Every New Year's Eve, people around the world celebrate in different ways. In Times Square, NYC everyone's familiar with the giant ball drop. Well, here we drop something entirely different, a huge bronze acorn. The significance here is that Raleigh is the "City of Oaks" so the acorn is a fitting symbol. (If you think that's weird, in Mt. Olive, NC which is home to the Mt. Olive pickle factory, they drop a huge pickle)
It is said that you can rub the acorn for good luck on New Year's Eve. I'm not sure if this works year round but if you'd like to try it out, the acorn resides in Moore Square all year long until New Year's Eve when it is moved to the Fayetville St. Mall for the celebration.
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.
As I pointed out on my USA page, there are many different styles of barbecue. Eastern North Carolina style (vinegar based) is my favourite. Some folks put coleslaw on their barbecue (I personally don't). The best way to eat it is unadorned on a bun with fries and hush puppies (fried balls of cornread) on the side.
Be careful what you say about whatever College Basket Ball team around here. We are talking the dead center of the ACC. NC State is here with Duke and UNC only a yell away (the rest aren't exactly far either... except Florida State). Rivalries run deep.
Otherwise, Raleigh is your typical American city.