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Taking train to Raleigh for the Day April 8 (With the rugrats)

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Hi all,

    As the title states, I'll will be taking the train to Raleigh for the day with my kids (three girls, 3, 7, and 8) and wife.  We will arrive at 10:17AM (Amtrak time) and depart 5:16PM (again, Amtrak time).  I plan to hit the Natural Science Museum, Capitol, and History Museum (not in that order).  I would like some advice, is this too much to accomplish in one day with all the rugrats?  Is there something better they would like? Is there something else we should do?  Would love your input, I haven't spent time in Raleigh for a very long time.  Additionally, are there lockers at the Raleigh Amtrak Station or will we be humping all our stuff?

Thanks!

(P.S.)  The schedule is composed of things that I think would be fun, so please let me know what your kids like, I "could" be nice and only make my kids "suffer" through one educational visit.

 

 

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I live in Charlotte so I can't help much with the things to do question but I can offer:

  • there are no lockers in the Raleigh station -- its a tiny place
  • its a long walk from the station to the Capitol (particularly w a 3 year old). Uber or the free R Line bus may be very helpful.
  • Marbles Children's Museum is well spoken of and on your route (my kid aged out so I can't offer personal experience)
  • the train coming home is quite likely to be late but the Amtrak app will do a good job of telling you the actual arrival time after 3:30 or 4
Edited by kermit

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Well, I don't have kids so it doesn't seem like a long walk at all to me. I live in Downtown Raleigh for what its worth. I've done some downtown itinerary planning for friends and family before, so here is just one possible day.

From Amtrak the kids would definitely love Videri Chocolate. It's a small, but cool chocolate maker very close to the station and on the way to (or from) downtown proper. It's a tad expensive, but worth it. It has a coffee shop in the back of the space too for mom and dad's energy levels (there are several coffee shops downtown). 

Across the street from Videri is also an arcade/bar. It doesn't much turn into a bar until after work, and I'd say its kid friendly enough for a potential look in. 

Heading still towards downtown proper, you can cut across Nash Square. It has a well done firefighter memorial in the center, and is leafy and full of benches. Exploris Middle School's kids play there around lunch time. A nice Oasis between Dawson and McDowell streets which have the highest traffic volumes in downtown. 

The museums all seem doable. Natural Science will be more fun for the kids. Giant Sloth and dinosaur skeletons are pretty awesome for adults too. History requires more reading of things but it is chocked full of old guns and uniforms and nice displays. There is usually a special exhibit though I am not sure what that is right now. The Capitol is a pretty quick tour. There are tons of art galleries plus a City history museum at 220 Fayetteville St (more interesting to a resident I'd guess). The biggest art place is a collective called Art Space in City Market (more City Market mention below)

We do also have a kids specific museum, Marbles. It is adjacent to the other downtown park, Moore Square. Moore Square is adjacent to the bus terminal so has more people just standing around and stuff. Just a heads up as some people are deterred by any homeless presence. Ours is not bad at all. 

There is an ice cream shop called Treat on Blount street very close to Moore Square. While near Moore Square, a stroll on the cobblestones of City Market is nice, even though its not a huge district. There is also a gelato place close to the ice cream place. 

For a family it might be easier to eat in a museum cafe, but I will still recommend trying something in the city proper. There are pizza by the slice places (Vics), old school hot dog places (Snoopy's or Roast Grill), modern higher end sandwich shops (Capital Club 16), tacos both cheap and expensive (El Rodeo, Virgils, Virgils also being an Arcade-bar) and a ton of places that would cover most folks eating interests. Ask if you want more food opinions. 

As an aside to your plans, our oldest residential area is sort of behind the Governor's mansion, called Oakwood which is bounded by Edenton, East, Person and Boundary streets roughly. Also Blount Street, which is the address of the Governor's mansion, has a handful of magnificent mansions that survived the wrecking ball and are being restored. The best three are at Blount and North Street, not too far from the Museums. 

There are quite a few new high-end clothing places, bakeries and emerging new districts along the edges of downtown proper but these probably are more interesting to prospective residents. 

