A local’s guide to living in the Triangle area
The top places to go in Cary, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill
As someone who’s lived here for 23 years, I think I have enough experience to offer suggestions. :) Most of my suggestions will be from Cary and Durham, since I’ve lived in Cary for 13 years and Durham for 5 years.
What to expect:
- Free things
- Living on a budget
- For the Insta
Mostly on the $$ side. But not $$$.
- Burgers: Burger Bach (#1 for lamb burgers), Bull City Burger
- Chicken: Alpaca
- Pizza: Pizzeria Toro, Pompieri, Blaze
- Boba: Kung Fu Tea, Milk Lab
- Fast food: Cookout, Bojangles, Five Guys, Jimmy John’s, Chik-fil-a
- Fancy: Mothers and Sons, Counting House
- Other: La Farm Bakery, Watts Grocery, Foster’s Market, Durham Farmers’ Market, Durham Co-Op, Q Shack, Parker and Otis, French Corner Bakery, Beyu Caffe
- Korean: Seoul Garden, M Kokko, MinGa, InterKorea House, Chosun Ok, Namu
- Mediterranean: Urban Turban, Mediterranean Deli
- Nepalese: Himalayan Range
- South American: Guasaca
- Southeast Asian: Rasa Malaysia
- Spanish: Mateo, Taberna
- Thai: Thai Spices and Sushi, Thai Lanna
- Libraries: West Regional Library (workshops, studying, etc.), Eva Perry Library, Cameron Village Library
- Parks: Fred G. Bond Metro Park, William B. Umstead State Park, North Cary Park, Eno River State Park, Lake Johnson Park
- Other nature things: Eno Rock Quarry, Jordan Lake
Living on a budget
- Buy groceries and fresh produce from Aldi. It’s often way cheaper than Harris Teeter, Publix, Kroger, Food Lion, etc.
- Buy Asian groceries from Today Asia Market. They’re often much cheaper than H Mart, Grand Asia Market, or Li Ming’s. H Mart may have the widest selection of Asian goods, though. I also highly recommend the cosmetics section (TonyMoly). Grand Asia has a bakery with authentic Asian bread that’s much cheaper than pastries from the bakery in H Mart.
- Get a subscription to the News and Observer. The savings you earn from coupons that come with it are unheard of. And you support a local newspaper!
- Buy clothes from TJ Maxx, Ross, Uptown Cheapskate, or Plato’s Closet. Goodwill also has cheap clothes. TJ Maxx has cheap, fashionable brand name clothes. Ross has cheap prom dresses. Both are good for cheap gifts, too. I’ve found a NY&C professional blazer at Uptown Cheapskate for $4 in really good condition.
- Take advantage of the parks and greenways. They’re free for the most part and open to the public! Better than any gym membership when it comes to cardio.
- Atomic Fern: board game + bar
- Motorco: lotsa grad students
- Shooters: dank dance club with mediocre music
- Top of the Hill: nicer bar with a great view of Franklin Street
- He’s Not Here: live music and obscene amounts of beer
- Durham Hotel Rooftop Bar: for ppl who try to be classy; view of Durham is incredible
- Alley 26: bar/restaurant with the amazing Scotch egg
- Pour: bar with all the types of beers you could want, charged per ounce
- Boxcar Barcade: from DDR to MarioKart, this bar/arcade combo is hard to beat
For the Insta
- Downtown Apex
- Fountain area near the Cary Arts Center
- Old Well (Chapel Hill)
- Duke Gardens/Chapel
- Southpoint Mall (outdoor area)