Where Am I -- an Overview of Raleigh and its Environs!
Someone mentioned that we should explain about the two beltlines that Raleigh has and that many still use terms like "inner" and "outer" in regards to directions around one of them! If this sounds confusing, it can be and after a quick look at an overview map, we hope that all will be at least clearer!
This map shows us:
- the location of the RDU airport with regard to downtown Raleigh (just west of the large green park -- Umstead) -- just off Interstate 40
- it shows the locations of Durham and Chapel Hill for anyone either participating in a planned tour to one of those locales or who has planned a visit while in the area
- it shows the major highways into and around the Raleigh area
Now let's explore the Raleigh area a little more closely!
- Interstate 40, essentially runs east-west along the south side of Raleigh (then SE to Wilmington or NW towards Asheville) -- this is the road typically used to get out to Durham and/or Chapel Hill
- Interstate 40, along the south side of Raleigh overlaps with Interstate 440 or the so-called "inner loop".
- The 440 circumnavigates Raleigh and is the circular road shown closest to city center.
- Before Interstate 540 was constructed a few years ago, directions on the 440 were always done in terms of "inner" and "outer" beltline ... inner meant that you wanted to head clock-wise and outer meant that you wanted to head counter clock-wise. When the 540 was built, did that get confusing! Signage is being removed using those terms and if you ask directions while downtown, you might hear someone mention inner and outer -- more than likely they are referring to a direction for driving and not one or the other highway.
- Raleigh now has the northern portion of an "outer loop" constructed, Interstate 540. For most of you, this will not be a road that you are traveling on and just in case you end up on it from the airport, know that it probably won't take you where you want to go.
As someone explained to me when I first moved here and did many trips around Interstate 440 ....
"Think of the beltline as a wheel, even though it is convoluted. The inside of the wheel travels in clockwise direction, the outside of the wheel in a counter-clockwise direction. Determine the point at which you will enter the beltline and your exit point. The direction you need to go will determine whether you take the inner or outer loop. It is not as confusing as it sounds."
CONVENTION CENTER DIRECTIONS ...
*** To reach the convention center from the south (US40) and the east (US264/64) drivers take the inner beltline (you are essentially following 40 west) to exit 298B South Saunders Street toward Downtown Raleigh. Turn right onto South Saunders Street. Stay in the right hand lane. South Saunders splits and the right lanes become McDowell Street. Turn right onto Lenoir Street. Raleigh Convention Center will be on the left. Entrance to parking is on right immediately after the turn onto Lenoir (Performing Arts Center Deck) OR one block ahead on Lenoir on left (Raleigh Marriott City Center Garage).
***Visitors from the west (US40, US64) may take the outer loop of the beltline (again you are essentially following 40 east) to exit 298B South Saunders Street toward Downtown Raleigh. Follow directions given above.
***Visitors from the north, you probably want to just take Capital Blvd (US1) south. Stay on Capital Blvd., crossing over I-440 beltine. Capital Blvd. becomes Dawson Street as you approach downtown. Go 9 blocks south on Dawson Street. Turn left onto Lenoir. Cross over McDowell Street and Raleigh Convention Center will be on the left. Entrance to parking is on right immediately after the turn onto Lenoir (Performing Arts Center Deck) OR one block ahead on Lenoir on left (Raleigh Marriott City Center Garage).
We hope this helps you as you arrive and explore Raleigh. If not, ask any designated "Ask Me" person at the conference, check out the Raleigh booth when you first arrive (we are hoping that print maps will be available there), or stop by the Hospitality booth! We're more than happy to help you get where you want to go!