How to Spend 36 Hours in Raleigh, N.C.'s Warehouse District
Thursday, October 18, 2018, 5pm by visitRaleigh
The Warehouse District has quickly become a go-to neighborhood in downtown Raleigh for visitors and locals alike. Don't just take our word for it—Thrillist named the area "one of 12 neighborhoods across the U.S. that are about to get crazy popular." With an eclectic mix of art galleries, restaurants, shops and hot spots, this not-so-little corner of the city is the perfect place to enjoy hours of bliss. Here's how to do it!
Make an early start of it with a quick breakfast stop at Boulted Bread. Go in for one (or two) of their delectable in-season pastries ranging from flaky croissants and sweet, fruit-filled tarts to savory breakfast quiches. Insider tip: Get their early for the best selection—the bakery opens at 7am, Wed.-Fri., and 8am, Sat. and Sun.
From there, pick up a refreshing pressed juice or beverage over at Cold Off The Press. With a mission to provide quick and easy nutrition to improve health, the kitchen/store also offers power snacks, tasty bowls and more for in-store pickup and delivery.
With your belly now full, you’re ready to appreciate some fascinating art. Start at Litmus Gallery & Studios, a regular stop on Raleigh’s First Friday art walk and a space for local artists to share their work. From there, stroll two blocks up and one block over to CAM Raleigh, the contemporary art museum sparking new thinking by creating ever-changing experiences that explore the current state of art and design.
At lunchtime, stop off at Morgan Street Food Hall. This warehouse space, repurposed to offer a unique dining experience, features 20 culinary concepts offering everything from lobster rolls and empanadas to tacos and ramen bowls. Just a short walk away is Raleigh Denim Workshop, the perfect shopping experience to elevate your style and the brainchild of local passionate minds Sarah Yarborough and Victor Lytvinenko.
As the sun sets, settle into the night with a glass of wine, a delicious small plate and more local art at Vita Vite, a cozy bar—great for groups both big and small—on the north end of the district that stays open until midnight.
Start the day off with a delicious breakfast at A Place at the Table. A welcoming and inviting space, this restaurant provides an opportunity for all people to experience conversation and community over a fresh and healthy meal regardless of means. Insider tip: Order the quiche with a side of cheesy grits and pay it forward by buying a meal token to help someone else enjoy a meal.
After breakfast, walk up Morgan St. and hang a left on Dawson St. to find Retro Modern Furnishings. Even if you’re not currently in the market for furnishings, this showroom, with pieces that are retro and futuristic at the same time, is worth a browse. Switch over from furniture to fine art with a trip to the Visual Art Exchange, a non-profit gallery and creativity incubator that supports and educates all kinds of artists.
To enjoy a bit of refreshment, hop over to the Raleigh Depot and Tasty Beverage therein. Here, you’ll find a craft beer store stocked to the gills with a wide selection of packaged beers as well as several beers on tap. Just a couple doors down is Crank Arm Brewing, an award-winning craft brewery where you'll find mountains of bicycles parked outside on a nice day.
When it’s time for dinner, go vegetarian (or vegan, if you prefer) with a thoughtfully-prepared and locally-sourced meal from The Fiction Kitchen (where the vegan barbecue has earned rave reviews). From there, after-dinner fun and drinks can be had at Boxcar Bar + Arcade, where you can spend hours aiming for high scores while playing old-school video and arcade games.
Today, sleep in and catch a late brunch at Jose and Sons, the Mexican-meets-American South restaurant where the chicharron and waffles (paired with a Bloody Mary or mimosa) are too good to pass up. To keep the culinary exploration going, visit Videri Chocolate Factory. On top of sampling and shopping for tasty chocolate and chocolate-inspired goods, you can also watch the chocolate being made at this fully-operational candy factory.
Next up, feed your inner art connoisseur at Local Color Gallery. Run by local artists, Local Color features work in a variety of mediums and hosts events that promote artistic expression and bring artists together. Insider tip: This gallery truly shines during Raleigh’s First Friday gallery walks, which occur throughout the year.
Appreciate the architectural as well as the artistic beauty of the Warehouse District with a visit to Raleigh Union Station—Raleigh’s premier mass transit center and Amtrak passenger station. Or, gaze up in awe at The Dillon—a towering, office/residence/retail space that’s a dramatic addition to the Raleigh skyline and where you'll find hot, new eating and drinking spots like Heirloom Brewshop and O-ku Sushi.
After a long day of exploring, enjoy an authentic Italian dinner at Tuscan Blu, a restaurant dishing out culinary delights from all over Tuscany, or head to Poole's Diner, the chef Ashley Christensen restaurant that helped spark a culinary boom in the City of Oaks when it opened more than a decade ago. After dinner, saunter over to Circa 1888 to enjoy drinks, a pool game and a lovely sunset, or Junction West for cocktails enjoyed on the outside patio.
Today, shopping is the thing to do. After a quick stop for coffee (at Heirloom Brewshop, Videri Chocolate Facotry or A Place at the Table), stroll over to Father & Sons Antiques for modern furniture, vintage clothing, accessories, books and records. From there, swing over to The Alli, a gifts and apparel boutique for edgy urbanites. If you're into vinyl and punk music, then Sorry State Records is not to be missed—they carry the best selection of DIY punk and hardcore vinyl with well over 2,500 unique titles in stock.
Since shopping builds up quite the appetite, satisfy your hunger with a signature pizza at Moonlight Pizza Company. Insider tip: Moonlight is gluten-free friendly and offers a finely-tuned, gluten-free dough recipe and a wide array of non-gluten toppings.
After lunch, dive into the creative with a stop at 311 Gallery. Home to 12 artist studios, an exhibition gallery and a gift shop, 311 regularly hosts juried art shows and traveling artists exhibits. Insider tip: The gallery changes on the first Fri. of every month.
For dinner, authentic pit barbecue is on the menu, served up by a restaurant aptly named The Pit. Loosen your belt and dig into Eastern-style, North Carolina ‘cue with all the Southern sides you can handle—from collards and fried okra to candied yams and coleslaw. Afterwards, drop in at Deep South The Bar for nightcaps, live music and an eye-full of musical memorabilia.