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Where should I stay in Raleigh this weekend??

Louisville, KY
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Where should I stay in Raleigh this weekend??

My plans:

My son (almost 5) and I are traveling to Raleigh for the sole purpose of seeing They Might Be Giants (Theater in museum park). We're really amped about it, it will be our first road trip together and I took some extra days off to enjoy NC a bit. On Sunday and Monday we'll be hanging out in Dowtown Raleigh, planing on going to the Children's museum and The museum of Natural Sciences. My first thought was to stay at a days inn dowtown (had decent reviews) but it didn't look like there was many places to eat in that area.

So kinda looking for last minute help. Where could be stay in close proximity to some decent (kid friendly) restaurants and maybe be close to a movie theater or mall as well (We're mallrats) and still be in decent driving range of downtown and the art museum theater...not too much to ask I hope.

Thanks,

E

NC
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1. Re: Where should I stay in Raleigh this weekend??

Hmm. The Days Inn is certainly a fine hotel as long as your expectations are a decent, clean room in a good location. It is an renovated older hotel, at a busy intersection, walking distance from Glenwood South (the busy restaurant/bar area) and the museums. It is a fine area to walk during the day, but I wouldn't walk back to there, say, after 10, but with a 5 year old that would not likely be an issue. The rooms are fine, just regular motel rooms.

Another option would be the Clarion. It is a block or two closer to downtown, more between Glenwood South and downtown, so would be a slightly better walking area and closer to things.

I never have quite understood what people were talking about when they say "kid friendly", as we have always just taken our kids everywhere we go to eat, so I am may not be real helpful with that. But I can tell you, downtown, the TIme Bar is our regular Saturday afternoon lunch place, and other great places are the Borough, Spize, Busy Bee (mmm, tater tots), in downtown and Armadillo Grill, Rockford, Hibernian and Mellow Mushroom in Glenwood South.

This weekend would be a great time to stay downtown, in that it is Sparkcon, so all of Fayetteville Street will be closed off and there will be a street painting festival, which my kids love, and all sorts of music and crazy art "going's on". It is a bit of an "edgier" arts festival, but, hey, you are a You Might Be Giants fan, you can handle it.

Be aware that there is the R line downtown for transportation and at night there are also pedicabs, which are another of my kids favorite things. For an adult, flying around a corner on one of those is better than a ride at the fair.

If it was me, I would stay downtown, but if you want to be near the mall and closer to the Art Museum, you could stay near Crabtree. My favorite hotel there is the Homewood Suites. You can walk down the hill to the mall, where there are lots of good chain restaurants. Then you can go the "back way" on Blue RIdge to the art museum, or take the Beltline to Lake Boone, to Blue Ridge.

Warn your son that, right now, the NCMA is a bit of a crazy place, as they have just finished the new building and are moving all the art, so it is a huge construction site that you have to walk through to get to the ampitheater. We were jut out there the other night to see Paperhand Puppets (as worth a trip as TMBG). Once you get in, all is fine, but if you don't know it is going on, you may get that "where am I" feeling walking in.

NC
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2. Re: Where should I stay in Raleigh this weekend??

Here is the link for ArtSpark (aka, the Street painting festival). From this link, you can see the other things going on for sparkcon. sparkcon.com/2009/…

It is a "celebration of creativity" which is volunteer run...basically, if you want to do a "spark" then you make it happen, all on the same weekend...so it is creative, crazy and fun. Go the www.visualartexchange.com for pictures of past street painting festivals.

Also, in case you haven't looked at it, here is a good site for downtown info, such as restaurant locations, R line, etc.

www.downtownraleigh.com

Click on the smaller icon "maps" for some good interactive maps of downtown.

NC
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3. Re: Where should I stay in Raleigh this weekend??

Wow, I am obviously avoiding what the work I need to do today!!

;)

Anyway, here is another downtown Raleigh link. /www.godowntownraleigh.com

It has maps for restaurants, culture, R Line, hotels, etc. which will let you see where Clarion and Days Inn are in relation to other things. When you click on the map, roll your mouse over the red dots to see which hotel or whatever it is (will make sense when you see it).

Louisville, KY
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4. Re: Where should I stay in Raleigh this weekend??

I really appreciate the info and I think you gave me plenty of options to make sure we'd be able to entertain ourselves and eat well staying downtown.

I do have one more question, do you have a suggestion as far as how early we may need to show up at the ampitheater with all the construction?

NC
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5. Re: Where should I stay in Raleigh this weekend??

Wow, that's a tough one. I assume you are going to the kids show? The General Admission thing makes it tough. NCMA ampitheater, as I am sure you know from the website, has upfront seating and lawn seating, both fine. We like to sit up front as the kids stay more engaged, but some people prefer the lawn. With general admission, you will want to get there early if you want to sit up front. We got to Paperhand puppets about 45 minutes early and got a good seat, but expect this to be WAY more crowded. I can tell you that I have heard a TON of buzz about this show. I would get there a least an hour early, if not more. I will ask around and post more later.

Do know that, if you get there early, you can park some jackets or a blanket on your "spot" and then take your kid to run around a bit. There are the big letters in the ground, some filled with sand, some with rocks etc nearby (it spells out "Picture this" from the air...you may have seen it on the website). But kids usually play there while waiting. Or do what we do and bring a deck of cards.

Louisville, KY
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6. Re: Where should I stay in Raleigh this weekend??

Thanks again for all the help. I've made my reservations at the Clarion. We're driving into town Saturday morning anyway so I'll just head straight to the concert, leave an extra hour and a half in there since it sounds like there's plenty to see and pass the time if it doesn't crowd up too early.

7. Re: Where should I stay in Raleigh this weekend??

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