Just as the name suggests, the Raleigh-Durham International Airport
(RDU) is smack in between Raleigh and Durham. The two-terminal airport is easily accessible from Interstate 40, about a 25-minute drive from downtown Raleigh. Ground transportation's no problem—there are plenty of taxis and rental cars, as well as a regular Triangle Transit bus to downtown Raleigh. Frequent fliers tend to like RDU, as it's relatively small and easily walkable, with easygoing (for an airport) staff and few long lines. Nine major airlines and seven regional carriers offer nearly 400 nonstop daily flights to most major cities on the East Coast, as well as the Midwest, Southwest, London and Toronto, though you'll probably have to catch a connecting flight if you're heading to the West Coast.
If you're short on cash and not in a hurry, Greyhound
is always an option, with regular bus to service to pretty much anywhere in America. Popular routes include the five-hour jaunt between Raleigh and Charlotte, and the six-hour Raleigh-DC trip. The Raleigh Greyhound station is conveniently located on the edge of downtown.
Three passenger trains leave daily from downtown Raleigh's Amtrak
station. The Silver Star runs up and down the Eastern seaboard from New York to Miami. The Piedmont makes the three-hour trek between Raleigh and Charlotte, with stops in Cary, Durham and Greensboro. The Carolinian runs from Charlotte to New York. While all the trains are reasonably comfy, driving or flying to your destination is almost always faster, and quite often cheaper. Despite having many passionate advocates, a commuter railway is still years away.
While downtown Raleigh is becoming increasingly pedestrian-friendly, most Raleigh residents still rely on their own cars. Driving in Raleigh is fairly straightforward, though the one-way streets of downtown can be a bit tricky. If you're headed to Durham or Chapel Hill, hop on Interstate 40. In general, Raleigh drivers are a friendly bunch—must be that famous Southern charm.
As Raleigh is definitely a car city, most locals only use taxis for early-morning airport trips or to avoid DUI charges after an evening at the nightclubs. That said, the city has several taxi companies with 24/7 service. While you might get lucky and catch one on a downtown street, you'll more than likely have to call for a pick-up. Restaurant hosts, bartenders and doormen will always be happy to help you out.
Raleigh's comprehensive city bus system is known as Capital Area Transit
, or CAT. It'll get you almost anywhere in town you need to go. Visitors love the new R-Line, a free hybrid-electric bus that circulates between popular downtown attractions, including museums, performing arts centers, and dining and nightlife hotspots. It's a great way to get back to your hotel safely after a night of partying on Glenwood South. For trips to other Triangle cities, hop on a Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) bus, with regular service to Durham, Chapel Hill and the Raleigh suburbs.