Rated America’s fastest growing city by Forbes, Raleigh increasingly is spreading out. Keeping in mind that Raleigh is part of the even bigger (and growing) Research Triangle that encompasses nearby Chapel Hill and Durham, the distances become even greater. To get a feel of what Raleigh has to offer, and enjoy some time outside of your car, consider booking a downtown hotel.

Raleigh has a surprisingly good (and green) transportation system, and the Capital Area Transit system will take you just about anywhere you need to go in the downtown area. Here are our top picks for downtown area hotels, depending on your preferences.


Holiday Inn Raleigh Downtown – Capital

Originally built in 1969, this recently remodeled hotel has an exterior that definitely exudes a retro flavor. The huge, round tower is a dead ringer for Los Angeles’ iconic Capitol Studios. Rooms have a reasonable price. Try to get a room on one of the top floors for a spectacular view of downtown Raleigh and beyond.


The Carolina Inn

If you’re looking for that southern charm, you can’t go wrong with the Carolina Inn. Built in 1924, it sits near North Carolina State University, and you will see many of the students’ relatives there on parent weekends. The hotel has a decidedly traditional style, filled with antique furniture and artwork. The property is part of the Five Star Alliance.


Sheraton Raleigh Hotel

A recent renovation has freshened up this convenient hotel. It has everything you expect from a business hotel, including convenience to the convention center, and a lovely heated indoor pool and fitness center.

Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh Downtown

If you’re traveling with kids and you’re not a fan of retiring to bed at 8 p.m., having a suite can make or break your hotel stay. The Hampton Inn is a great option since it not only offers the space you need, but has an indoor pool to tire the little ones out before bedtime.


DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Raleigh – Brownstone – University

A recent renovation has put some modern flair into the DoubleTree’s design with an expanded lobby and bright furnishings. Their junior suites are a great option for families or groups of friends traveling together. Each suite has a private balcony. But really, with free cookies at check-in, none of that matters.


Although Raleigh spreads out, it is possible to stay in the middle of the action and get around using public transportation and the occasional taxi. You won’t want to miss some of the outstanding cultural offering, including the North Carolina Museum of Art and outstanding local theaters such as the Raleigh Little Theatre, one of the oldest in the country.

This post is part of the #HipmunkCityLove campaign by Hipmunk.