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Raleigh
  • $650   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $874   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1254   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southeast US)

43% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
potholes
Herbarium 6
lots of latino caribbeans, a district filled with warehouses, the hood, potholes, downtown, mexicans, containment area for relocated yankees, hoods and woods, here be rich nerds, RTP boring corporate, generic suburbia, gamers, and NC State are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill roommate rundown:

Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are a triad city complex clustered together, often nicknamed The Research Triangle or just The Triangle, for the large research universities in each. They also share an airport and a lot of lab and office space, including the enormous Research Triangle Park.

All three host multiple museums, botanical gardens, and athletic clubs. All three sport multiple suburbs and satellite towns, all spread out with a mostly suburban feel. Everyone drives.

Raleigh is the capital and largest, with the largest state university (North Carolina State University), and a lot of state government. Raleigh is also home to the area's largest performing arts venues.

Chapel Hill grew up around the University of North Carolina. UNC's students love their campus basketball, live music, and all the bars and restaurants catering to them. All three cities are properly college towns, or the whole clump is colossally collegiate . . . but Chapel Hill has a more typical college vibe just because there's less non-college stuff going on, than in the capital and Durham . . .

. . . whose reputation was once a bit dangerous, now just funky.

Durham is still associated with tobacco warehouses and old-fashioned textile mills in the public imagination. They're not wrong, just a bit behind, as Durham shipped its last traditional cigarette back in 2000. Tobacco is still produced in rural areas of NC, but Durham's dominant economic forces are now healthcare, biotech, pharmaceuticals, and advanced textiles.

And while North Carolina is still more smoking-friendly than other states, most of Durham's older tobacco warehouses have been restored and reimagined into mixed use housing, retail, and restaurants.

Durham is also home to Duke University, that owns an entire forest, unsurprisingly known as Duke Forest. It's 7000 acres of lush forest ecosystem, and they've been teaching and researching within it since 1931. They're also keeping a long-term scientific record, and hosting the largest Herbarium in the country.

(Yeah, that was a lot on one destination, but "largest Herbarium in the country" might be an encapsulation of Durham's vibe. If you're thinking "hey that huge Herbarium sounds cool" you'll probably like other stuff Durham does too.)

And anyone in the Triangle likes the whole area's still reasonable real estate plus lower property taxes, especially for someplace this saturated with cultural and educational possibility.

The Triangle has more traditional amenities too, not just ex-tobacco warehouses and prodigious plant catalogs. Remember the athletic clubs? Too many to mention, as again, three large universities, all with dozens of their own teams.

And even though the Triangle plays well together . . . other ways?

There are a lot of enthusiastic college fans here. If you are spending time with one, especially near gametime, one university's team might be angelic . . . while the other team is clearly hellbound.

And exactly who's bound for hell can be hard to know. All three have a huge number of fans and you can't always tell who's who, definitely not by the accent. So if your roommate attended college at one of the most competitive sporting three, and you disrespect their team(s)? They might have to challenge you to a duel at dawn. Or something awkward.

Not everyone here takes college sports so seriously, of course!

But most public places, you'll need to assume some that do are nearby and will hear you talking about them!

The rest of the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill roommate lowdown:

  • located in northeast North Carolina, 40 miles south of Virginia
  • The three cities together have about 450,000 residents, greater metro about 1.9 million.
  • Winters are usually mild, spring and fall are lovely, summer is very humid (but everything is air-conditioned), and rainfall happens all year. Summer storms bring heavy rain occasionally. Thunderstorms can happen in the winter, but are sufficiently severe to cause problems with traffic or travel only every few years or so.
  • The whole area features some regional transit, mostly buses, and mostly to and from the campuses and other transit depots and destinations like the airport. Some campuses and their immediately surrounding downtown areas are pedestrian-friendly, but they're usually "islands" in that those sidewalks don't connect to much. Meanwhile, the humidity almost always goes to 11.

    So mostly, you and your roommates will be miserable unless at least one of you has a decent car. With air conditioning.
  • home to Peace College, Saint Augustine's College, Shaw University, Meredith College, North Carolina Central University, Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina
  • There are multiple civil war historical sites especially in Durham, but really all over North Carolina.
  • Carolina Hurricanes (NHL), North Carolina FC (USL), North Carolina Courage (NWSL, and the Carolina Mudcats (Single-A) . . . and then a very large number of smaller professional, collegiate, and enthusiastic amateur clubs.
  • North Carolinian BBQ is one of two versions: Lexington (just the pork shoulder, dressed with tomato and vinegar) and Eastern (whole hog, dressed with only vinegar/"dry").
  • Other delicious foods popular in the Triangle include: biscuits with toppings, cinnamon rolls, grits with red eye gravy, and sweet tea. Southern sweet tea means adding sugar during brewing while the tea is still very hot, so the sugar dissolves better, so they can dissolve more, which allows them to make sweet tea at least as sweet as Coke, usually sweeter.



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill's:

  • North Carolina Museum of History: Docent led tours on The Story of North Carolina, African American History Highlights, American Indian Discovery, and The Civil Rights Movement. Also many self-serve exhibits including Moonshine & Motorsports.
  • North Carolina Botanical Garden: Showing you all the native plants in their habitats, including carnivorous plants. Also nature trails, an arboretum, a conservation garden, and multiple nature preserves. You and your roommates could pursue certificates in native plant knowledge.
  • Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts: There's a ballet, opera, and symphony in here.
  • Flyleaf Books: Locally owned and operated independent bookstore, new and used, for adults and children. You can also trade in your own used books for store credit, but they do have standards. Also book clubs, lots of author reading events, and extensive local reading recommendations.
  • Duke Lemur Center: Home to the most diverse population of lemurs on the planet outside their native Madagascar. They're the most endangered primate. DLC is protecting more than 200 representing 13 species. Many conservation biology and educational programs available. But because they have to keep the lemurs safe, you and your roommates need to schedule and prepay your guided tour in advance.
  • Third Friday Durham Art Walk & Gallery Crawl: Usually the third Friday of every month, except for holidays. Over a dozen open studios and galleries, free to view the art, while live music and food trucks are likely also nearby.
  • Varsity Theater: Since 1927, but renovated. Second-run and classic features along with cheaper concessions and craft beer.
  • The Scrap Exchange: "Reuse arts center, thrift store, art gallery, community center, artist market, studio… it’s a whole vibe." You and your roommates can decorate with unique handmade goods from local artists, or get cheap or free reusable goods and do your own designs.
  • American Tobacco Trail: It's a paved over railway line about 22 miles long, and they'd like you to ride your horse upon it. Or bikes are cool too, if your ponies are all booked up.


Here's the city of Raleigh's official .gov featuring an extensive index of local services, which you or your roommates might need.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.