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Community Feedback for Sip n’ Stroll Downtown

Sip n' Stroll Downtown

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July 6, 2022

Downtown Raleigh Pilots Social District

At the July 5 City Council Meeting, Council approved staff recommendations to implement a pilot social district in downtown Raleigh. The social district allows people to sip beer, wine, or cocktails as they stroll through a defined area of downtown. Social districts have been implemented in various towns and cities across the state since the North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation in 2021 allowing municipalities to designate areas where alcoholic beverages can be purchased from a licensed ABC permittee, and then taken outdoors.

Earlier this year, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) and City of Raleigh staff held community engagement sessions to hear ideas and concerns from business owners and residents about a potential social district in Raleigh. City staff used this feedback and met with leaders of other municipalities in North Carolina who have successfully implemented social districts of their own, to create a plan for a pilot program in downtown Raleigh. 

The Downtown Social District went into effect August 15. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with an exception during special events. Special Event Permits supersede the social district and any portion of the social district overlapping with a Special Event Permit is suspended during the event. Staff deployed additional recycling receptacles to mitigate litter within the district. Staff also deployed signage to clearly indicate district boundaries and educate downtown visitors.

Additionally, City staff and DRA representatives held information sessions and created guidance materials to educate business owners, patrons, and event organizers on the rules associated with the district. Throughout the pilot, there will be continued community outreach, and an update will be provided to City Council in early 2023. 

City leaders hope that the social district will be a valuable tool in increasing the economic activity and vibrancy of downtown Raleigh.

Learn more about the downtown social district.



Sarah Heinsohn
Emergency Management, Special Events, and Hospitality

Lead Department:
City Council
Service Categories:
Special Events Office