Life in Raleigh

While I may have spent my undergraduate years in Chapel Hill, I have always loved the city of Raleigh. My wife went to NC State, so I frequented this area throughout college. But even before that, I have found Raleigh to be such a great place. Whether it was going to NC State football games with my friends in middle school or visiting for the State fair, I have had many fond memories of the city. And now as a graduate student at NC State’s Institute for Advanced Analytics, I couldn’t be happier that I get to call Raleigh home until at least graduation.

As a native North Carolinian, I have great pride in my home state. I grew up in Summerfield, NC, a small suburb of Greensboro, and am appreciative of the opportunity to now live in the state capital. There are so many opportunities here socially, recreationally, and educationally. As a graduate student, I know that this may not be my permanent home, so I want to make the most of the time that I have here. So, what does that look like? Let me tell you about it!

Raleigh has some of the best food in NC, meaning some of the best food in the US—because if there’s one thing southerners know, it’s how to cook. Head downtown to Big Ed’s for some of the best southern breakfasts you’ll ever have. My personal favorite is their chicken biscuit, but if you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and try the hotcake challenge. You’ll have 45 minutes to eat three 1-pound pancakes to get a free T-shirt and a picture on their “Wall of Fame.” 

Additionally, there’s more than just southern food, as Raleigh has a great international food scene as well. The best in my opinion is Bida Manda, a Laotian restaurant that Forbes called “one of the coolest places to eat” in the world. The sea bass mok is amazing, and they also brew their own beers next door at their sister location, Brewery Bhavana. I could write more about the great breweries in Raleigh, but that would make my blog too long to read, so you’ll have to explore them yourself!

When you’re done eating, stay downtown and visit one of the various museums Raleigh has to offer. There’s the North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and the North Carolina Museum of Art. They’re all great, but the art museum specifically has rotating exhibitions that draw some of the greatest works of art shown across the US.

Raleigh also has you covered when you just want to be outside and enjoy nature. This city has over 9,000 acres of park spaces with nearly 1,300 acres of water. And to navigate all of it, Raleigh has over 180 miles of greenway. Whether you want to bike, run, or just take a leisurely stroll around the lake, you’re never too far from a public park or open space.  

With all that Raleigh has to offer, I’m so happy I get to live here. There’s always something fun to do and plenty of fun people to do it with. I couldn’t think of a better place to attend grad school and call my home.

Columnist: Dillard McMichael