Are you planning to move or relocate to Raleigh, NC? Here’s what you need to know.


The capital of North Carolina offers young professionals, families, and retirees a place to thrive. Check out these 11 pros and cons of living in Raleigh!

Pros of Living in Raleigh

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The City of Oaks is often recognized as one of the best places to live in the U.S. With top research universities in the area, a booming economy, and ample green space, there are a ton of fun things to do in Raleigh. Check out these pros of moving to Raleigh, NC!

Pro: Raleigh Has a Strong Economy

If you’re interested in living in a city with a strong economy, you should think about moving to Raleigh, NC. In fact, Raleigh and nearby Durham ranked fourth on the list of fastest-growing areas in the country! Raleigh boasts an unemployment rate of 3.0%, compared to the U.S. national average of 4.7%. Additionally, Raleigh is projected to have a future job growth of around 44%, which is higher than the national average. Some of the top industries in the area include business services, transportation, healthcare, and education. And while Research Triangle Park does offer plenty of employment opportunities in both maintenance, managing, and researching, you can find jobs at other top employers in Raleigh like Affordable Care, WakeMed, Wake County Public Schools, Red Hat, and First Citizens Bank.

Pro: Quality Education Is Accessible

Being a part of the Research Triangle Park means there are several universities in and around Raleigh brimming with research projects. Immerse yourself in subjects like accounting, engineering, and business administration at North Carolina State University. Expand your knowledge of communications, computer information systems, sports management, and more at the HBCU, Saint Augustine’s University. Earn a degree in interactive design, elementary education, or criminal justice at William Peace University. Prepare yourself for a career in psychology, social work, or exercise science at Shaw University, the first historically Black college in the South. Dive into programs like economics, interior design, public relations, and more at Meredith College, a private women’s college. Go the community college route for your Raleigh education with classes in career fields like biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and public safety or through workforce training programs at Wake Technical Community College.

Pro: The City of Oaks Is Home to Great Outdoor Recreation

The city’s streets are lined with oaks, many other trees, and plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors in Raleigh! Explore 236 acres of parkland, fish on the shoreline, fly a kite, traverse the Go Ape Treetop Adventure courses, and more at Blue Jay Point County Park. Enjoy free things to do in Raleigh like exploring one of North Carolina’s three accredited rose gardens at Raleigh Rose Garden, which features over 60 rose beds surrounded by an arboretum of trees. Walk the garden paths, explore specialty plant collections, and enroll in horticulture classes at Juniper Level Botanic Garden. Bike through Raleigh on the Art to Heart Corridor, a nearly 6-mile paved trail connecting the North Carolina Museum of Art to Downtown Raleigh. Stay active on a self-guided scavenger hunt, rent out the Anderson Homestead cottage for events, and let your kids run wild on the playground at Anderson Point Park. Travel just 20 minutes outside of Raleigh to explore amongst the eastern hemlock trees, go bird watching, and enjoy scenic overlooks at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. Or go golfing in Raleigh at popular courses like Eagle Ridge Golf Club, Hedingham Golf Club, and the public Lonnie Poole Golf Course, which was designed by Arnold Palmer.

Pro: Renowned Raleigh Museums

The museums in Raleigh have something for every interest. See the complete skeletons of a Tyrannosaur and a Triceratops in the Dueling Dinosaurs exhibit or see permanent displays like Mountains to the Sea and Underground North Carolina at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Visit historical exhibits like 1920’s Drugstore, Signs of the Times, and North Carolina A to Z at the North Carolina Museum of History. Take the kids to catch a film screening in the IMAX theatre, learn about sustainability in EcoSphere, and explore Toddlers Hollow at the Marbles Kids Museum. Practice self-care in Raleigh’s Living Room: Rest, Reflect, Respond, remember local suffragists in Women of Change: The Legacy of the 19th Amendment, and learn about local government in The People’s Politics: Local Democracy in Raleigh at the City of Raleigh Museum. Deepen your appreciation of the arts with works spanning 5,000 years of history, including Renaissance paintings, Egyptian funerary art, and vases from Ancient Greece and Rome at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Or delve into the work of modern artists like Jerstin Crosby, Zach Storm, and Anna Valdez at the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh.

Pro: Plenty of Family-Centered Activities

People of all ages can find something to do in Raleigh! Enjoy the day outside with your family by renting a pedal boat, watching a live theatrical performance, and riding a carousel at Pullen Park, the first public park in North Carolina. Cheer on the Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) as they battle for the puck on the ice at PNC Arena. Catch live orchestras, ballets, concerts, and more at the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts. Compete with friends in mini-golf, race on the go-kart course, and play a round of laser tag at Frankie’s of Raleigh. Embark on a chocolate factory tour and sample delicious treats at the Videri Chocolate Factory. Rock out with a crowd to live music performed by national touring acts or skate on the ice rink during the winter at the Red Hat Amphitheater, one of the best music venues in Raleigh.

