This week, I had the opportunity to tag along with my husband Ryan on his work trip. Once a month, he travels to Raleigh, North Carolina to work with his team onsite. He’s been talking about how much I’d like Raleigh, and I really needed a relaxing week after the craziness of this summer. Ryan was right, Raleigh has become one of my favorite cities to visit for a number of reasons. It’s a mid-size city with plenty to do, most activities are super close together downtown (or a short car ride away), the food is great, the people super friendly, and the architecture beautiful. I can’t wait for another time to visit and explore more!
I took it super easy this time around because I was burnt out, plus I knew I’d be back another time. So here are my suggestions for a relaxing, less touristy stay in Raleigh. **Side Note** My photos are not my usual standard… I just took brief shots or none at all, simply enjoying my time there more than trying to capture the perfect pictures.
Shopping in Raleigh brought me a fair amount of cool items. The GFC, similar to a goodwill, is a great place for cool thrifted items on a small budget. Father and Son Antiques has some amazing mid-century furniture and decor, but also quite a selection of vintage clothing. Deco Raleigh is gift shop with colorful wares, perfect for a unique Raleigh memento. Liz Kelly Pottery has some beautiful ceramic pieces, great for those artistic people in your lives (or something for yourself)!
Umstead State Park has several trails of varying distance and difficulty, great for a nature day away from downtown. There is also cabins, a large lake and other nature activities to enjoy. Pullen Park is an old-school amusement park, with paddle boats on the lake, a carousel, children’s train, kiddie boats, and a theater. The park also has some pathways for a leisurely stroll. If you are looking for a fun way to traverse the city, rent a Bird Scooter, which you can find all throughout the city. These electric scooters are super easy to use, and can be dropped off anywhere once you are done.
A walk through the Historic Oakwood district is gives you serious house envy, each craftsman or Victorian beautifully maintained with unique character and splashes of color.
Food & Drink
Rye Bar and Southern Kitchen in the Marriott is a great southern food choice for those staying near the convention center, I especially recommend the homemade black bean burger. and mashed potatoes. Another great southern food option is The Pit Authentic Barbecue, where they pit-smoke their pork, Texas-style brisket and other bbq staples in either vinegar or sweet bbq sauce . I recommend sharing a platter with a buddy and sampling a few different meats and sides. A great breakfast or lunch option is Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant, with simple southern cooking in a rustic setting with super friendly service.
For those vegan/vegetarians out there, there is a fantastic and quirky restaurant called Remedy Diner with a huge selection (which also has a non-vegetarian menu). Inchin’s Bamboo Garden has a delicious Indian and Chinese fusion, I recommend a plate of pan fried chili fish for the table along with one of their entrees, like the mango chicken or lo mein.
For a sweet treat, Escazu Artisan Chocolates has a great handcrafted selection. They offer exotic artisan truffles and confections, chocolate bars, ice cream, coffee and great hot chocolates. It’s a great place to relax and sip on a chocolate beverage, and I recommend the spicy hot chocolate iced down. Relive your childhood and teen years (or maybe your current life. No judgement here, haha) and head over Boxcar Bar + Arcade to enjoy some cocktails and arcade games. I really enjoyed the pineapple cider and some skee ball. If you are a cider lover like we are, Bull City Ciderworks has a great taproom with seasonal brews and food trucks that change daily. Ryan and I each got a flight so we could try out several ciders. My favorite was the Mango Bulada, Cherry Tart or Sweet Carolina.