A weekend getaway in Raleigh (for less than $300)

Photo via visitRaleigh.com

Raleigh, North Carolina’s other big city, is only a couple of hours away and it’s got everything you’d want in a weekend trip: free things to do, fun restaurants and bars, a late-night downtown scene. If you’re feeling an urge to get out of Charlotte for a couple of days, there’s another plus to choosing to spend your weekend in Raleigh: You can easily stick to your budget.


Getting there: Getting to Raleigh by car is one convenient (and a pretty cheap!) option. Only 2.5 hours drive time, Raleigh’s a relatively short distance away as far as trips go, and it’s one that can easily be done on a Friday afternoon or evening after work. The cost of driving to the city and back will vary depending on what you’re driving, but let’s say it’ll cost around $50 to supply the gas. Taking the train is also an option. Getting to Charlotte from Raleigh and back costs as little as around $65 round trip, and takes about 3.5 hours each way. It’s longer, but who doesn’t love a scenic train ride with a good book?

Where to stay: To keep it cheap, stay at an Airbnb in Raleigh and be sure to book around a month in advance to get the price you want. Renting an entire apartment or home on the cheaper side will run you around $50 to $75 per night, so set aside up to $215 for both Friday and Saturday night near the city. If you have a travel buddy, that comes out to around $107 per person. Here are a couple Airbnb options in this price range:

This studio apartment is a lovely, bright little spot to recharge (and only $50 per night), and is just 20 minutes away from downtown Raleigh.

This condo — located in North Raleigh — will run you $75 per night, but it’s got plenty of space and offers closer access to downtown Raleigh.

Staying outside of the downtown, you’ll need to take an Uber in, costing around $16 to get there and back.

Where to eat: Grab dinner at Ni Asian Kitchen, a cozy spot serving Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese food. An order of dan dan noodles will cost $10.95.

Where to drink: Bars in Raleigh are plentiful, and you can’t miss the sharp cocktails at the moody, underground lounge Watts & Ward. (The bar’s smooth negroni off the classics menu is $12. Worth it.)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Watts And Ward (@wattsandward) on


Where to eat: Just like any other big city, Raleigh’s got a slew of awesome restaurants. Start your day off at the Morning Times, an artsy coffee shop with awesome coffee, breakfast pastries and local art on the walls. It costs about $8 for a coffee and one of the Morning Times’s killer breakfast biscuits.

For lunch, head to Beasley’s Chicken + Honey for their southern specialty: fried chicken and waffles. An order here costs $13.50, and it’ll definitely fill you up.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Beasley’s Chicken + Honey (@beasleys_raleigh) on

When dinner rolls around, splurge a little at Brewery Bhavana, a lovely, chic space that’s part bookstore, part flower shop, part dim sum restaurant and part brewery. Order the General Tso chicken ($18.80) or a bunch of small bites, such as the scallion pancakes ($14.80) and chicken curry bao ($9.80).


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Brewery Bhavana (@brewerybhavana) on

What to do: During the day, spend time wandering Raleigh’s downtown parks and side streets, lined with art galleries, shops and other one-of-a-kind stops. Swing by Raleigh’s adorable Videri Chocolate Factory and watch some chocolate-making (the smell of chocolate will lure you in). Enjoy an espresso or sipping chocolate at the tiny factory’s cafe afterward ($3-$5). After, check out the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, which has permanent exhibitions on all things nature, as well as visiting ones. Museum admission is free.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Videri Chocolate Factory (@viderichocolate) on

Where to drink: At night, check out Boxcar Bar + Arcade on West Davie street for brews and games — it’s got everything from skeeball to Mario Kart to air hockey. Two Two Hearted Ale IPAs and 40 tokens — which will get you plenty of playing time — will cost just $21.75.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Boxcar Bar + Arcade (@boxcarral) on


Where to eat: Before you leave the city for home, make sure to grab a latte and bacon, egg and cheese from Sir Walter Coffee ($8.75).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here