Raleigh, North Carolina: A City Guide

raleigh downtown

This was my first time in Raleigh, and I was there for a few days for work. Raleigh is a small city with a lot of culture and an artistic vibe to it. I love all the unique restaurants and bars, and stores that I get in say, Atlanta, but without the traffic or headaches or waiting in lines. It was nice to explore a bit while I was here.

raleigh convention center

This was one of the free “little free library‘s” I came across downtown. I’ve seen these before around Atlanta, and I would love to start one if I ever live in a more populated area.

raleigh little free library    raleigh little free library 2

I also love that in a lot of storefronts and places I kept seeing “Y’all means All”. Fist up for the inclusive-ness the city is trying to promote. I dig it!

raleigh yall means all

Where to Stay in Raleigh

I think Airbnb is the way to go 90% of the time. I stayed here. It was clean, comfortable, and very close to downtown. I would also suggest here, and here.

What to Do in Raleigh

Biking is big in Raleigh. It’s easy and affordable to rent from the dozens of city bike rentals throughout the city. Most places are within an easy 2-miles radius of downtown.

Yates Mill is a great hiking and picnic area. You can tour the mill or get some Instagram-worthy photo ops.

Where to Eat in Raleigh


Raleigh Raw

Raleigh Raw is a coffee shop/smoothie bar specializing, as you can see from the name, raw, organic, cold press juices and smoothies. They also have a phenomenal coffee selection. Try their Crack Coffee.  It’s their version of bulletproof coffee that I’ve talked about before (here and here).  They make it with grass-fed butter and coconut oil. Their CBJ smoothie was my favorite, and the Green smoothie was a close second. Add collagen!

raleigh raw   raleigh raw smoothie


Happy & Hale

I enjoyed their grain bowl options. The salads and smoothies also looked really yummy. It’s a fresh and reasonably-priced option. The staff is also super friendly. It’s a grab and go place, but they do have chairs and tables outside you can eat at if the weather is nice.

raleigh happy hale


Bida Manda

The best Laotian (think the baby of Thai, Viet, and Chinese) food ever. Try the mango purple sticky rice. 🙂


Lucette Grace

This was not on my radar. I just happened to check it out while looking for parking to grab a smoothie from Raleigh Raw. This place is on the same block as them. They have desserts and coffee. The desserts are to die for. I especially enjoyed my birthday cake macaron. And I also ordered the rose one (both are front row in picture below, birthday cake on the left, rose on the right). I love trying new flavors of macaron whenever I come across a place who makes them.



Flying Saucer 

They focus on a million brews they have on draft and in bottle. Flying Saucer also serves cocktails and hard liquor and general bar food. I enjoyed the bartender, he was hilarious and made our visit enjoyable. Oh, and they have weekend brunch, a patio, and trivia nights 🙂

Where to Shop in Raleigh

DECO Raleigh

DECO is a cute and eclectic gift shop that carries lots of unique items.  I especially love the bar and kitchen items they have. These White Whale Cocktail mixers were my favorite.

Dancing Moon

Dancing Moon Books & Gifts is a New Age retailer near downtown Raleigh. They carry a large selection of metaphysical books and gifts, aromatherapy and candles, incense and crystals, jewelry and tarot decks, and herbs. They also offer psychics, healers and a wide variety of interesting classes.

Raleigh Flea Market

From furniture to food, to handmade goods, it has it all. Open every Saturday 9 am-6 pm

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