The skyline of Raleigh, North Carolina
In this guest write-up, Craig Makepeace (co-founder and publisher of shares how to expend 24 hours in Raleigh, North Carolina.

I have called Raleigh, North Carolina, home for in excess of 10 years. As one particular of the South’s most vibrant and eclectic burgs, this point out cash could possibly be one of the swiftest-escalating midsize cities in the US. It consistently tops the “best destinations to live and function in the US,” but it even now delivers tiny-town appeal and Southern hospitality. My wife and I made the decision to raise our children in this article due to the fact of this combine.

Nicknamed “the Town of Oaks” for the sheer variety of majestic oak trees that line the streets, apart from featuring sufficient environmentally friendly spaces and trails, Raleigh is property to outstanding museums, a flourishing cafe scene, countless craft breweries, enjoyable festivals and activities, and faculty-city vibes!

Several website visitors halt in Raleigh as section of a highway trip or for get the job done and therefore don’t constantly have a great deal of time to absolutely take a look at it. Even so, even if you just have just one working day, you can continue to see a whole lot.

Down below is my private guideline to the very best things to do in 1 day.


Breakfast: Major Ed’s City Industry

The interior of Big Ed's restaurant, with lots of diners sitting at tables and antiques hanging from the ceiling in Raleigh, North CarolinaThe interior of Big Ed's restaurant, with lots of diners sitting at tables and antiques hanging from the ceiling in Raleigh, North Carolina
There is no greater Southern breakfast and introduction to Raleigh than at Significant Ed’s in historic City Current market, serving generous portions of Southern comfort and ease food stuff because 1958.

Listed here you will appreciate a laid-back vibe under a selection of funky antiques hanging from the ceiling, together with warm Southern hospitality and meals like Grandma applied to make. Particularly well-known are their big pancakes, community region ham, fried chicken, aged rib-eye steak and eggs, sliced pork loin, fried catfish, fluffy biscuits, and double-brewed sweet tea. This is the nearby encounter you are on the lookout for.

Alternate breakfast solutions contain The Mecca, Raleigh’s oldest cafe, launched by Greek immigrants in 1930 and the Condition Farmers’ Sector Restaurant, yet another well known area for locals to get a state breakfast and Southern eating practical experience!

Early morning action: Museums

A mom and daughter stand in front of a dinosaur skeleton at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North CarolinaA mom and daughter stand in front of a dinosaur skeleton at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina
Following filling up on a hearty food, choose in a museum. Raleigh has some outstanding ones, and for the reason that of the high-quality and selection of free of charge museums it has, the town has frequently been referred to as “the Smithsonian of the South.”

The fantastic Museum of Organic Sciences is North Carolina’s most frequented museum. There are over 4 floors of displays to take a look at, which include reside animals, stroll-as a result of dioramas, microbes, meteorites, and 3D motion pictures, moreover a marvelous everlasting collection of dinosaur and whale skeletons.

If background is your point, throughout the street is the North Carolina Museum of Background. Started in 1902, it welcomes additional than 400,000 site visitors a year to see its 150,000 artifacts from more than 14,000 several years of historical past.

Artwork enthusiasts really should head to the cost-free North Carolina Museum of Artwork, property to far more than a dozen gorgeous gallery areas showcasing artwork from about the planet. You can examine on your have, take an partaking tour, or see some undertaking arts. Really do not pass up getting a stroll by the 164-acre Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, whose trail system through all-natural parts features a lot more than a dozen commissioned operates of artwork.

Lunch: The Pit Genuine BBQ

An overhead view of two heaping plates of BBQ with Southern style sides in Raleigh, North CarolinaAn overhead view of two heaping plates of BBQ with Southern style sides in Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina is a big barbecue condition, and having fun with a plate is a thing they choose very significantly in the point out cash. It’s 1 of these “welcome to the South” moments all meat eaters ought to experience.

In Raleigh, they mainly do Eastern-design and style barbecue, in which the total hog is slow-cooked more than hot coals the meat is then pulled, supplied a minimal chop, and dressed with a vinegar-based mostly sauce. Typically, it is served as a sandwich or a plated dish, with all the classic Southern sides you can deal with.

The Pit Authentic BBQ is a single of the most well known such places in Raleigh. As the identify implies, it proudly serves authentic complete-hog, pit-cooked, Jap-model barbecue. Positioned in the Warehouse District, it is nicely recognised for infant back again ribs and full-hog chopped barbecue. And for sides, check out the Brunswick stew, heirloom cabbage collards, and fried eco-friendly tomatoes.

Famed in NC, Sam Jones BBQ in downtown is a further excellent choice. It smokes entire hogs on-web page each individual working day and is well-liked for its chopped barbecue, fried rooster, ribs, and baked flat cornbread. It also serves a single of my favourite sandwiches in Raleigh, the smoked turkey!

If pork barbecue is not your detail but you nevertheless want a Southern eating expertise, Beasley’s Rooster + Honey is a preferred lunch restaurant by famed chef Ashley Christensen that specializes in fried chicken and sandwiches.

