Welcome to FINDER

Perhaps you’re new here, trying to figure this place out: what restaurant will impress your Tinder match or what museum will entertain your kid, what this east-west barbecue debate is about or why you can’t find a happy hour. You’re not alone. Between 2010 and 2018, the Triangle’s three main counties—Wake, Durham, and Orange—added eighty-six people a day, a quarter-million in total. 

This magazine is for you. 

Perhaps you’ve lived here your whole life—long enough to see Raleigh transform from a big Mayberry into a little Austin, and Durham from a place defined by crime, blight, and Duke basketball to a pulsating city of top-notch restaurants, tech companies, and, well, Duke basketball—and you’re searching for new adventures in your own backyard and new culinary delights around the corner. 

This magazine is also for you. 

Or perhaps you’re like me, somewhere in between. You’ve been here too long to be a rookie, but not long enough to be a veteran. You’ve learned to navigate the treacheries of I-40 and properly use the word y’all. You’ve watched Durham’s first legit skyscraper go from nothing to twenty-seven stories and John Kane’s The Dillon reshape an entire block of Raleigh’s Warehouse District. You’ve protested HB 2 and cheered when Silent Sam came down. (Please note: If you did neither of those things, maybe South Carolina is more your speed.) You’ve swum in the Eno, danced the night away at Arcana, attended poetry readings and concerts galore, and hit up every brewery you could find. But you can’t shake the feeling that there’s more out there yet undiscovered. 

Don’t worry; there is. And this magazine will help you find it.  

FINDER is designed to make newcomers feel like locals and locals feel like newcomers. Our goal is to provide newbies and old-timers alike with an insider’s guide to all things Triangle—a veritable encyclopedia of what you need to know to begin exploring: where to eat, where to drink, where to shop, where to play. 

Publishing FINDER every year reminds me that what makes the Triangle special isn’t just the killer restaurants or world-class breweries, the miles of greenways or verdant state parks, the too-good-for-our-size performing arts scene or surfeit of festivals, the thriving startup sector or transformational research universities, the steel and glass downtown centers that give way to bucolic farmlands, the Southern gentility punctuated by fearless progressive activism—it’s all of these things, yet more than these things. 

What makes the Triangle special is its intrinsic sense of community—the smart, diverse, creative, sometimes strange, always welcoming people behind these restaurants and breweries and theaters and startups and protests and festivals. 

People live here—people want to live here—because the Triangle is more than the sum of its parts. 

The Triangle is a place to find yourself. 

The Triangle is home. 

How to Use This Guide

FINDER is divided into two sections: ESSENTIALS, an overview of life in the Triangle, and NEIGHBORHOODS, an insider’s guide to nineteen specific areas.

Each NEIGHBORHOOD is introduced by an essay, written by a NEIGHBORHOOD EXPERT, describing an ideal day in that area.


Each CATEGORY has a PICK, our choice for the best of that CATEGORY. It is highlighted in the text. 

Each NEIGHBORHOOD has a MUST, one thing you absolutely must do while you’re there.

Start Exploring Here


Welcome, Newcomer: 7 Tips to Get You Started

How We Got Here: A Triangle Timeline

The 10 Best Restaurants in the Triangle Right Now

The 10 Best Breweries in the Triangle Right Now

How to Eat Like a Southerner

How to Do Parenting Right in the Triangle

What You Need to Know About Local Sports (Beyond College Hoops)

Your Guide to Local LGBTQ Nightlife

Everything You Wanted to Know About Our Local Festivals

Where to See the Best Live Music in the Triangle

How to Get Around Without a Car

Wake County

Downtown Raleigh

Glenwood South & Five Points

Hillsborough Street & N.C. State

East Raleigh

North Hills

North Raleigh

Northwest Raleigh

Cary, Apex & Morrisville

The Rest of Wake County

Durham County

Downtown Durham

Ninth & Broad (and Duke)

Lakewood & West Durham

North Durham

South Durham

East Durham

Orange & Chatham Counties

Chapel Hill



Pittsboro & The Outposts

Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at jbillman@indyweek.com.

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