ICYMI: Cliff notes on 2021 before we get to 2022…

Lots of Raleigh firsts:

  • Young Hearts Distilling — Downtown’s first distillery from the masterminds behind Trophy Brewing Co., featuring Master Distiller Mena Killough. Offering a line of local botanical-forward spirits and small-batch liquors.
  • Sam Jones BBQ — Third generation pitmaster and James Beard Award semifinalist Sam Jones brings his iconic Eastern North Carolina style BBQ to the capital city. The menu is exactly the same as his Greenville outpost.
  • Heights House Hotel — Downtown Raleigh’s newest boutique hotel and event venue, nestled in a restored 1858 Italianate-style mansion and walkable to Raleigh’s burgeoning Warehouse District.
  • AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown — First hotel in Glenwood South district with a swanky rooftop bar, the Willard, overlooking downtown and serving craft cocktails and small bites.
  • (ish) delicatessen — Raleigh food and beverage legend Matt Fern’s “not quite-Jewish, a little Italian-ish, maybe Southern sandwich shop” opened inside Person Street Pharmacy in Historic Oakwood.

And then some…
Ashley Christensen, who won the “Outstanding Chef” award in 2019 by the James Beard Foundation, is rolling out a fried chicken chain aptly named BB’s Crispy Chicken. First stop: Midtown East in Raleigh, where across the street you can find North Carolina’s first outpost of Austin, Texas’ acclaimed Torchy’s Tacos. After much success of his first brick and mortar bakery, Andrew Ullom opened Union Special’s second location on downtown Raleigh’s iconic on Fayetteville St. where you can experience his devotion to flaky, pastry goodness. In Cary, world-famous Brooklyn pizzeria Di Fara Pizza Tavern is a fast new favorite. Also pop into Hank’s Downtown Dive, which is anything but a dive, and offers dialed-up seasonal Southern and Mexican fare. Finally, downtown Raleigh is now home to Element Gastropub, the latest vegan gastropub.

An eclectic nightlife scene:
A slew of new breweries and bars opened last year including The Merchant (a speakeasy behind a hidden door), HighGarden (a rooftop lounge and events space), Botanical Lounge, The Ark Royal (an “exotic” cocktail lounge and tiki bar), Teets (owned by former Carolina Hurricanes player Bates Battaglia), Sidequest Game Lounge + Bar, Peace & Saint (a hookah bar), ​PinkBoot (a mini modern honky tonk) and Bond Brothers Eastside (a second location and music venue to compliment Cary’s award-winning brewery), to name a few.

Mark your calendars in 2022

Anticipated events:

  • Triangle Wine + Food Experience, February 3-5 — N.C.’s premier wine and food event with all proceeds benefiting the Frankie Lemmon School & Developmental Center. Celebrity chefs and acclaimed winemakers from around the world, as well as thousands of donors and backers, participate in this truly amazing event. The three-day affair includes wine dinners at the Triangle’s top restaurants, tastings at area wine shops and trade events. This year’s talent includes local chefs like Ashley Christensen, Cheetie Kumar, Sunny Gerhart and Steven Green — paired with celebrity chefs from out of town like Andrew Zimmerman, Maneet Chauhan and Chris Shepherd, among others.
  • Art in Bloom at the North Carolina Museum of Art, March 16-20 — Art in Bloom displays the stunning creativity of floral designers who interpret works of art in the museum collection and attracts art and floral fanatics from near and far. Proceeds from Art in Bloom support Museum programming and exhibitions and benefit the NCMA Foundation.
  • Dreamville, April 2-3 — The second annual Dreamville Festival will once again provide a thoughtfully-curated, multi-stage music event from J. Cole, who was raised in nearby Fayetteville, N.C. The festival offers an opportunity for J. Cole to give back to his home state that shaped the artist he has become with a one-of-a-kind celebration of local culture, food and art featuring a curated selection of music performers blending some of today’s biggest national acts with exciting up-and-comers.
  • Brewgaloo, April 22-23 — N.C.'s largest craft beer festival featuring 100 breweries, 50 food trucks and drawing over 30,000 people. Brewgaloo takes over downtown Raleigh for two days each spring. The festival has free admission on Saturday and allows you to purchase either beer samples or full pints from breweries located across the state.
  • Artsplosure, May 21-22 — The Raleigh Arts Festival attracts more than 80,000 people to downtown Raleigh during the third weekend of May each year. Celebrating fine visual art and live music since 1980, the festival puts more than 180 artists' work, using countless mediums, on display for all to see and enjoy during the free festival.
  • Hopscotch Music Festival, September — This three-day festival brings in roughly 150 bands playing in multiple venues in downtown Raleigh including free day parties and more. It’s no wonder the Hopscotch Music Festival is time and time again named one of America's can't-miss music events. The acts-and genres are as wide-ranging as the venues they play in, including the 5,000-seat Red Hat Amphitheater down to a tiny dive bar, Slim's Downtown, for example. Headlining acts in recent years have included Angel Olsen, Big Boi, Solange, Run The Jewels, Margo Price, The Flaming Lips and more.
  • World of Bluegrass, September 30-October 1 — The arrival of a toe-tappin', banjo-strumming' week of non-stop bluegrass in downtown Raleigh is one of the most anticipated festivals of the year. International Bluegrass Music Association brings their business conference, along with the world's most talented bluegrass musicians, to Raleigh during this week. Those musicians perform in clubs, on street corners and in hotel lobbies (basically, anywhere they can find a place to jam) during the IBMA Bluegrass Ramble. The week is capped off with IBMA Bluegrass Live!, powered by PNC, a two-day festival that sets up five stages of free music, a dance tent, a barbecue championship, tons of art vendors and more.

