Raleigh, NC is the county seat of Wake County and home to North Carolina State University and several other universities and colleges and is part of the Research Triangle area. Together with Durham (home of Duke University) and Chapel Hill (home of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The “Triangle” nickname originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, located in Durham & Wake Counties partway between the three cities and their universities.
Raleigh is also known as the “City of Oaks” for the many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city. The state capital was named for Sir Walter Raleigh, who established the lost colony on Roanoke Island in present-day Dare County on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Raleigh is also the home of the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League.
The city of Raleigh has over 370,000 residents and has been voted one of the Best Places to Live and Work in the Nation by publications such as; Money, Fortune and Time.
Raleigh is an early example in the United States of a planned city, chosen as the site of the state capital in 1788 and incorporated in 1792 as such. The city was originally laid out in a grid pattern with the North Carolina State Capitol in Union Square at the center. During the United States Civil War the city was spared from any significant battles, only falling in the closing days of the war, though it did not escape the economic hardships that plagued the rest of the American South during the Reconstruction Era. The twentieth century saw the opening of the aformentioned Research Triangle Park and with the jobs it created, the region and city saw a large influx of population, making it one of the fastest growing communities in the United States by the early 21st century.
Cultural centers abound in Raleigh. The Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Raleigh features three theater venues and serves as the home for the North Carolina Symphony and the Carolina Ballet. The Walnut Creek Amphitheatre is a large music amphitheater located in Southeast Raleigh. Museums in Raleigh include the North Carolina Museum of Art in West Raleigh, as well as the North Carolina Museum of History and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences located next to each other near the State Capitol in Downtown Raleigh.