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14 Best Neighborhoods in Raleigh NC For Families

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city scape of Raleigh NC with park in foreground

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Raleigh is North Carolina’s second-largest city with a population of 472,000, making it the most populous place in NC’s Research Triangle metro area. 

The city boasts high employment rates and many well-educated people, with most owning their homes.

If you’re moving to Raleigh, NC, soon, or feel like a change of scenery in this area, you’ll find many excellent neighborhoods and suburbs to choose from. 

Here’s your guide to the best neighborhoods in Raleigh, NC.

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1. Oakwood 

Oakwood is a great place to start house hunting in Raleigh, located in the downtown area of the city. It’s been around since the 1800s and was the first neighborhood in Raleigh to make its way onto the National Register.

As the name suggests, mature oak trees line the streets in the pretty neighborhood, where many professionals working in the city choose to buy property. From here, it’s only a hop and a skip to Raleigh’s bustling downtown scene, with its trendy restaurants and bars.

Real estate is very varied in this area, ranging from new builds to beautifully restored Victorians dating back to the town’s early days. 

Since this is currently one of the most popular neighborhoods in Raleigh, NC, you can expect to pay high prices for any kind of home in Oakwood, and if you’re selling, you won’t have to wait long until a willing buyer comes along.   

2. Cameron Village

Cameron Village is the ultimate walking neighborhood, with everything you need just a short stroll away. It’s close to NC State University and just west of downtown.

Thanks to its excellent location, you’ll find no shortage of retail and dining spots within easy reach, including an outstanding outdoor shopping mall, The Village Shopping Center.

Fitness fanatics can choose between yoga and flywheel nearby, and the excellent library offers great silent spaces for undisturbed remote working. 

Most homes in this area are ranch or plantation-style properties.

Cameron Village is a good location for investment properties, thanks to students who need accommodation close to NC State. If you own a house in this neighborhood, you could earn some extra income from building an extra bedroom or an ADU to meet the demand.  

Although this is another one of those Raleigh neighborhoods favored by young professionals and students, older, more settled folk find their happily-ever-after in Cameron Village, too. 

3. Cameron Park

This is another registered historic neighborhood sandwiched between the Cameron Village Shopping Center and Hillsborough Street.

If you have children and you’re wondering where to live in Raleigh, Cameron Park is a top choice for you. It’s in a prime location near both St Mary’s School and the University and one of the most family-friendly neighborhoods in Raleigh.  

This suburb started as one of the area’s most expensive places to live but slipped into decay during the 1960s, only to bounce back in recent times.

Here you’ll find a wonderful array of architectural styles ranging from eclectic Georgian, Tudor, and Mission Revival designs, and huge bungalows, to classic Colonial and Queen Anne homes.   

With three ravines slicing through its residential area, Cameron Park has no shortage of green spaces, most notably the Edna Metz Wells Park. Families love to gather here among the mature trees and there are a host of family-friendly diners and cafes nearby, too. 

The State Capitol Building is just a half an hour’s walk away, along with the best downtown bars, shops, and restaurants. 

4. Boylan Heights

Boylan Heights is among the most sought-after Raleigh, NC, neighborhoods and has been since 1907. It’s just west of Downtown and includes the notorious Dorothea Dix Central Regional hospital in its bounds. 

Architectural styles in this area include:

  • Queen Anne Revivals
  • Colonial Revivals
  • Foursquares with colonial or craftsman detailing
  • Dutch colonials 

Boylan Heights offers a best-of-both-worlds scenario. The long, winding streets, community events, and long history of the suburb ensure a down-home feel, while the nearby Amtrak whisks people off to enjoy city conveniences as quickly as a flash. 

Properties in Boylan Heights never stay on the market for long and reach exceptionally high prices. 

5. Five Points

This area gets its name from the convergence of five historic neighborhoods at a five-point street intersection. These neighborhoods include Bloomsbury, Georgetown, Roanoke Park, Vanguard Park, and the prestigious Hayes Barton. 

Tree-lined streets, colonial revival-style homes, bungalows, estate homes, patio homes, and townhomes in the area highlight the diversity of Five Points. 

It’s an infinitely walkable area with side-walked streets, plenty of parks, and a pleasant small-town atmosphere.

An abundance of shops, bars, cafès, brewhouses, and restaurants add to the appeal of Five Points. It’s also home to the Rialto Theater, one of Raleigh’s few remaining independent theatres.  

6. Hayes Barton

Hayes Barton is one of the popular neighborhoods in Raleigh, NC, for families. Large homes, established trees, parks, restaurants, and businesses add to the appeal, while the suburb also offers close access to the city.

This area offers tranquility along with the convenience of a short commute to downtown Raleigh. 

It’s part of the prestigious Five Points collection of neighborhoods, built during the 1920s. The original design included some of the first open park areas and greenways ever included in suburban neighborhoods. 

As such, most homes in Hayes Barton are Colonial, Georgian, Tudor, Craftsman, contemporary, and bungalow designs. The grandest of these can come with a price tag of $3.15 million, or more.  