2022 anticipated openings and highlighted activities

Triangle area chef icons open new spots:

  • The Fenton mixed-use space under development in Cary will become a focal point for food later this year. Chef Mike Lee, a staple to Durham’s food scene, will be bringing his wildly popular M Sushi to the area. In addition, Chef Scott Crawford behind Crawford & Son, Jolie and newcomer Crawford Cookshop (in Clayton) is set to open Crawford Brothers’ Steakhouse by the end of the year.
  • Giorgios Bakatsias, visionary restaurateur behind Giorgios Hospitality Group, will add Las Ramblas (a Spanish tapas bar; spring 2022) and Giorgio’s Pizza (summer 2022) to Raleigh’s diverse food scene.
  • The brains behind Benchwarmers and Boulted Bread will open Bright Spot Donuts.
  • Preeti Waas of Cheeni, a cafe specializing in chai, coffee and tiffin will open Cheeni Indian Food Emporium (spring 2022).

Old favorites to watch in 2022…

  • Raleigh’s sought-after food truck Gym Tacos opened its first brick and mortar, Gym Tacos & Tequila Bar, in North Raleigh, with a second location coming later this year on collegiate Hillsborough St.
  • Fine Folk, the team behind Gov’t Cheeseburger (a pandemic pivot from a fine dining restaurant) will officially open for dine-in at Gateway Plaza later this year. Until then, enjoy their infamous smash burger and other bites at Union Special (right next door) Wednesday-Saturday nights.

Shopping and markets:

  • Charlotte Smith, owner of Union Camp Collective, reopened in a new space off Capital Blvd., drawing in antique and vintage-obsessed interior designers and people from all over the world.
  • A Black-owned skincare company, Anne’s Apothecary, opened its first brick and mortar in downtown Raleigh late last year. The apothecary offers 100% clean, eco-friendly, plant-based products with workshops and demos coming soon.
  • Visit the Black Farmers’ Market every 2nd and 4th Sunday, which highlights more than 30 Black farmers and entrepreneurs with a goal to continue to expand sustainable Black marketplaces and businesses.
  • The Pop-up Shops at Martin Street highlight minority and women-owned businesses. Powered by Downtown Raleigh Alliance, StartUp at Wake Tech and LM Restaurants, the shops increase the presence, inclusion and equity of business ownership in downtown Raleigh.

Outdoors and beyond:

  • Dorothea Dix Park offers unobstructed views of Raleigh’s skyline and serves as a transformative public space for community, wellness, play and celebration. Through March 2022, view Mexican artist Jorge Marín’s exhibition Wings of the City. In summer, the Instagrammable sunflower field is the main attraction, as well as organizing a proper picnic with Picnic Raleigh.
  • In 2022, North Carolina Freedom Park, located on State Government Grounds on the corner of Lane and Wilmington streets is projected to open. The park will honor the African American experience and struggle for freedom in North Carolina, featuring award-winning design by internationally recognized architect Phil Freelon.
  • Raleigh is home to many biking trails and one to check out in 2022 is The Art to Heart Corridor, starting at the North Carolina Museum of Art and ending in downtown Raleigh. The route goes through the museum’s beautiful 164-acre park, behind Meredith College, a quick jaunt through campus at North Carolina State University, a zip by Pullen Park and finishing in the heart of the city, just outside of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Speaking of the North Carolina Museum of Art, the East Building’s art galleries closed on January 3, which kicked off an extensive renovation during its 75th anniversary year. The building will fully reopen in October 2022. During this time, several special exhibitions will go on view.

About the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh):
As the official destination marketing organization for Wake County, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh), is responsible for promoting Wake County as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, the organization strengthens the economic position of and provide opportunity for people throughout Wake County. Raleigh, N.C./Wake County welcomes nearly 13 million visitors annually whose spending tops $1.7 billion. The visitor economy supports more than 17,000 local jobs in Wake County and generates $186 million in state and local tax revenues, saving each Wake County household $470 in taxes annually. visitRaleigh.com.

Media Contact:
Jessica Holt
Director of Public Relations

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