Local News:

Primary voting begins Thursday
04/24/2014 05:42 AM
Early voting siteThe 2014 primary sees the implementation of a number of new laws that govern who can vote, when and how.

William Peace students to protest actions of university president
04/24/2014 02:35 AM
William Peace UniversityWilliam Peace University students will protest outside the school's gates on Thursday to highlight their disapproval of university president Debra Townsley.

Cary vet remembers pivotal point in WWII
04/24/2014 02:21 AM
Hal ShookThe National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. will host a remembrance ceremony in June commemorating the Allies' invasion of Normandy. But 94-year-old retired colonel Hal Shook stands in his "Normandy Room," remembering June 6, 1944 like it was yesterday.

NC strawberry farmers expect healthy crop despite cold winter
04/24/2014 02:20 AM
Strawberries left to rot in fieldsDespite record winter freezing temperatures and a spring cold snap, strawberry growers across the state expect a strong growing season.

Second debate solidifies roles
04/23/2014 08:40 PM
GOP Senate primary debateThe four front-runners in North Carolina's U.S. Senate Republican primary broke little ground and threw few punches Wednesday evening during a debate sponsored by WRAL News. Weather

Raleigh Connoisseur Feed

Pic of the Week
04/24/2014 07:46 AM
The L is under construction and will bring residential units to the corner of McDowell and Davie Streets. It’s kind of fun to watch it fill and be done after so many years. Six years ago, we watched the parking deck rise and heard about a stalled The L office building. But seven years ago, […]

Charter Square Crane Rises
04/24/2014 07:46 AM
Over the weekend, and even on Easter Sunday, crews assembled the tower crane at the Charter Square construction site. The southern tower will be built first while the second is still in the planning stages. Click the image to enjoy to a multi-stitch, high resolution view of the Charter Square construction site and the southern […]

City Works Through The 2014 Downtown Plan
04/24/2014 07:46 AM
For those that are not aware, city planning is working with a consultant group to create the next downtown Raleigh plan. This plan will consist of a vision for downtown Raleigh and what it could look like in 10 years. Key to it are achievable goals based around a heavy amount of public input. Recently, […]

Pic of the Week
04/24/2014 07:46 AM
Construction at the corner of Tucker and Glenwood Avenue. The top floor will be a Carolina Ale House. Similar Posts: The Glenwood South and Carolina Ale House Saga Looking Positive (October 20, 2013, 10 Comments) Restaurants Coming Soon, Eventually, Someday (October 20, 2013, 15 Comments) Another Rooftop Bar For Glenwood South (October 20, 2013, 7 […]

Spring 2014 Restaurant Roundup
04/24/2014 07:46 AM
Beer, bakeries, and bread might be the theme for 2014. Downtown Raleigh continues to see more openings than closings and while some places close, the spaces aren’t empty for long. For a complete list of eats, drinks, and coffees in and around downtown, make sure to bookmark the DT Eats page. Try something new! The […]

Welcome to RaleighFree!

Our goal is to provide you with information about the wide variety of free things to do in Raleigh, NC. With the many parks, museums, and other attractions, there's enough to keep most people busy and happy for quite a while. Browse our links, and check back soon, more content is coming online quickly.

History of Raleigh

Oak Tree Raleigh is also known as the "City of Oaks," mainly because of the numerous oak trees that adorn the entire city. Yet aside from these functions, the city is also North Carolina's capital and Wake County's seat. According to a count for July 2006, Raleigh's population is estimated to be around 353,604, thus making the capital one of America's rapidly expanding cities. In fact, Raleigh ranks fourth in the "List of Best Big Cities in 2006" by Money Magazine. Of course, anyone who is familiar with the city's history is not at all surprised by such a remarkable development. Since Raleigh is among the selected US cities intentionally developed to be a state capital, it can easily be said that the city is destined for expansion and progress.

Long before becoming a state capital, the city was called as the "Wake Crossroads," a name that gives a clear idea regarding the city's geographical function. At that time, Raleigh served as a place where travelers from either north or south could rest and maybe have a drink in one of its taverns. The place was eventually chosen to be North Carolina's capital in 1788. According to some accounts, "Wake Crossroads" was selected since it was within a 10-mile radius of Isaac Hunter's Tavern, a place popular among legislators at that time. But it was in 1792 when Raleigh was formally established as North Carolina's capital.

Sir Walter Raleigh That same year, the North Carolina General Assembly bought a lot from a local businessman and started making plans for Raleigh, which was by the way, modeled after Philadelphia, the US capital state at that time. The city got its name from Sir Walter Raleigh, who sponsored the Colony of Roanoke. The aforementioned assembly held its first meeting in the capital in December 1794. A month after that, the legislative body officially granted Raleigh a charter along with an "Intendant Police" (Mayor) and seven commissioners. John Haywood was Raleigh's first "Intendant Police."

Although Raleigh was lucky to be spared from destruction during the Civil War, the city remained little in size until streetcar lines were introduced in the 1920s. Since then, Raleigh began to grow, eventually transforming into one of the state's commercial hubs. A railroad was also constructed to link the city to neighboring communities. By the end of the Second World War, Raleigh had undergone many significant developments, particularly in its infrastructure. What used to be a rural community evolved into a bustling urban center. The development of the city's infrastructure is largely attributed to the founding of the North Carolina State University School of Design in 1948. But the construction and existence of the Research Triangle Park in the 1959 also brought big changes to the city. With a 7,000 acre land area, the RTP is the world's biggest research park, comprising Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. With its high-tech facilities, the RTP is also among the global leaders in scientific research and development.

As education is essential to any improvement of a city, Raleigh also has many universities and colleges. Aside from the North Carolina State University, other schools in the capital include Shaw University, St. Augustine's College, Meredith College, Wake Tech Community College, and Peace College. Both St. Augustine's and Shaw were founded towards the end of the 1860s, as schools for the freed slaves after the Civil War. Shaw was the premier university founded for that particular purpose in the country. In 1874, the Estey Hall was added to provide higher learning to women of African-American ethnicity.