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April 16, 2008 7:38 AM   Subscribe

We've just moved to Raleigh with nothing set up but a mailbox. Can someone give me a stereotyped guide to Raleigh neighborhoods?

I'm looking for a resident's candid view of the areas to consider and/or avoid. Something like "this area: newlyweds and newly deads" or "avoid these neighborhoods if you don't drive an SUV to soccer practice" and the like. :)

Or maybe Raleigh isn't so split up that way? We moved from Seattle, where people tend to clique together quite a bit and the neighborhoods reflect that.

We're in our 30s, no kids at the moment, no jobs right now if that gives some perspective on us. Thanks!
posted by jsmith77 to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
They call this area the Triangle, because of the three distinct cities that make it up: Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Are you set on living in Raleigh specifically? Because of the three, it's the biggest, but also probably has the least personality. I live in Chapel Hill, work in Durham, and generally go to Raleigh few than five times a year.
posted by missjenny at 7:43 AM on April 16, 2008


Try looking up the market segments for zip codes at Claritas (click on the zip code lookup button at the top). It's free for the public to just look up one at a time. Tons of fun.

There are several more free lookups out there, too. Here's one at ESRI.
posted by gimonca at 8:00 AM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Things are in flux in the Triangle so much. Used to be Cary was the place for new money; now it's Apex. Chapel Hill and Durham still have more character (good restaurants, entertainment, funky places to hang out and play) than Raleigh, IMHO. Morrisville is a good centralized location, for jobs and entertainment, when you might end up working in either downtown or near the airport or in Durham/Chapel Hill.

In Raleigh, we found the most character in neighborhoods off Leesville Rd (but watch out for the flight paths!) and in the nearly Wake Forest area (vicinity around Durant Rd). But then again, we preferred quieter areas, with plenty of space to run with the dogs.

In our experience, the cliques were more of a city/community phenomenon, rather than anything to the specificity of neighborhoods.
posted by tigerjade at 8:03 AM on April 16, 2008


I'd figure out where your jobs are first.

I'll second missjenny -- unless things have changed since 2000, Raleigh is far and away the least appealing part of the triangle, unless you like recent-build sprawling suburbia. I'm prejudiced against the town, but I'd say that back in 2000 just about the entire north side of the greater Raleigh area fit "avoid these neighborhoods if you don't drive an SUV to soccer practice."

One of the charms of the area is the variety of places you can live if you don't mind a medium-sized commute. If you like semi-funky, more or less urban environments, there are a couple of chunks of Durham that are exactly that. If you like your liberals more moneyed, there's Chapel Hill. If you want to live around liberal gay yuppies, Carrboro. If you feel like living a country-fried life, head out to Mebane or Pittsboro. If you happen to have money just falling out of your asshole and like history, wait until a property in Hillsborough comes up for sale.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:42 AM on April 16, 2008


Although I am an avowed Durham proponent, I will make a stab at talking about Raleigh. I mostly know about in town neighborhoods, so maybe somebody else can make a stab at the suburbs (though I think they are pretty much entirely "avoid these neighborhoods if you don't drive an SUV to soccer practice").

The area south of NCSU (Avent Ferry Rd, Gorman Rd, Jones Franklin Rd, etc) sprawls into Cary. It is all new, relatively cheap construction, and most residential neighborhoods contain undergrads. Best to be avoided like the plague.

The area north of NCSU (Cameron Village) also contains a lot of students, but quite a lot of it is large, old houses still housing wealthy families with Raleigh-founding last names. The tree-lined streets are pretty, the whole area is very walking friendly, with easy access to the "college row" of stuff on Hillsborough St. The houses are pricey. Historical note: Cameron Village was the first "mall" in North Carolina and was once a bit of a tourist attraction. You can still buy a surprising amount of stuff there. The trend of expensive, large houses on tree-lined streets continues north of NCSU past Meredith College and northeast really all the way to the country club and the Crabtree Valley area.

There are several neighborhoods immediately around downtown proper (the capitol building, governor's mansion, city market, etc) that are very nice, older neighborhoods with smaller houses. The neighborhood names I can think of off the top of my head are Mordecai, Oakwood, and Boylan Heights. I think the close proximity to downtown bars, museums, restaurants, the city market make these attractive to young professional types, and I think the prices on the little historic bungalows reflect this. A couple of colleges mix into this area (Shaw University and Peace College) but I think those students are more likely to either live on campus or be commuters and thus the neighborhoods don't have that studenty feel.

The other in-town neighborhood that I think of as really big with the young professionals is the Hayes-Barton area. Bigger houses maybe than some of the in-town neighborhoods, but the local restaurants/coffee shops are a little funkier. And the Rialto is an amazing old movie theater.

After all that, I just found this website that appears to have a lot more information about the downtown neighborhoods than I can provide.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:08 AM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Raleigh info to know: Hwy 440 makes a loop around Raleigh proper. Properties are classified as "inside the beltline" (ITB) or "outside the beltline." ITB is typically more desirable, and the SE side of Raleigh is the area that is a bit sketchy. Of course there are pockets of sketch all around the inside the beltline area, as well as pockets of glory in SE Raleigh. That disclaimer applies to the rest of this comment, as well.

SUV to soccer practice areas in the Triangle: North Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, RTP, South Durham (Woodcroft, Hope Valley). Becoming more and more that way: Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina, Garner. I'd even put most of Chapel Hill in here, frankly. But the SUV is more likely to be a hybrid.

Rural: Wendell, Zebulon, Knightdale, Efland, Mebane, western and northern Orange County (N of Hillsborough, west of Carrboro), Northern Durham County (Bahama).

Urban: ITB Raleigh, and certain Durham neighborhoods. I'm also Durham-biased, FYI. I lived in Chapel Hill for 10 years and now work in Raleigh. Durham neighborhoods include Old West Durham (where I live), Watts Hillandale, Old North Durham, and more. Actually, on doing a search I found this askme answer that looks like it probably still holds up for durham.

Carrboro is a sweet community on its own. If I weren't entirely priced out of it, I'd buy there and have to switch jobs so that I didn't have even MORE of a commute than I do now. It's walkable (and people walk it), and overall very cool.
posted by Stewriffic at 9:44 AM on April 16, 2008


If you're in tech, be mindful of the commute into Research Triangle Park, where many of the jobs are. I like living in Raleigh, but the infrastructure is colossally overloaded due to all the immigrants (local joke: Cary stands for "containment area for relocated Yankees"). Big drought now too.
posted by futility closet at 9:46 AM on April 16, 2008


Yeah, I'm with futility closet about commute consideration.

If you're working in RTP, it's way better for you to live in Durham than Raleigh because D-->RTP is reverse traffic. R-->RTP is always stopped on 40, and and D-->RTP isn't. I commute from Durham to Cameron Village area in Raleigh. It's a 25 mile drive, and I get there in 30 minutes.
posted by Stewriffic at 9:54 AM on April 16, 2008


The area north of NCSU (Cameron Village) also contains a lot of students, but quite a lot of it is large, old houses still housing wealthy families with Raleigh-founding last names. The tree-lined streets are pretty, the whole area is very walking friendly, with easy access to the "college row" of stuff on Hillsborough St. The houses are pricey. Historical note: Cameron Village was the first "mall" in North Carolina and was once a bit of a tourist attraction. You can still buy a surprising amount of stuff there. The trend of expensive, large houses on tree-lined streets continues north of NCSU past Meredith College and northeast really all the way to the country club and the Crabtree Valley area.

I used to live in that area nearly three decades ago and look on it fondly...
posted by konolia at 3:39 PM on April 16, 2008


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