Raleigh, North Carolina

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Raleigh, North Carolina
City of Raleigh
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Clockwise from top left: NC State bell tower, the North Carolina State Capitol, houses in Boylan Heights, houses in Historic Oakwood, statue of Sir Walter Raleigh, skyline of the downtown, Fayetteville Street, and the warehouse district
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"City of Oaks"
Wake County North Carolina incorporated and unincorporated areas Raleigh highlighted.svg
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
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Raleigh, North Carolina
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Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (the United States)
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Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (North America)
Coordinates: 35°46′N78°38′W / 35.767°N 78.633°W / 35.767; -78.633 Coordinates: 35°46′N78°38′W / 35.767°N 78.633°W / 35.767; -78.633 [1]
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of North Carolina.svg  North Carolina
Counties Wake, Durham
Chartered December 31, 1792
Named for Sir Walter Raleigh
  Type Council–Manager
   Mayor Nancy McFarlane (I)
   State capital and city 144.8 sq mi (375 km2)
  Land142.8 sq mi (369 km2)
  Water2.0 sq mi (2.5 km2)
315 ft (96 m)
 (2010) [3]
   State capital and city 403,892
(2018) [4]
  Density3,284/sq mi (1,268/km2)
1,337,331 (44th)
Demonym(s) Raleighite
Time zone UTC−05:00 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
27601, 27603, 27604, 27605, 27606, 27607, 27608, 27609, 27610, 27612, 27613, 27614, 27615, 27616, 27617
Area code(s) 919, 984
FIPS code 37-55000 [5]
GNIS feature ID1024242 [1]
Major airport RDU
Interstate Highways I-40, I-87, I-440, I-540
Other major highways US 1, US 64, US 70, US 401, NC 50, NC 540
Website raleighnc.gov

Raleigh ( /ˈrɑːli/ ; RAH-lee) [6] is the capital of the state of North Carolina and the seat of Wake County in the United States. Raleigh is the second-largest city in the state, after Charlotte. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city. [7] The city covers a land area of 142.8 square miles (370 km2). The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population as 469,298 as of July 1, 2018. [4] It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. [8] [9] The city of Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who established the lost Roanoke Colony in present-day Dare County.

Capital city Primary governing city of a top-level (country) or first-level subdivision (country, state, province, etc) political entity

A capital city is the municipality exercising primary status in a country, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of government. A capital is typically a city that physically encompasses the government's offices and meeting places; the status as capital is often designated by its law or constitution. In some jurisdictions, including several countries, the different branches of government are located in different settlements. In some cases, a distinction is made between the official (constitutional) capital and the seat of government, which is in another place.

North Carolina U.S. state in the United States

North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west. Raleigh is the state's capital and Charlotte is its largest city. The Charlotte metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 2,569,213 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in North Carolina, the 23rd-most populous in the United States, and the largest banking center in the nation after New York City. North Carolina's second largest metropolitan area is the Raleigh metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 1,337,331 in 2018, and is home to the largest research park in the United States, Research Triangle Park, in Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh.


Raleigh is home to North Carolina State University (NC State) and is part of Research Triangle Park (RTP), together with Durham (home of Duke University and North Carolina Central University) and Chapel Hill (home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The "Triangle" nickname originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, located in Durham and Wake counties, among the three cities and their universities. The Research Triangle region encompasses the U.S. Census Bureau's Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which had an estimated population of 2,037,430 in 2013. [10] The Raleigh metropolitan statistical area had an estimated population of 1,214,516 in 2013.

North Carolina State University public research university in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

North Carolina State University is a public research university in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is part of the University of North Carolina system and is a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution. The university forms one of the corners of the Research Triangle together with Duke University in Durham and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Research Triangle Park research park in North Carolina, United States

Research Triangle Park (RTP) is the largest research park in the United States. It is named for the three hub cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, or more properly, for the three major research universities in those three cities. The Research Triangle region of North Carolina received its name as an extension of the name of the park. Besides the three anchor cities, the park is also bounded by the communities of Morrisville and Cary. Approximately one fourth of the Park's territory lies in Wake County, but the majority of its land is in Durham County.

Durham, North Carolina City in North Carolina, United States

Durham (/ˈdʌrəm/) is a city in and the county seat of Durham County in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Small portions of the city limits extend into Orange County and Wake County. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population to be 251,893 as of July 1, 2014, making it the 4th-most populous city in North Carolina, and the 79th-most populous city in the United States. The city is located in the east-central part of the Piedmont region along the Eno River. Durham is the core of the four-county Durham-Chapel Hill Metropolitan Area, which has a population of 542,710 as of U.S. Census 2014 Population Estimates. The US Office of Management and Budget also includes Durham as a part of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Combined Statistical Area, commonly known as the Research Triangle, which has a population of 2,037,430 as of U.S. Census 2014 Population Estimates.

Most of Raleigh is located within Wake County, with a very small portion extending into Durham County. [11] The towns of Cary, Morrisville, Garner, Clayton, Wake Forest, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, and Rolesville are some of Raleigh's primary nearby suburbs and satellite towns.

Wake County, North Carolina U.S. county in North Carolina

Wake County is a county in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of July 1, 2015, the population was 1,024,198, making it North Carolina's second-most populous county. From July 2005 to July 2006, Wake County was the 9th fastest-growing county in the United States, with the town of Cary and the city of Raleigh being the 8th and 15th fastest-growing cities, respectively.

Durham County, North Carolina U.S. county in North Carolina

Durham County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 267,587, making it the sixth-most populous county in North Carolina. Its county seat is Durham.

Cary, North Carolina Place in North Carolina, United States

Cary is the seventh-largest municipality in North Carolina. Cary is predominantly in Wake County, with a small area in Chatham County in the U.S. state of North Carolina and is the county's second-largest municipality, as well as the third-largest municipality in The Triangle of North Carolina after Raleigh and Durham.

Raleigh is an early example in the United States of a planned city. Following the American Revolutionary War when the US gained independence, this was chosen as the site of the state capital in 1788 and incorporated in 1792 as such. The city was originally laid out in a grid pattern with the North Carolina State Capitol in Union Square at the center. During the American Civil War, the city was spared from any significant battle. It fell to the Union in the closing days of the war, and struggled with the economic hardships in the postwar period related to the reconstitution of labor markets, over-reliance on agriculture, and the social unrest of the Reconstruction Era. Following the establishment of the Research Triangle Park (RTP) in 1959, several tens of thousands of jobs were created in the fields of science and technology, and it became one of the fastest-growing communities in the United States by the early 21st century.

Planned community Detailed developed land

A planned community, planned city, or planned town is any community that was carefully planned from its inception and is typically constructed on previously undeveloped land. This contrasts with settlements that evolve in a more ad hoc fashion.

American Revolutionary War War between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence in 1776 as the United States of America, and then formed a military alliance with France in 1778.

North Carolina State Capitol United States historic place

The North Carolina State Capitol is the former seat of the legislature of the U.S. state of North Carolina which housed all of the state's government until 1888. The Supreme Court and State Library moved into a separate building in 1888, and the General Assembly moved into the State Legislative Building in 1963. Today, the governor and their immediate staff occupy offices on the first floor of the Capitol.


Earlier capitals

Bath, the oldest town in North Carolina, was the first nominal capital of the colony from 1705 until 1722, when Edenton took over the role. The colony had no permanent institutions of government until the new capital New Bern was established in 1743.

Bath, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Bath is a town in Beaufort County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 249 at the 2010 census. Incorporated in 1705, Bath was North Carolina's first port of entry, located on the Pamlico River near its mouth. It developed a trade in naval stores, furs, and tobacco.

