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Oh #snap! Here are the most Instagrammable spots in Raleigh

Raleigh's Boylan Bridge offers one of the best views in the city – including this double rainbow after a 2015 storm –  and therefore makes a popular choice for Instagram photos. Follow this guide to the most Instagrammable photo spots in the city, all of them worthy of a double tap.
Raleigh's Boylan Bridge offers one of the best views in the city – including this double rainbow after a 2015 storm – and therefore makes a popular choice for Instagram photos. Follow this guide to the most Instagrammable photo spots in the city, all of them worthy of a double tap.

From a boulder in the Neuse River to a rooftop bar downtown, Raleigh offers dozens of photo ops for the casual photographer looking to boost Instagram followers.

Some of the city's signature backdrops are obvious to a newcomer: the skyline view from Boylan Bridge, the cannons on the Capitol lawn, the 1,250-pound acorn sculpture that drops on New Year's Eve.

But here's a collection of scenic spots made for Instagram, a list of landmarks to get people double-tapping. They may not rake in the likes as fast as Disneyland — the most Instagrammed location in 2017 — but they all say Oak City.

Happy collecting.

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Willie T. Sorrell III, left, takes a photo of bluegrass band, None of the Above from Pinnacle, NC, in front of the Sir Raleigh Walter statue in 2014. Sir Walter remains a tempting snapshot opportunity downtown. Juli Leonard jleonard@newsobserver.com


Sir Walter Raleigh Statue

From his perch outside the Raleigh Convention Center, Sir Walter presides over the city's biggest gatherings, always decked-out in season-appropriate attire. Shown here inside a banjo-themed decoration for Wide Open Bluegrass, the city's bronze mascot practically begs for a snapshot.

Find it: 500 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh. raleighconvention.com

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This Gandhi statue stands outside Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh, adding a graceful presence to any self-portrait. Juli Leonard jleonard@newsobserver.com

Gandhi statue

Hidden behind Marbles Kids Museum downtown, the 9-foot statue of Mohandas Gandhi shows the Indian activist in full stride above an inscription of the famous quotation he more-or-less said: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Gandhi's presence obviously elevates any portrait.

Find it: 201 E. Hargett St., Raleigh. marbleskidsmuseum.org

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A 70-foot model of the planet Earth is part of the Nature Research Center at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. Portrait-takers like to take pictures of friends holding it up, Atlas-style. Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com

The Daily Planet

This 72-foot model of Earth went up in 2012 — the can't-miss icon that stands outside the Nature Research Center, the newest wing of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. Inside it's a three-story theater with viewing balconies on two levels, but outside it has graced the covers of a thousand holiday greeting cards. Especially popular: Holding up the planet, Atlas-style.

Find it: 11 W. Jones St., Raleigh. naturalsciences.org

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'All Are Welcome' mural

Over the past decade, as downtown Raleigh awakened, some of its bleakest walls got splashed with paint, making the city a destination for mural gazing. One of the favorites, Luke Miller Buchanan's "All Are Welcome," graces the southern wall of famed Poole's Diner (from award-winning chef Ashley Christensen, known for her activism) and greets drivers coming up South McDowell Street — one of the city's busiest entryways. Most original Instagram shot: a group wearing banana costumes.

Find it: 426 S. McDowell St., Raleigh, facing Red Hat Amphitheater

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Michael Flack and Michael Flack Jr. stand beside the statue of Andy Griffith and Ron Howard as their characters, Andy and Opie Taylor, from Griffith's television show at Pullen Park in Raleigh, in 2012. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO


Andy Griffith statue

In "The Andy Griffith Show," Deputy Barney Fife famously described Raleigh as his off-duty party location. So it's fitting that North Carolina actor and sitcom co-star Andy Griffith would grace Pullen Park as a life-size statue, fishing pole in hand, looking admiringly down at Opie. The historic park on Western Boulevard recently got a facelift, but Andy and Opie remain a top draw for visitors, even though the fishing poles appear to have been broken off or stolen — a perfect case for Barney Fife.

Find it: Pullen Park is at 408 Ashe Ave., Raleigh. The statue is to the left of the carousel, not far from the boat house.

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From left to right, Robert Dates, Marcus Spruill, Dominick Downing and Joshua Puente pose alongside Raleigh's statue of Martin Luther King Jr., whose memorial garden stands at the intersection of Rock Quarry Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Courtesy of Instagram @YaHeard


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens

On the Southeast Raleigh street named for the slain civil rights leader stands a 6-foot statue of King in clerical robes. Though a place for solemn reflection, the life-size sculpture stands at ground level, making it ideal for group photos.

Find it: 1215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Raleigh, at the intersection of Rock Quarry Road

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Shreyansh Kabrawala, an N.C. State graduate student, sets up to study in one of the ball-shaped chairs in the James B. Hunt Library on the N.C. State Centennial Campus in Raleigh in 2017. The library, which opened in January 2013, is known for its eclectic design, featuring bold colors and shapes, as well as a wide variety of furniture. Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com

Hunt Library, NC State University

For a place built for quiet contemplation, the sprawling James B. Hunt Library presents a colorful string of sightseeing opportunities. From the purple lounge chairs in the Rain Garden Reading Lounge to the egg-shaped study chairs, the library's eccentric design tempts students and visitors to snap a quick shot. Two people, it turns out, can fit inside the eggs. For a preview, check out the more than 7,000 photos tagged #HuntLibrary.

Find it: 1070 Partners Way, Raleigh. lib.ncsu.edu/huntlibrary

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A pretty multi-colored rose blooms at the Raleigh Rose Garden on July 30, 2015. The Raleigh Rose Garden is located on a piece of property that it shares with Raleigh Little Theatre, a few blocks north of the main N.C. State campus in the western side of Raleigh. Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com


Raleigh Rose Garden

With 60 year-round rose beds, Raleigh Little Theatre's backyard draws weddings, food truck rodeos and an army of iPhone cameras. Not only do the blooms show off rare color, but the amphitheater and the semicircular pergola give the garden the feel of a scene from Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream," which it occasionally hosts.

Find it: 301 Pogue St., Raleigh. raleighlittletheatre.org/visit-us/rose-garden

'Sayre Rings,' N.C. Museum of Art

No set of Instagram pics can be complete without a shot from Thomas Sayre's "Gyre" sculpture in the Museum Park, which inspires people to pose with the giant, half-buried hoops springing out of their ears or spiraling out of their heads. Cast from Earth and soil, the rings line up for perfect portraits.

Find it: 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh. ncartmuseum.org

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Crabtree Creek at the old Lassiter Mill dam, photographed in 1997, is a popular spot for walkers, bikers and Instagram snapshots. Scott Sharpe sharpe@newsobserver.com


Lassiter Mill falls

Few realize that sleepy Crabtree Creek, which flows under Capital Boulevard and through some of Raleigh's more industrial neighborhoods, forms a picturesque waterfall. But those who visit the park off Lassiter Mill Road, not far from North Hills, invariably pose in front of the rushing water, often with lips locked.

Find it: Near the intersection of Old Lassiter Mill and Lassiter Mill roads

Josh Shaffer: 919-829-4818, @joshshaffer08
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