Three Urban Escapes to Enjoy Big-City Living Outside Raleigh

Just a city boy/girl lookin’ to frolic around a concrete jungle.  


“Down in Atlanta” there’s plenty to eat, drink, see and do to stay peachy all summer long.

Rooftop Drinks
It’s worth coughing up a few extra bucks to sip and sup on ATL’s ultimate rooftop destination, aka Ponce City Market’s Endless Summer Beach Bar. Can’t talk right now, alcohol you later.

Get in Line
The Atlanta BeltLine—aka 22 miles of unused railroad tracks surrounding the city’s core—provides a straight shot to access some of the city’s best breweries, artworks, parks, restaurants and other cool spots def worth scoping out. 

Secret Sips
Prefer to throw your bevs back underground? The James Room is a vibe, esp. with its leather couches, curated playlists (hear anything from hip-hop to pop to R&B), and expertly crafted cocktails. We just know Don Draper would feel right at home here.

Cool Down
You haven’t done ATL to its full potential until you Shoot the Hooch (really, it’s a thing). Rent a kayak, river tube or raft to float down the Chattahoochee River—taking a dip encouraged to escape that grueling HotLanta sun. Phew! 

Beard Dinner
Celebrate chef Terry Koval’s 2023 Best Chef: Southeast James Beard win by noshing on thoughtfully made rotating dishes boasting local, seasonal ingredients (think beef fat potatoes, scallop risotto and pappardelle pasta) at his delectable resto The Deer and the Dove

Bottle It Up
Did you even go to Atlanta if you didn’t go to the World of Coca-Cola (visit the Georgia Aquarium too and you’ll be the epitome of a tourist!)? The answer is no. “Taste the feeling”—literally—via the museum’s tasting experience of Coca-Cola beverages from throughout the world.


Time to get on your queen sh*t. For a royal getaway with big-city energy, take a quick 2.5-hour jaunt to Charlotte, where the city’s crown jewels (aka hoods) offer plenty of fun for all. Sports lovers are gonna wanna “root, root, root” for the home team—the Charlotte Knights—at Truist Field, while foodies should reserve a table at 2023 James Beard Award Best Chef: Southeast Finalist’s Counter, which specializes in 10- and 14-course tasting menus. More of an adrenaline seeker? Hit up the Whitewater Center feat. 1,300 acres to run, paddle, ride, climb—plus eat, drink and jam. Of course, any activity should be followed by a beer—and Queen City’s got a ton of breweries from which to choose. Go ham and create your own brewery-hopping tour. Oh, hoppy days!


For a vacay touting a, ahem, wealth of activities, look no further than Virginia’s Cap City, where “lovers,” friends or families can take full advantage of all Richmond has to offer. Naturally, who you’re bringing will affect your itinerary, so choose your fave travel partner(s) and take inspo from our rich picks. 

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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.