Edenton, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Edenton is a town in and the county seat of Chowan County, North Carolina, United States, on Albemarle Sound. The population was 5,004 at the 2010 census. Edenton is located in North Carolina's Inner Banks region. In recent years Edenton has become a popular retirement location and a destination for heritage tourism.

New Bern, North Carolina City in North Carolina, United States

New Bern is a city in Craven County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 29,524, which had risen to an estimated 30,242 as of 2013. It is the county seat of Craven County and the principal city of the New Bern Metropolitan Statistical Area.

18th century

Plan for platting Raleigh by William Christmas, 1792 Plan for Raleigh North Carolina by William Christmas 1792.jpg
Plan for platting Raleigh by William Christmas, 1792

In December 1770, Joel Lane successfully petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly to create a new county. On January 5, 1771, the bill creating Wake County was passed in the General Assembly. The county was formed from portions of Cumberland, Orange, and Johnston counties. The county was named for Margaret Wake Tryon, the wife of Governor William Tryon. The first county seat was Bloomsbury.

Joel Lane House United States historic place

The Joel Lane House, also known as Wakefield, was built in 1769, is a historic restored home and museum located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is the oldest dwelling in Wake County and contains collections of 18th century artifacts and period furnishings. The museum grounds include a detached middle class home built circa 1790, formal city garden, and period herb garden. The house is named after Joel Lane, the "Father of Raleigh" and "Father of Wake County."

North Carolina General Assembly legislature of North Carolina

The North Carolina General Assembly is the bicameral legislature of the State government of North Carolina. The legislature consists of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The General Assembly meets in the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States.

Cumberland County, North Carolina county in North Carolina, United States

Cumberland County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 319,431, making it the fifth-most populous county in North Carolina. Its county seat is Fayetteville.

New Bern, a port town on the Neuse River 35 miles (56 km) from the Atlantic Ocean, was the largest city was the result of a test experiment and the capital of North Carolina during the American Revolution. When the British Army laid siege to the city, that site could no longer be used. [12]

Raleigh was chosen as the site of the new capital in 1788, as its central location protected it from attacks from the coast. It was officially established in 1792 as both county seat and state capital (incorporated on December 31, 1792 – charter granted January 21, 1795). [13] The city was named for Sir Walter Raleigh, sponsor of Roanoke, the "lost colony" on Roanoke Island. [14]

The city's location was chosen, in part, for being within 11 mi (18 km) of Isaac Hunter's Tavern, a popular tavern frequented by the state legislators. [15] No known city or town existed previously on the chosen city site. Raleigh is one of the few cities in the United States that was planned and built specifically to serve as a state capital. Its original boundaries were formed by the downtown streets of North, East, West and South. [16] The plan, a grid with two main axes meeting at a central square and an additional square in each corner, was based on Thomas Holme's 1682 plan for Philadelphia. [17]

The North Carolina General Assembly first met in Raleigh in December 1794, and granted the city a charter, with a board of seven appointed commissioners and an "Intendant of Police" (which developed as the office of Mayor) to govern it. (After 1803 city commissioners were elected.) In 1799, the N.C. Minerva and Raleigh Advertiser was the first newspaper published in Raleigh. [18] John Haywood was the first Intendant of Police. [19]

19th century

Raleigh, North Carolina in 1872 Raleigh1872 BIG.jpg
Raleigh, North Carolina in 1872

In 1808, Andrew Johnson, the nation's future 17th President, was born at Casso's Inn in Raleigh. The city's first water supply network was completed in 1818, although due to system failures, the project was abandoned. In 1819 Raleigh's first volunteer fire company was founded, followed in 1821 by a full-time fire company.

In 1817, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina was established and headquartered in Raleigh.

In 1831, a fire destroyed the North Carolina State House. Two years later, reconstruction began with quarried gneiss being delivered by the first railroad in the state. Raleigh celebrated the completions of the new State Capitol and new Raleigh & Gaston Railroad Company in 1840.

In 1853, the first State Fair was held near Raleigh. The first institution of higher learning in Raleigh, Peace College, was established in 1857. Raleigh's Historic Oakwood contains many houses from the 19th century that are still in good condition.

North Carolina seceded from the Union. After the Civil War began, Governor Zebulon Baird Vance ordered the construction of breastworks around the city as protection from Union troops. During General Sherman's Carolinas Campaign, Raleigh was captured by Union cavalry under the command of General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick on April 13, 1865. As the Confederate cavalry retreated west, the Union soldiers followed, leading to the nearby Battle of Morrisville. [20] The city was spared significant destruction during the War.

Due to the economic and social problems of the post-war period and Reconstruction, with a state economy still overly based on agriculture, it grew little over the next several decades.

North Carolina State Capitol, c.1861; Governor David S. Reid is in the foreground NC State Capitol 1861.jpg
North Carolina State Capitol, c.1861; Governor David S. Reid is in the foreground
North Carolina State Treasurers Office in State Capitol, c.1890s NC State Treasurer's Office 1890.jpg
North Carolina State Treasurers Office in State Capitol, c.1890s
Fayetteville Street during the 1910s Fayetteville Street Raleigh 1910.jpg
Fayetteville Street during the 1910s

After the Civil War ended in 1865, African Americans were emancipated. The Reconstruction era legislature established public education for blacks and whites. Freedmen were often led by free blacks who had become educated before the war. With the help of the Freedmen's Bureau, many freedmen migrated from rural areas to Raleigh. It had an established free black community, more work opportunities, and many freedmen wanted to get out from under white supervision in the rural areas.

Shaw University, the South's first African American college, began classes in 1865 and was chartered in 1875. Its Estey Hall was the first building constructed for the higher education of black women, and Leonard Medical Center was the first four-year medical school in the country for African Americans.

In 1867, Episcopal clergy founded St. Augustine's College for the education of freedmen. The biracial Reconstruction legislature created new welfare institutions: in 1869, it approved the nation's first school for blind and deaf blacks, to be located in Raleigh. In 1874, the federal government constructed the Federal Building in Raleigh, the first federal government project in the South following the Civil War.

In 1880, the newspapers News and Observer combined to form The News & Observer . It continues to be Raleigh's primary daily newspaper. The North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, now known as North Carolina State University, was founded as a land-grant college in 1887. The city's Rex Hospital opened in 1889 and included the state's first nursing school. The Baptist Women's College, now known as Meredith College, opened in 1891, and in 1898, The Academy of Music, a private music conservatory, was established.

In the late nineteenth century, two black Congressmen were elected from North Carolina's 2nd district, the last in 1898. George Henry White sought to promote civil rights for blacks and to challenge efforts by white Democrats to reduce black voting by new discriminatory laws. He and allies were unsuccessful. Based on a white supremacy campaign that returned Democrats to dominance, in 1900 the state legislature passed a new constitution, with a suffrage amendment that raised barriers to voter registration, resulting in the disenfranchisement of most blacks and many poor whites. The state succeeded in reducing black voting to zero by 1908. Loss of the ability to vote also disqualified black men (and later women) from sitting on juries and serving in any office—local, state or federal. The rising black middle-class in Raleigh and other areas was politically silenced and shut out of local governance, and the Republican Party was no longer competitive in the state.

It was not until after federal civil rights legislation was passed in the mid-1960s that the majority of blacks in North Carolina would again be able to vote, sit on juries and serve in local offices. By that time many African Americans had left the state in the Great Migration to northern industrial cities for more opportunities. No African American was elected to Congress from North Carolina until 1992.

20th century

In 1912, Bloomsbury Park opened, featuring a popular carousel ride. Relocated to Pullen Park, the Pullen Park Carousel is still operating.

