Phillydog

Durham...

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...we just spent a long weekend in Durham.  It was first trip to the city in many years.  It's amazing what's happening there.  In our view, Durham is most exciting place we visited in the Triangle.   My wife described Raleigh as "beige" -- there's a lot going on...but it seems underwhelming for the state capital of a top 10 state with a major university.  It just didn't feel as vibrant or innovative as Durham or Chapel Hill (p.s. we are NOT Duke or UNC fans).  We remember Raleigh and Durham from 25 years ago -- Raleigh seemed more creative, more edgy back then while Durham felt hopeless.  The transformations Raleigh and Durham are remarkable, but on the whole, Durham takes the lead, in our opinion, for creative energy, innovation and progress.    

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I live within walking distance of two bakeries, four wine shops, four bottle shops, four breweries, two chocolate makers, six independent coffee shops, about ten art galleries and collectives, three museums, a hardware store, a grocery store, about hundred other bars and restaurants a dozen of which have professional sound boards, a comedy club, a concert auditorium, several parks and greenway connections, have about six run club options, victorian homes, modernist homes, town homes, condos, high end apartments, cheap old brick apartments, several old mills.....so walking distance is less than two miles to me....I don't think you dug deep enough if you think Raleigh is beige. 

Edited by Jones_
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I have my ideas why some people may see Raleigh and Durham this way, but I won't elaborate on that. Durham is more of a "what you see is what you get" kind of place, whereas Raleigh is a discover my hidden treasures type of place. A couple of decades ago when I was in undergrad in Chapel Hill, I did feel that Raleigh didn't have much to offer, but the transformation recently has been amazing to watch.

 

I could basically live anywhere I want and have visited many different cities in the US and abroad, but I chose to spend most weekends in Raleigh. Not because it's my home city, or because of its low cost of living relative to my favorite cities, but because of the growth, positive energy, and the passion that some have for the city. There is a genuine positiveness and spirit of growth that frankly I have not seen in many other cities lately.

 

Raleigh just needs to continue on the path that it's currently on, not get distracted by what's happening in other cities, and continue to strive to be a unique, innovative, and world class place. As long as this happens, the right people will continue to be attracted to Raleigh, and the rest will end up in Durham, and Charlotte, and Greensboro...

Edited by RALNATIVE

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Raleigh just needs to continue on the path that it's currently on, not get distracted by what's happening in other cities, and continue to strive to be a unique, innovative, and world class place. As long as this happens, the right people will continue to be attracted to Raleigh, and the rest will end up in Durham, and Charlotte, and Greensboro...

 

So in your world, all the wrong people reside in Durham, Charlotte and Greensboro?? Thankfully most people I know from Raleigh are far more open minded and don't drink from the same fountain as you.

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So in your world, all the wrong people reside in Durham, Charlotte and Greensboro?? Thankfully most people I know from Raleigh are far more open minded and don't drink from the same fountain as you.

I think he meant people that feel like Raleigh is the right fit for them....thats how I took it... 

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This thread is going off track.

 

I think I see what people mean when they say Durham feels more "exciting" and Raleigh feels more "beige" in a way. Durham was a bigger city than Raleigh in the industrial age so it has that sort of rust belt aesthetic that is considered very cool these days, with loads of old industrial buildings getting converted into loft-style apartments and offices. Durham and Raleigh were very similar in population in 1950, and Raleigh has grown much faster than Durham since then, basically the entire suburban era - so the actual "City" part of Raleigh is much smaller relative to the size of the "Suburban" part compared with Durham.

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Then again, what cities in NC aren't beige? The most unique places are the smaller towns across the state and Durham maintains a lot of aspects of a small town. As a former resident I can tell you that it was like pulling teeth for anything to happen but it seems to be on a roll as of late.

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Durham is grittier than Raleigh. It feels 'different' from the other NC piedmont cities. You could argue that it has character in a way the other NC cities don't. Though between Durham and Raleigh, Raleigh has the better downtown of the two, imo. It's just simply twice as large with twice as much stuff. I find myself treading over to Raleigh more often from Chapel Hill, even though it's further away.

 

As for Chapel Hill... no way. It's a cool college town with a good nightlife for its size but almost everything closes here after 10, and there is definitely much less to explore than there is in Raleigh. But I work at UNC so I live here for now. Trust me it begins to feel small after you graduate.

