Cary, North Carolina

The Concentrated Area of Relocated Yankees

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What's it like to live in Cary?

What is it like to live in Cary, NC?

Cary is a very nice town and it is well managed. Schools are great, traffic is not too hectic, there's plenty of shopping, and it is close to major work areas and the Universities. I think of Cary as a family town. It is very sedate and manicured, but friendly. If you're young and single you may be bored. If you're raising a family though you will love it. The government is very dedicated to the residents but they are all very strict about keeping the area looking great. So don't try to paint your home a funky color, that won't fly in Cary.

What is it like to live in Cary, NC?

I think this is a little piece of paradise. I have lived here for 7 years. It it a nice city with the feel of a small town. People are highly educated and it is also very diverse (I believe it is one of the safest towns in the country and also one with the highest # of PHDs per square feet). You are 2.5 hours away from the beach, and 3 hours away from the mountains. There are great schools, great universities (NC State, Duke and UNC are in the area), and good jobs. Technology and pharmaceutical are probably the top industries in the area. We moved here from florida and my kids love it . They say they love it because people are very nice and very polite.

What is it like to live in Cary, NC?

We moved here from Northern VA 22 years ago with our then newborn son. In that time Cary’s population has more than doubled. So most of the housing is new by northeastern standards. An old house in Cary is from when it was a sleepy southern crossroads in the early 1970’s before RTP took off.

There is a lot to like in Cary. A thriving brewery scene in the area has three breweries in and near downtown Cary, and many more in the metro area. Restaurants tend to be of the chain variety you can find in any suburban area (Bone Fish, Outback, Ruby Tuesday, Chili’s, Fridays, Macaroni Grill, etc.) There is a decent selection of ethnic restaurants that aren’t chains. The greater metro area has just about anything you’re looking for.

Outdoor recreation includes town, county and state parks. Lake Crabtree and Umstead offer single track mountain biking and fire roads, hiking trails, small boating (canoes, kayaks, small sailboats). The greenway system is growing but it really remains a large group of unconnected greenways. Raleigh’s is better connected than Cary’s but Cary is making progress. The American Tobacco Trail in far west Cary offers a long relatively flat expanse of paved and stone dust trails from New Hill to Durham excellent for cycling, running and on the paved sections from New Hope Church Road to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park you can do inline skating. A short drive to the SW corner of the county brings you to Harris Lake County Park for more single track biking. Nearby Jordan Lake offers boating for larger power boats and personal watercraft.

Between the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), PNC Arena, Raleigh’s Memorial Hall, Walnut Creek, Red Hat and Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheaters there are plenty of venues to see Broadway plays, national musical acts, ballet, and comedy shows. PNC Arena is home to the NHL Carolina Hurricanes. And of course NC State Wolfpack Basketball. With a number of great schools in the area there is plenty of college football, basketball and other sports to see. Durham hosts the Durham Bulls baseball team and there is the Carolina Mudcats nearby as well.

The Raleigh Durham area is a 2–3 hour drive to the beach or the mountains. You can go into WV to go skiing during the short winter ski season or stay in NC for the even shorter southern ski season.

Schools are good, housing is affordable especially if you’re coming from a high cost area like DC, NoVA, NY, NJ or CA. The show Love it or List it on HGTV films here because the housing prices are more normal than their home turf in the Toronto Canada area. Lot sizes are getting smaller as the house sizes get bigger and land prices close to Raleigh and RTP rise.

Cary Town Center mall is dying. I expect it to be demolished and reborn in the next several years. Sears and Macy’s pulled out of CTC but still exist at Streets of South Point in Durham and Crabtree Valley in Raleigh. Rumor has it that IKEA is going to move to Cary Town Center as part of its rebirth. There are plenty of other shopping options besides the dying CTC in Cary and in the surrounding area.

If I was in my 20s I’d probably opt to live in Raleigh instead of suburban Cary. There is more to do for that age demographic in and near NC State than there is in Cary. If I was newly married with a young family and worked in Cary or RTP, I would without a doubt live in Cary as long as I could afford it. There are cheaper places to live in the area but then you have a longer commute to work and my time is worth a smaller house or a larger mortgage.

The area is really what you make it.

What is it like to live in Cary, NC?

Cary Town Center lost IKEA so they had to do a reboot of the redesign. It is still in the early stages, but it looks promising. The revitalized Cary Town Center will feature multifamily housing (apartments and townhouses), a hotel, office buildings, retail, restaurants. The department store Belks is remaining, but the rest of the mall will be leveled. Harold’s Blog: Cary Towne Center, Veterans Day and More New Details in the Proposed Cary Towne Center Redevelopment

Across Cary Town Blvd they have started work on a 90 acre mixed use development called “The Fenton” that will feature restaurants, a hotel, a Cinebistro movie theater, a Wegman’s grocery store, retail, offices and multifamily housing. FENTON

The Greenway system continues to improve, it just celebrated its 40th anniversary since the first segment was built. A new greenway was built from the Black Creek Greenway across Lake Crabtree into Morrisville. In the next 6 months or so, it will join up with several Greenways when the Crabtree Creek Greenway is completed under the railroad tracks along NC54 (Chapel Hill Rd). The White Oak Greenway will soon be complete from Bond Park to the American Tobacco Trail in NW Apex. The tunnel under the railroad tracks near Davis Drive is complete, now they just need to finish the final mile or so of trail between McArther and Davis Drive. This will be part of the north to south East Coast Greenway that will connect from Maine to Florida via mainly rails to trails greenways that are either have a paved or stone dust surface.

Downtown Cary has seen a lot of improvements since I wrote the above with a new park with a fountain and performance space. This is just the first phase of a multimillion dollar downtown park. A new regional libray opened near the fountain. A brewery tap room called Cotton House is a few steps away bringing the breweries in the downtown area to four: Bond Brothers, Jordan Lake, Fortnight (with a second taproom) and Cotton House. The restaurant scene continues to improve with several non-chain restaurants opening in DTC.

12 Things You MUST Know Before Moving To Cary North Carolina