My family and I may have the option to relocate from Washington DC to the Triangle. At this point, it looks like we could live anywhere in the Triangle. Despite the fact that we are generally happy about where we live now (Alexandria, VA), there are a number of aspects of the Raleigh area which are appealing to us. Specifically, the primarily the cost of living, highly educated, relative (to the DC area) lack of transience , traffic, generally slower pace, smaller city but has culture, etc.
So my wife and I are intending to spend next weekend (14-16th) in the area. Our main intention is to get a feel for the culture of the region and determine if it might be a good fit for us. So we'd love some advice on how to spend our couple days in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill areas. Our hope is to look at neighborhoods to get a feel for where people actually live as well as to attempt to take in the local food and cultural scene. However, to help out here's some info about us and what we're looking for out of a place to live:
We currently live in the City of Alexandria, VA which is an inner suburb of Washington DC. Our neighborhood is filled with older homes (our home was built in 1922) which are are mixture of styles (bungalow, cape cod, colonials, craftsman). It is definitely a neighborhood where every house looks different. We like that. One of our favorite parts of it is that it is very walkable to a "main" street with shops, restaurants, the elementary school, playgrounds, etc. The community gets together quite often for events, etc and that is something that drew us to this area. Our current neighborhood is also abundant with children which is great because we have two (4 and 1) and one one the way! So obviously neighborhoods that are family friendly is important. Not to mention schools are important and we are more than a 'little' confused as to how the public school systems work.
One other major consideration is that our current neighborhood is very diverse (race, nationality, religious/non-religious, sexual orientation, etc.). We highly value that the community is open minded and accepting of all as they are and something we will be looking to try and replace in NC.
Our initial plan is to look primarily at the neighborhoods inside the beltline in North Raleigh (five points, etc.) as well as Chapel Hill. We are going to look at hte various other suburbs (Wake County, Cary, etc) though our expectations are that those might be a drastic difference than what we're used to. Have we missed anywhere? We were also thinking of talking to a couple realtors simply to get their insights on neighborhoods. Is this a good idea or will we just be wasting our time?
We both enjoy music, enjoy the outdoors, and would like to consider ourselves "foodies". Any great restaurants, activities, etc. that are unique to the Triangle and fun for a couple in their early thirties would also be appreciated because outside of looking at neighborhoods we don't have much planned and a weekend without the kids should NOT go to waste! Of course my wife is 5 months pregnant so no brewery tours (...though she could drive...hmm).
Thank you for all your help and we look forward to touring your wonderful city next weekend!