Raleigh, North Carolina has been ranked 3rd in the Happiest Cities in America and in the Top Ten Best Cities in the U.S. to Move to Right Now. For many military families, a metropolitan area like Raleigh is a dream come true. It provides rich opportunities for career, education, the arts, entertainment, medical care, shopping, dining, and so much more. 

Raleigh is North Carolina’s capital. Also known as the City of Oaks, Raleigh is located in the center of the state. Nearby military bases include Seymour Johnson Air Force Base an hour away in Goldsboro, as well as Fort Bragg and the Pope Army Airfield, which are just over an hour away in Fayetteville, NC.

With the education sector, technology giants, and pharmaceutical sciences nearby in Research Triangle Park (RTP), Raleigh is a top choice for quality of life for multiple reasons. A multitude of cities in North Carolina are military-friendly and Raleigh is no exception.

Here are the top seven reasons why Raleigh is a perfect location for military families

1. Employment Opportunities

With military spouse employment always being a hot topic, look no further than Raleigh to find a wide array of professional career opportunities in many different fields. Education, technology, and healthcare are just a few of the top areas that are booming in Raleigh. Currently, the pay in these jobs is top notch.

2. School Choices

Wake County in Raleigh is the largest public school system in North Carolina and the 15th largest in the entire United States. With over 188 public schools, 76 private schools, and 24 charter schools, parents have extensive choices for their children’s education. There are numerous choices for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers too. In addition, Raleigh is home to many amazing higher education institutions: North Carolina State University, Shaw University, Saint Augustine’s University, and Meredith College. Wake Technical Community College has locations across the county to serve students. Other universities that are based throughout the state have opened branch campuses to service the Raleigh area. These include but are not limited to The University of Mount Olive, Campbell University, NC Wesleyan College, and Strayer University.

3. The Arts and Entertainment

Raleigh is rich in the arts. The city features the Art Museum, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. With several performing art theaters, festivals, and art displays throughout downtown, you will see that Raleigh has a great appreciation for the arts. The city also houses many venues for music such as: The Red Hat Amphitheater, Coastal Credit Union Midtown Park, The Lincoln Theatre, Koka Booth Amphitheatre, and the Coastal Credit Music Park.

4. Culture

While Raleigh is a melting pot of different cultures, the southern charm is present, even in this large city. The people are what make or break cities and Raleigh keeps ranking high on some of the best places to live because of the culture and people. You can feel the hospitality in local restaurants and shops located throughout the county.

5. Shopping

Another great perk of living in Raleigh are the numerous choices for shopping. If you have lived in smaller towns or more remote duty stations, you will enjoy the options here. With choices such as Crabtree Valley Mall, North Hills, Cameron Village, Triangle Town Center, Cameron Village, and Lafayette Village, there really isn’t anything that is missing from this shopping lineup.

6. Medical Care

Raleigh has some of the best medical care and hospitals in the state. Both Duke and UNC have affiliated hospitals located in Raleigh: Duke Raleigh and UNC Rex Healthcare. WakeMed Raleigh is a fierce competitor with a hospital in Raleigh, Cary, and outreach locations across the county. If you are on Tricare Select, you will have numerous healthcare options here. 

7. Parks and Green Spaces

Even though Raleigh is a metropolitan city, it still has many amazing parks and green spaces to help you break away from city life. Some of the most popular green spaces are: William B. Umstead State Park, Shelley Lake Park, Lake Crabtree County Park, The Capital Area Greenway, Dorothea Dix Park, and Pullen Park.

Raleigh, North Carolina is a city that has it all. This amazing place offers endless job opportunities, an appreciation for the arts, multiple shopping and concert venues, top notch medical care, and places to find your solitude in nature. Raleigh, North Carolina is down to earth, with a southern charm atmosphere in a big city. If you find yourself stationed in North Carolina, or just passing through during your next PCS road trip, be sure to make a visit to Raleigh!


Wendi Iacobello is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a Master of Arts in Educational Media and a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Mount Olive. Her professional career in education spans across ten years and counting in the public education sector. In addition to chasing around her energetic toddler daily and advocating for clean and safe playgrounds and parks in her area, she is a blogger, freelance writer, brand ambassador, and instructional design assistant. Wendi became a published author in 2020 and her writing has been seen in multiple military affiliated websites and magazines. She loves encouraging others to develop their inner strength in military life and motherhood through her blog Strength 4 Spouses.