It’s located within walking distance of all the amenities on offer at the Five Points hub.   , 

7. Mordecai

As the birthplace of Andrew Johnson, this small neighborhood boasts extraordinary historic significance. It’s the oldest neighborhood in Raleigh, and the city’s first house, Mordecai House, built in 1785, is still there.   

Mordecai ranks high on the livability scale for Raleigh thanks to its low crime rates, high standard of education, and excellent amenities.

It’s located a little further from downtown than most of Raleigh’s other popular neighborhoods, making it a great favorite among those wanting to distance themselves from the city vibe. 

The wide, quiet roads and quaint homes add to the appeal of Mordecai, although there are also a few new constructions and condos available in this part of Raleigh. 

8. Historic South Park

Like Mordecai and Oakwood, South Park is a well-established neighborhood that’s undergoing rapid development with new houses and businesses springing up all the time.

Despite its close location to the city’s downtown area, it’s somehow maintained a low-key neighborly vibe and relatively low house prices. 

Here, classic Neoclassical and Colonial Revival homes built during the 1930s share a street with modern two- and three-story houses. Some of the highlights in South Park include:

  • Shaw University
  • Duke Energy Performing Arts Center
  • Little Rock Trail
  • Chavis Pool
  • Transfer Co. Food Hall

Many new office and retail spaces are on the cards for South Park, too, making it one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in this area. 

9. North Hills

North Hills is another rapidly-expanding area, located just north of the beltline. This neighborhood has it all, with even more development in the pipeline.

It’s the site of excellent schools, the bustling Crabtree Valley Mall, outstanding live entertainment, many parks, and plenty of great restaurants. North Hills dishes up everything from fast food to fine dining.   

Outdoor enthusiasts love the easy access to the Greenway for dog walking, biking, and jogging, and opportunities for golfing at the excellent Carolina Country Club.

Here, you’ll find apartments to rent along with a good selection of family homes to buy if you want to join in this fun, active, and entertaining lifestyle.

10. Brier Creek

Brier Creek occupies the heart of the Triangle, thanks to its location between Durham and Raleigh. Once, this area consisted mainly of golf courses and forests, but now it’s developing at a rapid rate.

This neighborhood is awash with newly developed condos, single-family homes, and a continuing care community. 

The Brier Creek Country Club, with a course designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer, survived the developmental onslaught and is a showpiece of this popular neighborhood, drawing golfers from across the state. 

Young professionals, older adults, and families also flock to Brier Creek to take advantage of easy access to interstates 540 and 40, Raleigh’s International Airport, and some of the best schools in North Carolina.

11. University Park

This is one of the best neighborhoods in Raleigh for investment properties due to the abundance of students and professors requiring housing. 

University Park comprises several smaller areas, namely:

  • Oberlin Village
  • Fairmont
  • Bagwell
  • Beaver Dam
  • Wilmont
  • Dixie Forest
  • Forest Hills

If you can get your hands on a property in this sought-after area, snatch it up as fast as you can.

If you live there and the student vibe no longer appeals to you, now’s your chance to get an excellent price for your home or rent it to a worthy individual. 

12. Glenwood South

Glenwood is currently one of the hottest neighborhoods in Raleigh, thanks to its location amid Raleigh’s most prestigious entertainment district.

This neighborhood holds pride of place between five points and Boylan Heights and bristles with boutique stores, art galleries, breweries, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. 

Creative professionals, artists, and college students flock here to mingle, work, and play. 

As such, around 1,600 new residential units have sprung up in this area lately, so there’s plenty to choose from if you’re looking for a home. 

South Glenwood stretches from Glenwood Avenue west of downtown and to the south of Peace Street. It was once a thriving warehouse district. 

Although Glenwood South has much to offer families, it’s a busy, noisy area and might not suit those who value a slower, quieter, pace.  

13. Six Forks 

Six Forks is one of Raleigh’s most expensive neighborhoods where most homes have three to five bedrooms and expansive yards. 

This area is wealthier than almost any other in the USA and rated as one of the best places to live in North Carolina. 

It’s a top destination for families with 12 excellent schools and several hospitals nearby as well as low crime rates. As a result, occupancy rates are consistently high in Six Forks. 

Many of the homes in Six Forks came about during 1970 and 1990, so they’re relatively modern when compared with the more historic districts in the area. 

You’ll find abundant opportunities for shopping, dining, and entertainment in Six Forks as well as all the usual convenience stores.  

14. Downtown Raleigh

If you’re a young professional who loves the energy of the city, Downtown Raleigh is the ideal place for you to make your home.

This area offers abundant employment opportunities, especially in the realm of technology,  and there’s always something on the go, somewhere.

It’s also more affordable than most growing cities like Atlanta, Austin, and Charlotte. 

Homes in the downtown area comprise single-family residences, townhouses, and condos offering easy access to the city’s sights.

You’ll find no shortage of bars, restaurants, galleries, theaters, and museums to fill your days in downtown Raleigh.

The area offers an excellent public transport system to ensure you can get where you need to go, and easy access to all the outlying suburbs.

Do You Live in One of the Best Neighborhoods in Raleigh, NC?

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