North Carolina / travel / United States

City of Oaks, Part Four: 5 Super Cheap Things to do in Raleigh

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I’ll fight you over it. Raleigh is a super cool city with friendly people, solid museums, and a rockin night life. But now that apparently we’re in the midst of an economic recession and kids are getting their expensive college degrees just to end up bartending, I think we can all agree that our bank accounts relish the occasional breather. Luckily, there’s plenty to do in this city that won’t have you moving back in with your parents.

5 Super Cheap Things to do in Raleigh

Go boating

You don’t have to take out a loan to pay for gas to get you to the beach. Just visit one of Raleigh’s many lakes, most of which offer kayak, jon boat, canoe, paddle boat, and sailboat rentals. Prices are from $4 to $10 per hour. In the summer, throwing on your bathing suit and jumping into a kayak is the perfect way to escape the city heat. Or, now that it’s fall, it’d be perfect to bundle up and go canoe around for a while.

I’ve been known to grab a bottle of wine or champagne (or liquor, don’t judge me) and go drifting around in a rented boat all afternoon. Hey, it’s cheaper than going to a bar.

Farmer’s Market

I never went to farmer’s markets before I visited Europe. As painful as it is to admit, I mainly went to those nasty supermarkets for all my food. Thankfully, now that I live a 10 minute’s scooter ride away from the NC State Farmers Market, my eating habits have gotten slightly healthier. Well, not really. But that’s my fault. Even if you’re not looking for groceries specifically, it’s pretty cool just to come here and wander around.

As well as fresh produce, there are stores for North Carolina meats, North Carolina wine, North Carolina cheeses, and a couple restaurants featuring-you guessed it-North Carolina seafood. Shop local!

Reader’s Corner

One of my favorite used book stores in the world is on Hillsborough Street, a few blocks down from NC State Campus. This place has it all. There are crappy 10-25 cent books out front, and shelves full of classic literature inside. But don’t worry, illiterates: this place has comic books and DVDs, too. I recently spent about $15 on 3 great quality novels that all happened to be about growing up in Asia. Even my boyfriend found a couple books here pertaining to his major. Reader’s Corner has something for everyone.

That’s all the books I could find that we’ve bought at Reader’s Corner. But after I took this photo I remembered a large stack of “coffee table” books I keep in the guest bathroom, which they sell for $1.

The Goat Bar

The Goat Bar is one of the cheapest places I’ve been to in this country without feeling like I was about to get stabbed at any moment. The regulars here are so nice, and friendly. I’ve never gotten so many free beers and shots in my life (again, in the US)-and with those prices, why wouldn’t you by a stranger a shot?

Saturday is my favorite day, with $4 any liquor on the shelf. Belvedere gimlets, I’m coming for you.

Blue Ridge Cinema

The Blue Ridge Cinema, otherwise known as The $2 Theater, is my favorite place to watch a movie. When did all the other theaters get so expensive? Instead of paying $40 on a date to a normal cinema, sneak some candy in your bag, and buy a package here. For $10, you can get two movie tickets, two drinks, and a large popcorn. Or, bring your own supplies and pay $2 apiece. Can’t beat that.

So, college kids and fellow broke people of Raleigh, worry not! You don’t have to pay lots of money to have a good time. Unless you bring some expensive booze, (which I suggest) these 5 places provide a good time without murdering your checking account.


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