• Photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock


For a state capital, Raleigh is surprisingly approachable. The very walkable downtown, smaller than you might think, is not only home to a multitude of government buildings, but also many friendly pubs and caf├ęs. The shaded parks and the quiet Oakwood Historic District nearby add to the city's comfortable feel. Raleigh has both a sense of history and cutting-edge coolness about it. Home to seven universities and colleges, this bustling, modern city is a great place to get your fill of urban living (and some great food). Take in a play, visit a museum, and stroll along the wide city streets filled with tall and impressive buildings. When you finally feel the need to connect with nature once more, do as the locals do and grab your running shoes or bike and hit the Capital Area Greenway, Raleigh's well-loved series of trails, 68 miles in length and still growing.


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