Getting Around Raleigh (by car, bus, bike, or walking)

Raleigh is predominantly a driving city. You won’t find a train system here like in big cities such as New York City or Chicago, but otherwise getting around Raleigh is easy. You either drive, catch a bus, call UBER or Lyft, or bike and walk (our preferred method in downtown Raleigh).

people walking across a bridge with a city in the background

As for traffic, compared to other cities that have horrible traffic like Atlanta or Los Angeles, Raleigh traffic isn’t too bad, depending on what you’re used to?

But the area is growing and peak hour is the most congested time, especially on the I-440 beltline (which loops around downtown) and the I-40 corridor between Raleigh and Durham (and the Research Triangle Park).

Getting Around Raleigh

By Car

Interstate 440 (I-440) is also known as the Raleigh Beltline, the Cliff Benson Beltline, or simply The Beltline. It travels in both directions, clockwise and anti-clockwise (or east/west) and encircles downtown Raleigh with numerous exits to all parts of the city.

If you need a rental car, your best bet is to grab one from Raleigh-Durham airport (RDU) or there are a few companies within the downtown area. 

Of course, Uber and Lift have a good presence here too, so you’ll be fine if flying in – see our post on how to get to Raleigh for tips on transport from the airport into the city!

By Bus

The GoRaleigh bus service currently serves local and regional buses and is headquartered downtown at the GoRaleigh bus station in Moore Square (214 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601). For fares and passes info go here

The Wolfline bus service, NC State University’s bus service not only serves the students but also the general public fare-free (no sudent id required). The buses are red and white and black with the Wolfline logo lettering. Wolfline buses operate every day classes are in session. See schedule here

Getting Around Downtown Raleigh

Jump on the RLine, Raleigh’s free downtown circulator bus service that features hybrid electric buses connecting you to restaurants, retail, entertainment venues, museums, hotels + parking facilities in downtown Raleigh.

RLine buses run approximately every 15-minutes, with the full route taking about 30-minutes to complete and whether you’re a visitor or resident it’s a handy way to get around downtown.

Standard operation hours:

  • Mon-Wed (7 am-11 pm)
  • Thurs-Sat (7 am-2:15 am)
  • Sun (1 pm-8 pm)


Raleigh bike share program

If you want to explore Raleigh on two wheels, Cardinal Bikeshare is the local bike-share system in town.

Cardinal Bikeshare is a public, self-serve bicycle rental system for short trips, comprising of 300 bikes across 30 stations located in downtown Raleigh, in southeast Raleigh, along Hillsborough Street, and at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

To ride, there are numerous options:

  • Single-Trip Pass: $2
  • Day Pass: $6
  • Monthly Membership: $20
  • Annual Membership: $85
  • See all pricing and memberships here.

Your Own Bike

Raleigh is a bike-friendly city.

BikeRaleigh has maps showing bike lanes, sharrows, greenways, and GoRaleigh routes, as well as preferred routes that are based on bicyclist feedback and street conditions.

Check out the following videos sharing some of our favorite bike trials

Parking in Downtown Raleigh

Parking options for downtown Raleigh include street parking, parking lots and parking decks. See parking map here.

With the continued growth of downtown with more and more cafes, restaurants, food halls, breweries, bars, boutique shops and numerous other things to do, it’s getting harder and harder to find parking, depending on the day of the week and time of day!

Street parking is marked. If it’s a blue sign you have to pay between 8am to 5pm, Monday – Friday. On the weekends and after 5pm street parking is free.

Green signs have limited time e.g. “1 hour parking” or “2 hour parking” but can also say “permit required” – read the times carefully.

Pay attention to signs and what they mean. Keep in mind that numbered parking spots typically mean a payment is required in the designated time period.

For parking decks and parking lots, check out this interactive parking map by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

Uniquely Raleigh Checklist
FREE Printable CHECKLIST for all the best things to do in Raleigh  + updates + insider tips. 
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