You might not have even heard of Raleigh, North Carolina, particularly if you aren’t American. It’s the capital of North Carolina and the second-largest city in the state. Raleigh offers a unique combination of modern convenience and busyness with historic charm. It has a lot to offer every kind of traveler, from foodies to people who love the outdoors, travelers with kids, and history buffs.
Raleigh definitely isn’t on most people’s travel bucket list, so you might have trouble working out where to stay in Raleigh for your first time or even on a return trip. But whatever your travel preferences, budget, or style, we’ve solved that problem and found the best neighborhoods for any traveler.
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Raleigh?
- Where to stay in Raleigh first time – Downtown
- Where to stay in Raleigh on a budget – Crabtree Valley
- Best neighborhood in Raleigh for families – Oakwood
- Best area to stay in Raleigh for nightlife – University Park
- The Coolest place to stay in Raleigh – North Hills
Where to Stay in Raleigh
Modern Guest Suite
- Wifi and TV
- Free parking on premises
- Dedicated workspace
Friendly, newly renovated, and private, this guest suite is a budget-friendly option for couples or friends. It has a private bathroom and bedroom as well as a private entrance and is located in a quiet neighborhood close to the city center. All the essentials are provided and the suite has air conditioning to make the really hot and cold days more bearable.
Renovated Raleigh Bungalow
- Indoor fireplace
- Washing machine
- Free parking on premises
This bright and clean bungalow is perfect if you’re trying to decide where to stay in Raleigh for families. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms as well as a fully equipped kitchen. The bungalow has been newly renovated to exacting standards and has a private deck with a fenced-in backyard. It’s in a quiet neighborhood too, so you’ll enjoy the really local feel during your stay.
La Quinta Inn & Suites Downtown
- 1 swimming pool
- Family rooms
- Tea/coffee maker in all rooms
Located in the best neighborhood in Raleigh close to everything, this hotel is within a few miles of the Raleigh Flea Market and Marsh Creek Park and is surrounded by shops and restaurants. On-site, there’s a fitness center, laundry service, business center, and a mini-mart just in case you need a late-night snack and don’t want to go far.
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Raleigh.
Raleigh Neighborhood Guide
You might have a bit of trouble finding the best places to stay in Raleigh, just because it’s catered more towards locals than tourists. However, you’ll still find some great and convenient accommodation options in the city, you just need to know where to look!
If you’re trying to find the best neighborhood in Raleigh close to everything, then check out the city’s Downtown area. It’s fairly affordable and offers easy access to restaurants, shops, and coffee shops.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, then look for somewhere to stay in Crabtree Valley. This is a more local area where there’s a huge mall that will satisfy all of your food and shopping needs.
Oakwood is an up and coming area that’s the best neighborhood in Raleigh for families because of its historic features, quieter atmosphere, and easy access to the city center.
If you’re looking for great nightlife, you can’t go past University Park, the student-centred part of the city. As you might expect, this is a lively area with a lot to offer, including pubs and bars.
And the final area to look at is the rapidly expanding North Hills. Something is always changing in this part of the city and it offers a great mix of outdoor activities and entertainment options.
Raleigh’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
There are lots of great neighborhoods in Raleigh, but here are some of the best for tourists.
Where to stay in Raleigh first time
COOLEST thing to do in Downtown – Experience the delicious history of chocolate at the Videri Chocolate Factory.
BEST place to visit in Downtown – Check out one of the local’s secrets at the Juniper Level Botanic Garden, open just 8 weekends a year.
Downtown is the best neighborhood in Raleigh close to everything. It’s affordable and offers the best coffee shops, clubs, bars, and shops in the city. And if you’re looking to explore as much of the city as possible while you’re in Raleigh, it will be easy to do from this center point as the transport links are ideal.
- Visit Pullen Park, one of the world’s oldest amusement parks.
- Check out what’s on at the Theatre In The Park in Pullen Park.
- Head out of the city to enjoy family-friendly outdoor activities at the Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve.
- Take the kids to the Marbles Kids Museum to play with the exhibits.
- Learn more about the state’s African American citizens at the Pope House Museum.
- Have a snack and a drink at Killjoy, the Raleigh Beer Garden, or Taverna Agora Greek Kitchen & Bar.
- Eat until you burst at the Morgan Street Food Hall.
Best Airbnb in Downtown
Within walking distance of all of Downtown’s best attractions, this apartment is attached to a larger home but offers total privacy. It has a private bathroom and bedroom plus lots of amenities like free Wi-Fi, a toaster oven, and coffee maker, and can host up to 4 guests.
Planning to stay in Raleigh a while? You’ll want to know about the best day trips in the area!
Best High End Airbnb in Downtown
Close to the city center, this newly renovated townhouse has a sleek, modern style that would suit any sophisticated traveler. It has two bedrooms and 1.5 baths and there’s a bathtub in the full bathroom. The apartment also has a deck where you can sit and have a drink and watch the sun go down over the city.
