Explained: Downtown Raleigh’s first Social District

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The social district is highlighted in blue.

Screenshot via City of Raleigh

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Downtown Raleigh’s first social district — now dubbed Sip n’ Stroll — goes into effect today at 11 a.m. This program will allow people to walk around specific downtown areas with open alcoholic beverages from participating businesses, every day from 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.

So far, more than 65 local businesses are participating; 45+ have ABC licenses and will sell to-go drinks, while 20+ businesses have agreed to allow these drinks in their establishments. Six businesses have explicitly opted out. View the full list here.

We asked you, our readers, what questions you have about this new program. With the help of Will Gaskins from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, we’ve answered some of your most pressing questions.

Where is the social district?

The majority of the social district is along Fayetteville Street and its adjoining streets, with portions of the Moore Square and Warehouse Districts included. View the map.

Glenwood South, parking decks, the GoRaleigh Station, Moore Square, and Nash Square are not included.

Will there be signage showing the boundaries of the social district?

Yes; look for the bright green Sip n’ Stroll signs.

Social District Sticker Proof

Social District sticker | Photo via City of Raleigh

What happens if I leave the social district boundaries with an alcoholic beverage?

You’ll likely receive a warning + a refresher on the rules; you could be criminally charged. Read the details (page nine).

Are all businesses in the social district participating?

No; businesses that sell alcohol and those that do not must opt in to the social district program and can choose not to. Look for window signs that clearly identify participation status.

Does my drink have to be in a specific cup?

Participating businesses will serve social district beverages in a to-go cup labeled with a sticker identifying when and where the drink was purchased. Cups may not exceed 16 ounces + glass is not allowed.

Will businesses charge extra for these to-go cups?

It’s possible; nothing prohibits this from happening.

Can I bring beverages from home to drink in the social district?

No; patrons may only consume beverages from a participating business.

Does the city plan to add more trash and recycling bins around the social district?

Yes; the city has already started to install additional recycling bins along the perimeter of the district.

Raleighites can provide feedback about the pilot social district here.

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Look for these signs in the windows of downtown Raleigh storefronts. | Images via the City of Raleigh