Downtown Raleigh © Bz3rk
Raleigh, North Carolina's capital, makes up the
southeast corner of the famous Research Triangle, with Durham and
Chapel Hill at the other two points. The state's second-largest
city is a vital centre of high tech business and education.
Unlike many cities that grow up around ports or
stations, Raleigh was planned specifically to be the state capital.
At its centre stands the beautiful North Carolina Capitol building,
a fine Greek Revival-style landmark, from which wide, oak-lined
This careful geometry makes exploring Raleigh quite
straightforward. In this pleasant city, there's a unique mix of
Southern heritage and unpretentious manners; elite academia and
boisterous university life and athletics; and the fast-paced, sleek
sophistication of Triangle professionals.
Raleigh is often lumped together with nearby cities
Durham and Chapel Hill. Although the three are only about a
30-minute drive from one another, they are different communities.
Durham was once one of the most thriving African-American centres
in the country.
Today, its main attraction is Duke University, one of
the top schools in the United States and home of the Blue Devils,
another sports powerhouse. Although revitalisation efforts are
underway, its downtown areas have sadly suffered in recent
Meanwhile, Chapel Hill is a lovely college town, with
beautiful old homes, endless coffee shops, pubs, and restaurants,
enjoying a decidedly liberal leaning. It is home to the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, another top American educational
institution, and the beloved Tar Heels, a force in college
Known as the 'Smithsonian of the South', there are a
few renowned museums and an excellent performing arts scene.
Ultimately, Raleigh is a perfect destination for those seeking to
experience a bit of Southern history and culture without giving up
the attractions and conveniences of a big city.