48(ish) Hours in Raleigh, North Carolina

Perks of the freelance life: getting to tag along with your husband when he has to go down to Raleigh for a work trip.

I'd been to Raleigh a few times before, but never really had the opportunity to do any exploring. With only 48(ish) hours to check out the city I tried my best to fit in as much as I could.

If you're heading to North Carolina, and find yourself near // in Raleigh, add these spots to your 'to do' list. You'll be glad you did!

ᐓ ᐧ STAY ᐧ ᐗ 

Sheraton, Downtown Raleigh

Generally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of chain hotels—I'm much more partial to cozy, homey, AirBnBs and boutique hotels full of character. That being said, I actually really enjoyed my stay at the Sheraton in Raleigh. 

Its downtown location is convenient (especially if you're going to a concert at the Red Hat Amphitheater!), the entire hotel is immaculately clean, the staff is incredibly friendly, and there's an on-site bar/restaurant, an indoor pool, and a small gym. 

Guest rooms were comfortable and well-sized and, much to my surprise and delight, not carpeted! I know carpets cut noise, but the absence of them made this room feel brighter, cleaner, and much more sleek and modern. 

ᐓ ᐧ EAT + DRINK ᐧ ᐗ 

Did you know that alcohol can't be served until 12pm on Sundays in North Carolina? Talk about a brunch bummer. Still, Raleigh Times draws in quite a crowd for brunch (served just next door at 'Morning Times'). 

*Side note #1: The 'Brunch Bill' (yup, that's a thing) is in the works—which, if passed, would allow business to serve ya a much deserved Sunday mornin' mimosa starting at 10am. 

*Side note #2: If you're a vegan, like me, beware the honey mustard...there's bacon in it (my husband so lovingly pointed out “Pre-vegan you would've gone nuts for that”...true).

*Side note #3, and a claim to fame for Raleigh Times: (well, one of them, at least), former president Barack Obama has hung out here! 

Living Kitchen in two words? Vegan Nirvana. This restaurant is 100% plant-based (cue happy dance)!

When we arrived in Raleigh on Sunday we walked around the downtown area and passed Living Kitchen...sadly it was closed, but I took a peek at the menu and knew we (or at least I) would have to make a trip back when it's open—which, for reference, it is Monday-Saturday 8AM-9PM.  

In the short period of time we had in Raleigh I managed to visit Living Kitchen twice (really, though, who's surprised by that?). The space is bright, and airy with a minimalist decor style. The bar seats are a perfect spot to post up if you're popping in for lunch or a snack solo, and the seats in the back offer diners a peek at the chefs preparing meals (I love an open kitchen in a restaurant, it's like getting to see behind the scenes). 

My first stop at Living Kitchen was for lunch with my carnivorous husband—who was happily surprised by how delicious and satisfying his meal was...he even tried an all-natural ginger-ale (pictured below).

On my second visit I was by myself. I posted up at the bar, chatted with the staff, and enjoyed a mid-day, pre-flight snack. This was also my first time trying coconut butter, and fig butter, and OMG to both. Go out and try some as soon as you're done reading this blog post, ok? (Bonus points if you make it yourself at home)

lunch with ger: 

the perfect pre-flight snack:

Everything at Living Kitchen was incredibly fresh. If I lived in Raleigh full-time I'd be eating here every. single. day. Or working here. Or both...probably both. Vegan or not, this is a can't miss spot for an insanely delicious, and nutritious, breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

This is a Raleigh newbie! Level 7 has been only been open for about a month now, but I have no doubt that it's going to become a fan-favorite for the area. Set atop the AC Hotel, Level 7 has found the perfect balance between a posh lounge bar and a laid-back rooftop hang out. 

Inside, the space is clean and stylish with neutral, soft colors throughout. Quilted leather lounge chairs and west elm style sofas give the space a contemporary, midcentury modern look, and a swanky, upscale lounge feel. 

Outside, the vibe changes—from the furniture to the atmosphere—the tone is definitely much more relaxed. The décor is still modern + minimalist, but more casual, with a few unexpected (but welcome) pops of color, too. 

They offer small tapas style plates. Though what we had was good, it wasn't really anything to write home about (mixed nuts, wedge potatoes, and a watermelon salad), but my husband noted that the roasted chicken wings did deserve a shout out for their deliciousness. 

Pro Tip: Time your visit to Level 7 with golden hour. Watching the sunset from any rooftop is pretty spectacular—but Level 7 is situated in such a way that you'll have a front row seat of watching sunset reflect off the building across the street. It's pretty cool. 

A bar // arcade hybrid? Who could say no to that? This is next level #adulting, people. 

Before 9PM Boxcar welcomes anyone 18 and younger so long as they are accompanied by an adult. BUT, after 9PM, you have to be 21+ to hang here, so you don't have to worry about battling adolescents for a chance to kick your buddy's ass at air-hockey, or a shot at beating your own personal PAC-MAN high score. 

If you're a self-proclaimed pro-gamer, or just exceptionally skilled at Mario Kart 64, skeeball, and/or air hockey consider joining in on one of Boxcar's free tournaments (more info on those here). 

There's no kitchen on-site, but if you get a case of the beer munchies there is free popcorn. (You're allowed to bring in outside food, too!) 

Oh, and a major added bonus: You get 2 tokens every time you order a drink. Win, win. 

ᐓ ᐧ EXPLORE ᐧ ᐗ 

This is one of those places where the old saying 'there's something for everyone' really holds true.

There are so many vendors at the Raleigh Flea Market, both inside and out. Whatever it is you're looking for, I strongly believe you'll find it here. Even if you don't know what you're looking for...I still strongly believe you'll find it here.

i just couldn't pass up that turquoise beauty 

cigar box guitars 

I really don't use this term often....but every square inch of this store was #goals.

If I could have bought up every single item here I would have. There was literally not a single thing in this store that I didn't love—from the clothing, to home decor, and everything in between.

State Farmer's Market

Truth be told, I was a little disappointed by the display at the farmer's market. My uber drive told me that it's better on the weekends (I was there on a Tuesday).

I'm not exactly sure what more I was expecting from the farmer's market...I honestly think I was just bummed because all of the things I did want I knew I wouldn't be able to take home with me (darn those TSA liquid restrictions...MAMA NEEDS SWEET POTATO BUTTER!).

Aside from lots of produce, there were tonsssss of plants. Not being able to bring home the giant cactus I found bummed me out even more than not being able to try // bring home the sweet potato butter. (For future reference, does anyone know if cacti are TSA approved??) 

That's my mini-trip to Raleigh in a nutshell.

If you've been to Raleigh before, or if you're a Raleigh native, and have a favorite spot that I didn't make it to leave it in the comments section below! 


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