47 St. Oyster Bar. Great food. The restaurant is a local icon. I believe it has been around since the 30's. I have always gotten great service and food there. Definitely go.
518 West - Italian restaurant. 'Nuff said.
The previously listed restaurants are a little on the pricy side so go and plan to spend some money. Believe me it is worth it. There are many other really good restaurants here so, it you like to eat, you have come to a good place to do so.
NC BBQ - If your diet allows you to eat pork. Then get some of these sandwiches. The meat is shredded and soft, and seasoned with spices and vinegar. Great Stuff. If you try it and enjoy it, then you will enter a period of your life that will be known as “ABBQ” -- After BBQ, and your memory of existing previously without BBQ will be very difficult to fathom.
Local music scene, though I personally have not witnessed, would be in my estimation be very active. This hypothesis is based on that there are a large number of college campuses in the Raleigh area, NC State, Peace, Meredith, Duke, and a couple of C. C. So, based on that, I would imagine that the music scene is fresh. To see a listing of bands that are playing pick up a copy of the local freebie, the Independent. The paper itself is full of escort ads, gay chat-lines and extremely ultra-liberal drivel but, towards the back, the numerous bands are listed in an organized manner. They are at practically every trendy coffee shop.
Lake parks. They are not commercialized and very peaceful. Fishing (get a licensed), swimming and boating are allowed. 'Nuff said.
Old houses and architecture. There is plenty of it, and there is a large historic tour of preserved houses in downtown.
People. Some of the absolutely finest people in the world live in Raleigh. If you happen to meet one of them you will definitely know.
Cafe Tiramisu specializes in Northern Italian cuisine. It is a small intimate restaurant with fine dining, but with a very relaxed atmosphere. The menu items are reasonably priced. Rumor has it that the owner of the Angus Barn has dined there. My favorite dish is Chicken Parmesan. They also have excellent Tiramisu.
Good restaurant in the Farmer's Market
It is in the Farmer's Market so everything is the freshest. The breakfast is the best. I didn't have the eggs because I hate them but my friends loved it. Grilled pork tenderloin, grits, biscuits, bacon,pancakes and waffles are good.
NC Legislative Building
This building houses the NC general assembly. You can easily go in and observe.
Also you can get a guided tour that lasts 30 minutes from the visitor's center.
Hours are 8-5 Monday through Friday, Saturdays 9-5, and Sundays 1-5.
Marching through Tobacco Road
"Crossing the Mason-Dixon"
Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, has an enviable position, called by many outdoorsy people the 3-and-3: it is 3 hours or less from both the ocean, as well as the mountains. Not many places get to claim that. Furthermore, there are plenty of natural areas to explore as well nearby, which make it a great destination to live.
"History of the town"
Raleigh has a lot of history itself. State capitol since 1788, it has seen battles through the Civil War, and remains a thriving city center today. It lies in the tobacco road area, taking its name from the main crop of the area. Lots of interesting things to do here, always new things to explore.
"Another step along my path"
My academic path has led me almost across the country, just a few hours shy of the Atlantic coast. I have come to Raleigh to start part 1 of my PhD program, at NC State University. I'm excited to be here, the state looks to have a lot of opportunities that Illinois just can't provide. We'll see how it all works out.
you can see my full set of pictures from North Carolina on my flickr page