The best part about exploring a new area – like when you’re on vacation – is finding tiny, hidden jewels among the stores, activities and dining options available to you. It can feel like your secret: the best place in town that only you know about.
What if we told you that you didn’t have to leave North Hills to get that exploratory vibe?
Consider us your more useful Yelp guide. Rather than having to sift through review after review to find some of the delightfully unexpected stops in the neighborhood, we’ve pulled our favorites for you. Here are five hidden gems of North Hills that you should discover:
1. ArtSource Raleigh
Did you know there was an art gallery in North Hills? You do now.
ArtSouce is directly across the street from Walgreens, and it’s worth the stop. Founded in 1990, it’s now home to works from over 75 artists, making it the premiere gallery in North Carolina. Three to four times a year, the gallery hosts major exhibitions. In between, you can expect rotating artists features and workshops, as well as wine tastings and other private events.
It’s a wonderful place to get lost browsing the artists’ incredible creations : and find the perfect statement piece for your home. There’s a reason ArtSouce was named “Best Place to Purchase Art” for eight years in a row by Metro Magazine readers.
2. Compass Rose Brewery
If you want to venture outside of North Hills’ shopping and dining, Compass Rose Brewery is a pretty great reason to do so.
Just a short six miles away, Compass Rose offers a selection of its own craft beers, as well as a few samples from other breweries in the region. Their creations are inspired by the beauty of North Carolina – so you know to expect top-notch brews. But the beers also take on a bit of an international flavor, informed by the owners’ world travels. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience!
The taproom is an open concept, outfitted with reclaimed wood and industrial design accents. It’s home to many weekly events : trivia, open mic nights, live music, games (for kids – they’re welcome, too!). And food trucks round out the offerings for some beer-friendly snacks.
3. Kings North Hills
The easiest way to pass an evening (with a side of old fashioned fun)? Bowling at Kings North Hills.
It’s an alley like none you’ve ever seen before. Let’s start with the entertainment : 30,000 square feet of things to do! There’s bowling, yes, but also billiards, ping-pong, shuffleboard, air hockey… and not one, but three bars. Don’t miss the late-night DJ that turns the whole place into a dance party.
If you get hungry mid-game, there’s no need to rush to leave. Kings boasts a chef-driven menu that serves up classic American comfort food with a few fun twists. We’ve been known to overdo it on the Fried Mac and Cheese Bites, and the burgers are incredible, too.
Bowling, good food – and bars? Sign us up!
Paperbuzz, right in North Hills’ Lassiter District, is one of our favorite locally-owned staples. For over 20 years, Paperbuzz has had the best collection of gifts and stationery in all of Raleigh. The offerings here run the gamut from formal to eclectic, meaning there’s a gift or paper good that fits every style, every personality, and every event.
Recently, we spotted a bottle opener shaped like a gold pretzel, gorgeous embossed gift tags and special brushes for your S’well water bottle (so that’s how those are supposed to get clean).
Adding to the sense of delight every time you walk in the door? Paperbuzz can create custom invitations or stationery for all needs… meaning you’ll always find the exactly perfect product.
5. Edible Art Bakery and Dessert Cafe
What would a list of hidden gems be without a good source for something sweet?
Edible Art Bakery and Dessert Cafe is a piece of Raleigh history. Since 1982, they’ve been producing all things sweet, southern – and made from scratch. Their cakes come from a 100-year-old family recipe, and the pies are basically famous. At least in our house!
Edible Art is racking up WeddingWire awards, and it’s easy to see why once you peek in their store. We like to go in just to gaze at the incredible cake creations they’re churning out… and while we’re there, pick up a cookie – or the jumbo cupcake. It’s a stop you can’t miss.
These are our favorite North Hills hidden gems, but there are so many more out there. If we missed any – like a go-to restaurant that is always in your rotation – let us know! We’re always looking to add to our must-do’s in the area.
For more information on North Hills, or to plan a discovery trip of your own, check out its website. Happy exploring!