The 5 Best Neighborhoods in Raleigh

You’ve decided you want to move to Raleigh. You have made a great choice with the distinct seasons, family friendly atmosphere, access to many universities and affordable cost of living. But now you have to make another big decision – where to live in Raleigh.

The area offers many different options from suburbia, to historic homes and mixed-use developments. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the options that are available. To help you make a decision, here are five of the top neighborhoods in Raleigh.

Brier Creek

If a convenient location is a priority, Brier Creek should be at the top of your list. Located near the intersection of I-540 and Glenwood Avenue, residents have an easy commute to Research Triangle Park and Durham, and even a not terrible drive to downtown.

Brier Creek has a wide variety of options including apartments, condos, single family homes and luxury homes. Brier Creek Country Club has many options for your free time – an 18-hole Arnold Palmer Golf Course, clubhouse with restaurant and a tennis court, for one. And when it’s time to shop, you don’t have to venture far. The 800,000 square foot open air Brier Creek Shopping Center is right down the road with plenty of restaurants, retail stores and even events, such as Santa visits and Easter egg hunts.

If you’re looking to spend time in nature, William B. Umstead State Park is a short drive away, with miles of hiking trails that will make your forget you are in a city. If you have kids, rest assured knowing that the schools for this area are some of the best in Wake County. The airport being right around the corner is a positive and negative – a quick trip to catch a flight, but airplane noise can also be an issue.

Bedford/Falls River

Families looking for a place to meet others in the same stage of life should definitely check out both of these neighborhoods. While technically two neighborhoods, Bedford and Falls River are connected together and have many similarities.

Bedford homes are typically higher-priced and have garages behind the houses, giving the streets a historic look and feel. Be sure to verify which schools the specific house you are considering is zoned for, since kids in this area may go to several different schools.

You can walk to several restaurants, including the local favorite –Bedford Bistro – as well as the many parks throughout the neighborhoods. You can even pick up fresh produce at the North Raleigh Farmers Market located in the Falls River Towne Center.

On hot summer afternoons, head to the pool to enjoy the slides and splash around with your neighbors. And if you are looking for some exercise, the Neuse River Greenway runs through the subdivisions, giving you access over 27 miles of very scenic paved trails for walking, biking and jogging.

North Hills

You may hear the area near Six Forks and I-440 called Midtown, as well as North Hills. One of the draws of North Hills is the North Hills shopping collection, which is a mixed-use center with everything – from shops and a movie theatre, to restaurants, a grocery store, many apartment complexes and even a bowling alley. It’s more than just a shopping center, though – there’s a farmers market in the summer and events in the evening and holidays throughout the year. You would never suspect that this center, with its hip vibe and modern design, used to be a rundown mall.

Young professionals tend to love the vibe of the area and gravitate towards the apartment complexes. For families looking for a house with a yard, the North Hills area includes several neighborhoods with older homes (often renovated) with beautiful wooded lots. The schools are highly rated, and the location is very convenient no matter where you are headed. It’s also a quick drive to downtown or NC State University, especially if you time your trips so you don’t run into rush hour traffic.

The biggest downside is that traffic on Six Forks and I-440 often backs up in the morning and evening. But you can always ditch your car and head out on foot to the North Hills Shopping Center.

Oakwood

Want to live downtown, but also have the feel of a neighborhood? Then Historic Oakwood might be the perfect choice for you. Tree-lined streets, friendly neighbors and historic homes make this a top choice for families, young professionals and empty nesters. Many residents are avid gardeners, giving the neighborhood a reputation for beautiful gardens, and the neighborhood is home to a popular garden tour.

Oakwood also has the distinction of being NC’s largest intact 19th century residential neighborhood. And with a short walk, you are downtown with a wide choice of restaurants and bars to choose from. Oakwood is not a place where people wave as they drive by in their cars, but a community with events throughout the year to get to know your neighbors. When checking out the neighborhood to see if it’s a fit for you, take the free Oakwood Walking Tour to learn the history of the area.

Cameron Village/Cameron Park

Another downtown option is the neighborhoods of Cameron Village and Cameron Park. They are separated by the Cameron Village Shopping Center, which has been open since 1949 and is home to many upscale retailers.

A prime benefit of these neighborhoods is walkability – to the shopping center, a large Harris Teeter grocery store, Cameron Regional Library, City Market, Edna Metz Wells Park, Forest Park and Cameron Park. Since Cameron Village offers some affordable homes, many families and young professionals can be found in the starter homes lining the streets. Nearby NC State University is a draw for many people as well. Even if you decide not to live here, be sure to spend some time walking the streets to admire the historic homes and unique architecture.



Jennifer Goforth Gregory