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Fashionistas coming to Greater Raleigh have something to look forward to as N.C. State University’s Fashion Week is coming up on April 11-13. The future generation of models, designers, textile engineers and fashion industry professionals are collaborating to bring fashion diehards an exciting weekend of education forums, exhibitions and fashion shows.

If the prospect of being engulfed in fashion, clothes, trends and innovative materials makes you giddy, then don your most fashion-forward outfit and head out to one of these Fashion Week events.

The Avant-Garde themed Opening Ceremony will take place April 11 at 7:30 p.m. Ralph Lauren is the sponsor of this fashion show, which will display creations by students from Donghua University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Ravensbourne and N.C. State University. Designs will be radical, daring and experimental, while still embracing aesthetic appeal and functionality. This show will truly embody cutting-edge fashion!

Delve into discussion during Fashion Week’s Thursday morning forum, A Focus Upon Innovation. Enjoy industry relevant presentations such as The Last Frontier, Fashion Market Trends: How our Industry is Evolving and From the Outside Looking In. If you can’t make this forum, then check out Friday morning’s A Focus Upon Creativity, sponsored by the N.C. State University College of Textiles.

The Closing Ceremony Fashion Show is all about color! Color Fusion will be a high-energy runway experience, complete with spectacular hues ranging from bright neons to demure pastels. Come out on Friday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. for this energetic review of Fashion Week, including entertainment by the N.C. State Jazz Ensemble.

We’re looking forward to seeing all you Fashionistas there!

If you celebrate Easter or are just looking for something fun to do on the weekend of March 30-April 1, we would like to invite you to participate in one of the great Easter egg hunts of Greater Raleigh! Sure, egg hunting is fun in your backyard with the family, but joining a large community egg hunt can only up the ante!

The Town of Cary will be hosting its 21st Annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Fred G. Bond Metro Park and Boathouse this year. There will be not one, not two, but three large egg hunts featuring multiple divisions for different age groups. Rise and shine for the 10 a.m. egg hunt on Saturday, April 7, or sleep in and enjoy the afternoon with a 1:30 p.m. hunt. Once you’ve gathered up as much candy and toy eggs as you can find, head over to the Sertoma Amphitheatre for a family-friendly concert by the Sandbox Band.

Rolesville’s 7th Annual Easter Egg in the Park Hunt will also take place on Saturday, with five different hunting sessions for children of different age ranges. There will be food vendors, games and plenty of Easter treats, so come with an appetite! The Garner Spring Eggstravaganza is celebrates the coming of spring with a traditional egg hunt, in addition to entertainment, live music, games, arts and crafts, and more! The Easter Bunny will be in attendance, so make sure to bring your camera!

The area’s largest Easter Egg Hunt will take place at the Raleigh Easter 2012 celebration at Halifax Mall, located across the street from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and the soon-to-open Nature Research Center. This free event will feature more than 40,000 eggs for kids to find, as well as games, music, balloons, inflatables and so much more. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. on April 7, so head out early so you’ll have the whole day to enjoy all the fun!

There isn’t much naturally special about the weekend of April 20 (except Earth Day), so you’re probably wondering why we’d recommend such a random time to visit. For no intentional reason other than that Greater Raleigh is an exceptionally happening and fun-filled place, this weekend is absolutely brimming with events, much more so than usual.

Bring in the Spring with some fun in the sun. The Cuegrass Festival has been an annual hit, hosting one of downtown Raleigh’s largest block parties complete with delicious barbecue and fixin’s from The Pit, not to mention awesome live bands. Get artsy by attending a performance of Leaving Iowa at Raleigh’s Theatre In The Park, or mix your love of food and the arts at the Great Grapes! Art, Music and Wine Festival at the Town of Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre.

Adrenaline Junkies can have the time of their lives with a few N.C. State baseball home games and Carolina Mudcats home games to choose from throughout the weekend. Even aside from baseball, the sports scene will be especially happening, with the ACC Tennis Championship and the North American Table Tennis Olympic Trials at Bond Park, both taking place in Cary.

The performance arts will be going strong during this weekend, with Steel Magnolias and Passport to Wales both set to be performed by the N.C. Theatre and N.C. Symphony, respectively. The Raleigh Amphitheater will host the intoxicating DAYGLOW show, a high-energy fusion of music, art, dance and paint that forms the world’s largest paint party. The Carolina Ballet will also be at the Progress Energy Center, with a dazzling performance of Carmina Burana.

Make sure to get your laughs over the weekend with the belly-rolling humor of the comedians performing at the World Series of Comedy at Goodnight’s Comedy Club. Or watch clowns, dancers and artists perform daring feats at the Cole Brothers Circus at the N.C. State Fairgrounds.

