RALtoday City Guide Live Banner

Raleigh 101: Our guide to becoming a Raleighite

Becoming a new resident is easy with our guide to all things Raleigh-related.

Raleigh's skyline at sunset on the Boylan Bridge.

Welcome to the City of Oaks.

Table of Contents

Picture this: You just moved to Raleigh and you need some help with the practicalities of life (we can’t just sit back and drink 321 Coffee lattes all day, unfortunately). That’s where we come in. Keep reading for Raleighite 101, our guide to all things Raleigh citizenship.

The NC Department of Transportation building.

The NC Department of Transportation was established in 1979.

Photo by RALtoday

The essentials

Voter registration

Make sure you’re eligible and registered to vote. Find your polling location, preview upcoming elections, and see sample ballots here.

Driver’s licenses and vehicle registration

New residents in need of a NC driver’s license will need to provide proof of age and identity, a Social Security document, a document confirming your residential address, and one document proving liability insurance coverage.

To register your car in the state of NC, you’ll need to bring proof of NC vehicle insurance, vehicle title or registration card, MVR-1 Title Application, MVR-180 Odometer Disclosure (if the vehicle is less than 10 years old), and a valid NC driver’s license or out-of-state driver’s license, to any NCDMV license plate agency (such as the NC License Plate Agency off of Atlantic Avenue).

Registration fees vary depending on the vehicle type.

It’s recommended to make an appointment at any of Wake County’s offices to obtain a NC driver’s license or to register your vehicle.


Establishing yourself with a primary care provider is one of those things you’ll be glad you did when you need one. Reach out to the professionals at WakeMed, UNC Rex Healthcare, or Duke Health, to name a few. Pro tip: Websites like DocSpot filter physicians by location, patient reviews, insurance, language, and more.

Olds Elementary School in Raleigh, NC

Olds Elementary School is ranked No. 121 in NC elementary schools.

Educational needs

School registration

Prepare your student for the school year by registering them with Wake County Public Schools. Here, you’ll find your school zone (based on your home address), a list of registration and immunization requirements, and the student enrollment form. After submitting an online application, you’ll then wait to hear back from your respective school (with your required documents in hand) to complete the registration process.

For information on Raleigh’s private schools, check out this list.

The outside of Oberlin Regional Library.

There are 23 Wake County Public Library locations.

Photo by RALtoday

Library card registration

If you think libraries are only for renting the occasional book, think again. Register for a library card online to take advantage of:

  • Research assistance
  • Job search help
  • eBooks, music, and movies
  • Online databases
  • Private meeting spaces for groups
  • Book clubs

To get your card, you’ll need proof of identity and proof of address. Raleighites over 16 years old or with a guardian’s approval can apply for a free card to be used at any Wake County Public Library.

Bonus: Use our guide to navigate Raleigh’s public libraries like a pro.

Home necessities


Thanks for thinking green. For everything you need to know about recycling in Raleigh, from where to place your bin to pick up times and accepted materials, check out the City of Raleigh’s recycling services.


Moving is exciting, but no one wants to unpack by candlelight. Establish your services with Duke Energy or Dominion Energy by creating an account or updating your address in your existing account.

Internet providers

No connectivity issues here. Check out some of the Internet providers in the 919:

  • AT&T Internet | Starts at $55 per month for 12 months
  • Spectrum |$49.99 per month for 12 months
  • HughesNet |Starts at $49.99 per month with a 24 month commitment
  • Frontier | Fiber 500 Internet starts at $49.99 per month with no annual contract
  • Google Fiber | Starts at $70 per month with no annual contract

Note: Not all providers are available in all areas.

A photo of the NC Museum of History building.

The NC Museum of History holds 14,000 years of NC history.

Photo by RALtoday

The ultimate Raleighite initiation

Having a NC driver’s license and a 919 (or 984) area code may qualify you on paper, but you’re not officially a Raleighite until you’ve taken part in some local fun that is only found in the City of Oaks.

Visit a museum

Raleigh is dubbed the “Smithsonian of the South” for good reason. From the NCMA to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, there are plenty of galleries and exhibits to explore. Pro tip: Use Visit Raleigh’s museum guide to help you navigate which one to visit first.

Venture outdoors

The City of Oaks boasts more than 200 parks, diverse hiking trails, and bountiful farmers markets.

Eat your heart out

Raleigh is home to renowned chefs like Ashley Christensen + Scott Crawford and offers a colorful culinary scene. Check out our Eat and Drink section of our website for foodie news.

Bonus: See how your City Editors would spend two perfect days in Raleigh.

Is there something you’re still left wondering about to get you properly established in Raleigh? Ask us your question and we’ll do our best to answer it for you, like a good neighbor.

RALtoday phone
Good news for Raleigh.
Get the best local news & events sent to your inbox each morning, for free.