Raleigh in the capital of North Carolina (NC), situated in Wake County, and is one of the only cities in the US planned and built specifically to be a state capital. Raleigh is also known as the City of Oaks, because of the numerous oak trees that grow in the area. It is the second most populated city in NC behind Charlotte, with a population of about 385,507. Raleigh stretches over 115 square miles (299.3 km²), with only 1 mile covered in water.
Most of Raleigh is marked by rolling hills that slope east toward the state's flat coastal plain. Its central location puts Raleigh about three hours west of Atlantic Beach, NC (by car) and four hours east of the Great Smoky Mountains of the Appalachian range. The city is 145 miles (233 km) south of Richmond, Virginia; 232 miles (373 km) south of Washington, D.C.; and 143 miles (230 km) northeast of Charlotte, NC.
Raleigh’s climate is humid, but relatively moderate. Summers are typically hot with average temperatures range from the upper 80s to low 90s°F (29 to 35°C) with cooler nights between 65°F to 70°F. The winters average between the upper 40s to low 50s°F (8 to 11 °C) with lows in the mid 20s to low 30s°F (-4 to 0°C).
A few places to visit include: North Carolina State University, African American Cultural Complex, Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NCSU, North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and Marbles Kids Museum. The Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek hosts major international touring acts. The Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts complex houses the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, the Fletcher Opera Theater, the Kennedy Theatre, and the Meymandi Concert Hall. The J. C. Raulston Arboretum, an 8 acre (32,000 m²) arboretum and botanical garden in west Raleigh run by North Carolina State University, maintains a year-round collection that is open daily to the public without charge. Also professional sports teams in Raleigh include the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the region's primary airport and the second-largest in North Carolina, located northwest of downtown Raleigh, serves the city and greater Research Triangle metropolitan region, as well as much of eastern North Carolina.