$10 Travel: Raleigh, NC


$10 Travel: Raleigh, NC

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Each month, Drawl Magazine will highlight a Southern location with a list of restaurants, bars, and attractions to visit for less than $10. What better place to start than Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina and home of Drawl Magazine?

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Raleigh, a relatively small city of just over 400,000 people, is not typically considered a tourist destination. It is, however, one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S. and we definitely understand why. With its mild climate, beautiful landscape, vibrant downtown, and friendly people, the City of Oaks is a great place to be. Whether you find yourself planning a trip to our town or you’re just passing through, check out of a few our must-sees that are not only exclusive to Raleigh, but also under ten bucks!

  1. J.C. Raulston Arboretum
    4415 Beryl Rd.

    Price: Free

    Photo credit: Amanda Odum

    J.C. Raulston Arboretum is ten sprawling acres of plants and trees from around the world. Created in 1976, the park is part of the N.C. State University Department of Horticultural Science, and is maintained and used for research by students, faculty, and volunteers. Best of all, these nationally acclaimed gardens are open every day and admission and parking are free. In addition, free tours are offered at 2:00 PM every Sunday, March through October.
  2. North Carolina Museum of Art
    2110 Blue Ridge Rd.

    Price: Free

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    The North Carolina Museum of Art offers visitors free access to not only its impressive permanent collection, but also the 160-acre Museum Park, filled with art installations, picnic areas, creeks, and trails for exploring. Though the museum has limited hours (T-Th and Sa-Su, 10-5, and Friday, 10-9), the park is open every day from dawn until dusk. In addition, the museum hosts great outdoor concerts and films during the summer months, many of which cost only $3. Dining and shopping are also available daily, though they may exceed your $10 budget.

    Insider tip: Pets are welcome in the museum park!

  3. Umstead Park
    8801 Glenwood Ave.

    Price: Free

    Photo credit: Amanda Odum

    If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, 5,579-acre Umstead Park will be your go-to Raleigh destination. Bring your horse or mountain bike and ride the thirteen miles of secluded bridle and bike trails, or bring your dog and hike one of the many foot trails that are available. If conquering terrain isn’t your thing, rent a rowboat at Big Lake for $5 and paddle the day away, or cast a line for bass, bluegill, and crappie. If you’re interested in natural history and wildlife, be sure to check out the Exhibit Hall on your way in or out.

    Insider tip: Not into pricey hotels? At Umstead Park, tent and trailer camping is available with restroom and shower facilities from March to December, and primitive camping, for you extra-outdoorsy types, is available year-round. Prices start at $20 per day.

  4. Oakwood Cemetery
    701 Oakwood Ave.

    Price: Free

    Photo credit: Amanda Odum

    History buffs take note! In the heart of Raleigh’s oldest neighborhood lies Oakwood Cemetery, a 144-year-old private graveyard. In addition to being a beautifully landscaped place for a walk, you’ll find the graves of numerous prominent Southern historical figures here, including Civil War generals, U.S. Senators, and innumerable state and local historical figures. Be sure to visit the Confederate Cemetery, home to over 1500 Civil War graves, and the nearby House of Memory.

    Insider tip: Pets are not allowed in Oakwood Cemetery! Also, the cemetery offers a variety of free guided tours throughout the year.

  5. N.C. Farmer’s Market
    1201 Agriculture St.

    Price: Free to visit

    The farmer’s market is open year round and offers an impressive selection of local produce, plants, canned goods, cheeses, meats, and baked goods. There are also two restaurants on site, one serving breakfast and lunch and the other serving up delicious fried NC seafood. The most vendors are present on Saturdays, but that’s also when the crowds are biggest.

    Insider tip: Come with cash to avoid the line at the one ATM on site; most vendors are cash only, though the restaurants accept plastic.

  6. Raleigh Rose Garden
    301 Pogue St.

    Price: Free

    We never promised you a rose garden, but you can visit one in Raleigh for free. (We beg your pardon for this egregious Lynn Andersonreference.) Conveniently located close to N.C. State’s campus and Cameron Village, this is a great place to escape for quiet and beauty. Bring a picnic lunch or catch an outdoor play, or simply sit on a bench and read. The numerous varieties of roses are beautiful when blooming.

    Insider tip: The Rose Garden is a popular location for weddings and other gatherings, so you may not be alone.

  7. First Friday
    Downtown Raleigh

    Price: Free

    First Friday is Raleigh’s own art walk. On the first Friday of every month, art galleries, museums, studios and alternative venues open their doors and welcome the public. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a leisurely evening stroll, a lot of local art, and some great downtown atmosphere. Tours are self-guided, and maps are provided at each stop. The event runs from 6 PM to 9 PM, and participating venues are marked with First Friday flags.

    Insider tip: Some downtown bars and restaurants also take part in First Friday and offer special discounts during the art walk. Be on the lookout for the First Friday markers to take advantage of these deals. Also, if First Friday falls on a major holiday, it will sometimes be moved to the next Friday.