Afternoon action: Umstead Point out Park

A man walks down a leafy trail in Umstead State Park in Raleigh, North CarolinaA man walks down a leafy trail in Umstead State Park in Raleigh, North Carolina
Time to stroll off lunch! Just a 15-moment push from downtown is just one of the most popular places in Raleigh, and one particular of North Carolina’s most frequented point out parks: William B. Umstead Condition Park, which is easily available from Interstate 40 and US-70. Its extra than 5,000 acres of forest surround three guy-made lakes and consist of more than 22 miles of trails, ranging from effortless to reasonable. If you enjoy mother nature trails, biking, operating, picnicking, canoeing, or even horseback driving, place Umstead on your itinerary.

A fantastic introductory trail is the 2.8-mile Sal’s Branch Path loop, which is largely shaded and flat, with tall trees and a lake check out. If you’re up for a woodland walk, the Sycamore Trail is a 7.2-mile loop and the longest path. Another well-known path is the six-mile Corporation Mill Trail loop.

Alternatively, Lake Johnson, just a 10-moment travel from downtown, is my beloved of the lakes in Raleigh. The a few-mile paved greenway loop all around the western facet is popular with NC Point out students and locals. There is a 700-foot-lengthy boardwalk throughout the center of the lake, a boathouse, a little seaside spot, and picnic shelters.

Pre-dinner beverages: Wye Hill Kitchen & Brewing

A group of people sit at a table at Wye Hill Kitchen & Brewing with the skyline of Raleigh, North Carolina in the backgroundA group of people sit at a table at Wye Hill Kitchen & Brewing with the skyline of Raleigh, North Carolina in the background
The very best see of the Raleigh skyline can be had from Wye Hill and its fantastic out of doors patio. Just take it all in though savoring refreshing craft beers and distinctive cocktails. There’s an superb smaller-plate menu as well!

Whiskey enthusiasts can head to the gorgeous open up area and hip venue Whiskey Kitchen area, that includes a repurposed industrial vibe in which to enjoy any of around 300 whiskies, additionally craft cocktails, beer, and wine. Talking of wine, Vita Vite Art Gallery + Wine Bar doubles as an artwork gallery and offers a excellent collection of wine in a stylish and peaceful ambiance.

Evening meal: Stanbury

The exterior of Stanbury restaurant in Raleigh, North CarolinaThe exterior of Stanbury restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina
Stanbury is almost certainly the most exceptional eating working experience in Raleigh and a person I can not quit conversing about. It has outstanding food items, a wonderful ambiance in a quirky, rustic location, and remarkable company! The menu, which modifications day-to-day, attributes present day delicacies (like the finest steak I have had in Raleigh), in addition craft cocktails.

Bida Manda is arms-down the most effective of the Asian restaurants in Raleigh. Its maybe my beloved Southeast Asian restaurant in North Carolina, if not the US. It is renowned for its reliable Laotian cuisine, together with ample vegetarian and gluten-no cost alternatives.

Wanting for Mexican foodstuff in Raleigh? Gringo A Go Go is a previous gasoline station and now a person of the a lot more popular downtown places to eat, specified its vibrant out of doors patio location and reliable Mexican foods. The menu is a tribute to the family’s Central Mexican heritage, with recipes passed down from the Guadalajara highlands.

Right after-evening meal beverages: Watts & Ward

A couple having drinks underneath a A couple having drinks underneath a
Watts & Ward is my favored (underground) bar in Raleigh, a craft cocktail place infused with the spirit of the 1920s. Believe leather seating, cozy nooks, rustic tables, dim lighting, and bookshelves total of record. It gives an inventive cocktail menu and very low-crucial jazz functions.

But if you have dinner at Stanbury, nearby is my other favorite cocktail bar, William and Firm, or Willco to the locals. This cozy neighborhood cocktail bar on the edge of historic Oakwood serves up new and one of a kind craft cocktails established by prime-notch bartenders.

If you get pleasure from the thought of a dessert bar — a location where you can get bourbon with your pie or champagne with your cake — then contemplate Bittersweet, in which I adore to go for an espresso martini and Irish espresso.


If you only have 24 hrs in Raleigh, this just one-day itinerary is what I suggest for very first-time visitors who want to get a genuine feel for the Town of Oaks — its society, history, food and consume scene, and feeling of Southern neighborhood. (Of course, I advise you continue to be for a longer period, as there are lots of cool points to do in Raleigh, including great festivals and sporting functions.)

Craig Makepeace is the co-founder and publisher of, a internet site committed to sharing all the best matters to do in Raleigh. At first from Australia, he very first moved to Raleigh in 2004 and fell in appreciate with the metropolis of oaks. He’s a vacation addict, sports activities fanatic, beach front lover, and passionate craft beer drinker. You can adhere to him on Instagram at @ThisIsRaleigh.

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Want Far more Info on the United States?
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