Raleigh is officially "America’s Best City" to live in, according to a recent and exhaustive survey by Bloomberg’s Business Week.
Major factors that plumped the city’s ranking include its impressive reputation for public schools, alongside its so-called "Research Triangle" of three universities: North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
With no fewer than 867 restaurants, 110 bars, and 51 museums, and regular deals on opera and concert tickets, you’ll never be at a loss for how to spend your evenings in Raleigh. During the day you can opt to skip the supermarket in favor of the city’s impressive 30,000-square-foot State Farmers Market; or simply get outdoors and enjoy the city’s noteworthy abundance of parkland.
In 2012, Raleigh ranked fifth in the nation for its plentiful eco-friendly services, such as chemical-free cleaning services, sustainable interior design and domestic renewable energy installation. This is a mere whiff of the city’s commitment to sustainability.
The next few years will bear witness to the introduction of electric vehicle fleets and the promotion of public transport and cycling, alongside the expansion of green and walk-able spaces. The city has also set an impressive 2030 goal of meeting 20% of its peak load electricity demand with renewable energy sources.
Sadly, the Neuse River that runs through Raleigh is currently among the nations most polluted, owing to run-off from the state’s industrial pig and chicken farms, among other factors. Fortunately the city has indicated its commitment to a rehabilitation program for this and other waterways in the state.
What is special or unique about your city?
Known as the "City of Oaks" for all the Oak trees that can be found in the Raleigh, Durham, and Cary triangle, Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and the second most populous city in North Carolina (after Charlotte) with a population of nearly 1.6 million people living in the "triangle" area. The Research Triangle is one of the largest and most successful research parks in the United States for bio-tech and high-tech research as well as advance textile development. The Raleigh/Durham area is one of the largest retail areas in the state of North Carolina and a major wholesaling distribution point for groceries.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
When you arrive in the city of Raleigh, you'll be welcomed with the world famous Southern hospitality. The people are very accommodating of visitors and those moving into the area. Although Raleigh is a big city, it still has the feel of a country town.
Are these impressions likely to change?
No, most people fall in love with the city from the moment they get there. The hospitality of Raleigh will draw you in and you might never want to leave.
What is the local language?
The primary language spoken in Raleigh is English, but Spanish is also widely spoken. Furthermore, there are many nationalities within the city and from time to time you'll hear several different languages being spoken around the city.
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
It is recommended that you have a grasp of basic English. Without the knowledge of English, you will face some challenges. Spanish is spoken widely within the Raleigh Metropolitan area, but knowing English will be a definite advantage in getting things done.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
As Raleigh is a major Bio-tech hub, people from many different walks of life live here. Respect and acceptance of others cultures should therefore be shown at all times. People in the United States value their personal space, which is at least an arm’s length between you and the person next to you. Also, asking too many personal questions when you first meet someone and/or using certain hand gestures (such as displaying your middle finger) is considered offensive.
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
On average, Raleigh receives 41 inches of rain and seven inches of snow per year. The city has cool winters and warm, humid summers. Raleigh's location puts it in the direct path of subtropical moisture from the Gulf, heading up the eastern seaboard along the jet stream; thus the city receives ample precipitation throughout the year. It also gets many clear, sunny, and pleasantly warm days.
Occasionally, Raleigh does experience ice storms (December to April), which can cause power outages due to the build-up of ice on overhead power lines. It is therefore advisable for such events, that you secure an emergency kit--including blankets, food, water, battery powered radio etc.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
The people of south have a reputation for being hospitable and the population of Raleigh is no exception to this. People in this area are warm and very accommodating to newcomers. It is very easy to develop strong and enduring friendships with those who live in the area.