Over the past few years, Raleigh has garnered widespread attention as a space where both native North Carolinians and out-of-staters feel welcomed—and for good reason. The state capital was once defined largely by its surrounding academic institutions. Now, it is a place with its own unique atmosphere. Innovators can set down roots and grow with the city, while travelers should experience the strong food and nightlife for as long as they can. A trip to Raleigh, even just for a weekend, should be on everyone’s North Carolina destination list.
No trip to Raleigh would be complete without stopping by one of the city’s many breweries. All of North Carolina has experienced a brewery boom in recent years, and Raleigh is no exception. Planning a taste of Raleigh’s top spots can be tough without losing yourself in online reviews and suggestions. Instead, consider following the Raleigh Beer Trail.
Start by printing out a Raleigh Beer Trail passport. Then travelers can simply move down its list of breweries, collecting passport stamps at each one. At the end of the trip, participants can redeem their stamps for prizes like T-shirts and koozies. Featured spots include Aviator Brewing Company, a brewery born out of an airplane hangar; Bombshell Beer Company, North Carolina’s first women-owned microbrewery; and Lonerider Brewing Company, renowned as one of the top breweries in the country.
International Food Flare
Raleigh’s got more than just good drinks: It’s also got good food to match. In addition to being featured on numerous country-wide food lists, Raleigh’s individual restaurants have earned critical acclaim, as well.
Bida Manda, one of the first full-service Laotian restaurants in the county, is owned by a brother-sister team that serves fine dining in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. They also happen to own the wildly successful Brewery Bhavana right next door.
Saint Jacques French Cuisine remains the go-to destination for classic French fare, with an ambiance just right for a special occasion.
Raleigh is also home to The Pho Nomenal Dumpling Truck, owned and operated by Chef Sophia Woo and her business partner Sunny Lin. Woo and Lin won Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race as the first all-female champions in the show’s history. Then, they used their winnings to open MOFU Shoppe, their first brick-and-mortar location.
In addition to the stellar food and drink scene, Raleigh also has a vibrant art scene. The North Carolina Museum of Art features over a dozen art galleries, while the Anne and Jim Goodnight Museum Park features 164 acres of public art installations.
As Raleigh continues to grow and diversify, so will its food culture and art scene. Visiting Raleigh allows one the unique opportunity to experience those changes as they’re happening. Visit to capture a moment that can’t be replicated in another city.