Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, USA

Living in Raleigh-Durham

Iyna Bort Caruso

For its golf, greenery and prestigious universities, the Raleigh-Durham region of North Carolina has been called the land of “tees, trees and PhDs.”

Raleigh is the state capital, an entrepreneurial city in a laid-back setting. Forbes ranked it number one in its list of Best Places for Business and Careers, and Money Magazine named it one of the top retirement destinations in the U.S.

Situated where the central piedmont region meets the low coastal plain, the greater Raleigh-Durham area enjoys a mild, four-season climate. The mountains are three hours away, and Atlantic beaches about two. The region encompasses progressive communities, many with a cosmopolitan feel tinged with Southern charm.

The area is part of the Research Triangle. Comprised of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, the Triangle is anchored by high tech companies and research facilities of the area’s three major universities, Duke in Durham, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh. 

Raleigh is filled with woody acreage. More than 150 miles of greenway connect the city’s parks. Durham, once largely a town of tobacco and textiles, has reinvented itself as a dynamic center of culture, arts and healthcare.

Housing is an eclectic mix of modern downtown lofts, antebellum classics, restored century-old residences, golf course communities and equestrian estates. It is also known for its midcentury modernist architecture, accounting for as much as one third of all modernist homes in the entire country. The School of Design at North Carolina State recruited Modernist architects as faculty members and their influence was particularly strong in the Triangle area.

Raleigh has six historic neighborhoods. The earliest, the Capitol Square Historic District where the state capitol sits, dates back to the 18th century. Other neighborhoods were once-rural areas of former plantations or early suburban planned communities. With decades of growth, the districts are now considered prime “inside the beltline” turf, which refers to Interstate 440 that rings the Raleigh metro area. Other stately neighborhoods are outside the beltline in Raleigh’s northern outskirts.