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10 Things to Know About Living in Raleigh

Have you ever wanted to live in city where good barbecue, great weather, and innovative jobs are plentiful? Raleigh might be the place for you! Not only is the second largest city in North Carolina one of the best places to live in the South, but it also has safe and affordable neighborhoods, beautiful weather, and tons of activities for all ages! Ready to move to the Raleigh area? Here are 10 things you should know before packing your bags!

Employment Opportunities at Research Triangle Park

It’s no surprise that Raleigh is considered one of the best cities for jobs when it’s home to Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the country. This development hub began in 1959 as a way to not only create more jobs for North Carolina residents, but to also build a community for inventors, researchers, and innovators from nearby universities—Duke UniversityNorth Carolina State University (NCSU), and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—to collaborate on projects that could change the future. After 60 years, RTP has over 50,000 employees and 250 companies that specialize in electronics, biotechnology, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and environmental science. Some of the top employers in the area include IBM, Cisco Systems, Lenovo, GlaxoSmithKline, and more, making Raleigh one of the top cities in North Carolina for employment opportunities.

Outdoor Fun for Every Season

Overhead view of pond and greenspace with bridges and shelter at Pullen. Park Photo by Instagram user @rawsta_photo

Photo via @rawsta_photo

Not sure what to do in Raleigh? Get outside and enjoy all of the great outdoor activities the City of Oaks has to offer! Go on a miniature train ride, paddle around Lake Howell in pedal boats, or take the kids to ride on the carousel at Pullen Park. Head to William B. Umstead State Park for horseback riding, fishing, or picnicking. Ride bikes or go for stroll through the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park to see sculptures spread out over 164 acres. Catch some major air on the outdoor BMX course at Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex. Take your dog on a walk to see the sunflower fields or throw a frisbee around with some friends at Dorthea Dix Park. Attend the Hopscotch Music Festival to hear more than 130 bands play from every genre of music, from folk and rock to electronic. If you’re looking to shred fresh snow on skis without having pay the cost to fly to the Rockies, take a quick drive to Sugar Mountain Resort, which is under three and a half hours from Raleigh!

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Spend a Day at the North Carolina State Fair

View from under large ferris wheel at dusk at North Carolina State Fair. Photo by Instagram user @sophienelise

Photo via @sophienelise

Known for being the largest event in North Carolina and the largest agriculture event in the nation, the North Carolina State Fair is the ultimate Raleigh attraction! Over 1 million locals and visitors travel to this 11-day event to ride roller coasters, eat delicious fair food, listen to live music, compete in horse shows, learn about crops grown in the Tarheel State, and more! See vintage farm tools and milk bottle displays at the Antique Farm Machinery, or buy hand-coiled pottery and wood-carved bowls from The Village of Yesteryear. Participate in the cornbread baking competition, or enter your pygmy goat in a costume contest. Fill your belly with Jalapeno Cheetos Bacon, glazed sweet corn, Thanksgiving sandwiches, and Grasshopper Funnel Cake. Watch cloggers dance across stage at the Folk Festival, or catch a live concert at the Dorton Arena for Homegrown Music Fest. No matter what you’re looking to eat, see, or do, the North Carolina State Fair has something for you!

Ultimate Hub for Shopping

With a shopping scene that ranges from cute boutiques and designer stores to large shopping centers, it’s no surprise that one of the best things to do in Raleigh is to shop ’til you drop! Spend the day at the multi-faceted North Hills (also known as Raleigh’s Midtown) browsing over 130 local shops and big-name brands, such as Copper Penny, Kendra Scott, Anthropologie, and Fleur Boutique. Peruse through the 200 stores at Crabtree Valley Mall, where you can purchase leggings at Athleta, new headphones at Best Buy, or a pair of running shoes from Foot Locker. You can also discover tons of treasures at Cameron Village, such as vintage records from Cheshire Cat Antique Gallery, fun earrings and bowls from The Local Squirrel, and hand-crafted furniture from around the world at Nadeau.

Be a Part of the Krispy Kreme Challenge

Runners holding a large Krispy Kreme Doughnuts coffee cup during a race. Photo by Instagram user @ncstate

Photo via @ncstate

Do you love eating donuts? Do you love running? Have you ever thought about doing both? Every year, the students at NCSU host one of the most unique things to do in Raleigh: the Krispy Kreme Challenge. What once started out as a dare among friends, this challenge has turned into a national event where over 5,000 people join together to raise money for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital through donuts. For those who accept the challenge, they have one hour to run five miles and consume 12 donuts, running 2.5 miles to the Krispy Kreme, eating a dozen glazed, and running 2.5 miles back to the Memorial Belltower. So if you’re someone who loves a good challenge or just indulging in sweet treats for a good cause, the Krispy Kreme Challenge is one of the best Raleigh activities.