From 1914 to 1917, an influenza epidemic killed 288 Raleighites.[ citation needed ]

In 1922, WLAC signed on as the city's first radio station, but lasted only two years. WFBQ signed on in 1924 and became WPTF in 1927. It is now Raleigh's oldest continuous radio broadcaster.

Following immigration by Catholics, on December 12, 1924, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh was officially established by Pope Pius XI. The Sacred Heart Cathedral became the official seat of the diocese with William Joseph Hafey as its bishop.

The city's first airport, Curtiss-Wright Flying Field, opened in 1929. That same year, the stock market crash resulted in six Raleigh banks closing. [21]

During the difficult 1930s of the Great Depression, government at all levels was integral to creating jobs. The city provided recreational and educational programs, and hired people for public works projects. In 1932, Raleigh Memorial Auditorium was dedicated. The North Carolina Symphony, founded the same year, performed in its new home. From 1934 to 1937, the federal Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the area now known as William B. Umstead State Park. In 1939, the State General Assembly chartered the Raleigh-Durham Aeronautical Authority to build a larger airport between Raleigh and Durham, with the first flight occurring in 1943.

In 1947, Raleigh citizens adopted a council-manager form of government, the current form. Council members are elected from single-member districts. They hire a city manager.

The Dorton Arena, a 7,610-seat multi-purpose arena designed by Matthew Nowicki, was opened in 1952 on the grounds of the North Carolina State Fair. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Raleigh experienced significant damage from Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

In 1953, WNAO-TV, channel 28, became the city's first television station, though it folded in 1957.

With the opening of the Research Triangle Park in 1959, Raleigh began to experience a population increase, resulting in a total city population of 100,000 by 1960. [22] In 1960, the Census Bureau reported Raleigh's population as 76.4% white and 23.4% black. [23]

Following the passage of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the main achievements of the Civil Rights Movement and the Lyndon B. Johnson presidency, political participation and voting by African Americans in Raleigh increased rapidly.

By the early 1970s people in Raleigh were growing increasingly concerned about growth and urban sprawl. Community organizations felt that municipal offices were being too heavily influenced by business interests when the city's population was rapidly growing and various development projects were being proposed. At their behest, the municipal elections were altered so that the mayor was to be directly elected, instead of being selected by the city council. Most city council seats were then made responsible to districts, instead of being held at-large. The 1973 elections were the first contests affected by the reforms. City Councilman Clarence Lightner defeated Raleigh Merchants bureau Executive Director G. Wesley Williams to become Raleigh's first black mayor, and thus the first black mayor in a major white-majority city in the South. [24]

In 1976, the Raleigh City and Wake County schools merged to become the Wake County Public School System, now the largest school system in the state and 19th largest in the country.[ citation needed ]

During the 1970s and 1980s, the I-440 beltline was constructed, easing traffic congestion and providing access to most major city roads.

The first Raleigh Convention Center (replaced in 2008) and Fayetteville Street Mall were both opened in 1977. Fayetteville Street was turned into a pedestrian-only street in an effort to help the then-ailing downtown area, but the plan was flawed and business declined for years to come. Fayetteville Street was reopened in 2007 as the main thoroughfare of Raleigh's downtown. [25]

The 1988 Raleigh tornado outbreak of November 28, 1988, was the most destructive of the seven tornadoes reported in Northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia between 1:00 AM and 5:45 AM. The Raleigh tornado produced over $77 million in F4 damage, along with four fatalities (two in the city of Raleigh, and two in Nash County) and 154 injuries. The damage path from the storm was measured at 84 miles (135 km) long, and .5 miles (0.8 km) wide at times. [26]

In 1991, two large skyscrapers in Raleigh were completed, First Union Capitol Center and Two Hannover Square, along with the popular Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek in Southeast Raleigh.

In 1996, the Olympic Flame passed through Raleigh while on its way to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Also in 1996, Hurricane Fran struck the area, causing massive flooding and extensive structural damage. In addition, WRAL-TV became the first High-Definition broadcast station in the world.

In 1997, the National Hockey League's Hartford Whalers announced their intention to move to Raleigh as the Carolina Hurricanes, becoming the city's first major league professional sports franchise.

In 1999, the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena (later renamed the RBC Center and now called PNC Arena ), opened to provide a home for the Hurricanes and the NC State Wolfpack men's basketball team, as well as an up-to-date major concert venue. [27]

21st century

The Raleigh skyline with crepe myrtle trees in bloom 2017 Raleigh skyline along S Saunders st.jpg
The Raleigh skyline with crepe myrtle trees in bloom 2017
Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in 2018 Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral.jpg
Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in 2018

In the first decade of the 21st century, Raleigh was featured prominently in a number of "Top 10 Lists", including those by Forbes , MSNBC and Money magazine, due to its quality of life and favorable business climate. [28]

In 2001, the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium complex was expanded with the addition of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Meymandi Concert Hall, Fletcher Opera Theater, Kennedy Theatre, Betty Ray McCain Gallery and Lichtin Plaza. [29]

Fayetteville Street reopened to vehicular traffic in 2006. A variety of downtown building projects began around this time including the 34-story RBC Bank Tower, multiple condominium projects and several new restaurants. Additional skyscrapers are in the proposal/planning phase.

In 2006, the city's NHL franchise, the Carolina Hurricanes, won the Stanley Cup, North Carolina's first and only professional sports championship.

With the opening of parts of I-540 from 2005 to 2007, a new 70-mile (110 km) loop around Wake County, traffic congestion eased somewhat in the North Raleigh area. Completion of the entire loop is expected to take another 15 years.

In 2008, the city's Fayetteville Street Historic District joined the National Register of Historic Places.

In September 2010, Raleigh hosted the inaugural Hopscotch Music Festival.

In January 2011, Raleigh hosted the National Hockey League All-Star Game.

In April 2011, a devastating EF-3 tornado hit Raleigh, and many other tornadoes touched down in the state (ultimately the largest, but not the strongest outbreak to ever hit the state), killing 24 people. The tornado tracked northeast through parts of Downtown, East Central Raleigh and Northeast Raleigh and produced $115 million in damages in Wake County. There were 4 fatalities in the city.[ citation needed ]

In September 2015 Holy Trinity Anglican Church was opened; the first church to be built in downtown Raleigh since 1958. [30] [31]

On July 26, 2017 the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh dedicated its new cathedral, Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, the fifth-largest in the United States. [32] [33] [34]


According to the United States Census Bureau, Raleigh occupies a total area of 144.0 square miles (373.0 km2), of which 142 square miles (369 km2) is land and 0.97 square miles (2.5 km2), or 0.76%, is covered by water. The Neuse River flows through the northeast end of the city.

Raleigh is located in the northeast central region of North Carolina, where the Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain regions meet. This area is known as the "fall line" because it marks the elevation inland at which waterfalls begin to appear in creeks and rivers. As a result, most of Raleigh features gently rolling hills that slope eastward toward the state's flat coastal plain. Its central Piedmont location situates Raleigh about two hours west of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, by car and four hours east of the Great Smoky Mountains. The city is 172 miles (277 km) south of Richmond, Virginia, 278 miles (447 km) south of Washington, D.C., and 167 miles (269 km) northeast of Charlotte, North Carolina. A small portion of the city is located in Durham County.


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Downtown Raleigh panorama, from 1909
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Downtown Raleigh panorama, 2014
Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.jpg
Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh

Raleigh is divided into several major geographic areas, each of which use a Raleigh address and a ZIP code that begins with the digits 276. PNC Plaza, formerly known as RBC Plaza, is the largest and tallest skyscraper in the city of Raleigh. The tower rises to a height of 538 feet (164 m), with a floor count of 34.

