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Moving to a new city is always challenging. A large part of that challenge is looking for a place to live. There are so many things to consider when weighing your options: house styles, neighborhood safety, quality of schools, and the convenience of location. It can be quite overwhelming.
We’ve done the research for you.. You’ve no doubt seen our Raleigh City Guide, which includes a short section on a few of Raleigh’s most popular neighborhoods, as well as our guide to Raleigh’s family-friendly neighborhoods.
This list and our “Best Neighborhoods for Families in Raleigh” lists are more in-depth neighborhood guides meant to examine what it’s like living in each of these highlighted areas, with links to popular destinations, as well as available houses for sale and apartments for rent (and by the way of introduction, we’re Bellhop—movers in Raleigh and beyond).
A Little About Raleigh and its Neighborhoods
Raleigh is the largest city in the Research Triangle (more commonly known as the Triangle), with the neighboring Durham and Chapel Hill. Raleigh’s high quality of life, strong job growth, and lower cost of living are luring new residents to the area every day. And the city’s many amazing restaurants, renowned breweries, and live music venues don’t discourage newcomers either.
Close to Duke and UNC, Raleigh brings in a high population of younger residents. The next generation has made the city grow in the entertainment sector—from major and minor league sports to monthly art walks, music festivals, foodie events, and rooftop and hidden bars. The city boasts over 1300 restaurants, has become a brewery destination, and features art and history museums, lots of green spaces, and a growing music scene.
Raleigh’s walkable downtown offers plenty of amenities. But outside the city, residents find several destinations that aren’t too far off. Durham is just a 30-minute drive from Raleigh. And on either side of the city, you’ll find mountains and beaches that make for incredible weekend getaways.
Within city limits, Raleigh splits between several regions (e.g., Midtown, East Raleigh, North Raleigh and Southeast Raleigh) that are divided by the major highways in the city (40, 440, 540, 70, and 401). The Raleigh area includes 11 surrounding towns that each have its own vibe, culture, and activities. Below, we’ve narrowed down three towns that are growing quickly to accommodate the people moving to the area. Keep reading to learn more about these three up-and-coming towns near Oak City.
A quick five miles from downtown Raleigh, Garner offers a hometown feel just outside of the city. You may remember the name of this North Carolina town from its most famous native, American Idol winner Scott McCreery, who still resides in the area.
Many of the 30,000 people living in Garner commute to work in Raleigh or Research Triangle Park in Durham. They get the best of Raleigh’s bustling city life and the laid-back charm of this small town.
Garner is home to 12 parks covering 473 acres, making it a great place for people and families who like to spend time outside. Lake Benson Park offers something for everyone, including 1.8 miles of hiking trails, two playgrounds, and boat rentals for fishing from March to October.
What’s Happening in Garner
From history to arts to good food and drink, Garner has a little bit of everything. The Garner Performing Arts Center is the downtown cultural hub offering theater, comedy shows, and concerts. Learn about the history of the town at the Garner History of Museum at the Depot, which is located in the former train depot. You can’t miss the bright red caboose near the entrance.
Downtown Garner has a new social district where patrons can enjoy alcoholic beverages in participating local businesses and restaurants. Stop by Aristotle Spirits, Garner’s first distillery, for creative cocktails using their own liquors.
A popular local spot for food and live music on weeknights is Lorraine’s Coffee House and Music. The best Southern-style breakfast in town can be found at Angie’s Restaurant. Grab some authentic Mexican food at Taqueria El Toro, which is just on the border of Garner and Raleigh.
Schools in Garner
The Wake County Public School System serves the Garner area, and it’s rated the second-best school district in the Raleigh area. Schools include Bryan Road Elementary, which is a highly rated public school for grades K-5, and Garner High School, which ranks as one of the top ten best magnet schools in the area.
Homes in Garner
Garner offers a mix of older ranch homes and newer construction with a median price of $410,000. Most people own their homes, but there are apartments and townhouses for rent for an average of $1,400 a month.
People wanting to start a family often head to Holly Springs for its welcoming residents and family-oriented community. Over the years, it has been consistently ranked as one of the safest small towns in North Carolina.
The town hosts family-friendly events year-round, from parades to fireworks to egg hunts. They have several green spaces and community parks, including Bass Lake Park, a recreational area with greenway trails along the 54-acre lake for bird-watching, boat rentals for fishing, and canoes.
What’s Happening in Holly Springs
The Downtown Village District is the place to go to for the Saturday morning farmers market and annual events or to shop locally at places like Bless Your Heart Boutique. Also nearby is the Holly Springs Cultural Center, which hosts events like its international food festival, community theater performances, and spring concerts.
In the summer, the town is the home base for the Holly Springs Salamanders, an amateur baseball team that plays at Ting Stadium, their 1,800-seat sports complex.
Holly Springs has unique Southern-inspired restaurants like the Pimiento Tea Room, a quaint restaurant in a renovated historic home, or the Mason Jar Tavern, where you can get locally brewed beer and pub fare.
Schools in Holly Springs
Residents of Holly Springs are also part of the Wake County Public School System. Public schools include Holly Springs Elementary, Holly Ridge Middle School, and Holly Springs High School, which are all highly-rated schools in the area.
Homes in Holly Springs
Holly Springs is growing, so there are new subdivisions cropping up frequently. Houses have a median price of just under $600,000, with a few older homes going for around $450,000. Apartments and townhouses in Holly Springs rent for around $1,600 a month.
Wendell is the smallest of the three towns on this list, with a population of less than 10,000, but it is growing. The town has been around since the 1850s, so it is full of historic architecture and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The recent addition of Wendell Falls, a new community of homes, green spaces, shopping, and restaurants, will draw more people to the area. The retail and commercial space in the development includes a few chain restaurants like North Carolina’s own Bojangles, grocery stores, medical offices, and a preschool. Developers plan to bring in more local eateries and build additional schools.
What’s Happening in Wendell
The Wendell Historical Society offers a detailed map of historical buildings so you can check out the architecture and learn about the town’s history and origins. There is also a museum dedicated to sharing the rich history of Wendell.
The town’s most popular event each year is the Wendell Wonderland, a holiday display of 400,000 lights with other activities like trolley rides, a holiday market, and a guest appearance by Santa Claus.
There are plenty of local restaurants and cafes in Wendell, including Farmhouse Cafe, which uses local ingredients and sustainable practices. Downtown’s 41 North Coffee is a favorite for its handcrafted coffee beverages and cafe menu. Local brewery Bearded Bee Brewing Company uses local ingredients (like honey) for their micro-craft beer.
Schools in Wendell
Also served by the highly-rated Wake County school district, schools in Wendell include the Wendell Magnet Elementary, which offers art and science education, Wendell Middle School and East Wake High School. A newer school, Cardinal Charter Academy at Wendell Falls, opened in the area for grades K-8.
Homes in Wendell
The average price of a home in Wendell is $400,000 and includes a mix of older homes and newer construction. Custom-built homes in Wendell Falls, the new development, are priced from $300,000 up to $900,000. Most people own homes in the area, but you can rent houses and apartments for around $1,700 per month.
There you have it: 3 up-and-coming towns in Raleigh!
We hope this was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhop. We coordinate long-distance Raleigh moves and offer local moving services in Raleigh and other nearby cities such as Charlotte and Durham, and we would love to help.
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