In the 16th century, a young Englishman named Sir Walter Raleigh
established the first English colony on the shores of the New World. Although the colony was to vanish
, this explorers name would not be forgotten. Two centuries later, the General Assembly of North Carolina voted to perpetuate his memory by naming the Capital City in his honor. Raleigh, centered in Wake County, North Carolina, was established in 1792.
Raleigh is located in an area known as the "Triangle", a hotbed of technology and education. Four major universities make their home within the borders of the Triangle: North Carolina State University
in Raleigh, Duke University
and North Carolina Central University
in Durham, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
. Between these four universities is the Research Triangle Park
--a 6,700 acre campus-like area for research laboratories and research-oriented industries. The Triangle area has been repeatedly selected by Money magazine as the best place to live in the nation, and today over 300,000 people make their homes in Raleigh with the population count in Wake County running nearly three-quarters of a million people.
Situated near the center of North Carolina, Raleigh is within reasonable driving distance of the state's famous beaches, known as the Outer Banks
, and the beautiful vistas and scenic hiking trails of the Great Smoky Mountains
to the west.
Raleigh's climate is temperate most of the year, not reaching far below freezing in the winter, and only becoming excessively hot in the middle of the summer, when the humidity is very high. The weather is also favorable, with snow being a rarity, and just enough rain to keep the area green and beautiful. Raleigh lives up to its nickname, "City of Oaks", by maintaining more than 300 public parks, mini parks, squares, plazas and other green areas, and has been nationally recognized for its commitment to environmental preservation within the city.
Raleigh is a cosmopolitan center
, offering fine restaurants with nearly any cuisine imaginable. Over a half-dozen major malls are scattered about the area, as well as many upscale shopping districts. The nightlife is lively, with a club to suit any taste. Many top bands can be found playing Raleigh's clubs and arenas. Raleigh's transportation facilities are also excellent, with taxi services and public buses available, and RDU Airport
close by as well.
Raleigh is also located in a sports Mecca of sorts. NC State, Duke, and UNC have three of the most prestigious college sports traditions, all holding national championships in basketball and boasting highly competitive football programs as well. Raleigh's National Hockey League franchise, the Carolina Hurricanes
, is the defending Stanley Cup Champions. The PNC Arena
, shared by the Hurricanes and NCSU's basketball team, is a state-of-the-art arena, holding over 20,000 spectators. Carter-Finley Stadium, where NC State plays its home football games, has recently been expanded by over 7,000 seats, so that it now accommodates 60,000 fans.
Raleigh is the site of many state endowed cultural facilities. Prominent attractions include the North Carolina Art Museum
, State Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Symphony
, Mordecai Historical Park
, Oakwood Historical District
, and the Time Warner Cable Music Pavillion at Walnut Creek
. North Carolina State University and the other five institutions of higher education in the city provide concert series, music festivals, art and craft shows, stage productions, and dance as do both Duke University
and UNC-Chapel Hill
, all within a 25-minute drive from Raleigh.