This week, we will continue our tour around Raleigh by going downtown. The downtown area of Raleigh is east of the NCSU area. If you go east on Hillsborough Street or Western Boulevard, you will go downtown. Downtown Raleigh has a lot of wonderful stores, restaurants, art galleries, museums, and historical sites. There is A LOT of information here, but it is only a small amount of what’s available in downtown Raleigh.
- The two major roads that go north and south through downtown Raleigh are McDowell Street (north) and Dawson Street (south). If you continue north on McDowell Street out of downtown, the two roads join together and become Capital Blvd. If you continue south on Dawson Street out of downtown, the two roads join together and become South Saunders Street.
- Wilmington Street – Wilmington Street is another major road through downtown Raleigh. Traffic runs one way – north only. If you walk or drive up Wilmington St., you will pass the Capitol Building, the science museum, the history museum, and many restaurants. There are entrances to at least three parking decks on Wilmington Street, so when you go downtown, look for a place to park on Wilmington Street.
- Fayetteville Street – Fayetteville Street is very short, but it’s important. Lots of special events take place there. There are special music events like Wide Open Bluegrass and Hopscotch. There are arts festivals like SPARKcon. There’s the Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo. And in the warm months, the first Friday of every month brings artists and performers out to play. Plus, Fayetteville Street has lots of great restaurants and a weekly farmer’s market.
- Hargett Street – You can drive east and west through downtown on several roads, but Hargett Street is my favorite. It has a lot of restaurants, stores, coffee shops, and other things like the Marbles Kids Museum and Moore Square Park.
Here are some other important things to see on the map:
- The Capitol Building – The NC State Capitol is the main house of government in North Carolina. The governor’s offices are located there, and the General Assembly and Legislature used to meet there, but they now have a separate building a few blocks away. The design of the building is in a Greek architecture style. You can go in and take a tour if you want!
- The Governor’s Mansion – Governor Pat McCrory is the 29th governor of NC to live in the mansion since it was completed in 1891. Tours are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
- NC Museum of Natural Sciences and NC Museum of History – Both museums have exhibits that are free and excellent. If you or your children are interested in science or history, you must visit these museums.
- Glenwood South – The southern end of Glenwood Avenue is full of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and stores.
- The Warehouse District – If you aren’t familiar with the warehouse district, it might seem a little scary, but if you know where to look, there are lots of great restaurants, art galleries, and bars. Boylan Bridge Brewpub has outdoor tables and one of the best views of downtown Raleigh, and Videri Chocolate Factory is delicious.
- Moore Square – Moore Square often has special events like music and arts festivals, but there are also interesting things to see and do nearby when there’s nothing special happening. Just north of Moore Square is the Marbles Kids Museum and the IMAX movie theater. Just south of Moore Square is Raleigh’s historic City Market, which now has restaurants, stores, bars, and The Handmade Market, an arts and crafts shopping event that takes place in the spring and fall of every year.
- City Plaza Area – At and near the end of Fayetteville Street, there are many fun and important places. City Plaza is where most outdoor events happen, but the Raleigh Convention Center is also there for indoor events. Just south of Fayetteville Street is the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. And just east of Fayetteville St., you can see bands perform live at the Lincoln Theater.
Again, these are just a few of the things you can find in downtown Raleigh. If you visit one of these places, please leave a comment and tell us about your experience. If you have a favorite place to go downtown, leave a comment and tell us about it!