living in raleigh nc

What Is Raleigh, NC Most Known For?

If you're considering moving to Raleigh NC, you’re on the right track! Raleigh is one of the hottest cities in the U.S. In addition to nice weather, it's got jobs, plenty of new homes, tons of culture, and some of the best educational institutions in the country. Whether you are relocating from another state or moving from a neighboring city, check out this guide to all the fun reasons to move to this dynamic city, and what you should know about the City of Oaks before you pack up the moving truck. Welcome to Raleigh!

The Most Interesting Facts About Raleigh, NC!

You may have a short list of must-haves when it comes to where you live. Perhaps you’re looking for job opportunities and higher education options. Maybe you’d like a place with nice weather, a friendly culture, and outdoor activities. If so, you’ll love Raleigh, NC because it has all of that and more.  Here are some facts about Raleigh, NC: 


How did Raleigh get its name? Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, was named after the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh. He attempted to establish the first English colony on the shores of the New World in the 1580s. Raleigh was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. He was knighted in 1585.

When was Raleigh founded? Raleigh was established as the county seat in 1771 as Wake County Courthouse; the name was changed to Raleigh when the city became the capital in 1792. When NC was a colony, the capital was in New Bern and then Edenton. However these coastal locations were vulnerable to attack, and it was decided the capital needed to be moved. Raleigh was selected in 1788, and the city was laid out from a tract of forest in 1792, after the American Revolution. 

  • FASCINATING HISTORY FACT: Raleigh is home to the first historically black university in the South, Shaw University. It is also among the oldest HBCUs in the nation. Shaw’s Estey Hall was the first building constructed for the higher education of Black women; its Leonard Medical Center was the first four-year medical school in the country for African Americans.


What food is Raleigh known for? While you can find all kinds of cuisine in Raleigh, the city is most known for traditional southern food, particularly North Carolina State BBQ. NC takes its barbecue seriously. Places for good BBQ include The Pit and Clyde Cooper’s in downtown, Old Time BBQ, Aviator SmokeHouse in Fuquay-Varina, and Prime Barbecue in Knightdale. Southern fried chicken is a local favorite, too. Popular places include Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, The Mecca, and Clyde Cooper’s.

  • DELICIOUS FOOD FACT: The sweet potato is the state vegetable, and 40% of the USA’s sweet potatoes are grown in NC.

Can I get good beer in Raleigh? Raleigh is home to the world’s largest selection of beers on tap. Raleigh Beer Garden offers 350+ beers, officially noted by the Guinness Book of Records. This 8,500-square-foot venue has outdoor space, a garden patio, a rooftop bar, and an ever-changing selection of beers!


Does Raleigh have good museums? Raleigh is home to a variety of museums. Three major state museums call the city home: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NC’s most visited museum), North Carolina Museum of Art (the first state art museum in the country), and North Carolina Museum of History (displays more than 14,000 years and 150,000 artifacts of NC history).

  • FUN CULTURE FACT: Raleigh has been referred to as the “Smithsonian of the South”.

What’s the arts scene like? Raleigh has a diverse art scene, from Broadway shows on tour to original plays in the park, the opera to the ballet. The Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts has facilities for any size performance, including a state-of-the-art symphonic music hall.

Are there interesting landmarks? Raleigh is home to a variety of unique historical sites, including:

  • The North Carolina State Capitol, a National Historic Landmark. (It was initially designed as a tomb!)

  • The North Carolina Executive Mansion, home to more than 25 governors since 1891.

  • Historic Oakwood, a neighborhood of 19th-century Victorian homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Are there parks in Raleigh? Raleigh boasts more than 9,000 acres of parkland and almost 1,300 acres of water, offering recreational activities year-round. Its nationally acclaimed greenway system spans more than 180 miles, with trails that connect many of the city’s 200+ parks and the Town of Cary's 30+ parks. Surrounding towns also have parks and recreational opportunities.

  • FUN RECREATION FACT: Raleigh is home to the first public park in North Carolina, Pullen Park. Pullen Park and its 66 acres of land are the 5th oldest operating amusement park in the U.S. It’s adjacent to the Main and Centennial campuses of North Carolina State University.

