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Raleigh, North Carolina

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Personality Types that Like it Best

Did You Know … ?

  • Raleigh was founded in 1792 specifically to be North Carolina’s state capital.
  • President Andrew Johnson, successor to Abraham Lincoln, was born in Raleigh (1808).
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the nation’s oldest state university (chartered 1789).
  • Estey Hall at Raleigh’s Shaw University was America’s first building built for the education of black women (1874).
  • The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh was America’s first state-owned art museum (funded 1947).

A point on the triangle

Raleigh, North Carolina’s capital, is on the eastern edge of the Piedmont, the midsection of the state, which falls between the Atlantic Coast to the east and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. North Carolina’s first legislators chose this site — where there was no town — for a central location in the state. They also required by law that it be within 10 miles of a favorite tavern.

Today, it’s a busy capital city, but better known for its association with the area’s three major universities and with a world class research center, the Research Triangle Park, located between Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh. People in the area sometimes boast that the Triangle neighborhood has the world’s largest concentration of PhDs.

Whether that is true or not, it is certain that the combination of state government, quality universities and an emphasis on forward-leaning research conspires to create a greater metro area with diversions that appeal to prospective visitors as well as those considering moving to the area.

Important museums of art, history and the natural sciences top the list of such attractions, along with theater (indoors and outdoors), opera, a symphony and ballet. Dining runs the gamut from gourmet to brewpubs — and plenty of barbecue.

Raleigh boasts it offers the most live music in the state, which ranges from local performers in intimate settings to superstars at major venues.

The city provides some options to see professional sports and stock car racing, but the university teams are the big draw, particularly men’s basketball.

Historic attractions include government buildings — the Executive Mansion, the Legislative Building and the State Capitol — as well as charming older neighborhoods, some with eateries, shops or nightspots that invite a visitor to linger to do more than ogle the architecture.

Finally, the natural environment rounds out the area’s appeal. Greater Raleigh counts more than 4,300 acres of parkland and nearly 1,400 acres of water, thus offering choices for recreational activities, which in the area’s mild climate are available year-round.

And the 152-mile Capital Area Greenway System provides trails for hiking, jogging and other outdoor activities, while connecting many of Raleigh’s 150 parks.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Have a taste of cherry bounce, a drink beloved by the men who made Raleigh the state capital. Its ingredients include one of several hard liquors and, yes, cherries.
  • Go to the auto races at Wake County Speedway. Watch the action from the pit area.
  • Research the nightlife downtown in the Warehouse District. Or, consider the Capital District or Glenwood South.
  • Run in the February Krispy Kreme Challenge, which involves running from North Carolina State University to Krispy Kreme, eating a dozen doughnuts and then running back. Or just show up in September for BugFest, the country’s largest single-day bug event.
  • Head to Fantasy Lake Scuba Park in Rolesville for freshwater diving in a deserted rock quarry.
  • Pursuing a unique interest, make the rounds of the Ray Price Legends of Harley Drag Racing Museum, the world’s only Harley-Davidson drag racing museum.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Eat barbecue here. It will be pork served with a mild to fiery sauce.
  • Board the free downtown circulator, called the R-Line, to go from district to district.
  • Time your visit, in September, for the Hopscotch Music Festival, or for the Wide Open Bluegrass fest.
  • Devote time to one or all of the three major state museums, the Museum of Art, the Museum of History and/or the Museum of Natural Sciences.
  • Sample local productions at Raleigh Little Theatre or at the avant-garde Theatre in the Park.
  • Check out the Carolina Rollergirls, members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. See the women demonstrate their enthusiasm for this fast-paced contact sport in competition with a visiting team.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Explore the Historic Oakwood District or the Mordecai Historic Park. Historic Oakwood is notable for its 19th century Victorian homes, and Mordecai for a collection of relocated buildings; the collection includes a plantation home, President Andrew Johnson’s birthplace and others.
  • Take a horse-drawn carriage ride of downtown Raleigh.
  • Play golf at any of dozens of course in the city or in the Pinehurst and Sandhills area to the south of the city.
  • Tour the 1840 North Carolina State Capitol, built in the Greek Revival style. Then, observe the action when the House and Senate are in session — and see quite a different style in the mid-20th century North Carolina State Legislative Building.
  • For a lot of fun, come to the North Carolina State Fair in October.
  • Get a look at the idyllic college town, Chapel Hill, home of the University of North Carolina. See the Morehead Planetarium, where more than 100 U.S. astronauts have trained. Also, try for seats at a college basketball game here — or at Duke (Durham) or at North Carolina State (Raleigh).

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.visitraleigh.com