PopulationMetro: 1,243,720
A booming economy and global intellect poise the Carolina powerhouse for the future.

The City of Oaks checks all the boxes for a bright, ambitious city of the new south: Raleigh is part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, one of the country’s largest and most successful research parks—think high-tech and biotech research and advanced textile development.

Ranked #14 for Prosperity among large U.S. cities, including Top 10 for both lowest unemployment rate and highest median household income, Raleigh is also a magnet for immigrants. It ranks #23 in our People category, comprised of the subcategories of Education Attainment, Foreign-born Residents and Foreign Language Spoken at Home.

But it’s in education where Raleighites truly shine bright—ranking #4 in the U.S. for educated big-city citizenry.

CITY PERFORMACE
Place
Place 69
Product
Product 21
Programming
Programming 8
People
People 52
Prosperity
Prosperity 67
Promotion
Promotion 4

So what do all these smart people do for fun? They’re indoors and out: the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences attracts more than a million people annually; there’s a Contemporary Art Museum, bluegrass festivals and craft brews.

And the State Fair is renowned across the country. While our rankings don’t tell the food story yet, the culinary scene is vividly imaginative: Bon Appétit granted one of its coveted Top 10 America’s Best New Restaurants for 2017 to a quirky and beautiful combination brewery, bookstore, flower shop and dim sum restaurant called Brewery Bhavana. The magazine described it as “a community center for like-minded locals who value diversity, open-mindedness, and yes, Cantonese barbecue pork buns.” The owners also have a Laotian restaurant next door. Did we mention that Raleigh ranks #86 for foreign-born citizens? Clearly, they’re feeling right at home.