Pro: Eateries for Every Palate

Prepare to expand your palette as you explore the diverse Raleigh restaurant scene! North Carolina’s capital city has everything from delicious breakfast options to Southern dining staples. Get the Morning Bagel, Daily Grits, or French Toast at one of the best breakfast places in Raleigh, The Morning Times. Order dishes like Green Chicken Enchiladas, Red Pork Pozole, and Shrimp Tacos at Gringo A Go Go, a Mexican restaurant in Downtown Raleigh that runs out of an old gas station. Try the Wonton Soup, Fried Vietnamese Chicken Spring Rolls, and Malaysian Chicken Satay at David’s Dumpling & Noodle Bar. Fill up on classic American fare like Cheese Fries, Chopped Salad, and Baby Back Ribs at Players Retreat. Munch on Veggie Shepherds Pie, Lemon Butter Cod, and Cauliflower Curry at Irregardless. Treat yourself to the Bone-in Tomahawk Steak, North Atlantic Salmon, or French Onion Soup at Angus Barn.

Pro: Popular Brewery Scene

One of the best parts about life in Raleigh is the vibrant craft brewery scene! You can collect stamps and earn prizes at one of the more than 30 Raleigh breweries along the Raleigh Beer Trail. Bring your dog and enjoy the outdoor seating at Altered State Brewing Company, which offers a weekly rotating menu of beers like the Cheap Sunglasses IPA, Cookies & Cream Stout, and Renegade Pils. Gather with friends to sip the Wilt Belgian, Plow Pale Ale, and Grove Double IPA at Brewery Bhavana. Enjoy a crisp Sucker Punch O.P.P Gose, Jet Stream Summer Brown Ale, or Blood Orange IPA at Clouds Brewing Raleigh. Sample unique brews like the Peach Dreamz Sour, Savage Twilight Stout, and Mahogany Bohemian Dark Lager at Heyday Brewing Company. Satiate your thirst with the Wanna Be A Baller Hazy IPA, Lion’s Park Cream Ale, and Plum Saison at Mordecai Beverage Co. Or try out fun drinks like the Once Upon A Lime In Mexico Lager, Berry Seltzer, and Carolina Pine West Coast IPA at Gizmo Brew Works.

Pro: Fun Raleigh Nightlife

The fun in Raleigh doesn’t end when the sun goes down—Raleigh nightlife has plenty to offer! Shoot your shot with fun driving range games like Monster Hunt, Pro Range, and Darts at Drive Shack. Tickle your funny bone at live comedy shows from local and nationally touring comedians, or enroll in a comedy class at Goodnights Comedy Club. Head beneath Kings in Downtown Raleigh to sip craft beers, dance along to live DJs, and sing your heart out during Karaoke Night at Neptune’s Parlor. Catch a live Drag show and dance the night away at the LGBTQ+ club, Legends Nightclub. Experience one of the best bars in Raleigh with a full drink menu, live music performances on the weekends, and classic arcade games like Galaga and Street Fighter II at Boxcar Bar + Arcade. Or visit the Lincoln Theatre for live music performances, including everything from country to pop artists.

Cons of Living in Raleigh

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While Raleigh does offer fun local attractions and unique dining options, there are still some drawbacks to weigh before relocating. Here are some cons of moving to Raleigh.

Con: High Cost of Living

Raleigh’s numerous amenities result in a cost of living that is slightly higher than both the national and state average. This shows up in costs for healthcare, utilities, and housing prices since the average housing costs are 28% higher than the North Carolina average. Residents looking to buy a home can expect a median price of $415,000, compared to the state average of $395,000. However, living in Raleigh comes with a great quality of life, providing access to world-class amenities, free attractions, and a thriving cultural scene. Plus, the city has a low unemployment rate and residents can expect to earn an average of $30.05 per hour, which is higher than the national hourly pay rate. Raleigh is also very renter-friendly, resulting in nearly 48% of homes being renter-occupied and monthly rent prices averaging $1,634 per month—which is slightly lower than the average U.S. rent.

Con: Terrible Inner City Traffic

Although the city’s rapid growth is great for Raleigh’s economy, more people are bringing their cars to the area and increasing the overall traffic. There are several contributing factors to Raleigh’s high traffic levels, including its proximity to several large universities like Duke University, the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and more. Raleigh also has the highest percentage of homes with at least one vehicle compared to other large U.S. metro areas. Commuters spend around 78 hours driving per year, 17 of which are due to congestion. However, there are some Raleigh public transportation options that help residents get around the city and avoid driving in rush hour traffic. Hop on the GoRaleigh bus or the ADA-compliant GoRaleigh Access to help you get through several areas of town. Catch a ride on the GoApex and Wolfline bus routes for your daily commute to certain parts of Raleigh. Take advantage of the Amtrak train at Raleigh Union Station to commute to nearby cities. Or leave the car keys at home and use your smartphone to rent a bicycle at one of 32 stations through the city’s partnership with Cardinal Bikeshare.

Con: Hot & Muggy Summers

As in most Southern cities, you can expect summers in Raleigh to be extremely hot. The hot season in Raleigh usually lasts from May to September, and July is the warmest month with an average high of 90 degrees and a 76% humidity level. The combination of high humidity and temps can lead to an increased risk of heat-related illnesses like dehydration, heat exhaustion, and more. That said, Raleigh’s hot summers are balanced out by modest temperatures the rest of the year, with the coldest month being January—which has an average low of 31 degrees. Additionally, there are several ways residents can keep cool during the warm season. For instance, you can take the kids to the splash pads at Moore Square Park and John Chavis Memorial Park. Or travel less than 30 minutes outside of town to scuba dive, kayak, bounce on the inflatable water park, and more at Fantasy Lake Adventure Park.


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