Welcome to Gay & Lesbian Raleigh

Dynamic, Unexpected, Smart and Celebratory— just a few of the words you may be surprised to hear when talking about the Raleigh area. North Carolina’s Capital City has shed its “Mayberry neighbor” image and is sharing with visitors the fun, lively, welcoming vibe of a one-of-a-kind capital and cultural center. No matter what culture you come from, you’ll want to come out to Greater Raleigh, N.C.

In North Carolina, there’s no greater gay and lesbian nightlife than in Greater Raleigh. Endless hot spots, gay and lesbian nightspots and a warm, welcoming community make the Raleigh area an exciting place to visit. And no matter your reason for visiting the Raleigh area, we have something unique in almost every category—which is just one of the reasons we’re constantly named everything from America’s Best City to Live, Work and Play In, Best American City for Singles and Best Place to Do Business, just to name a few.

We’ve also been called the “City of Oaks” based on our penchant for green space, the “Smithsonian of the South” for our caliber of free museums and the “Silicon Valley of the East” paying homage to our cutting-edge tech scene (The Research Triangle Park is in our backyard, and eight colleges and universities call the Raleigh area home). With big-city energy and small-town charm, Greater Raleigh offers the best of both worlds.

At least three times a year, the Raleigh area especially shows its LGBT pride. In May, downtown Raleigh is host to OutRaleigh, a free street festival organized by the LGBT Center of Raleigh; in October, the center also puts on a series of Raleigh Is Coming Out events, including dances, meals and socials open to everyone. Every September, Raleigh also plays host to the night festival of North Carolina Pride (its day parade held in nearby Durham).

You don’t have to look far to find eye-catching, world-class entertainment. Greater Raleigh offers a variety of cultural and theatrical arts, claiming the best in performing arts as home to the nationally acclaimed Carolina Ballet, America’s next great orchestra (North Carolina Symphony), the region’s top professional theatre (North Carolina Theatre) and the region’s only opera company (North Carolina Opera).

Visitors also can indulge in the area’s creative visual arts at the North Carolina Museum of Art, one of the premier visual arts museums in the Southeast (with a world-class collection including more than 30 Rodin sculptures), and a new Contemporary Art Museum, CAM Raleigh.

Or if you’re looking for something on the more intimate or grassroots side of the arts, these major art organizations are bolstered by a thriving community of smaller galleries, artsy events, public art collections and independent performances.

See the newest trends in fashion from one of Raleigh’s local designers. For instance, from a corner store in downtown Raleigh, Stitch constructs and sells coveted Holly Aiken totes, wallets, bags (and yes, man-bags or murses), all designed, cut and constructed on the premises. Several blocks away, Victor and Sarah Lytvinenko produce their hand-crafted Raleigh Denim jeans (sold at Barneys and other exclusive shops coast-to-coast but best selected here on site).

Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxing canoeing or sailing excursion, for taking a scenic nature hike through a state park/forest or playing a round of golf in the summer sun, the Raleigh area is the place to spend time outdoors with more than 43,000 acres of parks and 120 miles of greenway trails. Raleigh is also home to award-winning gardens like N.C. State University’s J.C. Raulston Arboretum, an internationally recognized collection of more than 5,000 plants.

Just outside the city of Raleigh, you’ll find 11 neighboring cities and towns that make up Greater Raleigh. Each has its own personality; charming visitors with historic downtown’s, tree-lined main streets or some of the best golf in the state, these outlying areas are perfect for a day-trip. And if you are looking for a scuba park, traditional soda fountain, unique winery or craft brewery, we’ve got those sweet spots covered, too.

Where you stay is just as important as what you do while you’re here. It’s got to fit your style, your location and of course, your budget. That’s why you’ll find 150-plus options in Greater Raleigh. From luxurious, full-service hotels to romantic bed-and-breakfast inns, you can relax in the certainty that your expectations will be met.

From our buzzing nightlife, Broadway entertainment, world-class shopping destinations, exciting outdoor recreation and professional sports and abundance of upscale hotels and quaint little inns, Greater Raleigh offers a lot to see and do and welcomes you!

Come out, and take the time to explore our area of North Carolina; you’ll be pleasantly surprised by all of that ways that Raleigh can be a welcome (and welcoming) stop on any journey.