Content Produced in Partnership with Visit Raleigh
North Carolina is a state full of natural beauty, great food and booming urban areas — and they’re all found in the same city. For a taste of all the state has to offer, look no further than its state capital of Raleigh, a true melting pot of the best of the Tar Heel State. If you’re into fancy drinks, there are awesome cocktail bars. If you’re into outdoor adventures, there are beautiful hiking and biking trails. Whatever your pursuit of preference, Raleigh is an energetic city that’ll keep you coming back for more.
235 SOUTH SALISBURY STREET, RALEIGH, NC 27601
It’s the most important meal of the day, and let’s be honest, most of us can’t truly start the day without a great cup of coffee. Stroll into the heart of downtown Raleigh and make a stop at lucettegrace for a savory or sweet pastry to fuel you up for a day of exploring. This charming space provides a perfect opportunity to sit and marvel at the adventures ahead while you sip a coffee and munch on a tasty treat.
2110 BLUE RIDGE ROAD, RALEIGH, NC 27607
The North Carolina Museum of Art is a must for anyone visiting the City of Oaks. The permanent collection at the museum is as astonishing as it is diverse, including classics like Monet, an entire room full of Rodin sculptures, and modern masters like Kehinde Wiley (the artist of President Barack Obama portrait fame). The 164-acre museum park, which is the largest of its kind in the country, also has an outdoor sculpture park where you can see impressive pieces of art — and walk off some calories from that extra pastry you sampled earlier.
7705 LEAD MINE ROAD, RALEIGH, NC 27615
Home of the “I Believe in Raleigh” mural (a prime Instagram photo op), Sola Coffee Café offers organic sandwiches and salads as well as refreshing smoothies and juices for the perfect summer pick-me-up. They also serve coffee on tap if you need a caffeine fix and a variety of baked goods to satisfy that post-lunch sweet tooth.
8801 GLENWOOD AVENUE, RALEIGH, NC 27617
Raleigh isn’t just an energetic city; it’s also surrounded by quiet nature trails and hiking opportunities. The William B. Umstead State Park is a short drive from downtown Raleigh and has more than 5,000 acres of forest and more than 20 miles of trails to explore. Enter at the Crabtree Creek entrance for the easiest access to multiple types of trails including the Oak Rock Trail (0.6 miles round trip), Pott’s Branch Trail (1.3 miles round trip) and the Sycamore Trail (7.2 miles round trip).
106 SOUTH WILMINGTON STREET, RALEIGH, NC 27601
After a long day of sampling the experiences in Raleigh, nighttime is the right time for some down time, especially if it involves Gallo Pelón. This upstairs Mezcaleria has indoor and outdoor seating, and bartenders who will match you with the perfect drink. If the “Mezcaleria” didn’t give it away, the specialty cocktails are made with mezcal, an agave-based alcohol similar to tequila. Gallo Pelón also offers bar eats, allowing you to share a few plates like nachos, taquitos and a spicy chicken sandwich that will be on your mind long after you leave.
301 SOUTH ACADEMY STREET, CARY, NC 27511
Located in downtown Cary’s newest boutique hotel, The Mayton Inn, Verandah offers a full breakfast menu to enjoy, including Belgian waffles that are to die for. The classic-looking dining area overlooks Downtown Park (located next to the hotel) for a touch of beauty to start your second day on the right foot.
11AM WALK THROUGH NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY
1 EAST EDENTON STREET, RALEIGH, NC 27601
Founded as the new state capital in 1792, Raleigh is a natural playground for history lovers. A midmorning trip to the North Carolina State Capitol building is well worth your time. Here you can see where past legislatures have met to discuss important issues and have shaped the state into what it is today. Go on a self-guided tour of the Greek Revival building and enjoy the gorgeous details. After you’re finished, cross the street and explore the North Carolina Museum of History which has some impressive pieces, including a recreation of the Wright Brothers’ plane, which the famous duo first built in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Then to wrap up your tour, head over to the history museum’s neighbor, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Complete with four floors of exhibits, live animals, gift shops, cafes and a Nature Exploration Center and Nature Research Center, the Southeast’s largest natural history museum is one you don’t want to leave off of your bucket list.
328 W DAVIE STREET, RALEIGH, NC 27601
North Carolina is known for its barbecue, so what trip is complete without sampling some fine smoked meats? The Pit is in the Warehouse District of downtown Raleigh (a local gem that we’ll touch on next) and has mouth-watering options like chopped barbecue, which is an Eastern North Carolina standard. If you can manage to leave room (and we hope you do), try a seasonal pie for dessert.
300 WEST MARTIN STREET, RALEIGH, NC 27601
One of the coolest areas in Raleigh is downtown’s Warehouse District, where you’ll find breweries and bars like Crank Arm Brewing, Tasty Beverage Company and the Boxcar Bar + Arcade (to name only a few). If you want to treat yourself to a little retail therapy, stop in Raleigh Denim Workshop, homegrown by Sarah Yarborough and Victor Lytvinenko, whose foray into the world of crafting high-quality denim began as a personal quest to create the perfect pair of jeans and turned into a bustling enterprise. In addition to the CAM Raleigh, a contemporary art museum with ever-changing experiences, the Warehouse District has plenty of street art to peruse.
105 OBERLIN ROAD, RALEIGH, NC 27605
The Players’ Retreat has been a Raleigh staple since 1951. Located adjacent to North Carolina State University’s campus, it’s a relaxed sports bar where you can get a great burger and a beer, all while sitting outside. Before you eat, be sure to cross the street to take photos at the university’s iconic Memorial Bell Tower and see more of the north campus.
301 SOUTH ACADEMY STREET, CARY, NC 27511
For luxurious accommodations, stay at downtown Cary’s The Mayton Inn, located just 11 miles outside of downtown Raleigh. This beautiful hotel has huge rooms and the dedicated staff will make you feel like a celebrity during your stay. Enjoy freshly ground coffee delivered to your room every morning or soak in the tub with complimentary bath salts and milk. The only problem with The Mayton Inn is that you may not want to leave.
For more information, visit www.visitRaleigh.com.