Known as the City of Oaks, Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and the second largest city in the state with a population of over 400,000. With its moderate climate and a stable economy founded on university, government and high-tech jobs, Raleigh regularly tops the lists of best places to live in Money Magazine, Forbes, and others.
Founded in 1792 to serve as a centrally-located state capital, the city was named for the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh residents continue to appreciate that central location, just a two-hour drive to either the beach or mountains.
Raleigh is the hub of Wake County, serving as both the state and county seat. The vibrant downtown still houses the legislature, courts and a myriad of other public buildings, along with a new convention center and upscale hotels. Visitors flock to the NC History and Natural History museums, as well as a great selection of restaurants and first-class performances at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and adjacent concert halls. Nearby hot tickets include the NC Museum of Art and the professional hockey team, the Carolina Hurricanes. North Carolina State University is also in the central city, offering a huge range of cultural opportunities to the larger community. The downtown area has also seen a boom in residential development, primarily high-rise condominiums.
Raleigh’s suburbs have spread in all directions. Wake County is home to 11 other incorporated municipalities, including Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Morrisville Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon. While each of these has a separate history and many have quaint downtown areas, Raleigh is the driving force for the entire region. More than half the population of Raleigh now resides north of the beltline in the lovely suburban areas of North Raleigh that feature homes in all price ranges.
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