Downtown and inside-the-beltline neighborhoods

Warehouses on Martin Street, Raleigh NC Warehouse raleigh.jpg
Warehouses on Martin Street, Raleigh NC

The downtown area is home to historic buildings such as the Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel built in the early 20th century, the restored City Market, the Fayetteville Street downtown business district, which includes the PNC Plaza and Wells Fargo Capitol Center buildings, as well as the North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina State Capitol, William Peace University, the City of Raleigh Museum, Raleigh Convention Center, Shaw University, Campbell University School of Law, and St. Augustine's College. In the 2000s, an effort by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance was made to separate this area of the city into five smaller districts: Fayetteville Street, Moore Square, Glenwood South, Warehouse (Raleigh), and Capital District (Raleigh). Some of the names have become common place among locals such as the Warehouse, Fayetteville Street, and Glenwood South Districts.

The Inside the Beltline neighborhoods include Cameron Park, Boylan Heights, [35] Country Club Hills, Coley Forest, Five Points, Budleigh, Glenwood-Brooklyn, Hayes Barton Historic District, Moore Square, Mordecai (home to the historic Mordecai House), Rosengarten Park, Belvidere Park, Woodcrest, Oberlin Village, and Historic Oakwood. Inside the Beltline refers to I-440 which used to be called the Beltline before being re-branded to ease driver navigation. These neighborhoods were typically built before World War II.

Midtown Raleigh

Solas Restaurant in the Glenwood South District of Raleigh Solasglenwood.jpeg
Solas Restaurant in the Glenwood South District of Raleigh

Midtown Raleigh is a residential and commercial area just North of the I-440 Beltline and is part of North Raleigh. It is roughly framed by Glenwood/Creedmoor Road to the West, Wake Forest Road to the East, and Millbrook Road to the North. It includes shopping centers such as North Hills and Crabtree Valley Mall. It also includes North Hills Park and part of the Raleigh Greenway System. The term was coined by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, developer John Kane and planning director Mitchell Silver. The News & Observer newspaper started using the term for marketing purposes only. [36] The Midtown Raleigh Alliance was founded on July 25, 2011 as a way for community leaders to promote the area. [37]

East Raleigh

Office towers overlooking shops and restaurants in North Hills in Midtown Raleigh 2019 North Hills in Raleigh.jpg
Office towers overlooking shops and restaurants in North Hills in Midtown Raleigh 2019

East Raleigh is situated roughly from Capital Boulevard near the I-440 beltline to New Hope Road. Most of East Raleigh's development is along primary corridors such as U.S. 1 (Capital Boulevard), New Bern Avenue, Poole Road, Buffaloe Road, and New Hope Road. Neighborhoods in East Raleigh include Hedingham, Longview, Lockwood, Madonna Acres, New Hope, Thompson-Hunter and Wilder's Grove. The area is bordered to the east by the town of Knightdale.

West Raleigh

Dorton Arena in Raleigh, designed by Matthew Nowicki Dorton Arena.jpg
Dorton Arena in Raleigh, designed by Matthew Nowicki

West Raleigh lies along Hillsborough Street and Western Boulevard. The area is bordered to the west by suburban Cary. It is home to North Carolina State University, Meredith College, Pullen Park, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, the Islamic Association of Raleigh, Cameron Village, Lake Johnson, the North Carolina Museum of Art and historic Saint Mary's School. Primary thoroughfares serving West Raleigh, in addition to Hillsborough Street, are Avent Ferry Road, Blue Ridge Road, and Western Boulevard. The PNC Arena is also located here adjacent to the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. These are located approximately 2 miles from Rex Hospital.

North Raleigh

North Raleigh is an expansive, diverse, and fast-growing suburban area of the city that is home to established neighborhoods to the south along with many newly built subdivisions and along its northern fringes. The area generally falls North of Millbrook Road. It is primarily suburban with large shopping areas. Primary neighborhoods and subdivisions in North Raleigh include Bartons Creek Bluffs, Bedford, Bent Tree, Black Horse Run, Brier Creek, Brookhaven, Coachman's Trail, Crossgate, Crosswinds, Dominion Park, Durant Trails, Ethan's Glenn, Falls River, Greystone Village, Harrington Grove, Hidden Valley, Lake Park, Long Lake, North Haven, North Ridge, Oakcroft, Shannon Woods, Six Forks Station, Springdale Estates, Stonebridge, Stone Creek, Stonehenge, Summerfield, Valley Estates, Wakefield, Weathersfield, Windsor Forest, and Wood Valley. The area is served by a number of primary transportation corridors including Glenwood Avenue U.S. Route 70, Interstate 540, Wake Forest Road, Millbrook Road, Lynn Road, Six Forks Road, Spring Forest Road, Creedmoor Road, Leesville Road, Norwood Road, Strickland Road, and North Hills Drive.

South Raleigh

South Raleigh is located along U.S. 401 south toward Fuquay-Varina and along US 70 into suburban Garner. This area is the least developed and least dense area of Raleigh (much of the area lies within the Swift Creek watershed district, where development regulations limit housing densities and construction). The area is bordered to the west by Cary, to the east by Garner, and to the southwest by Holly Springs. Neighborhoods in South Raleigh include Eagle Creek, Renaissance Park, Lake Wheeler, Swift Creek, Carolina Pines, Rhamkatte, Riverbrooke, and Enchanted Oaks.

Southeast Raleigh

Southeast Raleigh is bounded by downtown on the west, Garner on the southwest, and rural Wake County to the southeast. The area includes areas along Rock Quarry Road, Poole Road, and New Bern Avenue. Primary neighborhoods include Chastain, Chavis Heights, Raleigh Country Club, Southgate, Kingwood Forest, Rochester Heights, Emerald Village and Biltmore Hills. Coastal Credit Union Music Park (formerly Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion, Alltel Pavilion and Walnut Creek Amphitheatre) is one of the region's major outdoor concert venues and is located on Rock Quarry Road. Shaw University is located in this part of the city.


Ducks swimming at Durant Nature Reserve in the Fall Ducks in Fall.jpg
Ducks swimming at Durant Nature Reserve in the Fall

Like much of the southeastern United States, Raleigh has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with four distinct seasons. Winters are short and generally cool, with a normal January daily mean temperature of 41.0 °F (5.0 °C). [38] On average, there are 69 nights per year that drop to or below freezing, and only 2.7 days that fail to rise above freezing. [38] Raleigh receives an average annual rainfall of 43.34 inches (110.1 cm). [39] Annual and monthly (temperature and) precipitation data are in chart below. April is the driest month, with an average of 2.92 inches (74.2 mm) of precipitation. Precipitation is well distributed around the year, with a slight maximum between July and September; on average, July is the wettest month, owing to generally frequent, sometimes heavy, showers and thunderstorms. Summers are hot and humid, with a normal July daily mean temperature of 80.0 °F (26.7 °C). [38] There are 48 days per year with highs at or above 90 °F (32 °C). [38] Autumn is similar to spring overall but has fewer days of rainfall, but greater potential for extremely heavy rainfall in a one/two day period, owing to occasional threat from tropical weather systems (hurricanes and tropical storms) packing torrential rainfall. In September 1999, Raleigh recorded its wettest month ever, with over 21 inches of rain, due to torrential rainfall from tropical weather systems, most notably Hurricane Floyd on September 15–16. Extremes in temperature have ranged from −9 °F (−23 °C) on January 21, 1985 up to 105 °F (41 °C), most recently on July 8, 2012.

