5 Great Neighborhoods in Raleigh

Check out this guide to Raleigh, North Carolina's most popular neighborhoods.

OAKWOOD

This neighborhood rose east of downtown after the Civil War. Today, it is a historic district featuring hundreds of homes -- from grand Victorians built in the late 1800s to modest bungalows of the 1920s. Many have been carefully restored. The neighborhood is popular among movers and shakers in city or state politics, and with a growing core of private-sector downtown employees.

Oakwood's popularity has spurred renovations and teardowns just outside the historic district, which have become popular with first-time homebuyers and young couples looking to move into something bigger -- not farther -- from downtown. Some of those areas, however, come with the stigma of high crime.

STONEHENGE

This North Raleigh community features a broad stock of newer, modest single-family homes and townhouses, built in the early 1980s and later. It's a tight-knit community, including a supper club, bridge club and book club. There's a Halloween parade and a Christmas light contest. Amenities include the Seven Oaks Swim & Racquet Club.

It's a sensible choice for two-income families with jobs in and around Research Triangle Park and Raleigh. And it's particularly popular with families who may have a retiree relocating to the area. There are several nearby options for seniors, including retirement communities such as The Cypress of Raleigh, Abbotswood at Stonehenge and Springmoor.

BRIER CREEK

This section of northwest Raleigh is emblematic of how -- and how quickly -- Raleigh has grown. The area was mostly a bunch of trees in the 1990s. But since then, thousands of single-family homes and condominiums have sprouted along with offices, shops and amenities. The centerpiece is Brier Creek Country Club, where condominiums and townhouses mingle with multimillion-dollar estates. They are surrounded by an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and amenities including a swimming pool with lap lanes and clay tennis courts. Its newness deprives it of some of the charm found in the neighborhoods closer to downtown. But what it lacks in history, it makes up for in utility. It's close to interstates 40 and 540, which provide easy access to other parts of the region.

The neighborhood is popular with young, upwardly mobile families primarily because it is spitting distance from Research Triangle Park, the region's employment hub, but it's still in Wake County, home to what many consider to be the area's best schools.  

FIVE POINTS

Five Points is so named for the confusing intersection of Glenwood Avenue, Fairview Road and Whitaker Mill Road -- just northwest of downtown, where a cluster of small neighborhoods converge. It has urban flavor. The intersection features bars, funky restaurants, boutiques and an independent movie theater. Pockets of shops featuring restaurants and services such as dry cleaners are scattered amongst homes. Skyscrapers can be seen from some backyards; multistory condo projects are planned. But its tree-lined streets offer easy access to downtown and North Raleigh.

To the west of the intersection, there's the tony Hayes Barton section, where the elite vie for 90-year-old homes with big porches, spacious lots and lavish landscaping.

To the north is Bloomsbury and Vanguard Park, which feature more modest bungalows and cottages, of which many have been expanded and extensively renovated.

To the east are Roanoke Park and Georgetown. Georgetown features tiny ranch houses built in the late 1940s and 1950s and cottages on generous lots, where young couples are renovating, expanding or building anew.

For retirees, there's the Whitaker Glen continuing care retirement community and the Whitaker Mill Senior Center.

NORTH HILLS

Once a far-flung Raleigh suburb, North Hills has emerged as the city's new "Midtown." And while some crusty locals refuse to accept that recently adopted moniker, it aptly describes what is the edge of old Raleigh to the south and the gateway to the new subdivisions to the north.

Situated at Interstate 440 and Six Forks Road, the area rose to prominence in the 1960s with ranch homes surrounding an enclosed regional shopping mall. In the past decade, developers tore down North Hills Mall and replaced it with a walkable, open-air mix of offices, shops, restaurants, hotel rooms and homes. The renewal has sprouted on its edges. Ramblewood, a new-home community that includes townhouses, flats and garden homes, featuring terra cotta roofs and price tags pushing north of $1 million, took the place of a wilting apartment complex. Meanwhile, a continuing care retirement community, The Cardinal, is under construction. The activity has spurred renaissance in nearby neighborhoods, where spacious ranch houses on generous, tree-filled lots from the 1960s-70s Brady Bunch-era are being renovated or replaced with bigger homes. 

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