I am sure I am leaving stuff out, and other folks will have different thoughts on how to spend limited valuable time....but feel free to ask any follow up questions 

 

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Hello,

We live in Charlotte but are taking the train to Raleigh for a weekend soon!  We have done this once before about 5 years ago; I also went to grad school at NC State but I feel like Raleigh has so much going on currently and has changed so much that I was hoping for some locals’ recommendations!  We are going with my wife and 2year old daughter but we don’t need specific kids recommendations as we pretty much take our daughter everywhere (breweries, markets, restaurants, etc) and she travels a ton with us.  The one true kid thing we will do is Marbles as she does love Children’s museums.  The other museums my wife and I have done but don’t think we will have time this trip.  Specifically, I was hoping for some insight and recommendations inthe following categories:

Coffee - Our most important request!  We love local coffee shops, preferably if they do pour over, but anything local.  We go to Not Just Coffee in Charlotte almost every weekend. I used to go to Global Village when I was at NC State. We were thinking of checking out 42 and Lawrence.  

Brewery - We love a brewery with a great outdoor space!  We bike to various Charlotte ones a ton when the weather is nice.  Any top recommendations for a brewery, bottle shop or tap room in downtown or close  by?  

Food - any recommendations or most popular spots for dinner?  Also does Raleigh have a public market (I.e like the 7th public market) of some type that could be good for breakfast or lunch?

Local scene - any recommendations or things to do to really tap into the feel of Raleigh?  We spend a lot of time in southend, fourth ward, and NoDa in Charlotte as examples.  Also have been loving camp north end lately! Just looking for neighborhoods / destinations / things to do that really make people love Raleigh. Or local businesses to check out? I know I want some new Raleigh jeans as my only pair are getting worn.  

Anyways, we are really excited about the trip and would love any thoughts or recommendations you want to share! We are hoping to visit more often via train, especially with the increased Piedmont frequency and the new Union Station!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Scoopbth said:

Hello,

We live in Charlotte but are taking the train to Raleigh for a weekend soon!  We have done this once before about 5 years ago; I also went to grad school at NC State but I feel like Raleigh has so much going on currently and has changed so much that I was hoping for some locals’ recommendations!  We are going with my wife and 2year old daughter but we don’t need specific kids recommendations as we pretty much take our daughter everywhere (breweries, markets, restaurants, etc) and she travels a ton with us.  The one true kid thing we will do is Marbles as she does love Children’s museums.  The other museums my wife and I have done but don’t think we will have time this trip.  Specifically, I was hoping for some insight and recommendations inthe following categories:

Coffee - Our most important request!  We love local coffee shops, preferably if they do pour over, but anything local.  We go to Not Just Coffee in Charlotte almost every weekend. I used to go to Global Village when I was at NC State. We were thinking of checking out 42 and Lawrence.  

Brewery - We love a brewery with a great outdoor space!  We bike to various Charlotte ones a ton when the weather is nice.  Any top recommendations for a brewery, bottle shop or tap room in downtown or close  by?  

Food - any recommendations or most popular spots for dinner?  Also does Raleigh have a public market (I.e like the 7th public market) of some type that could be good for breakfast or lunch?

Local scene - any recommendations or things to do to really tap into the feel of Raleigh?  We spend a lot of time in southend, fourth ward, and NoDa in Charlotte as examples.  Also have been loving camp north end lately! Just looking for neighborhoods / destinations / things to do that really make people love Raleigh. Or local businesses to check out? I know I want some new Raleigh jeans as my only pair are getting worn.  

Anyways, we are really excited about the trip and would love any thoughts or recommendations you want to share! We are hoping to visit more often via train, especially with the increased Piedmont frequency and the new Union Station!

Sounds like a nice trip!

I can't provide a very detailed list of recommendations, as I don't get out much to restaurants and the like, but I would absolutely recommend Videri.  They make chocolate bars and sell coffee, and it's a pretty neat place to visit (and it's just across the tracks from the train station, so you could easily walk or bike there).

There are a couple of local coffeemakers such as Larry's, but I'm not sure if they have a dedicated coffeeshop.  I don't drink coffee, so I'm not the best person to provide info about this.  xD

I'm not sure about local scene.  You could try areas such as Glenwood South or the Warehouse District, both of which are pretty popular these days.  Fayetteville Street is also a nice main street through the city.  Hillsborough Street has changed a lot in the past couple of years, with new developments and a new streetscape.  Cameron Village is a nice place to shop, as it is quite walkable and there are plenty of shops.

I hope that helps!

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Just my opinions, with annotations. 

Coffee: First thought, because it's a uniques overall experience was Videri, too. The coffee bar is an add-on to the chocolate enterprise, but it's delicious (they use Lamplighter beans). Second thoughts would be to head to the traffic circle at the Belltower (you know where that is NC State guy...), where there are now two local coffee shops, Jubala (their second location in Raleigh) and Liquid State. Jubala's coffee is a tad better, but Liquid State is a more comfy space, and coffee is still excellent. 