On top of all this, Raleigh will host the area’s largest grand opening, possibly ever! The new Nature Research Center wing at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will open its doors for the first time on April 20, complete with a 24-hour celebration. This will be the largest all-night party downtown Raleigh has ever seen!

There sure isn’t a shortage of fun things to do in Greater Raleigh April 20-22, and we’re positive you’ll leave wishing the weekend had lasted a little longer so you’d have had time to fit in even more!

It’s that time again. You know, one of the most notoriously unproductive times of the year, when it seems like everyone and their mother is glued to a screen watching basketball game after basketball game. It’s March Madness!

If you’re in town March 25-27 then you’re in luck, because this year Raleigh has the honor of hosting the 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Regionals. Thousands of players and fans will flock to North Carolina State University/PNC Arena to witness all of the March Madness in person.

Looking for a great spot to watch the games? Tobacco Road on Glenwood Avenue in downtown Raleigh is a local favorite, with a full wall of televisions so you’ll know for sure that your game is on. Other popular hot spots for sports watching include Backyard Bistro, with five huge screens, and the Brickhouse Sports Pub.

March Madness goes beyond the NCAA basketball games in Greater Raleigh. During the month of March, Adrenaline Junkies can take a break from the games and enjoy several races, including the Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon and the St. Patty’s Day Run Greek 8k, as well as Carolina Hurricanes hockey games.

As the weather warms and flip-flops start to emerge from hibernation, we’re sure you’re ready to get back in touch with the great outdoors. An awesome perk of visiting Greater Raleigh is that you can get the metro experience, complete with performance arts, outstanding museums and delicious restaurants, AND the natural, outdoors experience far away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

There are so many outdoor recreation opportunities in the area that your outdoor plans for the day are limited by only one thing: what you feel like doing! If you’re an Adrenaline Junkie looking to get active, then why not go mountain biking on one of the many trails in the area, or take a swim in the Falls Lake State Recreational Area (there’s even a waterslide).

Free Spirits can get in touch with nature during a few hours of horseback riding on local farms such as MacNair’s Country Acres Stables, Painted Sunset Farm or Phillips Farm. If you’ve got an equestrian friend of your own, feel free to bring him/her along and enjoy a day trail riding at the William B. Umstead State Park or the Southern Oak Equestrian Center.

Foodies aren’t confined to the indoors of restaurants in this area. Choose a restaurant that has an outdoor patio so you can catch a few rays during your daytime meal, or pick up some delicious local eats to-go and picnic at any of dozens of area parks with beautiful views. The combination of mouthwatering local bites and the beauty of the outdoors will make for a meal you won’t forget.

Whether you’re in the mood for a canoeing or sailing excursion, taking a hike or trail run, or playing a round of golf, you’ll find that Greater Raleigh is nearly limitless in what it can offer in the outdoors.

Every year, more than three million visitors come to Greater Raleigh for business. The area has so much to see and do that we’re sure these business visitors are adding some pleasure to the mix, but where do they go when it’s time to buckle down and get productive? Around here, getting work done doesn’t mean solitary confinement in a hotel room.

Co-working spaces are great for local freelancers and remote workers who are looking for a collaborative and professional place to work outside of the home, but the spaces are also great for visiting workers who need a spot for the day. The Raleigh Forum offers day passes for only $25, and includes free wireless internet, refreshments, copy and printing services and daily brainstorming or networking events. This is the type of place where you can get things done while enjoying the company of other professionals.

The Morning Times has been referred to as the epicenter of Raleigh’s creative class. Professionals, artists and writers flock to this popular café to use its upstairs room that’s away from the hustle and bustle of the counter. Choose from a lounge chair or a table and chair to work from, and settle in with the free Wi-Fi. Don’t forget to grab a delicious cup of coffee and a pastry on your way in.

If the weather’s nice and you want some sun, bring your laptop outside and connect to one of downtown Raleigh’s free Wi-Fi hot spots. Post up outdoors in Moore Square or City Plaza, or connect during your conference at the Raleigh Convention Center. Check out this map to see all of downtown Raleigh’s free Wi-Fi coverage.

For a comprehensive list of coffee houses that can serve as your office-away-from-office, visit this site.

Salute! A go-to cuisine style for many, Italian food is as delicious as it is comforting. The next time you’re in Greater Raleigh and looking for an Italian restaurant that will knock your socks off, try one of our all-time favorites that we can’t get enough of.

Posta Tuscan Grille is authentically wonderful, with traditional recipes that result in simple, flavorful dishes. This dining experience used to be available only in Marco and Gianni Betti’s first restaurant in San Casciano, Italy, but now you can experience Tuscany right in downtown Raleigh.

