As part of the Research Triangle (along with Durham and Chapel Hill), Raleighites are an educated group. The city is a nearly permanent resident of several “Best of” lists in reputable magazines including Forbes, Money, and MSNBC due to its business opportunities and quality of life. It's also a wonderful place to visit.
Best Time to Visit Raleigh, NC
Raleigh is delightful in all four seasons. Winters are generally short and cool; rarely frigid. Average winter temps in January are around 41 degrees. The city occasionally gets a dusting of snow. April is the driest month and is a nice time to enjoy the spring blooms. It's also the month of the Raleigh Rock 'n Roll Marathon. Book a hotel room early if your trip coincides with it.
Summers are hot and humid. July's average is around 80 degrees, but it can feel much hotter from the humidity. Fall is the driest season and offers an array of reds and golds. The city's nickname is the "City of Oaks," and at no point is the name more fitting than when those majestic trees put on their dazzling fall display.
Fall and spring are the best times to visit due to the smaller crowds (unless there's an event at North Carolina State University), moderate temps, and a host of festivals. However, if you're a basketball fan, NCSU basketball (and three other major teams within driving distance) will give you a reason to visit the city at the least expensive time. Unlike some vacation destinations, Raleigh doesn't have a season where hotels increase rates astronomically. Late fall and winter provide slight decreases in room rates, but the city is affordable year-round.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Raleigh, NC:
Raleigh, NC: Prices by Star Rating Class
Below we've posted 3 graphs illustrating avg. nightly cost patterns by star rating class in Raleigh, NC. Browse these illustrations to evaluate the cheapest time period to book in Raleigh for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Raleigh, NC
4 Star Average Prices: $158.86
Raleigh also has a nice choice of luxury accommodations away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. The Umstead Hotel and Spa offers luxurious surroundings, which features lush, park-like grounds that spill over into the design of the hotel's interior. Its tranquil, lake-side setting makes it the perfect spot to refresh, but be ready to want to stay. The Hilton North Raleigh Midtown offers contemporary lodging and an indoor pool. It also features a bar/grill and complimentary airport shuttle. The Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel has ample room to spread out in its oversized rooms. Guests can enjoy the indoor pool, fitness center, and two restaurants.
If you want to stay downtown, Aloft Raleigh offers a modern, trendy setting and an outdoor pool. There are also several hotels near the convention center, including the Raleigh Marriott City Center and the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel.
Affordable Hotel Options in Raleigh, NC
3 Star Average Prices: $104.90
The traveler looking for even greater savings should aim to stay outside of downtown, between Interstate 440 and 540, for the best deals. There are several well-known chain hotels, including Days Inn Glenwood-Crabtree, La Quinta Inn & Suites, and Quality Inn, with rooms between $50-$80 per night.
However, keep in mind the money you save on your stay may be spent paying for parking if you plan on spending a good bit of your vacation downtown. Raleigh instituted a $5 flat parking fee in the four lots downtown on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m.-7 a.m. Those who get in before 5 on Friday pay $1 per half hour, up to $12, and then $5 additionally for any time they are there after 5 p.m. Saturdays are free from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. On-street parking is free after 5.
If you don't want to worry about parking, the Days Inn Raleigh Downtown offers rooms for well under $100 a night. Kids stay free in their parents' room. Breakfast is included, and they don't charge for parking. It's less than a 10-minute walk to the North Carolina Museum of Natural History.
2 Star Average Prices: $71.57
Raleigh: Real Discounts
Raleigh is an economical town for vacation, but it never hurts to look for even deeper discounts. Most hotel chains offer a AAA discount of some sort. Government discounts are less common; perhaps being the state capital, much of their "business" is government, and hotels recognize this as a large part of the visitor population.
The Holiday Inn Raleigh Downtown — Capital offers a 9 percent discount rate if you book in advance. While it doesn't offer AAA or a government discount, it is under $130 a night for a fall stay. The Days Inn Raleigh Downtown offers a AAA discount and free breakfast and Wi-Fi. If you're willing to pay at the time of booking, you'll receive an even deeper discount and pay less than $80 for the evening's stay.
Best Value Options in Raleigh, NC
The hotels around the convention center and those with meeting rooms book plenty of room blocks and offer discounts based on the size of your group. However, they also have a lot of fees like parking, breakfast, refrigerator use, and others since they largely cater to people on expense accounts. The Embassy Suites Raleigh-Crabtree is an all-suite hotel with plenty of room to stretch out. It's located in the heart of Raleigh's shopping district, offers free parking, and is less than five miles from North Hills. They have a free nightly manager's reception and a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast all for about $150 a night.
If you prefer to save even more money, staying by the airport is a good idea. The Cambria Suites Raleigh Durham Airport is an all-suites hotel located less than two miles from the airport. It has an airport shuttle service, dining options, a pool, Internet access, and a fitness center for about $80.
