When you hear the city of Raleigh, North Carolina, mentioned, it’ll oftentimes be followed up with Durham and Chapel Hill, that’s because the three cities form a triangle on a map dubbing them the ‘Triangle,’ or the Research Triangle Park, if you want to get technical. That’s because the area is booming with high-tech research and development companies, hence the ‘research’ part of the name, along with three top universities – Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and NC State. And while the area is home to a plethora of buttoned up businesses, it also has a slowly emerging underbelly of a creative scene. We’re focusing on Raleigh, but since the three cities are so intertwined and not that far from each other (about 20-30 minutes), we’ll be covering a little bit from Durham and Chapel Hill, too.
WHERE TO STAY
: Housed in a historic building in downtown Durham, this boutique hotel features 125-rooms and a contemporary art museum under the same roof. The brand launched its first hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in 2006 and has slowly been expanding its unique hotel vision to other cities. [Durham]
: A modern, 53-room boutique hotel with a mid-century aesthetic designed by LA-based firm . The hotel opened in 2015 after the renovation of the structure which was once the old Home Savings and Loan bank built in 1966.
WHERE TO PLAY
: Along with a permanent collection, the museum rotates exhibitions throughout the year and during the summer months, they show outdoor movies on their lawn and have concerts. [Raleigh]
: Located in downtown Raleigh, CAM curates rotating exhibitions and experiences from emerging and established artists and designers. On the first Friday of every month, admission is free to everyone. [Raleigh]
: On the first Friday of every month, art galleries, museums, art studios, shops, and alternative venues open their doors to welcome anyone that’s out for the free, self-guided tour around downtown. [Raleigh]
: An artist-run gallery located in downtown Raleigh with a focus on thought-provoking contemporary art from up-and-coming and established artists. [Raleigh]
: Duke’s Nasher has been around for just over 10 years and is housed within a modern, 65,000 square foot structure designed by Rafael Viñoly. Along with events, lectures, gatherings, and a film series, the museum boasts a substantial permanent collection of contemporary art, with a focus on work by artists of African descent. [Durham]
: A gallery that promotes the work of various contemporary artist with an awareness that focuses on sustainable design. [Chapel Hill]
: NC State hired to design their second main library on the university’s Centennial Campus and it opened in 2013. Even if you’re not a student, it’s worth checking out just as a spectator. [Raleigh]
: A series of networking events that bring together hundreds of modern design-loving people around the Triangle for an informal happy hour evening. [Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and other various locations]
: Did you know that NC has the 3rd largest concentration of modernist houses in the U.S.? Most people would never suspect that until they begin driving through neighborhoods and spotting the modern architectural gems that are scattered throughout. NCMH has done a beautiful job documenting the history of every modern master throughout the state. Besides scouring their archives, they organize tours and trips to check them out in person. [Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and other various locations]
: Running alongside its sister event, the famed , this one focuses on design, bringing in designers, makers, architects, thinkers, and anyone else who has a hand in shaping the design world, to speak and discuss all things design.
: 2017 will mark the festival’s 20th year. Every year, they welcome filmmakers (and film lovers) from all over for a four-day event that shows nearly 100 films, discussions, and panels. [Durham]
WHERE TO SHOP
: Raleigh Denim, a denim brand that focuses on American craftsmanship, has their very own shop attached to their workshop that not only sells their jeans, but a range of highly curated goods, including clothing, accessories, gifts, and stationery, that the owners have discovered on their travels. [Raleigh]
: A curated shop of design-focused, modern goods from all over the world that will help everyone elevate the look of their home. [Raleigh]
: This modern store has been around for over 30 years and began as a Scandinavian design store. Over the years they’ve expanded to include designs from all over the world and now work with more than 200 manufacturers. [Raleigh]
: The storefront of Holly Aiken’s line of modern vinyl bags, wallets, tech sleeves, guitar straps, and various accessories, all designed and made in North Carolina. [Raleigh]
: This vintage shop in downtown Raleigh carries the best selection of mid-century modern furniture you could ever ask for. [Raleigh]
: They specialize in locally handmade modern upholstered furniture, while also featuring top modern brands for purchase in their showroom.[Durham]
: A showroom catering to the best American and European furniture brands, including Knoll, Fritz Hansen, Carl Hansen & Son, Kartell, and Vitra, along with locally made offering and work from emerging brands like PELLE and Bend. [Chapel Hill]
If you visit , hit up and for dinner, in Durham, visit , or if you find yourself in Chapel Hill, try – you won’t regret it!
Did we miss anything? Add your favorite stops in Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill in the comments below!