Living in Raleigh
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A comprehensive guide about living well in Raleigh
Raleigh is the state capital of North Carolina, and one of the fastest growing cities in the US. With an estimated population of around 430,000 in 2013, it makes up part of the Research Triangle area of the US, with emphasis on education and research; a fact that also draws a lot of expats to Raleigh.
Life in Raleigh
Raleigh is an early example of city planning, has a number of important historical and cultural sites and is the birthplace of the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson. Banking and financial services power the local economy in Raleigh, with other important sectors including pharmaceuticals and electrical, medical, electronic and telecommunications equipment.
Transportation in Raleigh
Raleigh and the greater Research Triangle metropolitan region is served by Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which is used by around ten million passengers every year. Flights are available to Raleigh from 38 domestic and international destinations and the airport is located to the north-west of the city center, reachable by Interstate-40. The center is also reachable via a number of US highways and interstate roads, with the I-440 known as the Raleigh Beltline locally as it loops the city center.
The main train station in Raleigh is one of the busiest Amtrak stops in the Southwest of the US, with six passenger trains stopping at the station daily, providing links to New York City and Miami. Durham, Charlotte, Richmond, Washington DC, and Atlanta can all be reached via the intercity Greyhound bus service.
GoRaleigh, formerly Capital Area Transit, runs Raleigh’s public transport infrastructure, which consists of 43 fixed bus routes. Raleigh is also a bike-friendly city.
Culture and Leisure
Raleigh is a city with many local attractions, including the African American Cultural Complex, Haywood Hall House & Gardens, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and the Raleigh City Museum. For the chocolate loving expats, Videri Chocolate Factory is always worth a visit, while those interested in local culture and history should see the North Carolina Museum of Art and the North Carolina Museum of History.
Major concerts take place on a regular basis at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek, with the Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater hosting a series of summer shows as well. The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts complex is one of Raleigh’s most important culture and leisure locations, with the site hosting the Meymandi Concert Hall, the Fletcher Opera Theater, and the Kennedy Theater.
The National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes franchise plays its home games in Raleigh after relocating from Connecticut in 1997, with matches hosted at the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena, known as PNC Arena. Raleigh’s Football team, the Carolina RailHawks, play in the North American Soccer League, and college football and basketball are also big in the city, with the North Carolina State University teams popular with the local people and expatriates alike.
Hundreds of restaurants and dozens of bars mean expatriates living in Raleigh will never be short of a new place to spend an evening. The 30,000 square foot State Farmers Market is one of the most popular local hangouts in Raleigh.
Safety and Security
Raleigh has a crime rate comparable to a lot of similarly sized American cities, and it is generally regarded as a safe and secure place to live for foreigners and locals alike.
However, the city’s neighborhoods located immediately south or southeast of downtown should be avoided after dark, as they are said to be the more dangerous parts of the city, with Chavis Heights, Walnut Terrace and South Saunders Street among the roughest areas.