Top 5 Things Raleigh is Known For

Raleigh has some awesome places to visit and explore for residents, visitors, and those just passin’ through. Some of the best places and things I’ve experienced while exploring Raleigh are:

1. Exciting Museums Rich with North Carolina History (Did I Mention FREE???)

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There’s nothing like visiting a museum that excites visitors about history and interacts with them so they can better understand the past.

2. Restaurants with Good Ol’ Southern Cooking and Hospitality

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The Pit was just one of many restaurants throughout Raleigh that not only bring out the good cooking of the South but support local farmers and businesses while doing it.

3. The Pack

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Raleigh is known for being the home of the NC State Wolfpack, whether you agree with it or not. NC State completes an awesome community, which has been educating young people for generations.

4. Shopping Til There’s Dropping!

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Cameron Village is just one of the many places that you can have an awesome shopping experience in Raleigh. There is also Crabtree Valley Mall (Complete with an Apple and a North Face Store) as well as North Hills and Triangle Towne Center.

5. Beautiful Parks

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North Carolina’s weather makes for a wonder-filled visit to their many parks and recreation centers (when the weather is not being unpredictable!). Pullen Park is a part of Raleigh’s Parks and Recreation facilities which allow for organized sports for both children and adults, as well as a place to enjoy with your entire family.

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Pullen Park: The Ultimate Raleigh Destination for Warm Weather Fun

Pullen Park has long been catering to the outdoor cravings for Raleigh-goers… since 1887 to be exact. With everything to do from paddle boats to playgrounds, you and your family and friends will never run out of things to do.

Tickets are available each day after 10am until 10pm for very low, and affordable prices to participate in riding the paddle boats, carousel, train ride, and kiddie boats. My favorite thing to do is paddle boats and the train because its almost like you will NEVER get tired of them! My son LOVES the train ride and the carousels.

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Playgrounds which accommodate different age groups are also available to play on, for no charge of course. There are swings, jungle gyms, slides, and plenty of friends to be made on Pullen Park’s playground.

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There are also organized recreational activities for kids to participate in during the spring and summer months such as tennis and swimming as well as summer camp programs.

Shelters are available all over the park, making Pullen Park an ideal place to have a family cookout or any special event. It is free to use these shelters, but some restrictions with compliance to Raleigh Parks and Recreation centers are in place to protect the environment and others.

The Heart of Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh is probably most known for its ever-bustling and exciting Fayetteville Street. Fayetteville Street is often the place for large festivals, amazing food, and nice scenery.

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I personally love the restaurants that are located on Fayetteville Street. I have eaten at many of them countless times and even worked at one. Fayetteville Street restaurants even get a little personal for me because my fiance and I had our first date at Bolt, an American Bistro restaurant on the 200 block of Fayetteville Street. My favorite sushi place, Sono, is also on Fayetteville Street. Its located right next to the ABC 11 News Station, if you’ve never eaten there I encourage you to PLEASE give it a try! Other great restaurants to try while you’re visiting are the Louisiana inspired Big Easy, The Oxford, & Zinda.

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Some of the nicest and largest hotels in Raleigh are also located on F Street. The Sheraton and the Marriott are luxurious and roomy hotels where many people choose to host conventions, weddings, parties, and all other sorts of occasions. Both hotels also have highly acclaimed restaurants inside that are very affordable.

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Some great places to experience Raleigh nightlife are also known to F Street. Some of these places include the Oxford, Capital City Tavern, and my favorite place on F Street, Paddy O Beers. Paddy O serves craft beers in a comfortable atmosphere with great “beer-tenders” making many who experience it feel immediately at home. Restaurants by day  such as The Big Easy, Zinda, the Oxford and Bolt also double at a great night spot.

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Other Raleigh essentials are also located on F Street such as the infamous Wake County Courthouse, a historic-style Post Office, and the very familiar looking ABC 11 News Station.

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Restaurants, Boutiques, and Fun: Oh My!

Cameron Village has long been a favorite part of Raleigh life. I love going to Cameron Village to eat and shop, and so on my lovely 70 degree day in winter I took advantage!

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Cameron Village has a lot of restaurants that offer fresh local foods and beers that are the pride of North Carolina. I love being able to grab a fresh, inexpensive lunch in Cameron Village at Cafe Carolina or having a nice dinner at Village Draft House, Cantina 18, or Cameron Bar and Grill.

