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143 miles NE of Charlotte
State government has been Raleigh's principal business since 1792, when it became North Carolina's capital. Just before the Civil War, the city was the setting of the fiery legislative debate that led to North Carolina's secession from the Union in 1861. Raleigh endured Union occupation by General Sherman in 1865, and during Reconstruction saw the west wing of its imposing Grecian Doric capitol building turned into a rowdy barroom by "carpetbagger" and "scalawag" legislators, its steps permanently nicked from whiskey barrels rolling in and out of the building.
Today the 5-acre square fronting the capitol is the focal point for a cluster of state office buildings in the heart of the city. From it radiate wide boulevards and tree-shaded residential streets. Downtown Raleigh has been transformed by an attractive pedestrian mall where trees, fountains, and statuary create a shopping oasis. No fewer than six college campuses dot the city's streets, with wide lawns and impressive brick buildings. The oldest, St. Mary's College, was founded in 1842. The big name in town, though, is North Carolina State University, and cheering for the Wolfpack in basketball or football is more than just an idle pastime. New suburbs and gigantic shopping centers dominate the outskirts of Raleigh, characterized by nicely designed homes blending into a landscape that retains much of its original wooded character.
All this, plus the abundance of good accommodations, makes Raleigh a fine base from which to explore the Research Triangle area. Both Chapel Hill and Durham are within easy reach for day trips, and after a day of sightseeing, the capital city offers a good variety of entertainment options, from college bars to supper-club shows.
With American Airlines flights to Raleigh-Durham, it's easy to plan a family vacation in North Carolina's Research Triangle. There's no shortage of things to do in Raleigh, from enjoying contemporary art to hearing live music. There are also many things to do in Durham, including visiting historic sites. Let your Raleigh Durham adventures begin!
One of our favorite activities in Raleigh, unexpected as it may be, is to visit the Contemporary Art Museum. Housed in a former warehouse, this space features multiple galleries. You'll be able to see a well-curated mix of exhibits featuring avant-garde works.
Exploring local breweries and wineries is another item high up on our list of things to do in Raleigh. If you can't make it to one of the area's breweries (where tours are often free), you'll be able to sample their wares in local downtown restaurants--which leads us to another of our favorite pastimes here: listening to live music. In fact, Raleigh has more live music venues than anywhere else in North Carolina, and it hosts several music festivals throughout the year.
Practically next door to Raleigh, you'll also find plenty of fun things to do in Durham. In particular, history buffs will be thrilled to visit Bennett Place. It's a simple farmhouse made famous as the site where Union General Sherman (whose headquarters were in Raleigh) met Confederate General Joseph Johnston to accept the largest troop surrender of the Civil War. And at Duke Homestead, you can tour the farm and home where Washington Duke first grew tobacco (the family eventually crafted the largest tobacco company in the world). And yes, that's the same family after whom Duke University is named. Finish up your historical tour at Historic Stagville, home of the one of the largest plantations in the pre-Civil War South. By 1860, the Bennehan-Cameron family had approximate combined holdings of 900 slaves and 30,000 acres of land.
For modern-day activities in Durham, visit the Museum of Life & Science (which includes a butterfly house that kids will love) and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (which features an extensive collection ranging from the Medieval period to contemporary art). And whether you're a movie aficionado, baseball fan or both, you'll enjoy a Durham Bulls game during the season.
There is almost no end to the fascinating attractions you'll find in The Triangle. Fly to Raleigh-Durham and find a new angle on a fun family vacation. Browse flights and start planning your trip today!
|Raleigh Annual Gourd Festival||7 - 8 Sep 2013 (annual)||The North Carolina State Fair Grounds|
|International Festival of Raleigh||Sep 2013 (annual)||Raleigh Convention Center|
|Scarecrow Festival||Nov 2013 (annual)||Pullen Arts Centre|
|First Night Raleigh||Dec 2013 (annual)||Raleigh|
|NHL Ice Hockey: Carolina Hurricanes||Oct 2013 - Apr 2014 (annual)||PNC Arena|
|42nd St. Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill||Seafood||Around Town||2||2|
|Bloomsbury Bistro||French||Around Town||3||2|
|Carolina Ale House||American||Around Town||1||1|
|Clyde Cooper's Barbecue||Chicken/BBQ/Grill||Around Town||1||2|
|Enoteca Vin||International||Around Town||2||2|
|Fins Restaurant||American Regional||Around Town||2||2|
|Michael Dean's||American||Around Town||2||2|
|Mo's Diner||American Regional||Around Town||2||1|
|Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern||International||Around Town||3||2|
|Sullivan's Steakhouse||Steaks/Chops||Around Town||3||2|
|The Duck & Dumpling||Asian/Pac Rim||Around Town||2||1|
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