Best Budget Hotel in Downtown
Budget-friendly, comfortable, and located right in the center of town, this hotel is ideal for all types of travelers. Workout in the fitness center, hold meetings in the business center, or just wash your clothes and relax with a movie, this hotel has everything you’ll need for your stay. There are even shops in the same building so you don’t have to go anywhere to spend some money!
Best Luxury Hotel in Downtown
With great reviews, this hotel is close to everything. The rooms are relaxed, comfortable, and subtly welcoming and each member of staff is dedicated to making each visitor’s stay special. The hotel has a fitness center, laundry services, and meeting facilities and the rooms contain all the usual amenities and come in a variety of sizes.
Editor’s Note: If you’ll be in Raleigh, check out the top things to do in Raleigh during your visit!
Where to stay in Raleigh on a budget
COOLEST thing to do in Crabtree Valley – Go jogging or cycling along the Crabtree Creek Trail.
BEST place to visit in Crabtree Valley – Visit the sprawling mall for mid-range fashion and some of the best local eating places.
Crabtree Valley is north of the Downtown area and is a more local area where you’ll find shops and restaurants that cater to locals. This is what makes it the best neighborhood to stay in Raleigh if you are on a budget. The most popular attraction in the neighborhood is the mall of the same name, a great place to hang out, eat local food, and pick up some essentials without breaking the bank.
Crabtree Valley also has great transport links to the center of the city, so you won’t have to miss out on all the tourist attractions when you base yourself in this area.
- Relax with a drink at the Crabtree Ale House or J. Alexander’s Restaurant.
- See a show at The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Show.
- Head up to the Falls Lake Recreational Area for sensational hiking and outdoor experiences.
- Get out of the city with the kids for educational gardens, sports fields, hiking trails, a grill area and a playground at Blue Jay Point County Park.
- Explore nature from the treetops at the Go Ape Zipline & Adventure Park.
Best Airbnb in Crabtree Valley
This guest suite is a good choice if you’re trying to decide where to stay in Raleigh on a budget. It has enough space for up to two guests and has its own private entrance. It’s also environmentally friendly, with a solar array, extra insulation, and low emissivity windows throughout. It’s also close to the heart of Downtown and to the Crabtree Valley Mall, so you can walk anywhere you need to go.
Best High End Airbnb in Crabtree Valley
Located close to the Crabtree Valley Mall with all its shops, restaurants, and cafes, this townhouse is spread over two floors and suitable for 2 guests. It has a master bedroom upstairs and downstairs is a full kitchen and back deck where you can sit and enjoy a coffee. There’s also a home gym in the townhouse in case you want to work off all that holiday food!
Best Budget hotel in Crabtree Valley
Within a few miles of the Crabtree Valley Mall and several parks, including the Lassiter Mill Historic Park, this hotel is a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Raleigh close to everything. The rooms are apartment-style, with kitchen facilities, a sitting and working area, and a separate bedroom, and come in a range of sizes to suit every travel group.
Best Luxury Hotel in Crabtree Valley
Ideal when you’re trying to decide where to stay in Raleigh for couples or with friends, this hotel is ideally situated in Crabtree Valley. It has a fitness center, laundry and concierge services, and a business center. You can also hire a bike from the hotel to help you get around and there’s a mini-mart on-site for late-night snacks.
Best neighborhood in Raleigh for families
COOLEST thing to do in Oakwood – Take the kids to see the exhibits at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
BEST place to visit in Oakwood – The Mordecai Historical Park for the birthplace of President Andrew Johnson, a museum, and trolley tours.
Oakwood has a bit of a shady history. It dates back to the 1800s and has only recently been developed. It’s now a safe and interesting place to visit and to base yourself during your trip to Raleigh. It’s also the best neighborhood in Raleigh for families because of its relaxed feel and peaceful atmosphere.
This neighborhood is lined with incredible old oak trees, which only add to the southern feel and charm. Oakwood is also just a short walk from all the attractions of the Downtown area and is popular amongst professionals and young families.
- Wander into the Downtown to explore.
- Eat at popular restaurants like Side Street, Bojangles, or the Yellow Dog Bread Company.
- Wander around the beautiful and only slightly creepy Oakwood Cemetery.
- See a show at the Burning Coal Theater Company.
- Take a tour of the North Carolina Executive Mansion to see Queen Anne architecture and amazing woodwork.
- Marvel at the beautiful southern architecture of The Merrimon-Wynne House.
- Check out the North Carolina State Capitol, rebuilt in 1840 after a fire that gutted the original building.
Best Airbnb in Oakwood
Suitable for 2 guests, this brand new studio apartment is in the heart of Oakwood and a short walk from some of the best shops and restaurants in the Downtown area. It’s completely private, with a separate entrance and kitchenette as well as AC and heating. If you’re looking for an apartment in the best neighborhood in Raleigh, this is it.
Best High End Airbnb in Oakwood
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Raleigh for families, this is a good choice. It’s suitable for up to 5 guests and offers charming, comfortable surroundings just a short walk from the center of the city. There are a full kitchen and office in the home and you’ll have complete privacy during your stay.
