You are currently viewing Easy methods to Spend 24 Hours in Raleigh, North Carolina (Up to date 2024)

Easy methods to Spend 24 Hours in Raleigh, North Carolina (Up to date 2024)


The skyline of Raleigh, North Carolina
On this visitor submit, Craig Makepeace (co-founder and writer of shares spend 24 hours in Raleigh, North Carolina.

I’ve referred to as Raleigh, North Carolina, house for over 10 years. As one of many South’s most vibrant and eclectic burgs, this state capital is perhaps one of many fastest-growing midsize cities within the US. It commonly tops the “greatest locations to dwell and work within the US,” however it nonetheless affords small-town appeal and Southern hospitality. My spouse and I made a decision to boost our youngsters right here due to this combine.

Nicknamed “the Metropolis of Oaks” for the sheer variety of majestic oak timber that line the streets, apart from providing ample inexperienced areas and trails, Raleigh is house to glorious museums, a thriving restaurant scene, countless craft breweries, enjoyable festivals and occasions, and college-town vibes!

Many guests cease in Raleigh as a part of a street journey or for work and thus don’t all the time have loads of time to completely discover it. Nevertheless, even if you happen to simply have sooner or later, you possibly can nonetheless see so much.

Under is my private information to the very best issues to do in sooner or later.


Breakfast: Huge Ed’s Metropolis Market

The interior of Big Ed's restaurant, with lots of diners sitting at tables and antiques hanging from the ceiling in Raleigh, North Carolina
There’s no higher Southern breakfast and introduction to Raleigh than at Huge Ed’s in historic Metropolis Market, serving beneficiant parts of Southern consolation meals since 1958.

Right here you’ll take pleasure in a laid-back vibe underneath a group of funky antiques hanging from the ceiling, together with heat Southern hospitality and meals like Grandma used to make. Particularly widespread are their big pancakes, native nation ham, fried hen, aged rib-eye steak and eggs, sliced pork loin, fried catfish, fluffy biscuits, and double-brewed candy tea. That is the native expertise you’re in search of.

Alternate breakfast choices embrace The Mecca, Raleigh’s oldest restaurant, based by Greek immigrants in 1930; and the State Farmers’ Market Restaurant, one other widespread place for locals to get a rustic breakfast and Southern eating expertise!

Morning exercise: Museums

A mom and daughter stand in front of a dinosaur skeleton at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina
After filling up on a hearty meal, soak up a museum. Raleigh has some glorious ones, and due to the standard and variety of free museums it has, town has usually been known as “the Smithsonian of the South.”

The incredible Museum of Pure Sciences is North Carolina’s most visited museum. There are over 4 flooring of displays to discover, together with dwell animals, walk-through dioramas, microbes, meteorites, and 3D films, plus a terrific everlasting assortment of dinosaur and whale skeletons.

If historical past is your factor, throughout the road is the North Carolina Museum of Historical past. Based in 1902, it welcomes greater than 400,000 guests a 12 months to see its 150,000 artifacts from over 14,000 years of historical past.

Artwork lovers ought to head to the free North Carolina Museum of Artwork, house to greater than a dozen stunning gallery areas showcasing artwork from around the globe. You’ll be able to discover by yourself, take an interesting tour, or see some performing arts. Don’t miss taking a stroll by way of the 164-acre Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, whose path system by way of pure areas options greater than a dozen commissioned artworks.

Lunch: The Pit Genuine BBQ

An overhead view of two heaping plates of BBQ with Southern style sides in Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina is an enormous barbecue state, and having fun with a plate is one thing they take very severely within the state capital. It’s a kind of “welcome to the South” moments all meat eaters ought to expertise.

In Raleigh, they primarily do Japanese-style barbecue, through which the entire hog is slow-cooked over sizzling coals; the meat is then pulled, given somewhat chop, and dressed with a vinegar-based sauce. Usually, it’s served as a sandwich or a plated dish, with all the standard Southern sides you possibly can deal with.

The Pit Genuine BBQ is likely one of the hottest such spots in Raleigh. Because the identify suggests, it proudly serves genuine whole-hog, pit-cooked, Japanese-style barbecue. Situated within the Warehouse District, it’s well-known for child again ribs and whole-hog chopped barbecue. And for sides, take a look at the Brunswick stew, heirloom cabbage collards, and fried inexperienced tomatoes.

Well-known in NC, Sam Jones BBQ in downtown is one other glorious possibility. It smokes entire hogs on-site daily and is widespread for its chopped barbecue, fried hen, ribs, and baked flat cornbread. It additionally serves considered one of my favourite sandwiches in Raleigh, the smoked turkey!

If pork barbecue is just not your factor however you continue to need a Southern eating expertise, Beasley’s Rooster + Honey is a well-liked lunch restaurant by famed chef Ashley Christensen that focuses on fried hen and sandwiches.

