shop! North Hills offers a ton of fun high-end shops and restaurants and even bars. Similar to Village District, North Hills also has several murals and paintings which are on display for their visitors to see and enjoy!
North Carolina Museum of Art Sculpture Garden
Along with its amazing gallery and outdoor photo spots, the North Carolina Museum of Art has a Sculpture Garden. The North Carolina Museum of Art Sculpture Garden is super popular with Raleigh locals. There are magnificent sculptures and plenty of grass to picnic on, too!
My Favorite Local Shops:
- Light Years Jewelry (430 Daniels Street) – Light Years carries local artists’ handmade jewelry pieces at a steal of the price!
- The Local Squirrel (2014 Cameron Street) – founded and owned by a Meredith College alumni, The Local Squirrel is an oh so adorable boutique that carries local artists’ pieces, especially pieces that show off their Raleigh and Meredith College pride!!!
- Lucky Tree (3801 Hillsborough Street) – just as it prides itself on being a cafe, Lucky Tree also carries local artisans’ pieces and sells them, whether it be jewelry, pendents, or paintings.
- The Pink Pearl Cary (1331 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, NC) – The Pink Pearl is the closest Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store to the city of Raleigh. It is located in the nearby suburb of Cary, North Carolina. The ladies at The Pink Pearl are super sweet and some of my Meredith College classmates work there or have worked there. This Signature Store is known for their super fun tent sales and carries Jack Rogers along with Pandora jewelry.
- Fifi’s Fine Resale Apparel (2028 Cameron Street) – Fifi’s is a super sweet high-end consignment store. I have found a ton of Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, and several other high-end designers at a steal of the price.
- Madison (2035 Cameron Street) – Madison is a locally-owned boutique in Raleigh that carries trendy finds with some Southern charm.
Now that you have read up on ALL the fun things to do here in Raleigh, it is time to book your trip and have a great time!
XOXO – Katie <3