The Real Raleigh

The Real Raleigh

Nestled in a forest of oak trees just east of the Appalachian Mountains sits Raleigh, North Carolina, home to North Carolina State University and its surrounding attractions that make it a truly unique place to visit. The town is much more than Wolfpack residents, but there is a common theme of education, nature, and state-of-the-art technology that solidifies Raleigh as a thriving metropolis in the “Research Triangle” of the south. It’s a definite hit on your bucket list. Plus, its position on The East Coast Greenway, a 3,000 mile long system of trails connecting Maine to Florida, is just another reason to take a few days to explore this fascinating city.

North Carolina Museum Of Natural Sciences

If the first natural sciences museum to come to mind is the Smithsonian you’re in for a treat; NCMNS is affiliated with the lofty museum chain and has accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. The structure itself is enormous, with exhibits ranging from live animals, to fossils, underground habitats and even a tropical dry forest! North Carolina is loaded with natural habitats and history, and these exhibits are living proof of the extensive research done since the 1879 to preserve and protect the wildlife and education of the area. Children and adults can enjoy all this museum has to offer, and you should plan to spend several hours here. Wolfpack students studying natural sciences are lucky to have such a valuable resource within their city limits!

Howling Cow Ice Cream

Dairy is a way of life for many Americans, and the Howling Cow not only provides an inside look at the dairy industry, but educates NC State students on every aspect of dairy farming. They learn how to raise cows, take their milk, process, pasteurize, and turn it into the things we all love to consume and buy: ice cream, cheese, butter, and milk itself. Nowadays, you can find Howling Cow products in the Dairy Processing Lab on campus, and know that it was made by students hoping to become the next wave of dairy workers. You must try the flavor Wolf Tracks — it was created by the chancellor of the university himself — consisting of vanilla ice cream, chocolate, caramel, and chunk’s of fudge to make it Howling Cow’s best seller. Catch the Howling Cow serving their goods at the NC State Fair, which is definitely something you don’t want to miss, and enjoy some of the freshest, tastiest dairy products made right there on campus.

Pullen Park

As one of the original thirteen colonies, North Carolina is ahead of the curve for historic landmarks in the United States. Pullen Park is not only the first public park in North Carolina, but it’s the 5th oldest operating amusement park. It’s adjacent to the campus of North Carolina State University and its 66 acres is filled with fun things to amuse the whole family. Pack a picnic, or grab a bite at the the Pullen Place Café, which is locally-owned, and enjoy fresh and local ingredients. Take a ride on the carousel, train, and kiddie boats, or just stroll along the pond. There are even pedal boats available to rent seasonally to have that true whimsical experience with a special someone on Lake Howell. Catch a local show at the Theatre In The Park and be prepared to see Wolfpack students working at and wondering around the park at all times.

Parlor Blow Dry Bar

Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you can’t look fabulous while ticking off places from your bucket list. Leave your blow dryer at home to save room for more souvenirs in your suitcase, and stop into the Parlor to receive a blow dry that will make your trip’s pictures frame-worthy. The Parlor’s motto is, “Get In, Get Gorgeous, Get Going,” so you can pop in and out before the other members of your traveling group even know you were gone. The weather is different in Raleigh than many places in the United States, and these experts know how to style your hair to withstand any incremental weather you might endure during your site-seeing. No cuts, color, or processing; just a high-quality wash and blow dry from highly trained hair professionals who have taken the Blow Dry Bar trend to the next level. Book an appointment on their website to save time, and look fresh and styled for any tourist attractions or NC State games you attend.

Cheshire Cat Gallery

Who says a souvenir needs to be something brand new? Antiques have been popular for centuries, and the eclectic ensemble of items that populate the Cheshire Cat Antiques Gallery in Raleigh offer something more than the average coffee cup. Upstairs is the Antiques Emporium, but the Cheshire Cat doesn’t subscribe to the typical vibe of an antique shop and instead offers a fun, kooky vibe that will have you browsing for hours. Over 70 dealers have contributed to the collection of goods, making it Raleigh’s largest multi-dealer antiques & more shop, and a must-see in Raleigh’s Cameron Village. The store even has a dealer specializing in fossils and geodes, as well as local beauty products made in the USA without animal testing. History and the preservation of nature are themes present in all aspects of the city, and the Cheshire Cat adheres to that ideology beautifully. They’re also a pet-friendly establishment, so if you’re traveling with your fur baby don’t hesitate to bring it along!

Flying Biscuit

Every town has that one breakfast spot that every local will tell you to try, and the Flying Biscuit is the one for Raleigh. It’s a chain that peppers the southeast United States, filling bellies with Southern-inspired comfort food made from fresh ingredients. The first one opened in 1993, and the neighborhood spirit was something the owners have cultivated in each location since its inception. Try the grit and biscuits, fried green tomatoes, oven-fried chicken and sweet tea. The Flying Biscuit also serves lunch and dinner, in case you missed breakfast or need some time strolling the streets of Raleigh to work up an appetite. It’s a Wolfpack favorite, and you can always feel the energetic buzz of college students enjoying their biscuits while they add to the charm of a small-town eatery. Come early — this place is popular!

Join the Pack

As they old saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” and in Raleigh, everyone is either an NC State student or a Wolfpack fan, so dress accordingly. Stop by the local store to get yourself a Stepforward piece from our NC State collection and add to the timeless feeling the town has to offer. Visit again and again, wearing your Wolfpack shirt proudly, to support a school that so obviously supports its students as they become the next generation to keep the town bubbling with innovation and respecting its deep historical roots.

Jesse Erin