Raleigh, North Carolina

City Of Oaks



Sunny Days: 213
47100 Affordability
95100 Schools
53100 Diversity
85100 Safety

Raleigh is by no means a small town but it feels just like one. Everyone you meet seems to know everyone else and nearly everything is within walking distance.

The Best Thing About Raleigh?

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round That Old Oak Tree

Everybody knows about the tech scene in the Research Triangle (Raleigh is one of the three in the triangle) but what most are surprised by is that when you fly into Raleigh it is hard to even see the city through the dense trees that line the streets. This makes the city spectacularly green and beautiful, and creates a smaller town feeling as a result of how each block is protected by the massive oaks. It also gives the city a suburban feel, and so particularly family friendly. They also provide homes, yards, walks, and parks lots of shade during the hotter months of summer.

Here's a review of the city from a long-time resident:
*Having grown up in Raleigh, *I'm partial to the city. I moved away to go to graduate school in the late 80s and have lived now in NOLA, Edenton, Concord/Charlotte. I am now living in Durham and back in the triangle. Living in Raleigh and triangle area is a great place for families, medical professionals, tech professionals, university staff, and government. Lots of jobs in all those areas. Raleigh has changed over the years with lots of growth. However, Raleigh still doesn't feel like a big city (like Atlanta/NYC etc). It still has a bit of a small town feel, as does Durham and Chapel Hill. There is lots here but not quite at the level of bigger cities (but some may like that). Traffic is horrendous in certain areas but that is part of the growth. This is a great place though to live and raise a family. You can get to the beach or mountains in reasonable time.*

For more reviews of what living in Raleigh is like from locals check out: The Buzz

The Worst Thing About Raleigh?


The toughest thing for Raleigh is the fact that there are such popular cities nearby. Durham and Chapel Hill, the other two cities in the Research Triangle are better places for the younger professionals looking for more active social scenes and greater diversity of activities and culture. It means that Raleigh can feel transient as people slide through on their way to these other cities.

Here's the pov from one local on the three cities in the triangle:
Chapel Hill exists for the University and would not recommend living there unless you work for the University or want to relive your college years. Raleigh is the growing city where house prices have skyrocketed considerably. This is the main focus for most people and for good reason. Here is your breweries, sports and being active. Durham itself isn't as desirable, but could very well be the most affordable the further north you go from the Research Triangle Park.

Lifestyle of Raleigh

Newcomers and old-timers consistently talk about the “Southern Warmth” of Raleigh. By this they mean how kind and relaxed everyone is here rather than a remark on the southern heat. Expect conversations with strangers at stores, persistent greetings on the streets and neighbor offers of support. Living in Raleigh is more about the greenery and access to the outdoors than a hardcore downtown nightlife but know that Raleigh is fighting hard to build up a social and cultural alternative to Durham and Chapel Hill and they’re getting there.

Great foodie options are here with BBQ an obvious part of the scene but fancier fare is also available. Downtown has a growing arts scene and plenty of craft breweries, bars, farmer’s markets and community events should that be your vibe. Getting back to that outdoor scene, Raleigh has 180 miles of Greenway Trails for everyone to walk, ride or hike and it has amazing parks, both downtown and in most of the neighborhoods so everyone can throw a frisbee, or baseball or just run around with the doggos. https://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/2021/04/10-things-i-love-about-living-in-raleigh-north-carolina/

If you want to see what happens in Raleigh check out the calendar of events: https://www.visitraleigh.com/events/

Worklife of Raleigh

Raleigh is ranked the 4th most educated city in the country, not surprising given it is surrounded by great universities, and this drives both tons of professional residents as well as an exploding entrepreneurial scene. Tech is at the center of the business boom here but there are also plenty of homegrown startups including clothing labels, craft breweries, creative restaurants and artists setting up in the downtown art galleries.
The Research Triangle Park drives much of the area’s economy, which makes sense given it is one of the great tech research parks in the world, and employers there include: IBM, Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, Nortel, Sony and Lenovo, among dozens and dozens of others. The drive to RTP from Raleigh is just ~20 minutes so while traffic can be bad in the area it’s pretty mild compared to other bigger cities.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

It Ain’t Slowing Down

Let’s assume for a minute that North Carolina is going to keep growing and nothing is going to slow it down. Given that circumstance, Raleigh is possibly the best choice among the other “hotter” cities. It’s prices have risen for sure but relative to Charlotte, Chapel Hill, or Durham, you’re still getting in pretty early in Raleigh.

Neighborhoods in Raleigh

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College Students

Raleigh isn’t a “college town” in the traditional sense, meaning one dominated by a University, but there are a ton of schools here with NC State the one with the largest student body. Cameron Village is a great neighborhood for NC State students although conversion of apartments to condos has driven up pricing beyond many budgets. Just west of Downtown it has an amazing outdoor shopping center, close access to all the bars one could ever want to visit, and still some reasonable rentals for the student budget. Glenwood South is another interesting option for collegiates. It’s the entertainment district of Raleigh so if you plan to go out a lot then a short walk to the bars, breweries, restaurants and nightclubs is nice. Renovations of warehouses have resulted in plenty of apartments and lofts for the kiddos to rent.

  • NCSU
  • Cameron Village
  • Glenwood South

Warehouse District

Young Professionals

It probably goes without saying that Downtown is the area most young professionals target when they move to Raleigh. The Warehouse District in Downtown is one of the hottest spots, with six full blocks dedicated to converted warehouses filled with apartments, condos, lofts, restaurants, bars, boutique shopping and a growing group of tech firms that offer short walks to work. If you truly want to be part of the party then also check out Glenwood South. Also filled with rental and condo purchase options it is the entertainment center of Raleigh.

  • Warehouse District
  • Glenwood South
  • Oakwood

Historic Oakwood


Oakwood is a historic district has the most magnificent oak trees and Grand Victorians in the city. It also has cool bungalows from the 1920’s so if your taste runs to restoring a Victorian or a bungalow this neighborhood is “choice”. It’s also only 1 mile east of downtown Raleigh so you get all the escape you might be ready for without abandoning your more adventurous youth.

  • Historic Oakwood
  • Cameron Park
  • Cameron Village
  • Mordecai

Boylan Heights


Boylan Heights is a really interesting neighborhood to start your search. It’s one of the first planned communities filled with craftsman bungalows, Queen Anne and Dutch Colonials all towered over by the city's trademark Oaks. It’s also a 10 minute walk to downtown so if raising the kiddos in a suburban vibe place but with walkable access to civic and social activities is more your speed then look at Boylan Heights. The Five Points neighborhoods offer a bit more of a retreat from downtown if that is your preference. Look at Hayes Barton if stunning homes, beautiful greenways, great schools and plenty of open park areas is more your speed.

  • Boylan Heights
  • Five Points Neighborhoods / Hayes Barton
  • North Hills

Brier Creek


Raleigh isn’t a retirement location like say the Phoenix Metro but the weather, outdoor lifestyle, great healthcare and reasonable cost of living means plenty come (or stay) anyway. Neighborhoods that are popular for retirees include Boylan Heights, for those who want great homes and a quiet area but close proximity to downtown. Brier Creek is the suburban alternative: Newer homes and condos keep the maintenance responsibilities to a minimum and the Brier Creek Country Club is ideal for the golfer, tennis player, swimmer and socializers out there.

  • Boylan Heights
  • Brier Creek
  • Lassiter Mill
  • Oakwood