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Das North Carolina State Capitol, Bild: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

Raleigh – the young, lively capital of North Carolina

In the heart of North Carolina lies the bustling, eclectic capital city of Raleigh. The life-affirming atmosphere with the largest beer garden in the world, with many bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants is proverbial. Historic attractions meet modern buildings and facilities.

Raleigh was founded in 1792 to be the new capital of North Carolina . At the same time, Raleigh also replaced the previous administrative center of Wake County in New Bern . The county, Wake County, has since been governed from Raleigh. The name is a reminiscence of the explorer of the North Carolina coast, Sir Walter Raleigh. Curiously, however, the Englishman was never here, but steered the expedition from London .

Today, Raleigh is the second largest city in North Carolina. It invests a lot of education and training facilities and thus attracts young innovative entrepreneurs. In association with the neighbouring towns of Cary, Chapel Hill and Durham, research and training capacities have been pooled. Under the term “The Triangle”, the focus is on technology from biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. In this way, the region has created attractive conditions for young companies, students and young professionals. This explains a predominantly young population and a diverse cultural scene.

Historic Raleigh

Skyline von Raleigh
View of the Raleigh skyline, Image: Farid Sani / shutterstock

Even though modernity has found its way into the city, history and historical sites are still cherished and cared for.

  • The North Carolina State Capitol now houses only the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor. It is one of the most impressive old buildings.
    Historic buildings that are worth visiting are often located in beautiful, well-kept parks. For example, a walk through the “Mordecai Historic Park” leads to the birthplace of the 17th President Andrew Johnson. Five generations have lived in the house and visitors today get an impression of what everyday life was like back then.
  • In “The Historic Oak View County Park” you can recreate country life in the 19th century. It is vividly depicted with the house of a large landowner. A pecan nut plantation and a gin museum complete the picture. In front of the historic houses, where well-known personalities have lived, there are signs pointing out the prominent residents.
  • History also lives in downtown Raleigh in the historic district, “Historic Oakwood”. Mighty oak trees have given the district its name and line the streets flanked by beautiful old houses.
  • One of the most exciting projects is the “Dorothea Dix Park”. In the heart of downtown, historic architecture on rolling hills and mighty trees combines with stunning views of Raleigh’s modern skyline.
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Raleigh’s Museum World

The “City of Raleigh Museum” shows the history of the city in changing exhibitions. The building alone is worth seeing. The “Briggs Building” from 1874 has retained its special features. The museum gallery is spanned by a remarkable tin ceiling.

Captivating, state-of-the-art exhibits introduce the history of science with extensive collections at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science.
For children, the “Marbles Kids Museum” is exciting. They discover child-friendly exhibitions and educational programs and in the Marbles IMAX they experience an oversized film.

Raleigh’s nickname as the “Smithsonian of the South” comes from the abundance of high-quality, free museums and attractions.

Sports activities in and around Raleigh

As the third most athletic city in the USA , Raleigh has a special reputation. Rock walls for climbing, golf courses, tennis parks, ice rinks and aquatic centers, and horseback riding compete with parks and lakes. Outside the city, a total of 180 miles of greenway trails invite you to hike and bike. The best mountain biking trail is in Lake Crabtree County Park.

The “Neuse River Greenway Trail” is popular. It goes over beaten paths, over bridges, through picturesque swamp landscapes and past historical sights. As part of the “Mountains-to-Sea Trails” long-distance hiking trail, it leads through all of North Carolina.

Due to the mild winters and warm summers, Raleigh is in season all year round.

Raleigh’s Dining Scene

St. Patrick's Day in Raleigh
Great atmosphere on the streets of Raleigh on St. Patrick’s Day, Image: EPG_EuroPhotoGraphics / shutterstock

In the “Morgan Street Food Hall” or in the “Transfer Co. Food Hall”, an abundance of fresh seafood tempts you to try bagels, tacos and gourmet ice cream.
International restaurants such as the “Garland” offer exotic delicacies. Specialties from Laos are available in the “Bida Manda”.

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America’s best chef, Ashley Christensen, has built a wide-ranging food scene. She serves at Poole’s Diner, is also the owner of a burger joint, a “chicken and waffle” spot, an underground liquor bar and runs a wood-fired contemporary restaurant.

For “Happy Hour” people meet in the “Raleigh Beer Garden”. With 350 types of beer, the world’s largest selection of different beers is available.

Beer is a big topic in Raleigh. More than 10 years ago, Sumit Vohra started to give space to his passion and started producing high-quality ales. His “Lonerider Brewing Company” now has a reputation as one of the best beer producers in the country. This means that a West Texas-style brewery that produces a German-style Hefeweizen is run by a man from India . When night falls in Raleigh, Raleigh becomes a welcoming Southern small town.

You can try delicious cocktails in bars with live music and various types of beer on the roof of the largest beer garden in the world. Nightlife pulsates in five entertainment districts of the city.