Raleigh & Wake County, North Carolina

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Raleigh and its surroundings in Wake County are fun to explore, no matter what your reason is for visiting. We love hanging out here and are excited to share travel guides and background info on the area with you.

Fun and Interesting Facts About Raleigh NC

Named after the polarising Sir Walter Raleigh, Raleigh is the largest city in the Research Triangle and the second largest in the state.

The Legendary Birth of Our Capital City

Raleigh was established in 1792 and is the only state capital to have been purposefully planned as a city government.

Both New Bern and Edenton served as the North Carolina capital before in a complicated series of moves. During the Revolutionary War, New Bern was technically the capital, but the legislature rotated their business meetings among six locations in order to thwart the redcoats.

After the war, as legend says, Raleigh was chosen as the final permanent capital because commissioners wanted to be closer to a tavern that made a stiff brandy cocktail.

There’s no official evidence that this is the reason, partly because no politicians could tweet then. However, it certainly makes for a good story!

Location Location Location!

What probably makes more sense is that Raleigh was in a central location in terms of transportation. The east-to-west road connecting New Bern was already in place as well as a north to south route through Virginia and South Carolina.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was established three years before Raleigh, which also made Raleigh a more desirable location than New Bern and also proposed Fayetteville.

Fire, Debate, and Rebirth

In 1831, the State Capitol building burned to the ground while under protection. Ironically, steps were being taken to prevent a fire after the State House in Fayetteville had burned earlier that year.

As workers were putting the finishing touches on the wooden building’s roof, a careless mistake set it ablaze and caused us to lose many important state records and artifacts.

Many were still bitter about the decision to make Raleigh the capital. So naturally, there was a debate on whether to rebuild after the fire or move to another city. After eighteen months of political unrest, Raleigh kept its designation and has remained North Carolina’s state capital.

The city has since enjoyed many periods of growth, which is why the populations of Raleigh and its surrounding towns and cities continue to increase. There have also been tougher times, including stagnation and civil strife, which you can learn about at the City of Raleigh Museum.

Visiting Raleigh Today

Getting into Raleigh

The Raleigh of today hasn’t forgotten its history, with museums and historical markers spread throughout the city. It’s also filled with dedicated green spaces, and home to bustling food and arts scenes, there are many reasons Raleigh belongs on your NC Bucket List.

By Plane

If you’re flying into Raleigh-Durham International Airport, that puts you about 25 minutes by car from Downtown Raleigh.

By Car

I-40 and US-70 are two ways we typically head into Raleigh. I personally prefer the latter for traffic but for time, the interstate is usually the best way to go. Since Raleigh is always growing, plan for traffic and jams during busy times.

Things to Do in Raleigh

If you’re looking for free things to do here, this guide has everything you need to know.

We’ve also created food guides to include must-eat restaurants in Raleigh. There’s also a specific focus on the city’s fun neighborhood/foodie paradise Lafayette Village. More topics include how to enjoy an afternoon day date or a food tour with Taste Carolina.

Seasonal fun and events in Raleigh are also on our mind, which is why this is the place to learn about the awesome sunflower field during summer and how to enjoy winter in the city!

For everything else, take a look through our collection of guides. And in the meantime, we hope you enjoy your time in this awesome city and its surroundings.

The Latest Raleigh Posts and Mentions

Popular Raleigh Posts

Wake County Surrounding Towns and Cities

Searching for Something Specific?

We look forward to sharing more Raleigh attractions, the awesome people here, and more as we continue exploring our awesome state.

You can also visit our Facebook Group and ask a question there. Either way, we’ll be happy to help your search.