We’re taking you back to school to learn the ABCs of Raleigh… we promise it’s as easy as 1,2, 3. The City of Oaks has so many prominent sites, attractions, traditions, and rich history — here are 26 of our favorites in alphabetical order.
A is for… Acorn drop | Every New Year’s Eve (since 1992) Raleighites have gathered in City Plaza to watch this 1,250-pound copper and steel acorn — designed by local artist and The Third Place owner David Benson — drop from the sky to ring in the new year.
B is for… Briggs Hardware Building | Now housing the City of Raleigh Museum, this building was established in 1874 on Fayetteville Street and was the first “skyscraper” in Raleigh at four stories tall.
C is for… City of Oaks | Raleigh earned its nickname from the abundance of Oak trees in the area and its founding fathers that were committed to maintaining Raleigh’s wooded areas + parks.
D is for… Dorothea Dix Park | This 308-acre downtown outdoor space originally opened in 1856 as Dorothea Dix Hospital, which closed in 2012 to become Raleigh’s largest city park.
E is for… Executive Mansion | The NC Executive Mansion was built in 1883 and is the official residence of the governor.
F is for… Fayetteville Street | The Fayetteville Street Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008; the street is lined with the State Capitol and government buildings + often hosts parades, ceremonies, and special events like Artsplosure and Brewgaloo.
G is for… Goodnights Comedy Club | This club has been a venue for stand-up comedians since 1983. Its last show in its original building before transitioning to a temporary space at 511 Woodburn Rd. will be on Sat., July 31.
H is for… Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral | This $46 million project built in 2017 is the fifth-largest Catholic cathedral in the US.
I is for… Innovation | Here’s our RALtoday plug; in 2019 our parent-company 6AM City launched RALtoday, an innovative newsletter that engages with the local community. Our newsletter is now in 24 different markets across the country.
J is for… Joel Lane Museum House | This is the oldest dwelling in Wake County built in 1769. The house was named after Joel Lane, an early settler of the region.
K is for… Krispy Kreme | More than just donuts, this location at 551 N. Person St. has served the community since 1970. It is also the site for the nationally-recognized charity race, the Krispy Kreme Challenge.
L is for… Lake Raleigh | This 75-acre man-made lake was created in the early 1900s as a reservoir for the city; its recreation area is located on NC State’s Centennial Campus.
M is for… Municipal flag of Raleigh | Raleigh has the only city flag in the US that features two different designs. The flag was found in city storage in 1960 and readopted later that year.
N is for… NC State Fair | This annual, 10-day long extravaganza is the ninth largest fair in the US with an average of 1.01 million visitors.
O is for… Oakwood Cemetery | Established in 1869, this historic cemetery in the suburbs stretches across 72-acres.
P is for… PNC Plaza | Rising up to 538 feet + 33 stories on Fayetteville Street, this is the tallest building in the City of Oaks.
Q is for…Quail Ridge Books | Founded in 1984, this independent bookstore highlights Raleigh authors into its cozy store.
R is for… Raleighites | The fine folks of the City of Oaks go by this nickname (this is probably our favorite letter in the alphabet).
S is for… Shaw University | The oldest HBCU to first offer courses in the Southern US, this private Baptist university was founded in 1865.
T is for… Trolley Tours | Did you know that you can take historic trolley tours of downtown to learn more about Raleigh’s history? Learn more here.
U is for… Universal Product Code | Also known as a barcode or UPC, this widely used code for tracking trade items in stores was invented in RTP in 1969 by George Joseph Laurer III.
V is for… Videri Chocolate Factory | Get your chocolate fix by seeing how the magic is made at its downtown location.
W is for… William B. Umstead State Park | Established in 1937, this park covers 5,599 acres and expands between Raleigh, Cary, and Durham.
X is for… Xiangyang | This city in China is one of Raleigh’s five sister cities. The program was launched in 1986 to enable Raleighites + sister city residents to exchange ideas and experiences. The four other cities are Kingston Upon Hull, England; Compiegne, France; Rostock, Germany; and Nairobi, Kenya.
Y is for… Yates Mill | Circa 1756, this gristmill (something that grinds cereal grain into flour and middlings) is the center of Historic Mill County Park.
Z is for… Zest | This family operated cafe is located in North Raleigh and has been serving the community for 26+ years. Zest offers a rotating menu, patio seating, and a boutique.