Heavy snow in downtown Raleigh along Hillsborough street 2015 Raleigh snow.jpg
Heavy snow in downtown Raleigh along Hillsborough street 2015

Raleigh receives an average of 6.0 inches (15.2 cm) of snow in winter. Freezing rain and sleet also occur most winters, and occasionally the area experiences a major damaging ice storm. On January 24–25, 2000, Raleigh received its greatest snowfall from a single storm 20.3 inches (52 cm) the Winter Storm of January 2000. Storms of this magnitude are generally the result of cold air damming that affects the city due to its proximity to the Appalachian Mountains. Winter storms have caused traffic problems in the past as well.

The region also experiences occasional periods of drought, during which the city sometimes has restricted water use by residents. During the late summer and early fall, Raleigh can experience hurricanes. In 1996, Hurricane Fran caused severe damage in the Raleigh area, mostly from falling trees. Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd in September 1999 were primary contributors to that month's extreme rainfall of over 21 inches. The most recent hurricane to have a considerable effect on the area was Hurricane Florence in 2018. Tornadoes also have on occasion affected the city of Raleigh, most notably the November 28, 1988 tornado which occurred in the early morning hours and rated an F4 on the Fujita Tornado Scale and affected northwestern portions of the city. There also was the April 16, 2011 EF3 tornado, which affected portions of downtown and northeast Raleigh and the suburb of Holly Springs.


Historical population
1800 669
1810 97645.9%
1820 2,674174.0%
1830 1,700−36.4%
1840 2,24432.0%
1850 4,518101.3%
1860 4,7805.8%
1870 7,79063.0%
1880 9,26518.9%
1890 12,67836.8%
1900 13,6437.6%
1910 19,21840.9%
1920 24,41827.1%
1930 37,37953.1%
1940 46,87925.4%
1950 65,67940.1%
1960 93,93143.0%
1970 122,83030.8%
1980 150,25522.3%
1990 212,09241.2%
2000 276,09330.2%
2010 403,89246.3%
Est. 2018479,332 [43] 18.7%
U.S. Decennial Census [44]
Racial composition2010 [45] 1990 [46] 1970 [46] 1950 [46]
White 57.5%69.2%76.6%72.7%
Non-Hispanic whites 53.3%68.4%76.4%n/a
Black or African American 29.3%27.6%22.7%27.2%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)11.4%1.4%0.6%n/a
Asian 4.3%2.5%0.3%0.1%
Map of racial distribution in Raleigh, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow) Race and ethnicity 2010- Raleigh (5559868303).png
Map of racial distribution in Raleigh, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow)

According to the 2010 Census, the racial composition of the city was: 57.5% White (53.3% non-Hispanic white), 29.3% Black or African American, 4.3% Asian American (1.2% Indian, 0.8% Chinese, 0.7% Vietnamese, 0.5% Korean, 0.4% Filipino, 0.1% Japanese), 2.6% two or more races, 1.4% some other race, 0.5% Native American, and <0.1% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander [47]

In addition, 11.4% of city residents were Hispanic or Latino Americans, of any race (5.9% Mexican, 1.1% Puerto Rican, 0.9% Salvadoran, 0.6% Dominican, 0.6% Honduran, 0.3% Colombian, 0.3% Cuban, 0.2% Guatemalan, 0.2% Spanish, 0.2% Peruvian, 0.1% Venezuelan, 0.1% Ecuadorian, 0.1% Argentine, 0.1% Panamanian).

As of the 2000 United States census, [5] there were 276,093 persons (July 2008 estimate was 380,173) and 61,371 families residing in Raleigh. The population density was 2,409.2 people per square mile (930.2/km²). There were 120,699 housing units at an average density of 1,053.2 per square mile (406.7/km²). The racial composition of the city was: 63.31% White, 27.80% Black or African American, 7.01% Hispanic or Latino American, 3.38% Asian American, 0.36% Native American, 0.04% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 3.24% some other race, and 1.88% two or more races.

There were 112,608 households in the city in 2000, of which 26.5% included children below the age of 18, 39.5% were composed of married couples living together, 11.4% reported a female householder with no husband present, and 45.5% classified themselves as nonfamily. Unmarried partners were present in 2.2% of households. In addition, 33.1% of all households were composed of individuals living alone, of which 6.2% was someone 65 years of age or older. The average household size in Raleigh was 2.30 persons, and the average family size was 2.97 persons.

Raleigh's population in 2000 was evenly distributed with 20.9% below the age of 18, 15.9% aged 18 to 24, 36.6% from 25 to 44, and 18.4% from 45 to 64. An estimated 8.3% of the population was 65 years of age or older, and the median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.0 males; for every 100 females aged 18 or older, there were 96.6 males aged 18 or older.

The median household income in the city was $46,612 in 2000, and the median family income was $60,003. Males earned a median income of $39,248, versus $30,656 for females. The median per capita income for the city was $25,113, and an estimated 11.5% of the population and 7.1% of families were living below the poverty line. Of the total population, 18.8% of those below the age of 18, and 9.3% of those 65 and older, were living below the poverty line.


Raleigh is home to a wide variety of religious practitioners. The predominant religion in Raleigh is Christianity, with the largest numbers of adherents being Baptist (14.1%), Methodist (5.6%), and Roman Catholic (4.2%). Others include Presbyterian (2.8%), Pentecostal (1.7%), Episcopalian (1.2%), Lutheran (0.6%), Latter-Day Saints (0.7%), and other Christian denominations (10.2%) including Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Science, Christian Unitarianism, other Mainline Protestant groups, and non-denominational Christians. [48]

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the New Hope Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) [49] are all headquartered in Raleigh.

Other religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Bahá'í, [50] Druze, Taoism, and Shintoism [51] make up 1.31% of religious practitioners. Islam (0.8%) and Judaism (0.9%) are also practiced. [48]

In Wake County, 29% of the population are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, 22% are affiliated with the Catholic Church, 17% are affiliated with the United Methodist Church, 6% are affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), and 27% are religiously affiliated with other denominations, religions, or are not religiously affiliated. [52]


Red Hat headquarters RedHatHeadquartersRaleigh.jpg
Red Hat headquarters

Raleigh's industrial base includes financial services, electrical, medical, electronic and telecommunications equipment, clothing and apparel, food processing, paper products, and pharmaceuticals. Raleigh is part of North Carolina's Research Triangle, one of the country's largest and most successful research parks, and a major center in the United States for high-tech and biotech research, as well as advanced textile development. [53] The city is a major retail shipping point for eastern North Carolina and a wholesale distributing point for the grocery industry. [54]

Raleigh was number one on the 2015 Forbes list of the best place for businesses and careers. [55] Companies based in Raleigh include BB&T Insurance Services, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Carquest, First Citizens BancShares, Golden Corral, Martin Marietta Materials, Red Hat, Waste Industries, and Lulu.

