North Carolina’s capital city brims with Southern charm and adventure. The city’s colorful history includes how its location was originally chosen for its proximity to Hunter’s Tavern — a favorite watering hole for its then-state legislators. Today, it’s a great destination for music, festivals, food and outdoor pursuits.
History & Culture: Dating to 1792, Raleigh boasts many historic structures, including the Pope House Museum built in 1901; the Joel Lane Museum House and Gardens; the Andrew Johnson Birthplace; and the North Carolina Railroad Museum & New Hope Valley Railway, with a collection of antique equipment. Enjoy one of the many annual festivals, which range from Meet in the Street Festival and the Apex Latino Arts and Culinary Festival, to Raleigh’s International Food Festival.
Culinary: Raleigh’s food truck culture is hot, with close to 100 regular trucks serving the downtown city and popular venues. A few to look for: The Humble Pig for smoky barbecue; Cousins Maine Lobster for all lobster tots, lobster quesadillas and lobster rolls; and Pho Nomenal Dumpling Truck for exceptional dumplings and Taiwanese spaghetti. The truck won Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race in 2005.
Active: Surrounded by stunning scenery — and bearing the distinction of the third sportiest city in America — Raleigh offers boating, skiing, climbing, skating, horseback riding, tennis, golf and 180 miles of trails in the Greenway System ideal for hiking and walking. State parks include Shelley Lake Park, William B. Umstead State Park and Lake Crabtree County Park.
Wellness: At White Dahlia Massage and Wellness, you can sample therapies that include cupping, reflexology, Reiki, cranialsacral massage, Ashiatsu, Trigger Point Therapy or a stress-melting Fire and Ice Massage. Stretch yourself at the Raleigh Yoga Company, a Bikram Yoga studio; or Evolve Movement where the studio includes Pilates equipment, and the schedule features health-focused workshops.
Romance: The city’s vibrant arts scene embraces numerous galleries, concerts and performances. Take in a show by the Carolina Ballet or North Carolina Theatre. End your evening with an artisan brew on the roof of the Raleigh Beer Garden, where you can choose from 366 different varieties.
Family Fun: There are plenty of family-friendly activities for kids of all ages. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has a wealth of exhibits including the Nature Exploration Center and Nature Research Center, with labs, a 10,000-gallon aquarium, fossils and space exhibits. At the Marble Kids Museum, diversions include an IMAX movie screen and numerous interactive exhibitions. Pullen Park has a carousel constructed in 1911, pedal boats on Lake Howell, sporting fields and performances by Theatre in the Park.