Wake County

Sorry, Charlotte. Money Magazine says Raleigh is Best Big City in Southeast

Sorry, Charlotte. Money Magazine says Raleigh is Best Big City in Southeast

Raleigh residents talk about what makes the city special to them after Money Magazine named Raleigh the "Best Big City in the Southeast"
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Raleigh residents talk about what makes the city special to them after Money Magazine named Raleigh the "Best Big City in the Southeast"

Raleigh is the Best Big City to Live In in the Southeast, says Money Magazine.

You read that correctly: Best Big City. As in urban. The magazine said it went looking for “a rich trove of culture, dynamic street life, maybe even a little bit of grit” in cities with a population of 300,000. And they ended up with Raleigh, right up there with No. 1 Boston in the Northeast.

Raleigh has made these best-places lists a lot. So often, in fact, we started feeling a bit jaded about them, even smug. We could recite the reasons why without pause: good schools, reasonable cost of living, great place to raise a family, booming local economy. But this time it’s different. We’ve got grit. We’ve got smells.

Of course, Money also notes that we’ve got miles and miles of greenways and are just a short drive from the beach – because sometimes you need to wash off the grit.

The “Hot Hood” in the area, according to Money? Move over Oakwood, this time it’s Mordecai, which it notes is close to downtown, has lower-than-average crime and a mix of new and historic homes.

“We have this really tight community (in Mordecai),” said Kelly Shull, 24, who works at Person Street Pharmacy.

Zinith Barbee, who lives in Mordecai, said he takes a daily stroll through the neighborhood to hit up coffee shops and cafes. Some days he walks further into downtown to visit the museums.

Barbee, 60, said his neighborhood has transformed over the years from a sleepy community to a place where people come to drink craft beer and eat dinner.

“It’s upgraded, it’s changed,,” Barbee said. “Younger generation – now I’m the old person.”

Mayor Nancy McFarlane said many people still don’t think of Raleigh as a big city. So the affirmation is nice.

“People feel like they have the advantages but not the headaches of living in a big city,” she said.

While the list points out Raleigh is a magnet for families, it also comes in at No. 10 on Money Magazine’s list of the best places to be rich and single. Charlotte didn’t make that list either, and in a comment that must hurt our friends in the Queen City who are so proud of their banking status, the magazine suggested “it’s all the bankers in town” that bring Raleigh’s median household income to more than $57,000.

But we should note that Money did not consider Raleigh the best place to live in North Carolina. That distinction went to Cary.

Mary Cornatzer: 919-829-4755, @capeditor

Who is No. 1?

Money magazine has ranked several Triangle towns on their annual “Best Places to Live” list in recent years. The magazine alternates between ranking small towns and big cities.

2016: Raleigh, No. 1 in the Southeast; Cary, No. 37, and best place to live in the state

2015: Apex, No. 1

2014: Cary, No. 19; Chapel Hill, No. 36

2013: Apex, No. 9

2012: Chapel Hill, No. 10; Cary, No. 56

2010: Cary, No. 23; Chapel Hill, No. 40

2008: Cary, No. 16; Chapel Hill, No. 65

2007: Apex, No. 14; Holly Springs, No. 22

2006: Raleigh, No. 4 (big cities); Cary, No. 5

2004: Cary, No. 1

1994: Raleigh, No. 1

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