  8. North Carolina State Fairgrounds
    1025 Blue Ridge Rd.

    Price: Free to visit, events vary

    Photo credit: Amanda Odum

    In addition to being the home of the fair in October, the N.C. State Fairgrounds host a variety of special events and trade shows year-round and the state’s largest flea market, open on weekends only. The location is also historically and architecturally important to North Carolina. The fair has been held in this spot since 1928 and many of the buildings are structurally significant. When you visit, be sure to stop by the renowned J.S. Dorton Arena, home of the Carolina Rollergirls and, beginning in 2012, the Carolina Aviators. Designed by the late N.C. State faculty member and famed architect Matthew Nowiski, this pillar of modern architecture was constructed in 1952 and is currently on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Insider tip: Don’t expect to find the flea market at all in October; it closes for business to allow for setup, operation, and removal of the State Fair. Also, for best selection at the flea market, visit early in the day. Leashed pets are welcome at the flea market.

  9. Escazu Chocolate
    936 S. Blount St.

    Price: Varies

    Escazu makes artisanal chocolate bars, hot chocolate, and truffles from scratch right in their shop. A whole chocolate bar will only set you back $5, and believe us, it’s worth it. In addition to their divine selection of confections, Escazu offers free tours of their workshop on the first Friday and Saturday of each month, and each tour includes a tasting! Space is limited, and tours fill up fast, so if possible, call ahead (919. 832.3433) and reserve your spot.
  10. Pam’s Farmhouse
    5111 Western Blvd.

    Price: Varies

    If you’re in the mood for country food, Pam’s Farmhouse is a must. Raleigh locals frequent the place for the cheap homecookin’ and the friendly atmosphere. When you go, you’ll notice that everybody knows each other, and everybody knows Pam, who usually mans the register. Don’t go to Pam’s looking for a fancified dining experience; the menus are handwritten, the servers wear shorts and tee-shirts, and the tablecloths… well, there aren’t any. Still, what Pam’s lacks in ambience, it more than makes up for in fine food and Southern hospitality.

    Insider tip: Pam’s Farmhouse accepts cash only; come prepared to avoid the ATM fee at the bar next door.

  11. The Roast Grill
    7 S. West St.

    Price: Varies

    Photo courtesy of The Roast Grill

    This Raleigh institution is easy to miss unless you catch the vintage sign reading “Hot Weiners” and know that it’s directly across the street from Flex, a local nightclub. This is the best place in Raleigh to get a hot dog and glass bottle of Coke or a beer. However, know going in that toppings and drink selections are limited. If you can go outside the lunch rush, sit at the counter for a dining experience you will swear is right out of 1950.

    Insider tip: The Roast Grill accepts cash only. Do not, under any circumstances, ask for toppings they don’t offer, and NEVER ASK FOR KETCHUP. This is extremely important.

  12. Neomonde Market & Deli
    3817 Beryl Rd.

    Price: Varies

    Love Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food? Neomonde Market and Deli should be your first stop in Raleigh. The Lebanese family that started this local favorite thirty years ago are still in the kitchen today, making pita bread and other delicious delicacies for their own café and other retailers up and down the east coast. Lunch on the patio at Neomonde is a great way to spend an afternoon, and ten dollars will get you generous portions of any entrée and two sides. If you can’t make it for a meal, still stop by and visit the market to pick up some Neomonde-baked bread and other Mediterranean delights at extremely reasonable prices.

    Insider tip: Don’t skip the hummus! It’s the best we’ve ever had.

  13. Clyde Cooper’s BBQ
    109 E. Davie St.

    Price: Varies

    No trip to North Carolina is complete without chowing down on some of our famous pulled pork barbecue. Cooper’s has provided the pig Eastern N.C.-style since 1938, and has even been voted one of the top ten barbecue joints in the country. Plan to visit on Monday through Saturday for lunch or an early dinner, because doors close at 6PM and there’s no ‘cue on Sunday.

    Insider tip: When you’re paying the bill, snag a bag of fresh pork rinds at the register.

  14. The Borough
    317 W. Morgan St., Ste. 117

    Price: Varies

    The Borough makes the best grilled cheese in Raleigh, known as the Uber Wisconsin, at a very affordable price. This sandwich can be customized with chicken, bacon, and even a giant hamburger (ask for the UberBrute), though that may take it out of the $10 or less price range. The cocktails are unique (try a PomBR -- a PBR with pomegranate) and the appetizers tasty, and The Borough’s friendly staff serve up delicacies till late in the night.

    Insider tip: On weekdays, The Borough offers half-price appetizers from 4-7! Come early or very late on weekends as the bar is full of the pre-club crowd from ten until about midnight.

  15. Foundation
    213 Fayetteville St., Ste. 10

    Price: Varies

    A bar that is quite literally underground, Foundation offers ambiance and a drink menu inversely proportional to the size of the bar. Their selection offers drinks for every budget and taste, and their seasonal special cocktails are not to be missed. While they do not serve meals, you can purchase Escazu chocolate to go with your wine or liquor.

    Insider tip: Come early; seats fill quickly.

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