Raleigh in 3 Hours

A couple months ago, while procrastinating during one of our study sessions, I told my friend Maria that I’ve lived here in Chapel Hill for almost 2 years and basically never been to Raleigh (besides a couple super quick trips for specific events at night). Given that Maria went to NC State undergrad and has lived in the Raleigh area for years, she decided it was her duty to take me on a tour of Raleigh before I move back to DC next week. Yesterday morning was finally the day!


Our crazy busy schedules meant that we only had a few hours to play because I had to be back in Chapel Hill at 2 for a group project meeting and Maria had to pick up her kids from school, so we decided to meet at Maria’s at 9 a.m. and embark on a “quick and dirty” tour of Raleigh. We did some driving and some walking. There was a lot to see and we were on a tight schedule. ;)

Our first stop before heading into the downtown was the Raleigh Farmer’s Market! This is seriously the most awesome farmer’s market ever — it’s ALWAYS open!


I wish this were next to my house. We’re getting into prime farmer’s market season — check out all this gorgeous produce!



NC strawberries are AMAZING right now. Beautiful flowers and herbs for sale, too.


I picked up some sweet potatoes, kale, cucumber, asparagus, tomatoes, and, of course, some of those beautiful strawberries, all for less than $15. Sweet!

After the farmer’s market, we headed downtown! We drove through NC State to see Maria’s old stomping grounds, and then parked and got out to walk around the capital area.


We drove around through a few more cool areas before stopping at… Krispy Kreme!! Maria told me we had to check it out because the Raleigh store is not just a normal store — the back of the store is glass so you can see the donuts being made! Fun.


Mmmm… icing. We thought about getting a donut to share but we were heading to lunch in like 15 minutes so we decided to hold off. :)


On the way to lunch, we stopped at the cutest place ever for tea:


And then headed to Maria’s favorite restaurant in the area for lunch — a cute place called Irregardless!


Sidenote: does the word “irregardless” (which is actually not really a word, technically, since regardless means the same thing) remind anyone else of the movie Mean Girls? :)

Maria had a feeling I would love this place and she was right. Awesome menu — I wanted everything, but finally decided on the South American Quinoa Salad topped with salmon.


Isn’t that pretty?! The salad had black beans, quinoa, sweet potatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds, mango guacamole, and a poblano dressing (the green sauce on the side).


SO. GOOD. I mixed it all together and it was almost even prettier after I did — so colorful!


I only made it through half of it — it was a massive portion — so half came home with me, plus some yummy whole wheat bread they brought to the table. Yay for leftovers!


Delicious lunch. If you ever find yourself in Raleigh, check this place out!

Sadly after lunch it was time to hightail it back to our respective commitments. The morning went by way too quickly — we had so much fun playing hooky from responsibilities and exploring Raleigh. Thanks to my lovely tour guide, Maria! :)


I have a TON of work to get done today — time to buckle down! Happy Thursday, friends!


  1. 1

    Beautiful photos! I definitely want to visit Raleigh at some point!

  2. 2

    I am so jealous of everything about this post! I can’t wait til farmers markets open up in CT-only a couple more weeks! Also that lunch looks devine! I hear ya about studying/work its crunch time in grad of luck to you-at least you have a delicious plate of leftovers to look forward to!!

  3. 4

    Wow! I am jealous of that farmer’s market!

  4. 5

    Enjoy your last week in NC!

  5. 6

    A friend sent this to me a while ago which I think you’d be interested in:

    …who woulda thought? Love the sound/presentation of your lunch!

    • 7

      Haha yeah apparently they added it to dictionaries as “slang” so it kind of IS a real word now – funny how pop culture can make that happen!

  6. 8

    Looks like a perfect Raleigh tour- except you should have visited The Raleigh Forum, my coworking space :) Irregardless is my favorite place for brunch!

  7. 9

    I’ve never explored Raleigh and want to!! Winston-Salem is home of the original Krispy Kreme and we have one that lets you watch the process too. It’s such a fun place to take people.

  8. 10
    Adventurer says:

    One word, once again: Awesome! Thanks, Anne –

    And enjoy/good luck with your final weeks there!

  9. 11

    That looks so fun! I’m a little jealous of your adventure :)

    • 12

      It was fun!! Libby- would be happy to take you around, you will be in NC a while longer, let me know when you want to go!! maria =)

  10. 13

    Ahhh I can’t wait for our famers market to open in a couple weeks!!! All your pictures are gorgeous!

  11. 14

    Wow that food looks so good!

  12. 15

    Oh those strawberries look soooo good. I just returned a little while ago from Atlanta Botanical Gardens and ate lunch at the cafe there, where I enjoyed for the very first time, kale salad. It was as great as you said it was. I am now a kale lover.

  13. 17

    That quinoa salad is SO CUTE! I’m getting hungry just looking at it all!

  14. 18

    Wow, wow, wow!! Everything looks so good. I’m drooling over the strawberries and fish. Glad you had a great time!

  15. 19

    I live in Wilmington but work in Raleigh (head to my office about every 2-3 weeks for a couple of days)…my office is about 2 miles from the Farmer’s Market and have made a mad dash over there during my lunch hour. Wish I was there on Saturdays when all the amazing goodies are out (I’m usually in town Wed-Thurs). There are some delicous things to be found there (and my fridge is currently stocked with fresh strawberries and homemade vanilla whipped cream). I also think the basil I have growing (from LAST year) came from the Farmer’s Market!

  16. 20

    I love the Farmer’s Market! I have been there several times and always end up getting some great stuff. The produce is always so much better (and cheaper!) than anything I find in grocery stores. I will definitely have to check out the restaurant, your meal looks amazing!

  17. 21

    I go to NC State, and Irregardless is one of my favorites! SO GOOD.

  18. 22

    Looks great! Anne, this is the craziest request ever…my sister is moving to Raleigh soon and your blog post couldn’t have come at a better time. Do you think I could send you my sister’s email address and perhaps she and Maria could talk about the schools in the Raleigh area? My sister has a soon-to-be 3rd grader and a toddler and could really use some advice!

  19. 24

    I went to NC State too and am now in Boston. I lived less than a mile from the Farmer’s Market and this post had me reminiscing! I love Raleigh!!

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