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Well it says one thing for the Triangle-it's diverse. 

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Then again, what cities in NC aren't beige? The most unique places are the smaller towns across the state and Durham maintains a lot of aspects of a small town. As a former resident I can tell you that it was like pulling teeth for anything to happen but it seems to be on a roll as of late.

 

By "beige" she meant suburban with too many chain restaurants and too many buildings pulled off the architecture-mart shelf, so Orulz figured that out.  As far as other NC cities -- Greensboro, Charlotte, Winston, Wilmington, Asheville, Chapel Hill, and many smaller cities like Salisbury, New Bern, Elizabeth City, etc., etc., are decidedly not "beige".. Lots and lots of people like beige -- Wake County is booming with beige towns and that's great and exactly what some people want.  For us, as people who like visiting urban places and spaces, Raleigh just feels more like Cary.  If that's what the people of Raleigh want now, go for it.  We are just two people.

Edited by Phillydog

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Charlotte not beige? What are you talking about? The entire Charlotte metro area has as much basic, beige crap as any other major NC city.

Edited by Euphorius

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I think the basis of this post was to do nothing but throw sh-t all over Raleigh. 

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It's funny how pro-Charlotte posters seem to always find there way into Raleigh threads just to point out how much better Charlotte is. If Charlotte is so great, then they shouldn't have much interest in what happens in Raleigh, right?

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By "beige" she meant suburban with too many chain restaurants and too many buildings pulled off the architecture-mart shelf, so Orulz figured that out. 

 

Busy Bee? Clyde Cooper's? Raleigh Times? Beasley's? Chuck's? Lilly's? Flying Biscuit? You appear to be insane.

 

Raleigh has probably the best nightlife of any city in the state, at this particular point it time. I'm confident enough about that that I don't really feel the need to justify it. It's interesting because Raleigh has no reputation outside the state but the nice thing about it is that if you ever visit Asheville, which has a very good reputation outside the state... all of the restaurants that are good in its downtown have hour long waits. All of them. Usually there's a line out the door, down the block on weekends. Have fun waiting in that.

 

Durham won some awards for being the "foodie capital of the south", but bear in mind these are meaningless accolades. Most of Durham's best restaurants are not downtown unfortunately. Downtown Durham is solid, but small. Guglhupf, Only Burger, Elmo's etc. aren't downtown. Durham's advantage over Raleigh is that all 3 breweries in its downtown are good. Whereas Raleigh's best breweries are not downtown, and of the four that are, two are underwhelming and one is not technically from Raleigh (Natty Greene's).

 

Charlotte's underrated but its downtown isn't. It's a dead zone, unless you like paying $30 per person. The best stuff in Charlotte's in NoDa or South End, which are very interesting areas but there are still big gaps. But it is improving rapidly and I'd like to get back there some point to check out the last couple years worth of new stuff.

 

Greensboro has 3 restaurants in its downtown. Not to tarnish the place... I have a strong emotional attachment to Greensboro and I wish things were moving faster, but it does remind me somewhat of peering through the looking glass at what Raleigh was in the 90s.

 

Winston-Salem is in better shape, somewhere between Durham and Greensboro in terms of its downtown activity.

 

Wilmington is great. A cool, underrated city with a downtown nearly as good as Asheville's and without the hour long waits. I consider it about on par with downtown Durham, although the location obviously trumps all the piedmont cities, gorgeous.

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I guess that I'm looking at things from a different vantage point than most. Having lived in the Raleigh area in the 70's, 80's and 90's, and then living in NYC and San Fran in the 2000's, I've seen dramatic and positive changes in Raleigh and the other cities. I'm traveling on a weekly basis, and I've seen travel into Raleigh increase dramatically over the years. These days, it's hard to find an empty seat on any flight coming into RDU.

 

Having had many conversations with people abroad, I've come to the conclusion that Raleigh is viewed by a lot of people outside of NC as a large and happening city. Maybe it's because of all of the national media attention that the area has received as of late. I don't hear as much discussion about any other major NC city, other than Charlotte, but for Charlotte it's usually not in the same context as the discussion about Raleigh.

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This thread has gone far enough afield and is now locked.

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