Best Budget Hotel in Oakwood
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Raleigh on a budget, then look no further. This two-star hotel is close to Oakwood, the center of town, and just a few minutes from local attractions. It offers all the usual amenities as well as laundry services and evening entertainment to keep you busy even on nights when you don’t feel like going out.
Best Luxury Hotel in Oakwood
If you want to be close to Oakwood and to the center of the city and stay in a place that offers those little extra touches of luxury, this is the hotel for you. With contemporary and unique touches, the hotel is within walking distance of popular city attractions. There’s a bar, Starbucks, and restaurant on-site, and lots of amenities in the rooms like modern workspaces.
Best area to stay in Raleigh for nightlife
COOLEST thing to do in University Park – See a baseball game at the Doak Field at Dail Park.
BEST place to visit in University Park – Marvel at the architectural wonder that is the James B. Hunt Library, said to be one of the most advanced libraries in the world.
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Raleigh for nightlife, then the university area is a good bet. University Park is close enough to the city’s Downtown to be convenient but also offers a uniquely young feel and attractions. You’ll find several bars and restaurants in this area, as well as plenty of outdoor areas and sporting facilities.
- Relax at the Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden.
- Grab a meal at Tupelo Honey or enjoy food with a game and single-malt Scotch at the Players’ Retreat.
- Check out the exhibits at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design.
- Head out for hiking, camping, and horse riding at the William B. Umstead State Park.
- Get some beautiful pictures at the WRAL Azalea Garden.
Best Airbnb in University Park
Set up for 2 guests, this apartment is newly renovated with a thoroughly updated kitchen, modern bathroom with walk-in shower, and washer and dryer. it’s located in Cameron Village, which offers great shopping and restaurants as well as other amenities that will make your stay more convenient.
Best High End Airbnb in University Park
With room for up to 4 guests, this condo is close to the Downtown area and has 2 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. It’s totally updated, bright and cheerful, and features a fully equipped kitchen, free parking, and flat screen TV with full streaming services.
Best Budget Hotel in University Park
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Raleigh on a budget, then take a look at this choice, close to the university and the Downtown area. This is a hotel that’s designed to show you a good time, with a games room, evening entertainment, board games, pool table, and fitness center on-site. Each room also has a patio where you can get out and enjoy a bit of sunlight in your own private space.
Best Luxury Hotel in University Park
Located close to University Park, this hotel offers a touch of luxury at a reasonable price. It has a fitness center, a bar, a restaurant, and rooms that include a bathtub and all the amenities you’ll need during your stay.
The Coolest place to stay in Raleigh
COOLEST thing to do in North Hills – Make sure you wander around the outdoor park at the North Carolina Museum of art to enjoy outdoor artwork and hiking trails.
BEST place to visit in North Hills – Check out what’s on at Midtown Park.
There’s always something going on in North Hills. This rapidly expanding area seems to change day by day, offering new attractions and a lively, infectious atmosphere. If you like to be busy and to be part of local life, then you can do both when you stay in this area. That’s what makes it a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Raleigh for your first time, or even on a return trip.
- Grab your essentials at the Crabtree Valley Mall or hit the local restaurants there.
- Play a round of golf at the Carolina Country Club.
- Go running, walking, or biking on the Greenway.
- Spend a day at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
- Head to the Ritz Nightclub for rock and country music.
- Browse the stalls at the Midtown Farmers’ Market.
- Have a meal at Coquette, Stir, or Bahama Breeze.
Best Airbnb in North Hills
Within walking distance of North Hills, this private suite for two has its own private driveway and entrance. It’s in a quiet, local area surrounded by trees and offers a peaceful base during your stay in Raleigh. The space includes a fully equipped kitchenette, private bathroom, sitting area, and bedroom.
Best High-End Airbnb in North Hills
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Raleigh for families, then look no further. This 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house has room for up to 6 guests. It’s in a quiet residential neighborhood that’s close to local shops and restaurants. The yard on the property is fully fenced and there’s plenty of off-street parking that you can use. Basically, this is the ideal spot for a family looking for a safe and relaxing time in Raleigh.
Best Budget hotel in North Hills
This hotel is ideal when you’re trying to decide where to stay in Raleigh for families. It offers child-care services as well as a fitness center and large, comfortable rooms with all the amenities. It also has 24-hour security and an airport shuttle so you can make your plane without any problems.
Best Luxury Hotel in North Hills
Stately and subtly refined, this hotel is close to local attractions and offers a bar and restaurant and even a kid-friendly buffet. There’s a fitness center on-site and the rooms have access to a streaming service in case you need a quiet night with your favorite show. Laundry services are available and the hotel has a mini-mart for snacks.
Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Stay in Raleigh
You might not have ever thought about traveling to Raleigh. But if you want to see something besides all the attractions that everyone else has seen, get pictures and memories that no one else has, then it’s time to get away from the usual cities. It’s time to visit a place with all the history, interesting atmosphere, great food, and friendly people that you could ever want without the crowds of tourists.
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