5 Reasons to Visit Raleigh, North Carolina, The "City of Oaks"

The state of North Carolina is known for being "First in Flight" due to the Wright brothers' achievement of the world's first sustained flight of a "modern" aircraft in Kill Devil Hills. The 12th state has a rich history and unique environment, making it a highly traveled destination for Americans across the nation.

North Carolina offers everything from bustling cities and mountainous ecosystems to a long, beautiful Atlantic coastline. But the capital of North Carolina is the state's gem.

What is the Capital of North Carolina?

The city of Raleigh is the state capital of North Carolina. Known as the "City of Oaks" due to the oak tree ecosystem of the area, Raleigh is representative of North Carolina's interesting history and beautiful environment. The city gets its name from Sir Walter Raleigh, who funded an expedition to Roanoke Island, NC, in 1587 (now known as the lost Roanoke Colony).

The North Carolina State Capitol building sits in the heart of the city. It is the statehouse for the North Carolina state government.

This city is the seat of Wake County. It lies in the central region of North Carolina on America's East Coast, according to NC.gov. The Raleigh metro area covers nearly 150 square miles and sits just below Falls Lake. Raleigh is near other popular North Carolina cities like Durham and Chapel Hill.

In 2019, the population of this capital city was estimated to be over 474,000 residents. Raleigh is the second-largest city in NC, right behind the city of Charlotte.

Raleigh, North Carolina a favorite for residents across the state as well as for Americans in neighboring states like Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. Individuals, couples, groups of friends, and families can all travel to the Raleigh metro area and find something they'll enjoy. Before coming out, visitors should consider the following travel guide...

5 Reasons to Visit Raleigh, North Carolina

1. The Raleigh Museum Tour

Raleigh is home to three major NC museums that tourists can plan to see during their stay in this city. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the Southeast region's largest natural history museum—consisting of educational exhibits like Prehistoric North Carolina, the Butterfly Room, Postcards from Space, and more. The North Carolina Museum of Art recently finished a three-year expansion that added to the art galleries' already-sterling list of offerings. These include 5,000-year-old artifacts, a 164-acre museum park, and much more. Finally, the North Carolina Museum of History details 14,000 years of history like Native American history, American Revolution records, African American memoirs, American Civil War, and Confederate history exhibits.

2. Pullen Park

In 1887, Pullen Park was the first public park built in Raleigh, NC. This historic site is home to a 110-year-old carousel, a mini train ride, Lake Howell, tennis courts, baseball fields, and the Theatre in the Park. This is an easy stop to make for visitors of Raleigh who are looking to walk scenic trails, rent pedal boats on the lake, play sports, or entertain the kids.

3. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

RELATED: Restaurants Guaranteed to Warm Your Soul: Circa 1886 In Charleston

The Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve is located in Cary, just outside Raleigh. This is an excellent location for following the hiking trails, perusing the scenic overlooks, and watching the local wildlife. Hemlock Bluffs gets its name from the unique community of Eastern Hemlock trees, which provide shade in the Summer months and change colors during the Fall and Spring.

4. William B. Umstead State Park


Outdoor enthusiasts headed to Raleigh should also check out the William B. Umstead State Park area. The Park features 22 miles of hiking trails, 13 miles of biking or horseback riding trails, and opportunities to camp, fish, and boat. The 6,000-acre recreation area is the perfect getaway from the city of Raleigh and into the beauty of NC nature.

5. Taste Raleigh


In addition to being the capital of NC, Raleigh should also be known for the city's food scene. Downtown Raleigh boasts seemingly endless options for food and drink—from delicious restaurants and food halls to local breweries and farmers' markets. Traveling through North Carolina? Tourists should also look into cities like New Bern, Edenton, Fayetteville, Wilmington. Enjoy traversing North Carolina and the good old USA!

Have you ever visited Raleigh, North Carolina? Share your adventure at our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

READ MORE: 5 Family-Friendly Day Trips to Escape From New York City