With three of the nation’s top NCAA Division 1 universities in close proximity, college athletics and fierce rivalries dominate the sports landscape in Raleigh. Football tailgating gives way to intense battles on the basketball hardwood, where N.C. State and rival neighbors Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill have each won multiple national titles. Raleigh is also home of the Stanley Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes, which boasts one of the league’s loudest and most raucous crowds at PNC Arena. On the soccer pitch, the North Carolina Football Club aspires to be at the top level of both men’s and women’s professional soccer. Soccer is everywhere in Raleigh, where 20,000 players compete on more than 700 teams in the Capital Area Soccer League, making CASL one of the largest clubs in the nation. Just down the road, two minor league baseball teams, the Carolina Mudcats and Durham Bulls, provide All-American family entertainment all summer long. Raleighites can also be found playing golf, tennis, and even hockey, as well as cycling, swimming, paddling, horseback riding or spending time with sports legends and newsmakers at events sponsored by the Greater Raleigh Sports Council. For anyone who loves the competition and camaraderie of sports, Raleigh scores big.
Parks & Greenways
Once described as "a park with a city inside," Raleigh is home to an incredible 9,500 acres of public parks and greenways. The Raleigh Parks System is comprised of 220 parks throughout the city, featuring 44 recreation centers, ball fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, pools, lakes, nature preserves, and a city museum. More than 13,000 sports, arts and recreation programs are enjoyed by people of all ages annually. The 28 trails that make up the Capital Area Greenway cover more than 100 total miles from one edge of the city to the other, allowing people to easily ride, walk or run from downtown, across the grounds of the NC Museum of Art, through Umstead State Park, all the way to the boundary of RDU International Airport. The 33-mile Neuse River Greenway, opened in 2013, provides new access points for kayakers and canoeists, as well as for hikers and cyclists to enjoy a scenic stretch of the Neuse. Downtown, centuries-old oaks stand guard in the park squares that were part of the city’s original design. Parks, greenways and preserves, and the quality of life they avail to us, are a central part of Raleigh’s cultural identity.