Afternoon exercise: Umstead State Park

A man walks down a leafy trail in Umstead State Park in Raleigh, North Carolina
Time to stroll off lunch! Only a 15-minute drive from downtown is likely one of the hottest locations in Raleigh, and considered one of North Carolina’s most visited state parks: William B. Umstead State Park, which is well accessible from Interstate 40 and US-70. Its greater than 5,000 acres of forest encompass three man-made lakes and include over 22 miles of trails, starting from straightforward to reasonable. When you love nature trails, biking, working, picnicking, canoeing, and even horseback using, put Umstead in your itinerary.

An awesome introductory path is the two.8-mile Sal’s Department Path loop, which is generally shaded and flat, with tall timber and a lake view. When you’re up for a woodland stroll, the Sycamore Path is a 7.2-mile loop and the longest path. One other widespread path is the six-mile Firm Mill Path loop.

Alternatively, Lake Johnson, only a 10-minute drive from downtown, is my favourite of the lakes in Raleigh. The three-mile paved greenway loop across the western aspect is widespread with NC State college students and locals. There’s a 700-foot-long boardwalk throughout the middle of the lake, a boathouse, a small seashore space, and picnic shelters.

Pre-dinner drinks: 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 background
The very best view of the Raleigh skyline might be had from Wye Hill and its excellent outside patio. Take all of it in whereas having fun with refreshing craft beers and distinctive cocktails. There’s a superb small-plate menu too!

Whiskey fanatics can head to the attractive open house and hip venue Whiskey Kitchen, that includes a repurposed industrial vibe through which to take pleasure in any of over 300 whiskies, plus craft cocktails, beer, and wine. Talking of wine, Vita Vite Artwork Gallery + Wine Bar doubles as an artwork gallery and affords an excellent number of wine in a cultured and relaxed ambiance.

Dinner: Stanbury

The exterior of Stanbury restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina
Stanbury might be essentially the most distinctive eating expertise in Raleigh and one I can’t cease speaking about. It has excellent meals, an exquisite ambiance in a unusual, rustic venue, and wonderful service! The menu, which adjustments every day, options trendy delicacies (together with the very best steak I’ve had in Raleigh), plus craft cocktails.

Bida Manda is hands-down the very best of the Asian eating places in Raleigh. Its probably my favourite Southeast Asian restaurant in North Carolina, if not the US. It’s famend for its genuine Laotian delicacies, together with ample vegetarian and gluten-free choices.

Searching for Mexican meals in Raleigh? Gringo A Go Go is a former fuel station and now one of many extra widespread downtown eating places, given its colourful outside patio space and genuine Mexican meals. The menu is a tribute to the household’s Central Mexican heritage, with recipes handed down from the Guadalajara highlands.

After-dinner drinks: Watts & Ward

A couple having drinks underneath a
Watts & Ward is my favourite (underground) bar in Raleigh, a craft cocktail place infused with the spirit of the Nineteen Twenties. Suppose leather-based seating, cozy nooks, rustic tables, dim lighting, and bookshelves stuffed with historical past. It affords an creative cocktail menu and low-key jazz occasions.

However in case you have dinner at Stanbury, close by is my different favourite cocktail bar, William and Firm, or Willco to the locals. This cozy neighborhood cocktail bar on the sting of historic Oakwood serves up recent and distinctive craft cocktails created by top-notch bartenders.

When you benefit from the idea of a dessert bar — a spot the place you will get bourbon along with your pie or champagne along with your cake — then think about Bittersweet, the place I like to go for an espresso martini and Irish espresso.


When you solely have 24 hours in Raleigh, this one-day itinerary is what I counsel for first-time guests who need to get an actual really feel for the Metropolis of Oaks — its tradition, historical past, food and drinks scene, and sense of Southern neighborhood. (In fact, I counsel you keep longer, as there are many cool issues to do in Raleigh, together with superior festivals and sporting occasions.)

Craig Makepeace is the co-founder and writer of, an internet site devoted to sharing all the very best issues to do in Raleigh. Initially from Australia, he first moved to Raleigh in 2004 and fell in love with town of oaks. He’s a journey addict, sports activities fanatic, seashore lover, and passionate craft beer drinker. You’ll be able to observe him on Instagram at @ThisIsRaleigh.

Guide Your Journey to the USA: Logistical Ideas and Tips

Guide Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a low cost flight. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned!

Guide Your Lodging
You’ll be able to ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the largest stock and greatest offers. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use as they constantly return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost inns.

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes mistaken. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions up to now. My favourite firms that provide the very best service and worth are:

Searching for the Greatest Corporations to Save Cash With?
Try my useful resource web page for the very best firms to make use of if you journey. I checklist all those I exploit to save cash once I’m on the street. They may prevent cash if you journey too.

Need Extra Data on the USA?
Be sure you go to our strong vacation spot information on the US for much more planning ideas!