Itching to get out of town, Ashevillians? Skip those pesky airport security lines and jump in your car for a road trip to Raleigh instead. From exploring world-class art at the NC Museum of Art to James Beard-recognized food — we’re spilling all the details on how to have an unforgettable time in the City of Oaks.
📍 Essential info
Drive time: ~4 hours
Year city was established: 1792
Est. population: 467,592
Raleigh established its first “social district” in 2022 (read: open containers allowed) where you can sip on beer, wine, and cocktails from local eateries and drinkeries while walking around downtown.
Videri Chocolate Factory, 327 W. Davie St., Raleigh, NC
Grab some soft serve or a bonbon + walk through the factory for yourself. Watch the chocolate-making process in the back on a self-guided tour.
NC Museum of Art, 2110 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh, NC
This museum has something for every one. Its galleries span 5,000 years of art history and the 164-acre park is brimming with stunning outdoor sculptures. Read up on this gorgeous museum’s history.
Death & Taxes, 105 W. Hargett St., Raleigh, NC
Sit at the bar to watch the chef prepare your meal at this Ashley Christensen-helmed restaurant. Fun fact: Ashley attended NC State University before going on to win the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 2019 (one of the top honors for a chef). She operates six food and beverage concepts in Raleigh.
MoJoe’s, 620 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, NC
Snag a spot on the patio and grab an award-winning burger or sandwich at this vibrant, classic joint. We recommend asking for a side of MoJoe’s sauce.
Ladyfingers Market & Eatery, 3710 Exchange Glenwood Pl., Ste. 104, Raleigh, NC
Grab a gourmet sandwich and dessert from this creative marketplace. Then, explore the market for dry goods, household necessities, and fine wine. There’s also a second location in Five Points.
Heights House, 308 S. Boylan Ave., Raleigh, NC
This Italianate-style mansion was first built in 1858 and features a parlor that serves Italian charcuterie boards and craft cocktails like the Pesca Spritz (Sevilla Orange gin, peach lillet, lime, spritz).
The Umstead Hotel and Spa, 100 Woodland Pond Dr., Cary, NC
In neighboring Cary, you’ll find Herons restaurant from James Beard semifinalist Steven Greene. Chef Steven uses ingredients locally sourced from over 14 nearby farms, including a two-acre culinary plot on the hotel’s property.
Wait a minute, Ashevillians. Before you head out the door, find the cheapest places to fill up your gas tank and stock up on road trip snacks using our guide. Also, bookmark this map so you have no trouble finding all of our recommendations while visiting Raleigh.