Raleigh is North Carolina’s capital city and was once voted “America’s Best City” by BusinessWeek.com.
Raleigh is well connected to a thriving hub of technical companies in the Research Triangle Park area and is home to some of the top universities in the US, including the University of North Carolina and Duke University. It has a big-city feel – even though the population is less than half a million – combined with a mild climate and low cost of living.
Located midway between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, both are never more than two-three hours drive away. With a vibrant sports scene and enough cultural and social activities to whet the appetite of any new arrival, it’s easy to see why British expats are drawn to this charming Southern city.
To the north west of downtown is the Five Points neighbourhood, where you’ll find late 19th Century homes, a mix of shopping, plus some of the region’s better schools. Considered the “old Raleigh”, Five Points has managed to retain some of its original character as the wider area developed and modernised.
Situated to the west of downtown is Boylan Heights, a safe and fairly quiet suburb with houses in a range of styles set back from broad tree-lined streets. The locals celebrate the neighbourhood each year with an August block party consisting of food stalls, live bands and family-friendly activities.
With a population under 13,000, Hillsborough is located to the west of downtown Raleigh, with decent shopping and dining, plus North Carolina’s State University. With a lower crime level than the Raleigh average, it is a convenient yet safe district of the city.
A short drive from Raleigh is the town of Cary in the northwestern corner of Wake County. With its “small town” charm and atmosphere, it was named America’s “hottest town” by a leading financial magazine. It offers an alternative but equally desirable lifestyle for people moving to Raleigh who want to escape the city but stay within commutable reach.
Transport / Getting Around in Raleigh
Getting around the downtown area is relatively easy with various forms of transport on offer such as the eco-friendly circulator bus service, the R-LINE, passing along Raleigh’s grid of one-way streets. The city’s airport is one of the country’s fastest growing and offers direct flights to London Heathrow. The city also boasts a rickshaw company for the less-time pressured visitor.
Leisure Activities and Things to Do in Raleigh
There are plenty of things to do in the Greater Raleigh area and the city is not short of cultural experiences, including ballet, opera, music venues, theatre and museums. Many of the state museums are located here such as the North Carolina Museum of Art, Museum of History and Museum of Natural Sciences. A visit to the State Capitol building, a national historic landmark, is also recommended.
The downtown area is a base for big business but has also undergone changes to bring increased shopping and outdoor dining into the urban centre. Moore Park Square is one such example, catering to a wide range of musical tastes and with a flourishing arts district.
The city also offers enough sports to satisfy the most diehard of fanatics, with college basketball teams from Duke, North Carolina and NC State Universities, professional ice hockey (the North Carolina Hurricanes), baseball, world-renowned golf courses and even access to skiing in winter, with the popular destinations of Boone and Asheville within easy reach. Raleigh residents can also hit the beach – coastal retreats including Atlantic Beach, Beaufort and Morehead City are a mere three hours from the city.
Interesting Facts about Raleigh
- Home to the University of North Carolina, the third-ranked university in the US.
- Recognised as the city that is “three hours from both the mountains and the beach”.
- The “City of Oaks”, Raleigh was once considered a sleepy southern capital but now ranks among one of the best places to live in the US.orth Carolina’s Research Triangle Park is located near Raleigh and is a major centre for technology and biotech research.