Where can I go hiking/biking? The Raleigh area’s greenway trails provide plenty of places for walking, jogging, biking and hiking. The Capital Area Greenway System consists of 28 individual trails. Exploring it is one of the most popular things to do in Raleigh. 

Is there local wildlife? The Raleigh area's hardwood and mixed conifer forests are home to a variety of wildlife, including wood ducks, white-tailed deer, Canada geese, and wild turkeys.

  • FUN FLORA FACT: Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for the abundance of oak trees lining its roads and streets. Featuring white, red, and black oaks and hybrid varieties, the trees provide a lush green canopy throughout the area. 

What is the closest beach to Raleigh? Wrightsville Beach (near Wilmington) is two hours away – a straight shot down I-40. Other beaches close to Raleigh are Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Top Sail Beach, Surf City, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Myrtle Beach, SC.


What is the cost of living in Raleigh? More people are moving to Raleigh from out of state due to the quality of life it offers. Consequently, the cost of real estate has risen due to low inventory and high demand. On, the cost of living in Raleigh is 4% lower than the national average, although utility bills are 2% more than the national average. The average cost of expenses for a family of four is around $4,602 per month without rent. The median household income in Raleigh is $75,424. The median home value in 2024 is $439,640. Income tax is a flat rate of 5.25%. Sales tax is currently 4.75%. 

Who are the top employers in the Raleigh area? Wake County is a center for banking, health care, education, and a booming tech scene. Major employers include both public and private companies in the county and Research Triangle Park. Top employers include Duke University and Duke Health Systems, State of North Carolina, Wake County Public Schools, UNC-Chapel Hill, WakeMed Health & Hospitals, Food Lion, IBM, SAS Institute, Inc., Cisco Systems, and Blue Cross & Blue Shield. There are major companies with headquarters in Raleigh, including Red Hat, Lenovo, Epic Games, Citrix ShareFile, and FreshBooks.

What is the Research Triangle Park? It is the world's largest technological research park. It is a hub of innovation, providing a place for companies to expand, collaborate, and develop cutting-edge technologies. It encompasses 7,000 acres and is located at the center of three Tier-1 research universities. Along with technology, government agencies, academic institutions, startups, and nonprofits exist. The Triangle is one of the reasons why Raleigh's economy is thriving.

How are the schools in Raleigh? The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) is the largest in the state, and the 15th largest school system in the nation, with 159,995 students as of 2024. In Wake County, students are assigned to an elementary, middle, and high school based on their home address. 

How many seasons are there? Raleigh has four seasons. Winters are generally cool, with a January daily mean temperature of 41°F. On average, 69 nights per year drop to or below freezing. Raleigh receives an average of 6 inches of snow in winter. Freezing rain and sleet occur, and occasionally there are damaging ice storms. Summers are hot and humid, with a July mean temperature of 80°F. There are 48 days per year with highs at or above 90°F. Autumn is similar to spring but has greater potential for extremely heavy rainfall in a 1- to 2-day period, owing to occasional tropical weather systems.

What sports teams are based in Raleigh? The Triangle region is ACC Basketball territory with the NC State Wolfpack, plus the UNC Tar Heels, and Duke Blue Devils all within a 40-minute drive of each other.  If NHL hockey is your preference, the Carolina Hurricanes are just the ticket. There are also professional men's and women's soccer teams. 

Should I Move to Raleigh, NC?

Living in Raleigh, NC is an incredible choice for so many reasons. You’ll be embraced by the friendliest, most welcoming people and enjoy a high quality of life. You are centrally located between mountains and beaches for the best of both worlds. There’s so much to love about living in this area and Dream Finders has communities that will make you love it even more. Our homes come in a range of open-concept floor plans with an extraordinary level of personalization. Or if you need something a bit sooner, we have quick move-in homes with a variety of completion dates. 

Connect with Dream Finders on the Best Homes for Sale in Raleigh, NC!

If you're thinking of making a move to Raleigh, NC, it might just be one of the best decisions you've ever made. Check out Dream Finders’ new homes for sale in Raleigh,NC. With new single-family homes and townhomes available for quick move-in, you're sure to find one you love.

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