In April 2014 Steven P. Rosenthal of Northland Investment Corp. referred to Raleigh as "a real concentration of brain power. You have a lot of smart people living in the same place. That will drive the economy." [56]

Top employers

According to Raleigh's 2017–18 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [57] the top employers in the city are:

#EmployerNo. of employees
1 State of North Carolina 22,365
2 WakeMed 9,362
3 North Carolina State University 8,948
4 Wake County Public School System 8,396
5 UNC Rex Healthcare 5,680
6City of Raleigh4,276
7 Wake County 3,960
8 NC DHHS 3,800
9 Duke Energy Progress 2,800
10 Wake Technical Community College 2,160



The SECU Daily Planet, part of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Nature Research Center NC Museum Of Natural Sciences Nature Research Center-Daily Planet.jpeg
The SECU Daily Planet, part of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Nature Research Center
Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2008 Progress-Energy-Center-for-the-Performing-Arts-20080321.jpeg
Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2008

Performing arts

The Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek hosts major international touring acts. In 2011, the Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater opened (now sponsored as the Red Hat Amphitheater), which hosts numerous concerts primarily in the summer months. An additional amphitheater sits on the grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art, which hosts a summer concert series and outdoor movies. Nearby Cary is home to the Koka Booth Amphitheatre which hosts additional summer concerts and outdoor movies, and serves as the venue for regularly scheduled outdoor concerts by the North Carolina Symphony based in Raleigh. During the North Carolina State Fair, Dorton Arena hosts headline acts. The private Lincoln Theatre is one of several clubs in downtown Raleigh that schedules many concerts throughout the year in multiple formats (rock, pop, country).

The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts complex houses the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, the Fletcher Opera Theater, the Kennedy Theatre, and the Meymandi Concert Hall. In 2008, a new theatre space, the Meymandi Theatre at the Murphey School, was opened in the restored auditorium of the historic Murphey School. [58] Theater performances are also offered at the Raleigh Little Theatre, Long View Center, Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre, and Stewart and Thompson Theaters at North Carolina State University.

Raleigh is home to several professional arts organizations, including the North Carolina Symphony, the Opera Company of North Carolina, Theatre In The Park, Burning Coal Theatre Company, the North Carolina Theatre, Broadway Series South and the Carolina Ballet. The numerous local colleges and universities significantly add to the options available for viewing live performances.

Visual arts

North Carolina Museum of Art, occupying a large suburban campus on Blue Ridge Road near the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, maintains one of the premier public art collections located between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. In addition to its extensive collections of American Art, European Art and ancient art, the museum recently has hosted major exhibitions featuring Auguste Rodin (in 2000) and Claude Monet (in 2006-07), each attracting more than 200,000 visitors. [59] [60] Unlike most prominent public museums, the North Carolina Museum of Art acquired a large number of the works in its permanent collection through purchases with public funds. The museum's outdoor park is one of the largest such art parks in the country. The museum facility underwent a major expansion which greatly expanded the exhibit space that was completed in 2010. The 127,000 sf new expansion is designed by NYC architect Thomas Phifer and Partners.

Raleigh's downtown is also home to many local art galleries such as Art Space in City Market, Visual Art Exchange, and 311 Gallery, on Martin Street, and Bee Hive Studios on Hargett Street. CAM Raleigh is a downtown contemporary art museum, also on Martin Street, that serves to promote new artists and does not house a permanent collection. CAM Raleigh was designed by the award-winning architectural firm Brooks+Scarpa of Los Angeles.

Sports and leisure

Professional and major D1 college sports teams
TeamLeagueVenue (capacity)AttendanceSinceTitles
Carolina Hurricanes National Hockey League PNC Arena (18,680)14,000 [61] 19971
NC State Wolfpack NCAA football Carter–Finley Stadium (57,583)53,17818920
NC State Wolfpack NCAA men's basketball PNC Arena (18,700)16,29919112
NC State Wolfpack NCAA women's basketball Reynolds Coliseum (5,600)?19740
NC State Wolfpack NCAA men's baseball Doak Field (3,000)1,34419030
North Carolina FC United Soccer League WakeMed Soccer Park (10,000)6,05820060
North Carolina Courage National Women's Soccer League WakeMed Soccer Park (10,000)6,29820171
Carolina Mudcats Single-A (baseball) Five County Stadium (6,500)3,35419788
Carolina Rollergirls Women's Flat Track Derby Association Dorton Arena (7,610)20040
Raleigh Flyers [62] American Ultimate Disc League Wake Med Soccer Park / Cardinal Gibbons High School ?20150


The National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes franchise moved to Raleigh in 1997 from Hartford, Connecticut (where it was known as the Hartford Whalers). The team played its first two seasons more than 60 miles away at Greensboro Coliseum while its home arena, Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena (later RBC Center and now PNC Arena), was under construction. The Hurricanes are the only major league (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB) professional sports team in North Carolina to have won a championship, winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, over the Edmonton Oilers. The city played host to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.

The PNC Arena in Raleigh RBC Center.jpg
The PNC Arena in Raleigh

In addition to the Hurricanes, the North Carolina FC of the United Soccer League and North Carolina Courage women's professional soccer team play in suburban Cary to the west; the Carolina Mudcats, a Single-A minor-league baseball team, play in the city's eastern suburbs; the newly formed Single-A minor-league baseball Fayetteville Woodpeckers, who formerly played in Buies Creek, will begin play in the nearby out-of-county southern suburb of Fayetteville when their new ballpark opens in 2019; the Raleigh Flyers of the American Ultimate Disc League play primarily at Cardinal Gibbons High School near the PNC Arena; and the Durham Bulls, the AAA minor-league baseball team made internationally famous by the movie Bull Durham , play in the neighboring city of Durham.

Several other professional sports leagues have had former franchises (now defunct) in Raleigh, including the Raleigh IceCaps of the ECHL (1991–1998); Carolina Cobras of the Arena Football League (2000–2004); the Raleigh–Durham Skyhawks of the World League of American Football (1991); the Raleigh Bullfrogs of the Global Basketball Association (1991–1992); the Raleigh Cougars of the United States Basketball League (1997–1999); and most recently, the Carolina Courage of the Women's United Soccer Association (2000–2001 in Chapel Hill, 2001–2003 in suburban Cary), which won that league's championship Founders Cup in 2002.

The Raleigh area has hosted the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) Nationwide Tour Rex Hospital Open since 1994, with the current location of play at Raleigh's Wakefield Plantation. Nearby Prestonwood Country Club hosts the PGA SAS Championship every fall.


North Carolina State University is located in southwest Raleigh where the Wolfpack competes nationally in 24 intercollegiate varsity sports as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The university's football team plays in Carter–Finley Stadium, the third largest football stadium in North Carolina, while the men's basketball team shares the PNC Arena with the Carolina Hurricanes hockey club. The Wolfpack women's basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics as well as men's wrestling events are held on campus at Reynolds Coliseum. The men's baseball team plays at Doak Field.


The North Carolina Tigers compete as an Australian Rules football club in the United States Australian Football League, in the Eastern Australian Football League.

Raleigh is also home to one of the Cheer Extreme All Stars gyms. In 2009 and again in 2010, Cheer Extreme Raleigh's Small Senior Level 5 Team were silver medalists at the Cheerleading Worlds Competition in Orlando, Florida, and in 2012 they received the bronze medal.[ citation needed ] Raleigh is also home to one of the Southeast's premier Hardcourt Bike Polo clubs. [63]

Because of the area's many billiards rooms, Raleigh is home to one of the largest amateur league franchises for playing pool, the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill American Poolplayers Association. There are leagues available in formats for players of any skill level.

A college student walks her dog at Lake Johnson in the Fall Girl walking dog at Lake Johnson.jpg
A college student walks her dog at Lake Johnson in the Fall

Raleigh is the home of Raleigh Kubb, both a competitive and non-competitive kubb club. Raleigh Kubb hosts kubb tournaments benefitting various charities in the Raleigh area.


The Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of leisure opportunities at more than 150 sites throughout the city, which include: 8,100 acres (33 km2) of park land, 78 miles (126 km) of greenway, 22 community centers, a BMX championship-caliber race track, 112 tennis courts among 25 locations, 5 public lakes, and 8 public aquatic facilities. The J. C. Raulston Arboretum, an 8-acre (32,000 m²) arboretum and botanical garden in west Raleigh administered by North Carolina State University, maintains a year-round collection that is open daily to the public without charge.

