With breweries, design shops, restaurants, and a free hybrid bus, Raleigh's Moore Square area has become a can't-miss destination. Here's what to do the next time you're in the North Carolina capital.
1. Poole's Downtown Diner
James Beard Award-winning chef Ashley Christensen has her own downtown Raleigh empire, which includes coffee shop Joule and upscale chicken joint Beasley's. But her best-known restaurant is Poole's Downtown Diner, which serves fresh takes on classic American comfort food using ingredients from North Carolina farms and producers.
2. Raleigh Denim Workshop
North Carolina has long been known for its textile industry. But Raleigh Denim wants to make sure people know that the Tarheel State designs textiles as well as manufacturing them. Its downtown workshop is home to “jeansmiths,” which still uses old-fashioned machines to create custom pairs of jeans. Once you've been measured, visit The Curatory, the workshop's store that celebrates and stocks N.C.-made products.
3. Trophy Brewing
In the past few years, North Carolina's craft brewing scene has gone into hyper-speed. Raleigh alone is home to several top-notch breweries, including Crank Arm, Raleigh Brewing Company, and Big Boss. But Trophy Brewing ups the ante by pairing its beers with some of the best pizza in the state. Try the Local Celebrity (sweet potato puree, smoked gouda, country ham, Swiss chard, and spiced apple) or, if you're feeling brave, The Daredevil (ghost chili pepper salami, fresh jalapeño, caramelized onions, and Sriracha).
4. Videri Chocolate Factory
The Videri Chocolate Factory combines the Southern love of all things sweet with details on how its products are made. Visitors to this Warehouse District factory-cum-shop can walk through all the steps of the candy's production, then sample the treats—we recommend the pink peppercorn chocolate bar.
5. Deco Raleigh
The cozy, well-curated Deco Raleigh emphasizes local, homemade products, such as Deck of Oaks playing cards, “Bless Your Heart” T-shirts from House of Swank, and upcycled candles from Green City Bottles. The shop is also opening a “parklet,” a tiny outdoor area the size of two parking spaces where patrons can hang out.