Fill Your Belly with Carolina BBQ

Overhead view of large tray of barbeque meats, cornbread, sides, and a glass of iced tea. Photo by Instagram user @citybbq

Photo via @citybbq

When you’re living in Raleigh, be prepared to indulge in Carolina barbecue! There are two styles of barbecue popular in North Carolina: Eastern and Lexington. Eastern style involves cooking a whole pig over wood coals and using a vinegar and pepper sauce, while Lexington style uses only the pork shoulders and complements it with ketchup, vinegar, and brown sugar. There are many debates about which is best, but luckily you can find both in Raleigh! Order More Cowbell (brisket topped with peppers) or Lo Lo’s Pulled Pork at City Barbecue. Fill up on Brunswick Stew, Hand Chopped BBQ Pork Sandwiches, and Banana Pudding at Ole Time Barbecue. Head to The Pit—one of the best places for BBQ in Raleigh—and try their delicious Barbecue Fries, Mac & Cheese, and Chopped BBQ Turkey. Big Al’s BBQ is another amazing Raleigh restaurant for tasting BBQ Pork Platters and Beef Brisket Sandwiches.

Experience Unique Dining Options

While pulled pork is a main food staple, barbecue restaurants aren’t the only thing popular in the area. There are tons of extraordinary places to eat in Raleigh that have a diverse selection of dishes. The Morgan Street Food Hall is a dining hall (unlike a food court) that features a variety of local eateries, restaurants, food retailers, allowing you to indulge in a little bit of everything. Enjoy a Cosmic Butterfly from Boba Brew, a Maine Lobster Roll from Cousins Maine Lobster, and Cocoa Classic Cheesecake from Cocoa Forte. If you’re looking for Raleigh restaurants downtown, Transfer Co. Food Hall is a great place to go with friends! Order some oysters from Local Oyster Bar and a Belgian Ale from Burial Beer Co, and get some chocolate-covered caramels for dessert at Videri Chocolate Factory.

World’s Largest Selection of Draft Beer

Interior view of Raleigh Beer Garden with people sitting at the bar and a large tree in the middle of the floor. Photo by Instagram user @ralbeergarden

Photo via @ralbeergarden

Looking for fun things to do in Raleigh at night? You’re in luck! Located in the heart of Downtown Raleigh is the Raleigh Beer Garden, a hip venue that has the world’s largest selection of draft beer! This two-story local hot spot is home to more than 350 beers on tap with the first floor dedicated to beers from North Carolina breweries, and the second floor pouring ales from breweries around the country and world. There’s also a rooftop bar with outdoor seating that’s perfect for enjoying a Tropical Torpedo IPA and Beer Battered Pretzel on a warm summer night. Just make sure to check the beer selection online, as the menu is always changing daily!

Cheer on the ‘Canes

Canes hockey player celebrating on the ice. Photo by Instagram user @canes

Photo via @canes

Not many cities can say they’re home to a professional hockey team, but Raleigh can! The Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) sell out the 20,000-seat PNC Arena constantly. People travel from near and far to watch The Canes hit slap shots, hear what the new rotating goal song is, and eat some delicious Carolina barbecue while drinking a big craft beer. And just like football, the fans love to tailgate before games in the parking lot, putting on their red and white face paint to get into the team spirit!

Dive into Raleigh Culture

Many of the best things to do in Raleigh include visiting all of the amazing art, science, and history museums! Gaze upon ancient Greece vase paintings, Jewish ceremonial objects, and Egyptian coffins at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Marvel at rotating contemporary art exhibits or attend First Fridays for live-art and food trucks at CAM Raleigh. Travel back in time to dive into North Carolina’s history with interactive displays and memorabilia at the North Carolina Museum of History. Visit North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the largest natural history museum in the Southeast, to get up close with snapping turtles, a sperm whale skeleton, and interactive DNA displays. Looking for things to do with kids in Raleigh? Learn about creatures deep in the ocean on the Science Submarine, make sculptures in the Art Loft, or tinker with robots at Marbles Kids Museum.


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10 Things to Know About Living in Raleigh

Raleigh, North Carolina Skyline
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