Law and government

North Carolina State Capitol North Carolina State Capitol, Raleigh.jpg
North Carolina State Capitol

Historically, Raleigh voters have tended to elect conservative Democrats in local, state, and national elections, a holdover from their one-party system of the late 19th century.[ citation needed ]

City Council

Raleigh operates under a council-manager government. Raleigh City Council consists of eight members; all seats, including the Mayor's, are open for election every two years. Five of the council seats are district representatives and two seats are citywide representatives elected at-large.


According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports, in 2010 the Raleigh Police Department and other agencies in the city reported 1,740 incidents of violent crime and 12,995 incidents of property crime – far below both the national average and the North Carolina average. Of the violent crimes reported, 14 were murders, 99 were sexual assaults and 643 were robberies. Aggravated assault accounted for 984 of the total violent crimes. Property crimes included burglaries which accounted for 3,021, larcenies for 9,104 and arson for 63 of the total number of incidents. [64] Motor vehicle theft accounted for 870 incidents out of the total. [65]

Public safety

The Raleigh Fire Department provides fire protection throughout the city. [66] The North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, the state's primary correctional facility housing female inmates is based in Raleigh. [67]


Memorial Bell Tower at North Carolina State University NCSU Belltower.png
Memorial Bell Tower at North Carolina State University
Students walk through the brickyard between classes at North Carolina State University. NCSU brickyard.jpg
Students walk through the brickyard between classes at North Carolina State University.
Estey Hall on the campus of Shaw University Estey-Hall-20080321.jpeg
Estey Hall on the campus of Shaw University
Main Building on the campus of William Peace University Peace-College-20080321.jpeg
Main Building on the campus of William Peace University
Raleigh Charter High School main entrance RaleighCharter1.jpg
Raleigh Charter High School main entrance

As of 2011, Time ranked Raleigh as the third most educated city in the US based on the percentage of residents who held college degrees. [68] This statistic can most likely be credited to the presence of universities in and around Raleigh, as well as the presence of Research Triangle Park (RTP) to the Northwest.

Higher education



Private, for profit

Primary and secondary education

Public schools

Public schools in Raleigh are operated by the Wake County Public School System. Observers have praised the Wake County Public School System for its innovative efforts to maintain a socially, economically and racial balanced system by using income as a prime factor in assigning students to schools. [70] Raleigh is home to three magnet high schools and three high schools offering the International Baccalaureate program. There are four early college high schools in Raleigh. Raleigh also has two alternative high schools.

Wake County Public high schools in Raleigh include:

Traditional schools
Magnet schools
Alternative schools
Early college schools

Charter schools

The State of North Carolina provides for a legislated number of charter schools. These schools are administered independently of the Wake County Public School System. Raleigh is currently home to 11 such charter schools:

Private and religion-based schools


There are several newspapers and periodicals serving Raleigh:



Raleigh is part of the Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville Designated Market Area, the 24th largest broadcast television market in the United States. The following stations are licensed to Raleigh and/or have significant operations and viewers in the city:

Broadcast radio

Public and listener-supported




The RDU sign at the entrance of the airport 2008-07-30 RDU welcome sign.jpg
The RDU sign at the entrance of the airport

Raleigh-Durham International Airport


Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the region's primary airport and the second-largest in North Carolina, located northwest of downtown Raleigh via Interstate-40 between Raleigh and Durham, serves the city and greater Research Triangle metropolitan region, as well as much of eastern North Carolina. The airport offers service to more than 35 domestic and international destinations and serves approximately 10 million passengers a year. [71] The airport also offers facilities for cargo and general aviation. The airport authority tripled the size of its Terminal 2 (formerly Terminal C) in January 2011.

Public general-aviation airports

Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill 20080618 Horace Williams Airport IGX.jpg
Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill

In addition to RDU, several smaller publicly owned general-aviation airports also operate in the metropolitan region:

Private airports

Several licensed private general-aviation airports operate in Raleigh's immediate suburban areas:

Freeways and primary designated routes

Interstate Highways

  • I-40 traverses the southern part of the city, connecting Raleigh to Durham and Chapel Hill toward the west, and coastal Wilmington, North Carolina to the southeast.
  • I-440, Also known locally as the Raleigh Beltline, it makes a loop around the central part of the city. The I-440 route labeling formerly encompassed the entire loop around the city, co-numbered though South Raleigh with I-40. In 2002, the NCDOT removed the I-440 designation from the co-numbered I-40 (southern and southwestern) sections of the loop, and the directional signage on the remaining I-440 portion was changed from Inner/Outer to East/West. The route designation changes were made to avoid driver confusion over the Inner/Outer designations, especially with Raleigh's new "Outer Beltline", as I-540 has become known.
  • I-540/NC 540 is currently under development. It is a partially completed outer beltway that will run around the outer edges of Wake County and into a small portion of southeast Durham county. The route is complete and currently open between the NC 55 Bypass interchange Holly Springs and the US-64/US-264 interchange in suburban Knightdale. The route is tolled between NC 54 in Cary to its current southwestern terminus at NC 55 Bypass. Completion of the loop is planned (but unfunded), and also contingent upon selection of an agreeable route around the town of Garner.
  • I-87, designated September 5, 2017, follows the former route of Interstate 495. It begins at the I-40/I-440 interchange southeast of Raleigh and runs east, meeting I-540 and terminating at Rolesville Road. It is entirely concurrent with US 64. When the route is completed it will link Raleigh to the Norfolk, Virginia area.
  • Interstate 42 will begin at I-40 south of Raleigh and will follow US 70 to Morehead City.

United States Highways

  • U.S. Route 1 enters the city from the north along Capital Boulevard, joins I-440 around the west side of Raleigh, and leaves the city to the southwest as the US 1/US 64 expressway in Cary.
  • U.S. Route 64 is the main east-west route through Raleigh; all segments share routes with another highway. East of the city, US-64/US-264 is known as the Knightdale Bypass. US 64 follows I-440 (as a wrong way concurrency) and I-40 along southern Raleigh, and US 1 to the southwest. A former alignment, designated as Business US-64, follows New Bern Avenue from the I-440 Beltline to the eastern boundary of the city, where it continues into Knightdale.
  • U.S. Route 70 runs roughly northwest-southeast through Raleigh. North of downtown, the route follows Glenwood Avenue into Durham. South of Raleigh, the route (along with US 401 and NC 50) follows South Saunders and South Wilmington Streets into Garner. Through downtown, US 70 uses small segments of several streets, including Wade Avenue, Capital Boulevard, Dawson, and McDowell Streets.
  • U.S. Route 264 cosigned with US 64 through East Raleigh.
  • U.S. Route 401 north of downtown Raleigh it follows Capital Boulevard and Louisburg Road. South of downtown it is cosigned with US 70 from Wade Avenue southward.

North Carolina Highways

  • N.C. Route 54 follows Chapel Hill Road and Hillsborough Street in West Raleigh. The route ends at its interchange with I-440.
  • N.C. Route 50 is a north-south route through Raleigh. North of Raleigh it follows Creedmoor Road. NC 50 joins US 70 and later US 401 in downtown Raleigh. The three routes remain together through south Raleigh.
  • N.C. Route 98, known as Durham Road in North Raleigh, traverses the extreme northern parts of the city.

