Where Is Raleigh? Map Location and Proximity to Other NC Cities

Raleigh, NC is lovely in the spring.
iStock.com/Mark Howard

Written by Telea Dodge

Published: December 22, 2023

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Today, we travel to the capital city of North Carolina to learn more about its history and proximity to other cities in the state. There are 739 places in North Carolina, spread out across 100 counties and four unorganized territories. 553 of these places are incorporated, while 186 are census designated places. 76 cities, 456 town, and 21 villages make up the 553 places, and we’ll focus on just one – Raleigh. In this article, we’ll find the map location of Raleigh, North Carolina, learn its distance from other major cities in the state, and dig a little into its history. So, where is Raleigh? Let’s take a look.

Where is Raleigh on a Map?

Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina at sunrise.

Raleigh is the capital city of North Carolina.

First, let’s look at Raleigh on a map. To do this, we used Google Maps to share an interactive map of Raleigh. Using this map, we can see exactly where this city is in the state of North Carolina, along with outlining the boundaries of the cities.

Raleigh rests in Wake County and serves as the seat of this county. Wake County is the most-populous county in the state and houses the second most-populous city in the state. Raleigh is located in the northern-central region of North Carolina, close to the geographical center of the state. This is an advantageous location for the state capital in terms of accessibility and commerce. The 2021 census observed the population of Raleigh at 469,124. This population is inclusive of residents in the city of Raleigh, but not of the residents of the Greater Metropolitan Area of Raleigh, which hosts 1,413,982 people.

Raleigh is southeast of Durham and northeast of Fayetteville.

Distance to Other North Carolina Cities

Skyline of Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte, North Carolina, is the most-populated city in the state. It is located 165 miles from Raleigh.

Let’s look at the mileage and travel times between Raleigh and a few other North Carolina cities. We selected these cities based on their population. This way, you can get an idea of the travel distances between some of the largest cities in the state. This is most helpful, as smaller towns and cities often orbit around larger metropolitan areas. The table below shows the mileage and estimated travel time between these cities, along with noting their populations. Please note that the actual travel times between cities vary based on route, traffic, construction, highway conditions, and weather.

CityPopulationDistance to RaleighEstimated Travel Time
Charlotte879,709165 miles2 hours and 36 minutes
Greensboro298,26376.6 miles1 hour and 20 minutes
Durham285,52725.2 miles41 minutes
Winston-Salem250,320103 miles1 hour and 45 minutes
Fayetteville208,77864.3 miles1 hour and 3 minutes
Cary176,98712 miles18 minutes
Wilmington117,643129 miles1 hour and 56 minutes
High Point114,08691.7 miles1 hour and 33 minutes
Concord107,697146 miles2 hours and 17 minutes
Asheville94,067247 miles3 hours and 43 minutes

About Raleigh, North Carolina

North Carolina Winter

Raleigh, North Carolina is a planned capital city.

Raleigh’s central location is no accident. In fact, it was planned to be a capital city before it was a city at all! In 1778, a State Convention deemed it necessary to have an “unalterable seat of government” established in a central location. They selected Wake County, North Carolina. At the time, Raleigh was just a small settlement owned mostly by Joel Lane. He sold one thousand acres of land to the state as a result of the State Convention. William Christmas surveyed and planned the area in April of 1792 – the same year the city was established, named, and made both the county seat of Wake County and the state capital. Essentially, Raleigh is a planned capital. The city was purchased and built expressly for the purpose of becoming the capital of the state.

Raleigh is named for Sir Walter Raleigh, the man who tried to establish the very first English Colony in the Americas in the 1580s.

Modern Raleigh

Now, Raleigh prides itself on its extensive history, its abundance of oak trees, and its mild, four season climate. It is home to over 9,000 acres of parks and nearly 1,300 acres of water. Raleigh proudly boasts an incredible 180-mile greenway system. The city is also happily a huge proponent of affordable housing initiatives, with a ten year plan to greatly increase the number of affordable housing units available for purchase or rental.

Raleigh believes in being a green, accessible city. This includes a four year suspension of public transportation fees from March 2020 to June 30, 2024.

Notable Attractions

Raleigh has a lot of really cool attractions, including a large and diverse art scene. It is home to the Carolina Ballet, the North Carolina Symphony, and the North Carolina Opera. Sports enthusiasts will also find a home here, whether cheering for the NHL Carolina Hurricanes or checking out the pro soccer leagues and establishments in the area. The city is home to several notable universities, which may contribute to the abundance of museums and historic sites in the area. Here is a short list of major attractions in the area. Click on the name of each place to be directed to its website for more information about visiting.


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About the Author

Telea Dodge is an animal enthusiast and nature fiend with a particular interest in teaching a sense of community and compassion through interactions with the world at large. Carrying a passion for wild foraging, animal behaviorism, traveling, and music, Telea spends their free time practicing their hobbies while exploring with their companion dog, Spectre.

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