The NY Times did it—but we'll do you one better! Offline is bringing you the real 36 Hours from the perspective of true Raleighites. First up—Chana Lynn, the face behind RaleighWhatsUp, taking you on a tour of her favorite spots to eat, drink and shop in a weekend.
Dip out of work early and grab a light lunch in the heart of downtown at Lucettegrace patisserie. You’ll munch on savory Basque baguettes, delightful signature pastries, and caffeinate with a signature cup of coffee from Larry’s Beans. The cases are filled with curious, colorful desserts—they’re like little works of art. Grab a couple to take home with you—you deserve it.
Head over to Person Street for a little sipping and boutique shopping. Wine Authorities has top notch wine and locally produced cheeses, chocolates from Escazu and Videri, Raleigh’s own chocolate factories, and much more—they make for great souvenirs or gifts for your foodie friends.
Head over to Nickelpoint Brewing for a beer (my go-to is the Nickelpoint Porter) and kickback on the patio. This is a great place to relax, play cornhole, and mingle with the local crowd—all under the sweet NC sunshine.
Getting the dinner munchies? Treat yourself to a casual dinner at Lilly’s in Five Points. Lilly’s is a Raleigh classic—super laid back, quirky interior, easy ordering and tasty pizza.
End the evening with a bang. Clockwork is one of my late-night favorites: the DJ spins awesome retro tunes, the drinks are interesting (especially the names!) and the mod décor is outstanding—you know a place is special when the bathrooms are worth checking out! When the weather permits, the whole front of the bar becomes an open-air patio. Good vibes all around.
Happy Saturday! Venture into North Raleigh and stop in at Sola Coffee Café. They’re famed for their hot-mini donuts, so order up and get a latte while you’re at it! If you’re there on the second Saturday of the month, you’re in luck! They have a fabulous Pop Up Market with unique handmade items from local vendors.
Don’t miss the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Museum’s Art Park. This is one of my favorite places in Raleigh, and it’s free! Stroll through the West Building and be sure to step outside and see the Rodin Garden.
Don’t leave without checking out the Art Park. Follow the trail around the Museum and keep your eyes peeled for lots of fun and surprising pieces along the way.
Back at it! Trophy Brewing Co. is a must for pizza and beer. The outdoor patio is amazing, but a seat inside is just as good—trophies line the walls and the bartenders are amazing! Trophy serves up some of the most delicious pizzas in town, not to mention great small batch brews, and all of their items are named with superlatives or clever monikers. I always go for the Trophy Wife, an easy drinking American Pale Ale.
Can you tell I love to drink local? Just down the street from Trophy Brewing is Boylan Bridge Brewpub—known for some of the best views of the city skyline as well as a fantastic outdoor patio.
I love finding all the shopping spots in downtown Raleigh! Walk over to Father & Sons and take a trip down memory lane with three stories of vintage and antiques. You’ll find funky clothes, groovy furniture and—BONUS!— if you’re into vinyl make your way upstairs.
Garland is truly one of my favorite places to dine in downtown Raleigh. The global menu is seasonal and features fresh ingredients and tons of flavor. The interior is warm and beautiful. I’d suggest making reservations and I highly recommend ordering the Bo Ssam plate!
Depending on who’s in town, try to catch a show at Red Hat Amphitheater. This outdoor venue offers the best of both worlds—it brings in big name acts, but still offers an intimate setting. You’ll also get stunning views of the Cree Shimmer Wall, a colossal mural dedicated to the Oak City.
You must go to Bittersweet on Martin Street. If you’re looking for a wild night, this isn’t the spot. It’s cozy, the staff are fun and make late night hanging out the best! Try a fancy cocktail, sip on a glass of champagne and treat yourself to a fancy dessert. Can’t think of a better way to end the night. Don’t forget to ask for Tony!
It’s brunch time! There are tons of great places in Raleigh to have Sunday Brunch and it’s hard to pick just one. Tazza Kitchen in Cameron Village is a constant win, and serves up a terrific meal. Hope you’re not tired of pizza yet, because the Oak City delivers delicious pies for breakfast too. They don’t take reservations, but if you call ahead they’ll do their best to shorten any wait time.
Walk off brunch by taking a stroll around Cameron Village. Make sure you pop in to Moon & Lola for great jewelry and Furbish Studio for stylish home accessories. Both shops recently relocated to Cameron Village, so they’re basically brand spankin’ new.
Make your way down Hillsborough St. to State of Beer, one of Raleigh’s newest bottle shops owned by seasoned brewers. Grab a drink there or get a 32 oz. crowler (can + growler) to enjoy at home. Raleigh is full of great places, with more opening every month. I hope you enjoy my list of Raleigh favorites and they inspire you to add a few new spots to yours!