by Ashley Beale

Welcome to the Triangle, originally named for the trio of significant research universities of NC State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but perhaps more widely used to describe cities of Raleigh and Durham and the town of Chapel Hill.

As the universities have grown and birthed major industrial and technological centers, the cities and town around them have also experienced a boom in entertainment, cultural events, restaurants, and more. In the Triangle, there is something for everyone.

1 . For The Concertgoer and Theater Buff

Whether you enjoy big name Broadway spectacles, a night out at the symphony, or an evening with your favorite comic, the Triangle has you covered. The Durham Performing Arts Center features the Suntrust Broadway Series as well as concerts and events by many well-known musicians, comedians, and artists. The Carolina Theater is a performing arts center and cinema in downtown Durham. Playmakers Repertory Company is a theatre group in residence at the University of NC at Chapel Hill. The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh houses multiple venues and showcases numerous plays, shows, and events, including NC Symphonyconcerts. The Red Hat Amphitheatre is the most recent addition to the downtown Raleigh landscape offering outdoor concerts throughout the year. Raleigh Little Theater is a community theater producing 10-11 productions annually as well as providing educational instruction in the theatrical arts.

2. For The Foodie

With so many people relocating to the Triangle every year, there are an abundance of restaurants. Triangle Restaurant Week is an annual celebration where many of the top restaurants offer prix fixe menus to showcase their best recipes. Raleigh is home to Ashley Christensen, the 2019 James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef, and her 5 award winning restaurants, including Beasley’s Chicken and Honey and Poole’s Diner. The Angus Barn has been a Raleigh icon since 1960, serving in-house aged steaks, fresh seafood, local grown vegetables and homemade desserts prepared by Iron Chef America winner, Walter J. Royal, and his staff. Watts Grocery in Durham is a neighborhood shop transformed into a restaurant, serving up NC cuisine made with local ingredients. Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery in Chapel Hill, or TOPO as it has come to be known, offers local dishes and beer brewed on-site.

3. For The Lifelong Learner

In addition to programs offered at the universities (Great Decisions and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute e.g.), there are numerous museums and educational centers to explore. In downtown Raleigh, one can visit the NC Museum of History and NC Museum of Natural Sciences for free (though a charge may apply for special exhibits). Located a short drive away is the NC Museum of Art where the landscapes on the walls inside the museum are as stirring as the landscape of the grounds surrounding the museum. In Durham, the Museum of Life and Science boasts 84 acres of things to discover, including one of the largest butterfly houses on the east coast, while the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill takes guests on a journey to the stars.

4. For The Nature Lover

The Triangle is rich in parks and greenways for walking, hiking, biking, and more. The Capital Area Greenway Trail System connects many of Raleigh’s parks, while the American Tobacco Trail crosses through Durham and surrounding areas. The Town of Chapel Hillalso maintains several trails and greenways. If you enjoy camping as well as hiking and biking, you might visit William B. Umstead Parkor Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. Are hiking and biking too extreme? A stroll through the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University may be more relaxing.

5. For The Sports Fanatic

In addition to the collegiate sporting events of the three NCAA Division I universities in the area, the Triangle also offers a professional hockey team, a professional soccer team, and a minor league baseball team.

6. For The Market Maven

If you enjoy hunting for special treasures or bargain deals, there is plenty of shopping to be had in the Triangle. The State Farmers Market is open daily. Not only can you find seasonal fruits and veggies, you can also sample meats, cheeses, bakery items, and N.C. wines.  There is a wide variety of specialty shops with old-fashioned candies, N.C. gifts, soaps, and lotions. The Raleigh Flea Marketlocated at the State Fairgrounds is open every weekend except when the NC State Fair is in town in October. With more than 600 vendors, you’re sure to find some excellent deals!

7. For The Road Trip Warrior

While there are many things to see and do in the Triangle, the hustle and bustle of such a populous area may encourage you to seek a weekend getaway. Luckily the Triangle is just a few hours drive from the beach to the east or the mountains to the west. North Carolina’s collective beaches are known as the Crystal Coast, with lighthouses, aquariums, and mouth-watering seafood waiting to be enjoyed. The fall is an especially lovely time of the year to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains when the leaves are changing colors. A visit to the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC is beautiful any time of the year, but the candlelight Christmas celebration adds a bit of magic and wonder.

For even more events and activities in the Triangle, check out