Justin and I moved to Raleigh from Greenville, North Carolina in 2009 just a few months after we were married. We were both in Greenville for college but amidst our dating and engagement, Justin decided to pursue an engineering degree so we thought it would be best to move just a few hours over to Raleigh for him to attend N.C. State University. We lived on the eastern edge of Raleigh for some time but then moved over toward the southwest side and have been living in that area for the past several years.
We are so happy here and I’m long overdue for a post dedicated to all the things I love about living in Raleigh.
Let’s dive right in.
One. The climate. I love that we still get seasons and that summer tends to linger well into October. I prefer warmer temperatures over cold winters, especially after growing up in the midwest and having to endure brutal winters until I was 19. Raleigh is in the middle part of the state so we have a few rolling hills but generally, it’s heavily treed and full of nature.
Two. The city-feel with access to beaches and mountains. I can’t help but compare Raleigh to Chicago since Chicago was the major city near where I grew up. Raleigh feels a bit small and quiet, but it has a lot of the city things you’d hope for without being overwhelmingly large and full of traffic. Downtown Raleigh has a vibrant community, which in my experience, feels artistic and has a “foodie” vibe ( I say that in a complimentary way, of course ) but I will fully admit that I haven’t lived downtown nor spend a great deal of time there. I love going downtown to some of the popular destinations (Village District, 5 Points, State Farmers Market, etc.) and have many more places on my list to still check out! Overall, it’s nice to have the perks of living in a city, but also an easy short drive from the coast or a mountain getaway.
Three. Southern warmth, and I’m not talking about the weather. In my experience, there is a slower more relaxed pace here than what I experienced growing up in the midwest. While I have only lived my adulthood in the south, many others would agree that the pace is just slightly more casual or relaxed. It’s not unusual to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger at the grocery store, and I remember being pleasantly surprised by the small gestures of kindness when I first moved here.
Four. The food/restaurants. So listen, I’m not a huge barbecue, pimento cheese, and Cheerwine kind of gal, but I can throw down some biscuits and gravy like nobody’s business. I’ve found so many great restaurants in the area already and I’ve only just scratched the surface. A few of my personal favorites are Lily’s Pizza, Gravy, The Pit, Benelux Coffee, The Flying Biscuit, The Provincial, Crosstown Pub and Grill, Cristo’s Bistro, The Mason Jar Tavern, La Farm Bakery, Chanticleer Cafe, Enrigo Italian Bistro, Gonza Tacos and Tequila, Tatopos, Dos Taquitos, and so many others.
Five. The flow of the city. There is almost never a time that I’m stuck in traffic. Even when I worked at a salon closer to downtown, traffic was never horrendous. There is a highway that encircles Raleigh called “the beltline” and it makes it very easy to get to anywhere you need to go.
Six. The greenery and access to outdoor activities. I remember being profoundly impacted when I was driving on highways in North Carolina and seeing trees! Huge trees and so much natural area. That didn’t really exist where I grew up (It was more grey and industrious) so I really appreciate being surrounded by nature. Building off of that, there are wonderful parks and lakes with walks to hiking paths that make it really easy to enjoy the great outdoors.
Seven. It’s full of great colleges, universities, medical care and has a strong research + technology market. Some of the more well-known schools in the area (not all in Raleigh, but certainly nearby) are Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, Meredith, and Shaw University. There is also an abundance of medical facilities and hospitals. Some of the larger corporations are research and technology-based offering great career opportunities.
Eight. Lower than the average cost of living. There is a wide variety of housing options in the area, and even further out you go from the city, you still can maintain relatively simple access to downtown, if that is important to you.
Nine. Family-friendly with a great mix of community and privacy. There are so many little pockets and suburbs of the city and each one has its own culture and esthetic. There seems to be great pride in where one lives, and that is such a great thing to experience.
Ten. It is continually highly ranked in “US best places to live” lists!
While all of my reasons are subjective, of course, so many other people enjoy living here as well. I can’t see ever moving away from Raleigh, and I’m truly so happy to live here!