Many millennials have picked Raleigh, North Carolina to put down roots, as the city is home to an ever-growing population of young professionals in search of exciting things to do and see. The question is where is the best place to live in Raleigh, NC for young professionals?
Other than being known for its affordable rent, Raleigh is also a job-hunter’s paradise. Dubbed the “Triangle,” Raleigh, along with Chapel Hill and Durham, surrounds Research Triangle Park — a business complex containing more than 140 organizations employing about 38,000 people. Its noteworthy employers include stalwarts such as IBM, along with fast-growing upstarts such as Red Hat. But it’s not all work, work, work…
Here’s the thing, many people have a tendency toward tunnel vision when they’re just getting settled into their careers. It makes sense – you want to work hard and climb the corporate ladder. It’s easy to neglect details such as the part of city you should live in and how a certain neighborhood can complement your work-life balance.
For that reason, our list of the best neighborhoods to live in Raleigh, NC focuses on the parts of town most suited to young professionals.
How Walkable Is It: Very
Neighborhood Highlight: NOFO
Located just northwest of downtown, Five Points is an urban neighborhood packed with homegrown movie theaters, health-conscious restaurants and a locally famous coffee shop, so there’s always a variety of things to do.
As one of the best places to live in Raleigh, NC for young professionals, Five Points is imminently walkable (scoring a 76 on WalkScore). That means hidden Raleigh gems such as Larry’s Coffee are never more than a jog or short Uber ride away. Aside from coffee, Larry’s is the sort of energy-efficient business more neighborhoods need.
Other notable Five Points outings include the Rialto, a second-run movie theater that hosts classic movie nights and caters to the beer and wine crowd. Aside from popular eateries such as Snoopy ’s Hot Dogs, Bloomsbury Bistro and Lily’s Pizza, Five Points is home to North Fourth, known around town as NOFO. NOFO is comprised of an eclectic gift store, health-conscious food market and award-winning art gallery.
Also considering its host of independent breweries, escape rooms and locally sourced gardens, Five Points provides an ideal mix of entertainment and culture.
How Walkable Is It: Not Very
Neighborhood Highlight: East Meets West
Ranked the No. 1 suburb for millennials, Morrisville is among Raleigh’s best neighborhoods for young professionals to consider. Yes, it’s technically a suburb, but with 14% of Morrisville’s population falling within an age range of 25-34 years old, the neighborhood is chockfull of like-minded millennials in the early stages of their careers.
This picturesque part of town is filled with plenty of parks, including Morrisville Community Park, Crabtree Creek Nature Park, and Indian Creek Greenway and Trailhead. Go for a stroll with your pup or grab your bike and enjoy the scenery. If you tire of the outdoors, Morrisville’s Cipher Escape and Triangle Rock Club offer robust indoor activity for all ages.
One of Morrisville’s highlights is a September festival known as East Meets West. It’s a celebration of the neighborhood’s diversity, where the community gathers around local food, arts and music.
How Walkable Is It: Very
Neighborhood Highlight: The Shopping
This particular neighborhood is dubbed Raleigh’s new “Midtown.” In the 1960s, the North Hills neighborhood was made up of multiple ranch homes and an enclosed shopping mall. Today, the sprawling North Hills has grown to include a mix of offices, restaurants, shops, homes and hotels. In fact, it’s one of Raleigh’s fastest-growing neighborhoods for both prospective renters and homebuyers.
As far as employment goes, most people in North Hills hold positions in management, typically within business and financial operations. It’s no wonder the median household income in North Hills nearly doubles that of Raleigh, at $107,345 versus $64,456.
North Hills’ higher-income population coupled with its high-growth community is why North Hills is considered Raleigh’s “shopping haven.” As such, North Hills boasts more than 130 businesses, ranging from handcrafted breweries to designer clothing shops. If you’re looking for an area that has it all, North Hills is a contender for best place to live in Raleigh, NC for young professionals.
How Walkable Is It: The Best
Neighborhood Highlight: Fayetteville Street
Downtown Raleigh is the city’s business district and, with a walk score of 91, it’s the most walkable location in the metro area. It’s also the neighborhood that’s most engrossed in Raleigh’s city life, providing an Instagram-worthy skyline and plenty of restaurants and bars.
Comprised of Glenwood South, Capital District, Warehouse District, Moore Square and Fayetteville Street, the Downtown area is an arts and entertainment hub. Fayetteville, in particular, is a highly trafficked hot spot for its state capitol on one end and banks, offices, cafes, museums, restaurants and bars on the other.
With plenty of young professionals looking to blow off steam, Downtown bristles with energy on weekend nights and City Plaza comes alive with events and festivals.
It’s not all high energy, though … low-key residents can find the Raleigh Farmers Market right in the middle of everything, where they can enjoy fresh produce and baked goods.
How Walkable Is It: Decent
Neighborhood Highlight: NC State University
If you haven’t guessed, the NC State neighborhood is centered on North Carolina State University. And because NC State freshmen aren’t expected to remain on campus, the surrounding neighborhood is filled with students and young professionals alike.
Aside from being home to North Carolina’s largest university, NC State is among Raleigh’s fastest-appreciating neighborhoods. It’s also the most active.
One of the neighborhood’s highlights is the Cameron Village shopping center, where many young professionals will buy their first outfit for work and meet coworkers for drinks after-hours.
Looking to do some networking? Check out Hillsborough Street, which is the central hub for social activity. Students from NC State and Meredith College typically gather here to enjoy the bevy of coffee shops, restaurants and bars.
The street also hosts events, including Art It Up!, which showcases the thriving arts community in North Carolina, making it one of the best neighborhoods to live in Raleigh, NC.