Breweries: Several neck and neck options. You can do a 1-2 punch in the Five Point area now, with Neuse River and Nickel Point two doors from each other. The beer is pretty good but not like Cigar City-Fonta Flora level stuff (if you've been to 175 breweries like I have there are distinct levels). Trophy is probably the best beer, and is up to three locations. Maywood Ave location is cool, being across from Caraleigh Mills condos, and a new, neo-historical development beside that, with tall narrow homes that look pretty cool. That is also close to Dix if you'd like to walk way over for a tour, of the currently undeveloped, park (public access allowed, but only has port potties)Morgan St, is the OG, and also has good outdoor seating. Folks also like Crank Arm here, which is down the street from Videri, but the beer is hit or miss at times. However, it is definitely worth a stroll thorough the warehouse district in general. The flagship of our 4-5 clothing stores, is Raleigh Denim. The showroom is small, but you can touch some $200 jeans nonetheless. All made on site. The Art of Style is also cool, high end clothing and Debbie Harry bought some stuff there on her last trip here. Holly Aiken, and Deco are also near Art of Style. 

Bottle shops are aplenty here and all have different virtues. All are good. My thoughts would be, to let one of those anchor a trip to either Glenwood (North Street Beer Station), or Pelagic (North Person St). I will vouch also for State of Beer (next to great running apparel store if you need niche running gear), Drink Drank Drunk (by Trophy Morgan St and Remedy Diner), Patty O' Beers (between the Capital and Hargett Street), Crafty Beer (Five Points, if you don't mind an Uber),  Red Line (Hillsborough St around the corner from Global Village), and the original, Tasty Beverage (next to Videri and closest to the train Station). 

My personal favorite dinner spot is Capital Cub 16 German/American fusion with salvaged barter from NYC in an art deco corner space on Martin St. Objectively, Blount Street seems to have taken over as best dinner strip lately. Brewery Bhavana (forgot about them for beer!, it's very good), Mofu (brick and mortar place of the food truck champion Phenomenal Dumpling folks), Royale, Oak City Meatball, Bida Manda and some other smaller places. There are a smattering of very high end places in the NE corner of downtown with Crawford and Son, Standard Foods, and Stanbury (Stanbury is next to our second chocolate maker). Middle of the road favs are Chucks or Beasley's (Asheley Christiansen places for burgers and chicken respectively...same building), Gringo (best tex-med in town hands down, in a very old gas station) and the re-done, Rockford (more high end than mid priced actually). There is a new Ramen place folks are gaga about too, but I don't do hype trains right off the bat. Also Lucette Grace has the best desserts in town by far. There also also three bread-bakeries now. Pharmacy Cafe has some soda counter type stuff now and is a neat, stop b Pelagic bottle shop. Oh, and Sosta Cafe, is a favorite lunch spot, with lots of vegetarian fare and the delightful French owner Jerome always on hand. Get a brownie if there are any available. 

What is our local scene? Varied for sure. We sort of became a tech downtown over night when Citirx and Redhat both moved in. There really is no 'the thing'. Big money is driving out the small time creative scene to a degree, though there are still still numerous galleries scattered about. Father & Sons should be open in their new location (next to the new train station on West Street) by the time you get here..they are as 'Raleigh' as it gets to me. 

Breakfast is especially good for Sunday Brunch in downtown, with Capital Club 16 being my favorite. Morning Times simple biscuit sandwiches are great too. 

My apologies, I ran 40 miles this weekend and have been drinking since, so this got pretty ramble-y. Glad to elaborate any, if you need. 

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On 3/4/2018 at 10:34 PM, Jones_ said:

Just my opinions, with annotations. 

Coffee: First thought, because it's a uniques overall experience was Videri, too. The coffee bar is an add-on to the chocolate enterprise, but it's delicious (they use Lamplighter beans). Second thoughts would be to head to the traffic circle at the Belltower (you know where that is NC State guy...), where there are now two local coffee shops, Jubala (their second location in Raleigh) and Liquid State. Jubala's coffee is a tad better, but Liquid State is a more comfy space, and coffee is still excellent. 

