Travel Guide: Raleigh, North Carolina

Welcome   to Raleigh Y'all, the capital of North Carolina! Often when the outside world thinks of the south, it has some unfor...


Welcome


 to Raleigh Y'all, the capital of North Carolina! Often when the outside world thinks of the south, it has some unfortunate misconceptions or tropes that give this "City of Oaks" a bad rap. Surrounded by excellent universities-Duke, Chapel Hill, and N.C. State-the predominate population is a well educated, tech heavy community that is very accepting and loving. Everywhere you look there are colorful and meaningful murals that show Raleigh's true spirit: a rainbow mural promising, "All Are Welcome," the above multilingual welcome sign evangelizing its accepting and diverse society, and the below "I Believe in Raleigh," mural at a local coffeeshop asking through art to be given a chance and believe in the future of this blossoming community. In short, not everything in the south is what media makes it out to be and so much of it is full of kind, welcoming people who are quick to practice southern hospitality and share their culture. Here is a overview of my favorite things to do while visiting Raleigh, North Carolina. 

EAT: 

  • Cortez is known for its fresh seafood and small plates with changing tropical cocktails that respect the restaurant's Mexican-American heritage. Recent James Beard Award nominee-Executive Chef Oscar Diaz's menu is a reflection of weekly selected local farm fresh produce and seafood.
  • Casual yet elevated good eats. The food is simply gorgeous and eat plate is a work of art. For what you get it's affordable and in the middle ($$) for refined foods. 
  • As one of the most popular restaurants in Raleigh this place is always serving fresh and ever-changing foods. It celebrates North Carolina's heritage and its future in its menu with classics like down-home pan fried North Carolina striped bass while evangelizing diversity with globally inspired foods (Mexican, Moroccan, Japanese, on and on...). 

DRINK: 

Fox Liquor Bar
  • This underground bar, featuring classic and artisanal cocktails, is the creation of James Beard Award-winner chef Ashley Christensen. The dark red patina walls and candlelit atmosphere will make you think you're in a old southern speakeasy. 
Foundation
  • I have spent many a night here! You'll have to look for the red neon "Foundation" sign at the bottom of its staircase to spot this basement gem. Celebrating their 10yr anniversary this year-Foundation has been a pioneer for Raleigh's cocktail scene as the oldest craft bar in Raleigh. (PS: They are known for their bourbons).

Bittersweet
  • My favorite dessert bar EVER (See my experience of Negroni Week at Bittersweet)! 2019 will be their 5th year of serving scrumptious goodies, classic and contemporary cocktails, and coffee. Its seasonal menu is all natural and primarily local. BONUS: They have specialty events (wine classes and gin clubs to educate the public on the bountiful products available to them) and themed drinks + dessert movie nights. (PS: They are known for their gin and their next gin club starts April 28th!) 
  • This gorgeous tiny little wine bar in city market is newer to Raleigh. It's adorable and in addition to an extensive list of cocktails, wines, and apertifs, Apéro offers a rotating selection of snacks, smalls plates, and desserts (locals say they have the best charcuterie board in town!). PS: They specialize in low alcohol by volume cocktails (aka, you won't get sloshed but can drink many tasty delights!). 
PLAY: .

Go for a Bike Ride

  • As you can see from the images in this post, Raleigh is as colorful as its citizens! You can see for yourself by taking a tour of Raleigh's Murals Project throughout downtown. The Raleigh Murals Project works to preserve and celebrate both existing and new public artwork. Just like the artists who created them, every mural has a story and adds its own unique creative energy to the city. For an interactive map and to plan a self-guided tour of the murals located throughout Raleigh visit raleighmuralsproject.com.
SHOP: 

  • RP is a gift shop with almost all NC made goodies. This corner shop is full of North Carolina specialty food, wine, beer and custom-made gift baskets. It's worth checking out for that special local item you can't leave without.
  • Deco is another great little gift shop full of local artisans and goods. My father (a beekeeper) sometimes sells his honey to little shops like this so I love to support those local craftsmen and small businesses. 
SEE: 
  • This is honestly my favorite thing to do in Raleigh. The museum is comparable to one in New York City (used to live in both places and I feel confident saying this). You can spend the whole day here if you want and admission is free. It has both contemporary and classical art, a vast outdoor sculpture park, as well as myriad delightful touring exhibits that make each visit a new experience. This is a MUST! 
  • The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the Southeast’s largest natural history museum, complete with its Nature Exploration Center and Nature Research Center, with four floors of exhibits, live animals, gift shops and cafés. Explore on a variety of different self-guided tours through all the different exhibits.


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