Top Raleigh, NC Destinations
In addition to the rich history of a state capital, Raleigh offers a number of free things to enjoy. Yes, free. The North Carolina Museum of Art is a treat for art lovers. The pieces pop against gleaming white walls of the gallery and provide an attention-grabbing contrast. The grounds play host to beautiful sculpture and lush gardens. You'll find as much beauty outside of this free museum as you will inside.
The Neuse River Trail (aka the Raleigh Greenway) meanders along the Neuse River, through wetlands and woods. It's a delightful and picturesque stretch for jogging, bike riding, or walking. Locals also love Pullen Park, which is next to North Carolina State University. Don't miss the bronze statue of “Andy and Opie” as well as the old-fashioned carousel.
It's hard to believe The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is free, and even its café offers reasonably priced items (a big contrast from most museum dining). There are fascinating local exhibits like "Coastal Carolina” and an enormous whale skeleton. Visit the "Living Conservatory" and be amazed by the beauty of the live butterflies.
One of the most enjoyable things about Raleigh is the many festivals it hosts every year. The city is known for its hospitality and sense of community, and nowhere is that more clear than in its festivals and unique outdoor events. February brings the Krispy Kreme Challenge, a delicious marriage of “physical fitness and gastrointestinal fortitude.” The goal is to run five miles and eat 12 doughnuts in an hour. Proceeds go to North Carolina Children's Hospital.
Raleigh has a strong shop-local movement. Every year, Shop Local Raleigh presents the Brewgaloo block party, which features dozens of breweries, food trucks, live music, and beer sold by the pint or the taste. The party goes on for two days, and it's a fabulous celebration of the city.
The North Carolina State Fair is also held in Raleigh during the middle part of October. It's a great place to enjoy the agriculture and livestock of North Carolina as well as all of those scrumptious fried, fair foods. It's the perfect venue to start stretching the stomach and getting “in shape” for the Krispy Kreme Challenge.
Raleigh's undeniable cool vibe has made it a top place to live and visit, from the trendy Warehouse district to the many craft breweries. Its vast, green expanses are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and provide a laid-back, relaxing setting for any vacation. But, don't write off Raleigh as just a place to eat, drink, and stroll. There's plenty going on with cultural arts and four large universities in the area.
Visitors are also impressed by the many free attractions in this city. From museums to gardens, you can spend an entire weekend not paying for any entertainment here. Hotels are also extremely reasonable for a capital city in an eastern state. Whether you're looking for non-stop action or quiet, contemplative times for your next vacation, Raleigh is a good choice.
'Covetous ambition thinking all too little which presently it hath, supposeth itself to stand in need of all which it hath not, were the words of Sir Walter Raleigh, the legend the city he was named after. The capital of North Caroline has a humid subtropical climate. Many of the world's biggest corporations have headquarters in Raleigh. It's a multi cultural city, with a unique identity and many great attractions for tourists.
Medium priced accommodation in Raleigh
Raleigh is vast city with quite a few cheap hotels. There are over about 300 cheap hotels that you can choose from, all with affordable rates and some offering service comparable to higher class hotels. Most of them offer standard services that include well furnished rooms, fitted with high speed wireless internet, cable connected flat screen TVs, private kitchens with coffee making machines, laundry services and 24 hour front desk help. Many will serve free breakfast every morning and offer meals in the on-site restaurants. There is airport pickup and transfer services and most extend free parking to their guests.
Hotels in Raleigh that offer the mentioned things are Wingate by Wydham State Arena, Residence Inn Raleigh Midtown, Candlewood Suites Raleigh Crabtree and Hampton Inn & Suites. The latter is located very close to the airport and offers direct shuttle services to the terminals at the airport and the shops at Brier Creek Commons. The city center is only 5 miles away and other important destinations in town including other Raleigh hotels.
Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh is located at a very convenient location. Guests can watch many great events - from mega band concerts, NCAA basketball games and pro hockey - at the PNC Arena that is just 2 miles away from the hotel.
VIP class stays in Raleigh
There are a lot of hotels in Raleigh that offer top notch services to suit the demands of high end guests. Doubletree Hilton Hotel takes luxury to a whole new level with sleek furniture and chic palettes, HDTV flat screens connected to cable television, and private balconies in all of its 190 rooms. Its on-site bar and grill is open 24 hours a day with a pantry market nearby where you can be served of any drink you can think of. If you want to work out, there is a 24 hour fitness center equipped with state of the art facilities. Parking is free of charge in this hotel.
Renaissance Raleigh Hotel at North Hills, Raleigh Marriott City Center, Embassy Suites Hotel Raleigh- Crabtree, Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley and Hilton North Raleigh- Midtown are other lavish Raleigh hotels that offer world class services.
Main tourist attractions in Raleigh
The city has a lot of interesting places tourists can visit. It is known for the world class museums like the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Contemporary Art Museum. There are a lot of concert halls that you can visit and enjoy such as the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Koka Booth Amphitheatre and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The town also has 3 major shopping malls, prominent shopping areas and several local boutiques that sell everything from souvenirs to electronics.