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Although Cameron Village has lots of local, unique restaurants, there is also a gem of a Chic-fil-a that was recently added to the shopping center a few years ago. A little fun fact: Cameron Village is home to the only 2-story Chic-fil-A in the world!

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One of my favorite things about Cameron Village is the Fresh Market. They have an awesome selection of fresh foods and even a deli where they offer food that is already cooked. The Fresh Market also caters to the ever growing Vegan, Paleo, and Vegetarian populations.

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Bevello is my absolutely favorite place in Cameron Village to shop. I love their unique styles of clothes. They are a little pricey, but their quality and unique taste are definitely worth the extra bucks.

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There are also tons of other boutiques such as Kannon’s who has been making nice quality clothing for men and women of North Carolina for almost 75 years now. My grandmother always talks about how she worked in a Kannon’s in my hometown of Wendell when I she was a teenager!

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The Bargain Box is also one of my favorite places to shop in Cameron Village it is a thrift shop that is full of treasure just waiting to be found. I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Bargain Box and never found an awesome deal on something.

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Cameron Village also has a huge 2 story library that is a part of Wake County Libraries. It is a beautifully built place that is a convenience to all of the college and high school students in the area.

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Sugarland is a bakery that was also recently added to Cameron Village that relocated from the Streets at Southpoint. I haven’t been there yet, but I can’t wait to try one of the yummy cupcakes that were in the display window.

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Raleigh: Famous for its Unpredictable Weather?

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Raleigh, along with the rest of North Carolina has started to develop a reputation for its unforeseen weather patterns throughout the entire year. Native North Carolinians can often be found telling visitors and “foreigners” that North Carolina is one of the only places in the United States where you can get all four seasons of weather in just one week.

The most recent occurrence of wild weather is the “triple snowstorm”. Just when NC thought it was off the hook for extreme winter weather, we were pounded with three snowstorms just within a two week period. This doesn’t include the winter weather advisory that was set for the Sunday following all of this madness.

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With all of this happening, no one really expected temperatures to reach the 60’s and even the 70s that have yet to come just this week.

Raleigh: Known for its Unpredictable Weather???

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Raleigh, along with the rest of North Carolina has started to develop a reputation for its unforeseen weather patterns throughout the entire year. Native North Carolinians can often be found telling visitors and “foreigners” that North Carolina is one of the only places in the United States where you can get all four seasons of weather in just one week.

The most recent occurrence of wild weather is the “triple snowstorm”. Just when NC thought it was off the hook for extreme winter weather, we were pounded with three snowstorms just within a two week period. This doesn’t include the winter weather advisory that was set for the Sunday following all of this madness.

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With all of this happening, no one really expected temperatures to reach the 60’s and even the 70s that have yet to come just this week.

Welcome to Wolf Country

If there is one super iconic thing that Raleigh is known for, the North Carolina State University campus and the people that make up that campus are in the running for the win.

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Raleigh, is usually divided between bleeding red, “Carolina” blue, and Blue Devil Blue, but with both of my parents being NC State Alumni and my fiance getting ready to join them, I don’t think there is much a choice in my case. Besides, who bleeds blue anyways?

NC State has begun to expand widely over the years and this is extremely evident in all of the new housing developments that are either in the making or freshly built.

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The Hunt Library is one of the newest educational additions and it is breath taking. When you’re looking for a book in the library, a robot goes and gets it and brings it to you!

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However, there are some timeless things at NC State, traditions as well as structures that we always love to see. Things such as this include places like the Free Expression Tunnel that I love so much.

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Its fame was rediscovered recently with its beautiful mural offering tribute to the ‘Three Winners’ who were murdered at Chapel Hill.

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Of course NC State has other attractions things such as the forever busy Hillsborough Street, Reynolds Coliseum, the school of Animal Medicine, the Talley Center and much, much more. But the most important thing to remember is that NC State and its people truly embody some of the best things about Raleigh, NC.

