College Lesson

Parents and students have so much to see in Raleigh, N.C.

The Raleigh area boasts 10 traditional colleges and universities, which means more than 80,000 new and returning students will make the Raleigh area their hometown at least temporarily. Students will need to know what to do, where to go and things to see; and their parents, when visiting during breaks or weekends, will need to know best places to take their kids (and, more than likely, roommates) out to dinner and where to explore.

No matter if it's a college budget or parents are here to splurge, here's a helpful primer in the best places to discover in the Raleigh area, plus check out the Triangle Campus Guide to learn more about universities in the region! There's plenty to discover in your home away from home.

You might be in college, but there’s more than just pizza!

The Raleigh area is home to an award-winning culinary scene and gaining notoriety on a national level. While traditional, Southern cooking may come to mind, the Raleigh area's restaurants and signature chefs are creating quite the reputation for themselves in N.C.'s capital city.

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A Carolina favorite is Char-Grill, where your burger is made to order and grilled to perfection over charcoal flames and Mitch's Tavern, a college hangout across from North Carolina State University provides a laid-back atmosphere and a sense of déjà-vu since scenes from the classic film Bull Durham were filmed here.

Parents’ Pockets
Angus Barn, a true Raleigh institution celebrating 52 years, is where those in the know go to find the freshest cuts of beef and fish prepared by executive chef, and winner of Food Network's Iron Chef, Walter Royal. And, if you're of age, try the restaurant's Wild Turkey Lounge where the bourbon list is plentiful and the atmosphere unique. 

Expand your mind inside and outside the classroom

When it's time for a study break, head over to one of Raleigh's many art galleries, thriving art scenes or one of its venues, each of which is dedicated to one of the four different disciplines of performing arts.

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The North Carolina Museum of Art is one of the premier visual arts museums in the Southeast, and with free admission, it's a go to spot for those on a tight budget. CAM Raleigh is Raleigh's only non-collecting museum dedicated solely to contemporary art, and with $5 admission, visiting the museum won't break the bank.

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The Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts presents world-class Broadway shows in the beautiful Memorial Auditorium. As one of only a handful of cities that can claim all four disciplines of professional performing arts under one roof, your ticket is waiting for performances from Carolina Ballet, North Carolina Symphony, North Carolina Theatre or North Carolina Opera.

Big-city energy and small-town accessibility

Raleigh offers classic, Southern charm in combination with unique festivals and events that set the area apart from the competition.

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Glenwood South is Raleigh’s trendiest district and defines what it means to live for the weekend. The Warehouse District is characterized by historic brick warehouses and is quickly becoming an entertainment destination with its array of restaurants, clubs and LGBTQ hotspots.

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Get to know downtown Raleigh with a Segway tour from Carolina Touring Company. Choices range from scavenger hunts to a tour of historic homes and sites in the area. Experience total relaxation at the Spa at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary. Offering a range of signature treatments in a zen-like atmosphere spend a day pampering every member of your family.

You nod your head in class because you’re listening to music

Take out the ear buds and prepare to hear music like never before. The Raleigh area has major arenas and outdoor amphitheaters, but also features smaller bars, nightclubs, coffee houses and alternative clubs that make the music scene in the Raleigh area as diverse as the musicians who play here. After all, the destination has the most live music in N.C.

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Its unique concert venues like Lincoln Theatre, Slim's Downtown and Tin Roof Raleigh that make Raleigh home to some of the best concerts, giving fans a front row seat to their favorite artists. Make sure you get a wristband for the annual Hopscotch Music Festival. This independent festival welcomes 120 bands in a range of genres and has been called "America's (Secretly) Best Festival" and "the premier experimental and underground festival in America."

Parents’ Pockets
PNC Arena brings the hottest musical performances to center stage, in a venue which seats more than 19,000 people. Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek lets you take in the first-class acts in a beautiful outdoor pavilion, and Red Hat Amphitheater offers national touring shows in an outdoor, intimate venue.

You race your friends across campus, just for the thrill

Your closet is decked out with school spirit, but there’s more than the school team to root for in Raleigh... professional sporting teams, greenway trails and a calendar full of spectator sports.

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The Raleigh area has miles upon miles of greenway trails, parklands and lakes, all of which are free or have minimal entrance fees. And don’t forget, we’re home to some unique sports too, like scuba diving, mountain biking and everything in between.

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Get your sports fix at the major-league level with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, winners of the 2006 Stanley Cup and hosts of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game. Practice your cornhole and barbecuing skills before you claim a parking space in the lot of Carter-Finley Stadium and PNC Arena for an afternoon of tailgating before a 'Canes match-up or North Carolina State University football game.

Smarter all around

History doesn't have to be boring, especially when it involves dinosaurs, past presidents, scandals and the relocation of the state capital based on the Cherry Bounce, a drink once made at a local tavern.

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"The Story of North Carolina" at the North Carolina Museum of History gives you a chronological look at the history of our state, dating all the way to the 1830s. The historic Mordecai Historic Park and Joel Lane Museum House provide a glimpse into the founders of N.C.’s capital city. And the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the largest natural science museum in the Southeast.

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Shop the North Carolina Museum of History and North Carolina Museum of History gift stores plus visit special traveling exhibitions at the natural sciences museum!

Your desk drawers are full…of clothes

The Raleigh area is consistently named to every “Best Of” list imaginable, and with an influx of young, hip designers, you can add best of design and creativity.

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Be the talk of campus in a one of a kind frock from one of the area’s many consignment stores. The Raleigh Flea Market at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds puts one-of-a-kind fashion, jewelry and handmade goods right at your fingertips.

Parent’s Pockets
Check out Raleigh Denim Workshop–a brand in which every pair of jeans is hand-sewn and signed by Victor Lytvinenko and Sarah Yarborough. Take home a custom monogrammed necklace from Kelly Shatat's Moon and Lola.