The magazine you’re holding in your hands (or reading online) is designed to make newcomers feel like locals and locals feel like newcomers.
That is, our goal is to provide new arrivals—and there are a lot of you, at least eighty a day—with an insider’s guide to all things Triangle, a veritable encyclopedia of what you need to know to begin exploring. For longtime residents who’ve witnessed their hometown grow and change with an influx of new blood and fresh energy, we want to offer a chance to see the Triangle anew, to discover (or rediscover) things that might have slipped off your radar.
I’ve lived in the Triangle for three and a half years now, first in Raleigh and now Durham, which puts me somewhere in between newcomer and old-timer. In that time, I’ve seen One City Center, downtown Durham’s first honest-to-god skyscraper, go from nothing to twenty-seven stories, and developer John Kane overhaul Raleigh’s Warehouse District with The Dillon, a seventeen-story mixed-use building that takes up an entire city block adjacent to the brand-new Union Station. Everywhere you look, there are cranes and construction, new apartments and office space. Even out in the erstwhile hinterlands of Pittsboro, a development called Chatham Park will bring sixty thousand people in the next decade or so, a population increase of roughly 1,500 percent (not a typo).
Change—growth and all it entails, for better or worse—often seems like the only constant around here. Yet for all that change, there’s an essential quality to this place that imbues its very existence.
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 the 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 array of people behind those restaurants and breweries and theaters and startups and protests and festivals. There’s a reason our municipalities find themselves on all manner of ìbest places toî lists—best places to be a millennial, to work in IT, to raise a family, to buy a house, to have real economic opportunity, to eat like a king—a reason why we’re one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country.
People want to live here because the Triangle is more than the sum of its parts. The Triangle is home.
So welcome home, y’all.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Your State Government Sucks: What You Need to Know About the State of the State (and the Triangle)
New to the Triangle? Here Are Ten Things You Need to Know.
How to Get Around the Triangle Without a Car
Need a Triangle Apartment You Can Actually Afford? Here Are Some Tips.
Tech Rep: There’s a Reason Amazon and Apple Are Taking Long, Hard Looks at Us
SUSTENANCE & LIBATIONS
The Ten Best Restaurants in the Triangle (According to Us)
The Five Best Cheap Eats in the Triangle
Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams: The Triangle’s Five Top-Dollars Meals
The Ten Best Breweries in the Triangle
The Triangle’s Ten Best Cocktail Bars
The Triangle’s Ten Best No-Nonsense Bars
The Triangle’s Best Spots to Get Your Caffeine Fix
Six Triangle Places to Scratch That Ice Cream Itch
North Carolina Loves Its Liquor, Even if Its Booze Laws Are Stuck in the Past
How to Navigate the Triangle’s Diverse Music, Art, and Film Festivals
Where to See Live Music in the Triangle
Your Crash Course in the Triangle’s Bustling Performing Arts Scene
The Triangle’s Best Spots to Catch a Movie
Friday Night Sights: Your Definitive Guide to the Triangle’s Best Art Walks
How to Win at Parenting in the Triangle
Your Ultimate Guide to the Great Outdoors in the Triangle
Game On: Your Guide to the Triangle’s Sports Scene