Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina as well as the seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as the “City of Oaks” for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city.

Raleigh has traditionally been lumped with Durham and Chapel Hill as part of the Research Triangle — the land of science, technology and, in the run-up to this month’s N.C.A.A. tournament, college basketball. But this geographic shorthand has become increasingly outdated in recent years, as each city has developed a distinct personality. Today, North Carolina’s capital is awash in entrepreneurial energy from homegrown clothing labels and converted art galleries to craft breweries and ambitious restaurants. More than merely one of the Triangle’s three vertexes, Raleigh is now defining itself as a destination worth exploring on its own merits, regardless of what lies beyond the city limits.