In this guest post, Craig Makepeace (co-founder and publisher of ThisIsRaleigh.com) shares how to spend 24 hours in Raleigh, North Carolina.
I have called Raleigh, North Carolina, home for over 10 years. As one of the South’s most vibrant and eclectic burgs, this state capital might be one of the fastest-growing midsize cities in the US. It regularly tops the “best places to live and work in the US,” but it still offers small-town charm and Southern hospitality. My wife and I decided to raise our kids here because of this mix.
Nicknamed “the City of Oaks” for the sheer number of majestic oak trees that line the streets, besides offering ample green spaces and trails, Raleigh is home to excellent museums, a thriving restaurant scene, endless craft breweries, fun festivals and events, and college-town vibes!
Many visitors stop in Raleigh as part of a road trip or for work and thus don’t always have a lot of time to fully explore it. However, even if you just have one day, you can still see a lot.
Below is my personal guide to the best things to do in one day.
Breakfast: Big Ed’s City Market
There’s no better Southern breakfast and introduction to Raleigh than at Big Ed’s in historic City Market, serving generous portions of Southern comfort food since 1958.
Here you’ll enjoy a laid-back vibe under a collection of funky antiques hanging from the ceiling, along with warm Southern hospitality and food like Grandma used to make. Especially popular are their giant pancakes, local country ham, fried chicken, aged rib-eye steak and eggs, sliced pork loin, fried catfish, fluffy biscuits, and double-brewed sweet tea. This is the local experience you’re looking for.
Alternate breakfast options include The Mecca, Raleigh’s oldest restaurant, founded by Greek immigrants in 1930; and the State Farmers’ Market Restaurant, another popular place for locals to get a country breakfast and Southern dining experience!
Morning activity: Museums
After filling up on a hearty meal, take in a museum. Raleigh has some excellent ones, and because of the quality and number of free museums it has, the city has often been referred to as “the Smithsonian of the South.”
The fantastic Museum of Natural Sciences is North Carolina’s most visited museum. There are over four floors of exhibits to explore, including live animals, walk-through dioramas, microbes, meteorites, and 3D movies, plus a terrific permanent collection of dinosaur and whale…