Home Is Where the BBQ Is

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The Pit was an amazing Raleigh, North Carolina experience. I have never been to the pit and what better night to have a first time experience than a cold, Saturday night? The restaurant was P A C K E D and there was a 30-45 minute wait but me and my significant other were determined that we were going to eat sooner than later. The mouth-watering smell that was seeping into the air literally picked us up and carried us through the door. Although the wait time was long, we were offered alternate options such as the bar and what is called “the community table.” The community table was an interesting concept because they were just long tables, that kind of reminded me of like Pilmgrimy, Thanksgiving tables were you just sat down with random strangers and ate dinner. The idea sounds foreign but the community tables were packed and people were talking and laughing like they had known each other for years. I decided that the bar, which currently had two open tables, was going to be our best bet for escaping a half and hour wait time.

After snagging the two open tables, we were immediately greeted by several helpful bartenders who immediately provided us with menus. I began to talk with one of the bartenders, asking was the crowd like this every weekend, and he just answered that it pretty much was but nowhere close to the crowds during special events, and TV show appearances. The idea of one of Raleigh’s very own local restaurants being on TV intrigued me. From what the bartender told me, the Pit has been on everything from the Travel Channel’s “Man vs Food” to “The Today Show” and features in “Good Morning America.”

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The restaurant overall had a very homey feeling, like a giant BBQ or cookout at a family reunion or something. But the food was inexplicable. You seriously have not had amazing BBQ until you’ve eaten BBQ at the Pit. The ribs fell off the bone, the BBQ made my mouth water, and the sides reminded me of my grandmother’s cooking. It was the epitome of the BBQ that Raleigh and North Carolina is known for. The food is also locally grown, including the pigs, which helps to support North Carolina’s agriculture which is deeply rooted.

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The food was very reasonably priced, unless of course you order a $40 beer like my boyfriend did (haha). Supposedly it was very good and you only needed one.

ticketThe bar featured all kinds of local beer and liquor, even homemade moonshine “infusions.”

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 I would recommend this place to anyone who visits Raleigh or is a Raleigh native because its food and hospitality is some of what Raleigh is known for.

Science, Beer, and Games? Sounds Like My Kinda Party

GlobeIf you have never been to late night Thursdays at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, then you are definitely missing out on a treat. Every Thursday the Nature Research Center and Daily Planet Cafe are open until 9pm for special programs, games, learning, and fun. Most of the time for certain programs there is a small fee to participate, but for first Thursdays you just need a little science knowledge, a team of no more than 8, and a beer preference. First Thursdays is Science Trivia day where people can come after work and school to meet new people, catch up with old friends, enjoy a full tap and wine variety while playing games like Science Bingo. My team didn’t win any rounds of Science Bingo, but we had an awesome time. If we were to win, we would have won prizes such as event and exhibit tickets to gift shop certificates. I do wish that the entire museum was open to the public late as well, but I suppose it is not because of safety issues.

A Festive Celebration At My Fav NC Museum

This past weekend marked the beginning of African-American History Month and a celebration in its honor prompted me to visit one of my most coveted NC Museum: The North Carolina History Museum. Upon stepping through the door to the main entrance there were festivities everywhere, making my eyes glow like a kid in a candy shop. Now, I may be a little biased because my dad has been the curator for African American History at the Museum for nearly the last decade. However, I believe that most that were there sharing that same glow in their eyes would agree that besides the festival itself, the history museum is one of the most fascinating places to visit. There was everything from cultural dancing and basket weaving to storytelling and Thomas Day model woodworking. The thing about the experience that captured me most was the diverse groups of people that were there celebrating! After watching a few interpretive dances (which I couldn’t get decent pictures of because the crowd was so dense!) I wandered off to find some of my favorite places inside the museum.

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First, I visited the Sports Hall of Fame which held some amazing, legendary jerseys from past basketball and football heroes of North Carolina such as Michael Jordan himself. I also went to gaze upon the incredible NASCAR actual race car models that the museum had on display, including the race car Ricky Bobby drove in Talledega Knights (for those who don’t know that is one of a ton of movies filmed in North Carolina).

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Lastly, I enjoyed the walk through of the war exhibit which held artifacts from the Civil War all the way up until the Gulf War. This exhibit led all the way up to my favorite part of the whole museum: the Old Time Drug Store. They have replicas of a 1940s and 1950s drug store complete with the ice cream sundae bar and candy selection. They also had some of the same things that drug stores often have today such as make-up and cosmetics as well as the tobacco products and, of course, medicines. I hope many North Carolina natives and people all around get a chance to visit the North Carolina History Museum at least once in their life! You won’t be disappointed!

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