Downtown Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh, N.C., is where historic neighborhoods, world-class museums, Southern diners, outdoor green spaces, performing arts venues, local shops, breweries and underground cocktail spots all work together to create one incredible cultural hotspot.

It’s where you can tour a chocolate factory, play classic arcade games, park your bike outside a bicycle-themed brewery, indulge in a plate of whole-hog, pit-cooked barbecue, pick up a pair of locally hand-crafted denim jeans and visit a contemporary art museum—all within in a 100-step radius.

Some of the state’s most visited attractions (North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Marbles Kids Museum and North Carolina Museum of History), plus a host of critically acclaimed restaurants on a national level (Poole’s DinerRaleigh Beer Garden and more) call the center of the city home.

Downtown Raleigh's Sip n' Stroll Downtown social district
Visitors to downtown Raleigh can drink beer, wine or cocktails as they walk through a defined area of downtown Raleigh, seven days a week from 10am-10pm! See the district boundaries and participating businesses (and their level of participation) here!

Delivering purposeful play in a big way, Marbles allows children to imagine, discover and learn in dozens of interactive... View More

The North Carolina Museum of History, located in downtown Raleigh, showcases more than 14,000 years and 150,000 artifacts of N.C.... View More

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the Southeast’s largest natural history museum, complete with its Nature... View More

With more than 350 beers on tap, passionate mind Niall Hanley’s Raleigh Beer Garden has one of the world's largest beer... View More

Downtown Raleigh has seen a surge of growth in recent years thanks to a slew of artists, entrepreneurs, creative class innovators, restaurateurs, business leaders and other passionate minds that had a vision for downtown that would make it a special place to visit—a place where people from all walks of life, backgrounds and futures would come together to share enriching experiences. That’s why you’ll find murals on the sides of buildings and posters at business entrances that read, “Are All Welcome Raleigh, N.C.” and “Welcome to Raleigh, Y’all.”

It’s all easily accessible, too—downtown streets are easy to navigate by walking, cycling (using Cardinal Bikeshare) or catching a short rideshare service or taxi ride.

Scott Crawford
Crawford and Son

Scott Crawford

Crawford and Son and Jolie

Scott Crawford's talent and vision have helped to shape and further Raleigh, N.C.'s growing, award-winning food scene. His restaurant, Crawford and Son, serves straightforward, honest food that ranges from the familiar to the unexpected. And his French bistro, Jolie, features...

“The food here has a lot of love put in it—from the people who grow it, to the people who get it to us, to the cooks that handle it with the utmost respect. I think it’s a beautiful way to experience a city and the people of the city.”

Downtown Districts Five Distinct Hot Spots

Raleigh, N.C.

Get to know more of Raleigh and its 11 surrounding towns! Click an area on the map or the links below to explore.

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Downtown Raleigh

Historic neighborhoods, museums, Southern diners and global eats, green spaces, performance venues, breweries and nightlife spots work together to create one incredible, cultural hotspot.

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East Raleigh

Steeped in history, East Raleigh continues to grow with historic neighborhoods, two distilleries, family-fun facilities and restaurants serving up delicious, down-home Southern food.

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Midtown Raleigh

Includes four, different shopping, entertainment and dining areas all within a short drive—North Hills, Crabtree Valley, Cameron Village and the Five Points neighborhood.

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North Raleigh

Home to hundreds of restaurants, large retail stores, entertainment complexes, parks and recreation areas. Family entertainment is easy to find as well as fun, outdoor things to do

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RDU/Brier Creek

Aptly named for its proximity to RDU International Airport, the area is home to hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail, restaurants, breweries and an array of family fun.

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South Raleigh

Located just south of downtown, this area is one of the city’s most rapidly growing. With multiple parks, eateries and entertainment options, it's a great place to spend a day or stay.

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West Raleigh

Boasts two-dozen live performance venues and visual art galleries, including the North Carolina Museum of Art! This hip, college-town drag also includes the N.C. State Fairgrounds and PNC Arena.

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Celebrating its turn-of-the-century railroad heritage, the charming town of Apex features more than 60 commercial and residential structures dating from 1870 to 1940.

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One of the fastest-growing cities in the South, Cary is home to renowned restaurants, world-class shopping, top-tier entertainment, culture and arts and a range of outdoor experiences.

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Originally, visitors traveled to the quaint town seeking the healing powers of its mineral spring. Today the town remains a rewarding place for day-trip adventures or weekend getaways.

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Venture just 10 minutes from downtown Raleigh and check out Garner, an All-America City with unique amenities and a genuine, hometown authenticity.

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Holly Springs

At its beginnings, travelers stopped by the area's springs to quench their thirst, and while that bit of history doesn’t continue today, visitors do stop to indulge in breweries and dining spots.

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Perfect for those seeking a welcoming, youthful culture, Knightdale boasts lots of parks and trails for the active-minded, a distillery plus a local-hangout, nano brewery.

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A growing enclave known for its diversity, educated populace and cultural vibrancy. Includes excellent global dining, plus the local-favorite, indoor climbing spot Triangle Rock Club.

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As the second-oldest town in the Raleigh area, Rolesville’s roots run deep. Established in 1837, the town has held fast to its engaging, Southern charm.

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Wake Forest

A beautiful small town with enough history, culture and activities to keep travelers entertained for days on end. Stroll through the charming, historic downtown district!

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Along Main St. and throughout historic downtown Wendell—on the National Register of Historic Places—vintage shops, dining spots and buildings display the architecture of our American heritage.

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Just 25 minutes from downtown Raleigh, Zebulon is a vibrant, welcoming community with activities ranging from sporting events (Carolina Mudcats baseball!) to down-home Southern dining.

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