PopulationMetro: 1,500,000
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 #69 in the world in our Prosperity category, including #53 for GDP per capita, Raleigh is also a magnet for immigrants. It ranks #33 in our People category, comprised of the subcategories of Education Attainment and Foreign-born Residents.

But it’s in education where Raleighites truly shine bright—ranking #9 in the world for educated citizenry.

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.

CITY PERFORMACE
Place
Place 32
Product
Product 9
Programming
Programming 4
People
People 68
Prosperity
Prosperity 40
Promotion
Promotion 4

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 #87 globally for foreign-born citizens? Clearly, they’re feeling right at home.