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House, Senate leaders roll out budget, set up standoff with governor
06/25/2019 04:50 PM
Legislative leaders unveil compromise budgetAs expected, no to Medicaid expansion.

Raleigh mayoral candidates seek to define themselves
06/25/2019 04:38 PM
Mayoral candidates discuss issues facing RaleighWith Raleigh's mayoral election a little over three months away, the five announced candidates to succeed Mayor Nancy McFarlane are trying to differentiate themselves in the eyes of voters.

Wednesday shaping up to be another nice day before extreme heat returns
06/25/2019 04:06 PM
Wedneday morning commuteIt will still be a hot summer week, but you might feel a bit of relief on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to WRAL meteorologist Gardner.

Sampson Co. woman whose home has been broken into nine times catches suspects in act
06/25/2019 03:29 PM
Home targeted by thieves nine times; suspects caught on cameraA Sampson County woman said her security camera caught two thieves in the act as they broke into her home.

Backers: 'Now is the time' for downtown Raleigh stadium project
06/25/2019 03:24 PM
Downtown South aerialNC FC owner Steve Malik and real estate developer John Kane have secured rights to about 130 acres just south of downtown Raleigh for a project they are calling Downtown South, which will feature a multi-purpose, open-air stadium, retail, hotels and residential spaces.

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Raleigh Connoisseur Feed

Pic of the Week
06/11/2019 04:56 PM
Phase 2 of the Smokey Hollow project in Glenwood South is all clear for construction. The site has been flattened out and all that surface parking and single-story buildings have been removed. To review, this May 2019 post has a nice aerial to show each lot for each phase. To start at the beginning of […]

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Pic of the Week
06/07/2019 03:00 AM
There’s a new sign in the Raleigh Skyline. One Glenwood now has the WeWork signage up on the building and after being open for a just a few months, the building is almost completely leased up. This bodes well for the sister building that’s planned to be built right behind it as part of the […]

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Glenwood South’s Tin Roof Bar Overlooks Lane Street
06/04/2019 03:00 AM
Glenwood South is getting a Tin Roof bar at the corner of Glenwood and Lane. The live music bar has over 15 locations in the US and you can see the second floor and outdoor space coming together in the photo above. Having never been but eager to check it out, I see the place […]

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Pic of the Week
05/28/2019 03:00 AM
The old Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street has now been removed. Torn apart and dismantled during the night throughout the last few weeks, the bridge that was close to reaching its end-of-life and has stood up over Peace for over 50 years is no more. The “square-loop” traffic pattern is more and more coming […]

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The Community Celebrates 1 Year of Discussion
05/22/2019 04:29 PM
It’s been a year since I announced the launch of the DTRaleigh Community and soon after shut down traditional comments on this blog. After 365 days, I couldn’t be happier with the results. In the past year, downtown enthusiasts have been chatting more and even meeting face-to-face. There’s even more eyes on downtown development as […]

The blog has over 12 years of content and is still going strong. Support this blog and thank you for reading.


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.