Intercity rail

Amtrak's Carolinian, pulling into Raleigh's train station Amtrak Carolinian Stopped at Raleigh NC.jpg
Amtrak's Carolinian , pulling into Raleigh's train station
CAT bus on Hillsborough Street in Downtown Raleigh CAT BUS Snowy Day.jpeg
CAT bus on Hillsborough Street in Downtown Raleigh
Triangle Transit bus 2008-07-05 TTA bus 713 at DATA terminal.jpg
Triangle Transit bus

Raleigh's train station is one of Amtrak's busiest stops in the Southern U.S. [72] The station is served by five passenger trains daily: the Silver Star , thrice-daily Piedmont service, and the Carolinian. [73] Daily service is offered between Raleigh and:

Public transit

Public transportation in and around Raleigh is provided by GoRaleigh, [74] which operates 33 fixed bus routes, including the R-Line [75] and the Wake-Forest Loop. Although there are 33 routes, some routes are designed to cover multiple other routes at times when they are not served. Depending on the time of the day, and the day of the week, the number of routes operating is between 5 and 29.

Raleigh is also served by GoTriangle (known formerly as the Triangle Transit Authority, and Triangle Transit). GoTriangle offers scheduled, fixed-route regional and commuter bus service between Raleigh and the region's other principal cities of Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill, as well as to and from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Research Triangle Park and several of the region's larger suburban communities. Triangle Transit also coordinates an extensive vanpool and rideshare program that serves the region's larger employers and commute destinations.

North Carolina State University also maintains its own transit system, the Wolfline, that provides zero-fare bus service to the general public along multiple routes serving the university's campuses in southwest Raleigh.

Government agencies throughout the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area have struggled with determining the best means of providing fixed-rail transit service for the region.

From 1995 the cornerstone of Triangle Transit's long-term plan was a 28-mile rail corridor from northeast Raleigh, through downtown Raleigh, Cary, and Research Triangle Park, to Durham using DMU technology. There were proposals to extend this corridor 7 miles to Chapel Hill with light rail technology. However, in 2006 Triangle Transit deferred implementation indefinitely when the Federal Transit Administration declined to fund the program due to low ridership projections.

The region's two metropolitan planning organizations appointed a group of local citizens in 2007 to reexamine options for future transit development in light of Triangle Transit's problems. The Special Transit Advisory Commission (STAC) retained many of the provisions of Triangle Transit's original plan, but recommended adding new bus services and raising additional revenues by adding a new local half-cent sales tax to fund the project. [76]

Greyhound Lines provides an inter-city bus service to Durham, Charlotte, Richmond, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and other cities.

Bicycle and pedestrian

Sister cities

Raleigh has several sister cities: [82] [83]

See also


  1. Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
  2. Official records for Raleigh kept January 1887 to 17 May 1944 at downtown and at Raleigh Durham Int'l since 18 May 1944. For more information, see Threadex

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U.S. Route 401 highway in the United States

U.S. Route 401 (US 401) is a north–south United States highway, a spur of U.S. Route 1, that travels along the Fall Line from Sumter, South Carolina to Interstate 85 near Wise, North Carolina.

Interstate 540 (I-540) and North Carolina Highway 540 (NC 540) are part of a partially completed beltway around the city of Raleigh in the U.S. state of North Carolina forming the Raleigh Outer Loop. When complete, the route will completely encircle the city, meeting its parent route of Interstate 40 in one location.

Raleigh Executive Jetport airport in Lee County, United States of America

Raleigh Exec: The Raleigh Executive Jetport @ Sanford-Lee County or Raleigh Exec Jetport at Sanford-Lee CountyFAA Airport Master Record for TTA is a public use airport located seven nautical miles northeast of the central business district of Sanford, a city in Lee County, North Carolina, United States. It is owned by the Sanford-Lee County Regional Airport Authority and was previously known as Sanford-Lee County Regional Airport. This airport is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a reliever airport for Raleigh-Durham International Airport.


GoRaleigh is the transit system responsible for operating most of the public transportation services in Raleigh, North Carolina. The system operates 27 fixed routes throughout the city's municipal area and also operates five regional/express routes in partnership with GoTriangle, the regional provider. GoRaleigh is contracted to operate two additional routes, an express route to the Wake Tech Community College campus south of Raleigh and a local circulator service in the Town of Wake Forest. Capital Area Transit, also known as CAT, was rebranded to GoRaleigh in 2015 under the consolidated GoTransit, a joint branding of municipal and regional transit systems for the Greater Raleigh Metropolitan Region.

The North Carolina Highway System consists of a vast network of Interstate, United States, and state highways, managed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. North Carolina has the second largest state maintained highway network in the United States because all roads in North Carolina are maintained by either municipalities or the state. Since counties do not maintain roads, there is no such thing as a "county road" within the state.

North Carolina Highway 50 highway in North Carolina

North Carolina Highway 50 (NC 50) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It traverses north–south, from Topsail Beach to Creedmoor, connecting the cities of Warsaw, Newton Grove, Benson, and Raleigh.

North Carolina Highway 54 highway in North Carolina

North Carolina Highway 54 (NC 54) is a 55.0-mile-long (88.5 km) primary state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The highway serves the Research Triangle area, between Burlington and Raleigh, connecting the cities and towns of Chapel Hill, Durham, Morrisville and Cary. The highway also links the campuses of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

North Carolina Highway 55 highway in North Carolina

North Carolina Highway 55 (NC 55) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It serves as a traffic artery connecting Durham with Cary and numerous small cities and towns in The Triangle on its way toward the Pamlico Sound. A portion of NC 55 extends through Research Triangle Park. NC 55 is a major artery in the central part of The Triangle region, and is a four lane, divided highway between Durham and Cary and Apex. NC 55 is also a divided highway between Apex and Fuquay-Varina.

North Carolina Highway 147 highway in North Carolina

North Carolina Highway 147 (NC 147) is a North Carolina state highway. The route is a 15.7-mile-long (25.3 km) freeway that connects the Research Triangle Park (RTP) to both Western Wake County and the city of Durham. The section north of Interstate 40 (I-40) is known as the Durham Freeway, while the section south of I-40 is part of the Triangle Expressway.

Piedmont Crescent

The Piedmont Crescent, also known as the Piedmont Urban Crescent, is a large, polycentric urbanized region in the U.S. state of North Carolina that forms the northern section of the rapidly developing Piedmont Atlantic megalopolis, a conurbation also known as the "I-85 Boombelt", which extends from the Raleigh area ) to Atlanta, Georgia in the southeastern United States.

North Carolina Highway 98 highway in North Carolina

North Carolina Highway 98 (NC 98) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina and a semi-urban traffic artery connecting Durham, Wake Forest, and Bunn as well as many small to medium-sized towns in the north portion of The Triangle region of North Carolina. Running from downtown Durham, the route leaves the city to the east, running into a rural area near Falls Lake. As the road approaches Wake Forest, it widens to a four-lane divided highway and runs along the southern side of the city. Once leaving Wake Forest NC 98 becomes a two lane road again, running through rural areas east of Bunn. After a short concurrency with NC 39, NC 98 continues southeast to reach its eastern terminus at US 64 Alternate and NC 231 west of Spring Hope.

U.S. Route 70 (US 70) is a part of the United States Numbered Highway System that runs from Globe, Arizona, to the Crystal Coast of the US state of North Carolina. In North Carolina, it is a major 488-mile-long (785 km) east–west highway that runs from the Tennessee border to the Atlantic Ocean. From the Tennessee state line near Paint Rock to Asheville it follows the historic Dixie Highway, in concurrency with U.S. Route 25. The highway connects several major cities including Asheville, High Point, Greensboro, Durham, Raleigh, Goldsboro, and New Bern. From Beaufort on east, US 70 shares part of the Outer Banks Scenic Byway, a National Scenic Byway, before ending in the community of Atlantic, located along Core Sound.


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Further reading