Rotunda Room by dtraleigh, on Flickr
Recently, I visited the North Carolina State Capitol. Surprisingly, I had never visited before and I continuously put it off until a later time. But now I’ve finally walked around the historic structure and encourage anyone who hasn’t to do the same. Here’s all the information you need if you want to explore the three story building.
Monday-Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday, 1 pm – 4 pm
Closed most major state holidays.
Saturday: 11 am, 2 pm
Sunday: 2 pm
House of Commons by dtraleigh, on Flickr
The trolleys cruise around downtown every weekend but I get the feeling that most are reluctant to ride because of the lack of info. Well allow me to try and sort the trolley situation out and point you in the right direction. Downtown Raleigh has two different trolleys; the showtime trolley and the historic Raleigh trolley tour.
Jump straight to the city’s website for their breakdown
The showtime trolley is great for those that are pairing up dinner and a show at the performing arts center. This trolley is in a bit of a funk however; the trolley cannot go down Fayetteville St. because of construction. Take a look at the route and see if you can use it during your next weekend excursion.
Historic Raleigh Trolley Tour
The historic tour runs every Saturday and for a small fee, you can ride around downtown while brushing up on your Raleigh history. The narrated tour is about 45 minutes long starting on the hour between 11 am and 2 pm. There are 6 stops along the route for you to board. The city even has a video about the tour.
A couple things I noticed that could make this experience better:
You are asked to flag down the showtime trolley when you want a ride. I think if it stopped at certain destinations no matter what, it would be more inviting and people would actually ride.
There should be space cleared for the trolleys to stop. For example, the picture below shows the City Market stop. Three parking spots use up a great space that could be a trolley stop. Get the cars out of there when trolleys are running and have them pull right up to the curb.
The routes desperately need better signs; more of them also. The signs look small, cheap, and just like all the other parking/traffic signs out there. There is lots of room for creativity here. For example back to my city market picture, the historic trolley stop is on the left and the showtime is on the right. Get rid of them and hang a nice sign from the awning. We could then place a tasteful map nearby, just like the map that is out there of city market (that needs a makeover by the way but that is for another day).
As for the ride itself, I still have not experienced it for myself. Please comment if you have been on one of the trolleys.
I recently threw up a post about a segway shop opening in downtown. After hearing that Triangle Segway had opened their doors I went over to their shop in City Market to see these two-wheeled gizmos in action. Owners Todd and Sandy moved to Raleigh from California and have brought something new to our list of downtown entertainment options. I want to thank them for letting me ride one around. I had never ridden one before but I picked up on it easily and within minutes was doing figure eights in the store.
Segways are the perfect way to explore downtown. You miss a lot when inside a car or bus and walking can get time consuming, plus only the most hardcore walkers could pull off seeing it all in one day. These actually make the ridiculous walking tour doable, which took me four or five walking trips to get all of the pictures. With a segway, I could have knocked it out in an afternoon.
I’m rounding up a crew to go out and do the tour so I’ll post my experience afterwards. If anyone has done it, please comment. Leading the tour is a local resident with, how Sandy put it, “an encyclopedia of knowledge” about the area. If you are in City Market just stop in and give it a try. It will win you over like it did me. Oh right, they also sell these things too. The details:
Tour highlights: Fayetteville St., State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, Oakwood and Mordecai.
Hours: Tues-Sun 11am and 2pm. Reservations Required.
Price: 2 hour tour for $55 a person
327 Blake St.
Raleigh, NC 27601