Raleigh, NC downtown

2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 57
Demographics 59
Economy 65
Education 63
Health 61
Housing 49
Infrastructure 44

#12. Raleigh, NC

From lush forests to forward-thinking chefs and college sporting events, there’s always something to do in Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina. With plentiful jobs, a strong economy, a high quality of life and great health care, it’s easy to understand why 477,000 people have chosen to build a life in Raleigh, NC. The city is a haven for foodies, adventure seekers and entrepreneurs, creating an electric environment to grow your business or your family. 

Top Colleges/Universities: North Carolina State University & Wake Technical Community College

Top Industries & Employers: Health care, education, advanced manufacturing, technology, life sciences

Weekend Plans: Do a little shopping (and eating and drinking!) at the 30,000-square-foot State Farmers Market, then catch a concert at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek or Red Hat Amphitheater.

Favorite Place to Feast: The Angus Barn, a Raleigh staple serving steaks and seafood, plus a killer chocolate chess pie.

Beloved Beverage: The Cherry Bounce, a historic cocktail made with whiskey and cherries that are believed to have played a role in Raleigh being chosen as the state’s capital.

Outdoorsy Activity: Spend an entire day exploring the Neuse River Greenway Trail, a 27.5-mile paved trail with river views, a boardwalk, historic sights, fishing spots, and places to launch canoes and kayaks.

Rooftop Bar: The Raleigh Times, which specializes in Belgian brews and craft beers, is located inside the former home of one of the city’s historic newspapers. The rooftop patio comes alive with twinkle lights and offers views of downtown.

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: With forested spots like Oakwood Dog Park for burning off some steam and uber-dog-friendly hangouts like Raleigh Brewing Company, pets love Raleigh almost as much as their humans.

Remote Work Perk: Two words: Fiber internet. Raleigh has not one, not two, but three fiber internet providers, so you’re basically guaranteed lightning-fast speeds and reliable internet for all your Zoom calls.

One More Thing … As the state capital, Raleigh gets the privilege of playing host to three awesome state museums: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Museum of History and North Carolina Museum of Art. It’s even nicknamed the “Smithsonian of the South.”

– Sarah Kuta

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