A couple of things stood out: The first was the loyalty that some folks have to their favorite park, bar, hair stylist and auto mechanic. The second was another object lesson in how this place has grown together—and apart. We might consider the towns of Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill and Carrboro as close together, but when it comes to things like where we like to see movies or eat sushi we tend to stick close to home. There are some places, call them institutions if you like, that are still revered and, in their way, weave us together. Some were natural winners of our Readers' Poll—like Pullen Park for a picnic or Cat's Cradle for a night of rock. We also offer a few picks of our own, some a little more tongue in cheek than others.
Contributors: Bob Geary, Fiona Morgan, Barbara Solow, Jennifer Strom, Richard Hart, Kirk Ross, Chris Toenes and Sylvia Pfeiffenberger. Drawings by Eric Knisley.
Arts & Entertainment
The best art galleries, museums, theater, parks and places to see movies, sports and do nothing.
Music & Clubs
The best places for rock, classical, salsa and hip-hop, the best outdoor venue and places to shoot pool, sing karaoke and/or meet your future mate.
Goods & Services
The best auto mechanic, hair stylist, thrift store, flower shop, bike shop, video store, beer, wine, jewelry and others.
Media & Politics
The best radio for talk, and for music, best Web site, weather forecaster (guess who?), new anchor and columnist.
Wine & Dine
The best old restaurant, the best new restaurant, take out lunch, burgers, sushi, place to take the kids, place to take mom and dad and a lot of places in between.