Raleigh is the North Carolina State Capital and, with an estimated 359,332 (2006) residents, the second most populous city in North Carolina. Known as the City of Oaks for its many oak-lined streets, it is one of the three cities of "The Triangle." With Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill making up "The Triangle" it has an estimated regional population of 1,509,560.
Raleigh is home to many banking, technological, electrical, medical, electronic, telecommunications, apparel, food processing, paper products, and pharmaceutical corporations. It is also a major retail shipping point for eastern North Carolina and a wholesale distributing point for several food store chains. Companies based or operating in Raleigh include Red Hat, First Citizens Bank, Cisco, Nortel Networks, Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. Progress Energy, Siemens Power Transportation & Distribution, RBC Centura, Carquest, IBM, Asea Brown Boveri, and Lenovo.
Raleigh has award-winning parks and recreation areas, and offers a wide variety of leisure services at more than 150 sites with 8,100 acres of park land, 54 miles of greenway, 22 staffed community centers, a BMX champion race track, 112 tennis courts at 25 locations, 5 lakes, and 8 swimming facilities. The NC-DOT Mountains-to-Sea bike route goes through Raleigh, as does the U.S. Maine-to-Florida bicycle route #1. The NC-DOT Cape Fear Run bicycle route connects Apex to Wilmington and closely parallels the RUSA 600km brevet route. Additionally, The JC Raulston Arboretum, part of N.C. State University, includes an impressive, year-round botanical collection and is open free to the public.
The city also is home to an impressive list of higher education institutions including North Carolina State University, Shaw University, Peace College, St. Augustine's College, ECPI College of Technology, and Wake Technical Community College. These significantly add to the options available for enjoying performance and visual art events and venues. Some of these can be found at the Alltel Pavilion at Walnut Creek- featuring popular touring musicians- the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, the Meymandi Concert Hall, and during the NC State Fair, the Dorton Arena. Raleigh's museums and galleries include the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh City Museum, Exploris, and the Pope House Museum.