Did you know? The Raleigh, N.C., area includes 11 towns in all, each with its own story and charming visitors with historic downtowns, tree-lined main streets, concerts in parks and local-favorite boutiques. We think you'll enjoy strolling the main streets of Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina and Wake Forest, just minutes outside the center of Raleigh; they make for perfect outings to tack-on to overnight Raleigh visits. Here are some tips on where to eat, drink and shop in each town:

Apex: Salem St.

Eat: Try Common Grounds Coffee House for breakfast, then hit Salem Street Pub or Anna's Pizzeria for lunch. For dinner, head to The Peak City Grill & Bar, which serves upscale comfort food. 

Drink: Sip and shop at The Beer Dispensary of Apex, a craft beer store and bar where you'll find a big selection of local brews both on the shelves and on tap.

Shop: Browse for antiques at The Rusty Bucket, trendy women's clothing at Sophie & Mollie's Boutique, plus shop for some of Oprah's Favorite Things at passionate mind Kelly Shatat's local jewelry and accessory store, Moon and Lola.


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Cary: Academy St. and Chatham St.

Eat: Start the morning with fresh-baked pastries and hot coffee at BREW at The Cary Theater. For lunch, step up to the old-fashioned soda foundation at Ashworth Drugs. Save room for dinner at Academy Street Bistro, serving locally-sourced food with vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Drink: Swing by the family-friendly Bond Brothers Beer Company to sample some of the 14 beers on tap (it's pet friendly, too!), or grab at seat at the bar at Pharmacy Bottle + Beverage before or after browsing their aisles for something to take with you.

Shop: Local-favorite and not-your-typical consignment shop Annie's Attic offers up high-quality women's fashion finds.


Fuquay-Varina: Broad St. and Main St.

Eat: You'll need a fork and knife to dig in to the sticky buns from Stick Boy Bread; they pair nicely with a cup of Larry's Coffee. Chow down on delicious Southern food at The Mason Jar Tavern (and grab a pint of their beer, brewed just down the road).

Drink: They're known for their beer, but Aviator Brewing Company also serves great ribs and wings at their Tap House and Smokehouse. Down the street at The Mason Jar Lager Company, try the Happy Place Helles, Virtue IPL, Small Town Bock or Stick Barn Schwarzbier; hungry brewery-goers will be happy to know local food trucks are often on-site. Over on Main St., see what's brewing at The Mill, a craft beer/wine/espresso bar. Fainting Goat Brewing Company is just a short walk from there.

Shop: Just a few doors down from The Mill, The Shoppes on Main feature some 30 distinctive shops under one roof—treat yourself!


Wake Forest: White St.

Eat: You're not in Maryland, but you may feel like it at Backfins Crabhouse, where it's not just great seafood, but a true seafood experience. They specialize in—you guessed it—blue crabs.

Drink: At White Street Brewing Company, spring for a flight of the Main Street Series brews, which includes the Scottish Ale—a Gold Medal Winner at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival.

Shop: More than 50 booths set up shop at The Cotton Company, located in a historic cotton warehouse. Books by local authors stock the shelves at Page 158 Books.