Breweries: Several neck and neck options. You can do a 1-2 punch in the Five Point area now, with Neuse River and Nickel Point two doors from each other. The beer is pretty good but not like Cigar City-Fonta Flora level stuff (if you've been to 175 breweries like I have there are distinct levels). Trophy is probably the best beer, and is up to three locations. Maywood Ave location is cool, being across from Caraleigh Mills condos, and a new, neo-historical development beside that, with tall narrow homes that look pretty cool. That is also close to Dix if you'd like to walk way over for a tour, of the currently undeveloped, park (public access allowed, but only has port potties)Morgan St, is the OG, and also has good outdoor seating. Folks also like Crank Arm here, which is down the street from Videri, but the beer is hit or miss at times. However, it is definitely worth a stroll thorough the warehouse district in general. The flagship of our 4-5 clothing stores, is Raleigh Denim. The showroom is small, but you can touch some $200 jeans nonetheless. All made on site. The Art of Style is also cool, high end clothing and Debbie Harry bought some stuff there on her last trip here. Holly Aiken, and Deco are also near Art of Style. 

Bottle shops are aplenty here and all have different virtues. All are good. My thoughts would be, to let one of those anchor a trip to either Glenwood (North Street Beer Station), or Pelagic (North Person St). I will vouch also for State of Beer (next to great running apparel store if you need niche running gear), Drink Drank Drunk (by Trophy Morgan St and Remedy Diner), Patty O' Beers (between the Capital and Hargett Street), Crafty Beer (Five Points, if you don't mind an Uber),  Red Line (Hillsborough St around the corner from Global Village), and the original, Tasty Beverage (next to Videri and closest to the train Station). 

My personal favorite dinner spot is Capital Cub 16 German/American fusion with salvaged barter from NYC in an art deco corner space on Martin St. Objectively, Blount Street seems to have taken over as best dinner strip lately. Brewery Bhavana (forgot about them for beer!, it's very good), Mofu (brick and mortar place of the food truck champion Phenomenal Dumpling folks), Royale, Oak City Meatball, Bida Manda and some other smaller places. There are a smattering of very high end places in the NE corner of downtown with Crawford and Son, Standard Foods, and Stanbury (Stanbury is next to our second chocolate maker). Middle of the road favs are Chucks or Beasley's (Asheley Christiansen places for burgers and chicken respectively...same building), Gringo (best tex-med in town hands down, in a very old gas station) and the re-done, Rockford (more high end than mid priced actually). There is a new Ramen place folks are gaga about too, but I don't do hype trains right off the bat. Also Lucette Grace has the best desserts in town by far. There also also three bread-bakeries now. Pharmacy Cafe has some soda counter type stuff now and is a neat, stop b Pelagic bottle shop. Oh, and Sosta Cafe, is a favorite lunch spot, with lots of vegetarian fare and the delightful French owner Jerome always on hand. Get a brownie if there are any available. 

What is our local scene? Varied for sure. We sort of became a tech downtown over night when Citirx and Redhat both moved in. There really is no 'the thing'. Big money is driving out the small time creative scene to a degree, though there are still still numerous galleries scattered about. Father & Sons should be open in their new location (next to the new train station on West Street) by the time you get here..they are as 'Raleigh' as it gets to me. 

Breakfast is especially good for Sunday Brunch in downtown, with Capital Club 16 being my favorite. Morning Times simple biscuit sandwiches are great too. 

My apologies, I ran 40 miles this weekend and have been drinking since, so this got pretty ramble-y. Glad to elaborate any, if you need. 

Thank you so much! This was very comprehensive and useful. We are taking the train to Raleigh this weekend and excited to check things out!

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We had an awesome weekend in Raleigh! We took the Carolinian to Raleigh on Saturday and the Piedmont back to Charlotte on Sunday. The Carolinian was completely packed by the time we reached Greensboro. The Piedmont on the way back had 3 coach cars but they were only using two, divided between those traveling to Charlotte and those getting off at other stops. Both of them were almost completely full!

Raleigh's new Union Station looks incredible and I am super jealous. We are definitely planning a trip back to see it once it is open, hopefully on the 3rd Piedmont frequency. 

We visited Videri Chocolate more than once because it was so good! We ate some great food at the Pit and Beasley's. My daughter had an awesome time at Marbles! Thanks again for all the recommendations!

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Thanks for reporting back. Short, intrastate train trips are pretty fun and easy to pull off. By your next trip, the Dillion's retail spaces, Morgan St Food Hall and Stones Warehouse should all be open which would add a good two dozen retailers and restaurants to downtown in one big wave. 

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