Fun facts about Raleigh


Photo from City of Raleigh

Table of Contents

Everyone has that one friend that seems to know a little bit about everything — no matter the topic. Here at RALtoday, we don’t know it all, but we do know about our city.

There are facts that everyone knows, like our being named after Sir Walter Raleigh or that we are also called the City of Oaks, but those tidbits just scratch the surface. In our opinion, there are even more interesting things to know about our city and its history that are fun + could help you win that trivia night at your favorite local bar. As we mentioned before, we definitely don’t claim to know it all, so if you have any interesting, cheeky facts about Raleigh that you can share with us, we would love to expand our knowledge.

Below are a few fun facts about Raleigh so you don’t have to be the one person who doesn’t have an interesting factoid up their sleeve to share at a moment’s notice.

○ It is believed that Andrew Johnson, the 17th president of the US, was born in Raleigh. His house was relocated to Mordecai Historic Park along with the Allen Kitchen, Badger-Iredell Law Office, and St. Mark’s Chapel to preserve the buildings and to give Mordecai Historic Park a “village-like” feel.

During the American Civil War, Raleigh served as a Confederate headquarters until April 13, 1865, when Union troops under William Tecumseh Sherman occupied the City without resistance.

We are one of 450 cities across the US to proudly fly a city flag, and even more unique, the City of Raleigh flag is double sided, meaning the front and back designs are different.

○ We are home to Shaw University, the first historically black university in the South.

○ The NC Symphony was the first state-supported symphony in the US. It was founded in 1932.

The Roman Catholic Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral — located at 715 Nazareth St. — cost $46 million to build in 2015 + is the fifth-largest cathedral in the US.

Pullen Park is the oldest public park in NC, the 5th oldest operating amusement park in the US, and the 16th oldest in the world.

○ Raleigh, also known as the “Smithsonian of the South,” can brag that it plays home to more than 40 free historic attractions + museums.

The NC Museum of Art became the first state art museum in the country when the NC General Assembly approved $1 million in state funds to buy Old Master paintings in 1947.

The NC Museum of Natural Sciences is the oldest established museum in NC and the largest natural science museum in the Southeastern US. With ~1.2 million visitors annually (numbers reflect pre-coronavirus pandemic), it’s considered NC’s most popular museum + historic destination.

○ The Raleigh Beer Garden has held the World Record Academy’s title for “Most Beers on Tap” since 2015. The number? 366 beers on tap since its opening.

Our state vegetable is the sweet potato....a personal favorite with the RALtoday team. 🍠


More from RAltoday