Energy flows through Vivace, where a contemporary dining experience meets progressive Northern Italian cuisine. The restaurant’s amazing patio makes it a top choice for dining when the weather’s nice, and the vegetarian and gluten-free menu options make the cuisine welcoming to everyone.

Wake Forest’s Italian gem is Girasole Trattoria, an upscale, yet modestly priced restaurant and bar that serves Northern Italian creative dishes. Dine on mouthwatering wood-fired pizza straight from the restaurant’s brick oven and then linger over a glass of fine Italian wine. This neighborhood restaurant uses local ingredients to assure absolute freshness in all of its signature dishes.

Many more of our favorites can be found on this comprehensive list of Italian restaurants. Ciao!

What happens when the legendary King of Pop meets a dazzling on-stage acrobatic performance? Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour! This unlikely union may sound different, and that’s because it is – wonderfully different. A riveting fusion of dance, music and acrobatics, this thrilling performance immerses audiences in the products of Michael Jackson’s creative legend, while putting a unique and fantastical spin on his signature dance moves.

THE IMMORTAL World Tour is coming to Raleigh’s RBC Center on March 10th and 11th for two performances you won’t want to miss. It doesn’t matter if you’re a diehard Michael Jackson fan or you’ll be experiencing his artistry for the first time, this performance will entertain and thrill you by celebrating a legacy that transcends generations in a whole new way.

The narrative of THE IMMORTAL takes us to Michael’s inspirational Giving Tree, the source of his creativity. As the story unfolds, the secrets of his inner world are revealed, including his love of music and dance, fantasy and magic, and the beauty of nature.

With captivating visuals that will take your breath away and powerful, legendary music and lyrics driving the show, this performance will bring Michael to life with extraordinary power. And all the while, you’ll experience underscores of his global messages of love, peace and unity. Long-time or new fan, buy your tickets today so you won’t miss out on an event that celebrates a true legend of our time.

GQ Magazine recently featured the best new restaurants in the country, and whose collection of restaurants was named the Mini-Empire of the Year? Why, Ashley Christensen’s, of course. Famous for her highly acclaimed first chef-owned restaurant, Poole’s Diner, Ashley has built a small, yet powerful empire of some of the best restaurants in the country, all nestled in her hometown of Raleigh.

GQ says that Poole’s Diner is “the kind of place you plan a whole road trip around,” and they weren’t kidding. With food so amazing that Ashley is a semi-finalist for the prestigious James Beard Awards three years running, Poole’s offers up creative, simple Southern dishes that are executed perfectly.

In the last year alone, Ashley has added three new hot spots, building herself a small family of restaurants. Chuck’s is where exquisite culinary talent meets burgers. Where else will you find a burger topped with crushed avocado, bacon-onion jam and blistered red peppers or roasted beets, Wisconsin buttermilk bleu cheese, red onion, endive and banyuls aioli?

Beasley’s Chicken + Honey is where Ashley has perfected her fried chicken and offers up mouthwatering Southern sides like pimento mac-n-cheese custard, cider-braised collard greens and muddy pond sorghum baked beans. And, of course, there’s Fox Liquor Bar, where Ashley has crafted a beautiful menu of unique cocktails and an amazing beer and wine selection. Food at the Liquor Bar includes a tasty selection of cheeses, meats and compotes that are perfect to snack on while enjoying a great drink.

“There’s no southern staple this woman can’t improve,” says GQ contributor Aaron Lake Smith. We agree with him, now it’s up to you to plan an Ashley Christensen restaurant tour in downtown Raleigh and see for yourself.

Whether you’re a Wolfpack alumnus back to visit your alma mater or a current student’s family in town for a visit, chances are you’ll want to fully enjoy your trip, including meals! Take a break from the typical – although delicious – college fare one night and enjoy a fine dining experience at one of these outstanding restaurants nearby.

Exceptionally convenient in location, Frazier’s Wine Bar is a fine dining gem among the more casual college joints you’ll find on Hillsborough Street. Here, the entrees include mouthwatering dishes such as brown butter sage risotto, duck confit and grilled hanging tender, and the wine is really, really good.

Several miles down the road, Iris, the Museum Restaurant is a great place to go if you’re looking for something else to do right before or after your meal. Take a stroll through the North Carolina Museum of Art, which houses Iris, and walk the Art Park grounds to work up an appetite before you say bon appétit.

Irregardless Café leans toward the casual side of fine dining, but you wouldn’t know it from the exquisite cuisine you’ll enjoy. The extensive menu offers gluten-free and vegetarian dishes, as well as plenty of dishes made with only the freshest and most local ingredients.

For a comprehensive list of all types of restaurants and dining in West Raleigh near N.C. State University, visit this site.

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