Tucked into the center of North Carolina is Raleigh, the capital city and one of the state’s top destinations for tourists. The sheer number of universities and research institutions in the area put Raleigh in the center of the Research Triangle, while the young college students pump the city full of art, culture, and nightlife.

While you could spend a week in Raleigh and barely scratch the surface of what this city has to offer, it’s possible to enjoy the area comfortably over a three day weekend. Here’s how you can maximize your time in this vibrant city.

Explore Art and Science at One of the State’s Top Museums

Image via Flickr by unclibraries_commons

Raleigh has some of the best museums in North Carolina. The crown jewel is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the most popular museum in the state. This museum is free and has 25 permanent exhibitions, so you may have to return a few times during your weekend to see it all. Check out some of the upcoming temporary exhibits before you go so you can plan your trip around a specific showcase.

An additional must-see museum is the North Carolina Museum of Art, which boasts ancient Egyptian artifacts next to modern art and musical performances. The North Carolina Museum of History is ideal for American history buffs, and the Marbles Kids Museum is a good pick for children 10 and under.

Raleigh, North Carolina Museum
The North Carolina Museum of Art

Follow Your Nose to Some of the Best Local Eateries

Raleigh offers top-notch Southern cooking, but the city has also embraced other cultures. Whether you’re craving curry or you want some wasabi, you’re sure to find something that appeals to your taste buds. Consider signing up for a food tour once you arrive, where expert guides will take you to sample dishes from some of the premier chefs in the area.

Visitors can also enjoy a tour of the Videri Chocolate Factory and watch the entire chocolate-making process. You might want to pick up extra souvenirs on your way out in case you accidentally eat your chocolate gifts on the way home!

Look for Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Raleigh is a great vacation spot if you want to hit the road with your dog. Fido will love the vast hiking trails and nature reserves, while you’ll love the pet-friendly restaurants around town. Most local eateries will welcome your pooch with a treat and bowl of water to cool off.

A few hotels in the area are also dog-friendly and will either charge a small fee for pet cleanup or let your furry family member stay for free. Some travel sites like Hotel Planner allow you to filter your options by pet-friendly accommodations so you can easily find a place for your pet. The best long weekends are the ones when you don’t have to say goodbye to the pets you love!

The biggest challenge of visiting Raleigh is having to leave, which is why so many college students choose to stay after graduation. Once you return from your visit to the Research Triangle, you’re sure to start planning another trip.

raleigh videri