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

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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.

Friday

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.)

 

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Saturday

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.

 

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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).

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Sunday

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).

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