After being converted in the 1970s to a pedestrian mall closed to automobile traffic, downtown Raleigh, N.C.’s central thoroughfare, Fayetteville St., was restored in 2006 to a drivable main street; the city’s central business corridor has exploded with energy and activity ever since. This district distinguishes Raleigh as a sophisticated Southern city, with an abundance of restaurants, bars and galleries mingling with contemporary high-rises and restored historic buildings.
On weekdays, visitors will be immersed in the environment of business and commerce that characterizes downtown Raleigh. Lawyers, bankers, political staffers, technology executives and young entrepreneurs can be seen enjoying lunch outside at Pizza La Stella, while Campbell Law School students and digital designers grab a smoothies at Happy + Hale and Raleigh Raw.
Every Wed. from late April thru Sept., visitors can shop the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market in City Plaza. At night, the street makes a complete transformation, with hundreds of young professionals flocking to the district’s unique bars, clubs and restaurants, including Foundation, The Haymaker, The Big Easy and ORO Restaurant & Lounge.
The Fayetteville Street area is also home to multiple restaurants by James Beard Award-winning chef and Raleigh passionate mind Ashley Christensen. These stylish, smart and inviting spaces, including Beasley’s Honey + Chicken, Death & Taxes and Fox Liquor Bar, have been recognized in publications such as Bon Appétit, Gourmet, The New York Times, Southern Living and Garden & Gun.
The arts are alive and well, and this area is home to Carolina Ballet and the North Carolina Symphony at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (and the state-of-the-art Meymandi Concert Hall), as well as Red Hat Amphitheater, which attracts major artists and national touring talent.
Fayetteville Street is regularly closed off during music and arts festivals and a variety of annual celebrations. The Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo, First Fridays, Brewgaloo and Raleigh’s acclaimed Christmas Parade and St. Patrick’s Day Parades are just a few of the crowd-drawing events that take place on Fayetteville Street throughout the year.