Cary is a thriving community in the heart of the Triangle area of North Carolina, between Raleigh and renowned Research Triangle Park. The Triangle area is repeatedly ranked among the top regions in the country to live or work, to find a home or start a business, to raise a family or retire.

On the whole, Caryites are a hard-working group with one of the highest median household incomes in the state. And being no further than 20 minutes from major universities such as Duke, North Carolina State, and the University of North Carolina, it’s no wonder that education is an important part of Cary life. More than two-thirds of adults hold a college degree. About 97 percent of citizens have access to the Internet in this, the Technology Town of North Carolina.

Tree-lined streets and well-groomed subdivisions and office parks show Cary has grown the right way. Cary is home to world class businesses and national retail stores. Cary’s fast-growing Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources program has something for everyone, regardless of age or interest.

School-age children comprise nearly a quarter of Cary’s population. Yet people of retirement age are the fastest-growing group in Cary. Nineteen percent of townspeople were born in another country, and the Asian population – Cary’s largest minority – tripled during the 1990s.

  • Population: 155,918 (January 2016)*
  • Median age: 36.6 years (2010 Census)
  • GPS Location: (Chatham and Academy streets) — 78.7812 35.7873
  • Cary weather

*Population estimate based on the reported number of Certificates of Occupancy issued in the Town.


Full list of current accolades

Lowest Property Crime in the South: Midsize Cities
Safeco Insurance has ranked Cary No. 1 in its list of highest/lowest instances of property crime. Cary is also known for its safety. In 2015, SmartAsset ranked the 200 safest cities in the country, and Cary clinched the No. 4 spot. 

Safest City in the Southeast and America
Still one of the safest cities in America, Cary is consistently rated one of the Safest Cities in the Southeast among municipalities with populations of 100,000-500,000, and a new 2016 study lists the Town again. Smart Asset ranked Cary 4th safest city in the nation in 2015. And in 2014, Cary had the lowest total crime rate for municipalities its size in the U.S. based upon data published in the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report. Cary was also named the 3rd safest city in the nation by

Safest Cities to Drive in Bad Weather
Allstate ranked Cary one of the 10 safest cities to drive in during bad weather in its 2016 report.

Best Places to Live
In 2015, Cary ranked 6th, up from 8th in 2014, on 24/7 Wall Street’s America’s 50 Best Places to Live in America. Money Magazine named Cary, North Carolina, the hottest town in the East and one of six Hottest Towns in America. Cary was also recognized by Money Magazine as one of the Best Small Cities in America, ranking an impressive fifth on one of the magazine’s annual lists of Best Places to Live.

Top Town for Families
Forbes touted the Raleigh-Cary area as #1 for raising a family in 2014 and @bizjournals rated Raleigh-Cary as one of the best areas for raising kids.

Most Affordable Places in North Carolina
According to Movato, the Town of Cary is considered one of the most affordable places to live in the state, ranking at #9 on its overall list in 2014.

Sound Investment for Good Living
In 2014, Cary was named the best city for home ownership by NerdWallet, the 4th best city to launch a startup company by CNN Money, and the 4th best city for job growth by Forbes.

Best Mid-Sized City for Relocation
Cary was ranked the 3rd best U.S. mid-sized city to move to and one of the 10 best cities in North Carolina by Movato in 2013. Cary also ranked 2nd on’s annual list of America’s Top 100 Places to Live.

Best City for Early Retirement
According to Kiplinger, the Town of Cary ranks #2 on its list of best cities for early retirement.

Top City for Tech
Raleigh-Cary MSA is one of the top places in the country creating tech jobs according to Forbes magazine, who designated the area second on its list.

Hottest Town
The Town of Cary was named the “hottest town” over 100,000 in the East by Money Magazine and one of the six most desirable places to live in America. Cary was also recognized by Money Magazine as one of the Best Small Cities in America, ranking fifth on the magazine’s list of Best Places to Live.


Best possible financial position
Milken Institute’s 2015 Best Performing Cities’ List ranks Cary 6th among similar cities.
The Town of Cary is one of seven municipalities in North Carolina with the best possible credit ratings from the leading New York investment firms – Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s.

Best run cities in America
Sitting at 24/7 Wall Street’s #7 spot in 2013, Cary is among the best run cities in America.

Commitment to sound budgeting 
The Town of Cary is a perennial recipient of the Government Finance Officers award for Distinguished Budget Presentation, demonstrating the highest principles of governmental budgeting.

The highest standards in government accounting and financial reporting 
The Government Finance Officers Association of United States and Canada annually recognizes the Town of Cary for excellence in comprehensive financial reporting.

Continuing excellence in accounting and financial management
The State Treasurer’s office has honored Cary with its Governmental Award for running innovative and progressive programs.


Where people know how to have a good time
The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department was the first parks department in the Triangle to receive national accreditation. The Town’s portfolio of more than a dozen sports, recreation and cultural arts facilities are complemented by an open space system of more than 30 parks and 70 miles of greenways.

Summer home of the N.C. Symphony
Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park is a state-of-the-art outdoor performance center nestled in pine trees on 14 acres by Symphony Lake. An eclectic mix of entertainment fill the April through October performance season, including live music concerts, festivals, Movies by Moonlight, and the North Carolina Symphony’s annual Summerfest Series. Named one of the area’s Top 5 Best Music Venues by WRAL in 2011 and Best of the Best by the Independent Weekly’s readers.

Home field advantage for championship soccer
WakeMed Soccer Park is the home of professional men’s soccer team the Carolina RailHawks, a North American Soccer League team. The soccer park is also host to world class soccer, including the ACC Championships and NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Cup tournaments.

The best place to spend a lazy summer Saturday
The Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival is the top rated one-day festival in the nation as ranked by Sunshine Artist Magazine, September 2009. It has become one of the Southeast’s largest premier festivals during the past three decades, with an estimated 80,000 people gathering in downtown Cary annually on the fourth Saturday in August.

Best downtown to chow down
The Town’s Chatham Street Chow Down has become a statewide and national favorite. With the historic backdrop that downtown Cary provides, more than 20 trucks converge offering the best in local and national foodie delights.

Explore the Town by trail
Fred G. Bond Metro Park, located geographically in the center of town, serves as the hub of Cary’s greenway system. Additional amenities, including seven ball diamonds, Bond Lake, a boat house, senior center, community center, and the Challenge Ropes Course, create the perfect atmosphere for community fellowship. The park is also home to annual community events such as the Easter Egg Hunt, Kite Festival, and the July 4th Olde Time Celebration. Get the Bike & Hike Cary Mobile App.

A place for man’s best friend to run and play
The Town of Cary’s first dog park, located adjacent to Godbold Park, provides pets and their owners with a safe place to interact.

National draw for tournament softball
Cary hosted the PONY National Fastpitch Softball Tournament in 2007, drawing teams from as far away as Alaska and the West Coast. The tournament brings in millions of dollars to the area’s economy.

A great place to serve and volley
Awarded the United States Tennis Association’s Outstanding Tennis Facility of the Year for 2006 and Racquet Sports Industries’ Municipal Facility of the Year, Cary Tennis Park is one of the premier facilities in the Southeast for recreational and tournament play.

Home of Cary Band Day
Since 1959, the oldest marching band competition in the southeast includes an annual downtown parade and field competition.

Creative programming for teens
Cary’s Teen Council was named the Most Diverse Council at the State Youth Council convention, becoming only the second youth council in the state to receive the award. Cary’s Teen Forum was awarded the Innovative Program Award by the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Association.

Meeting the recreational needs of all age groups
Sk-8 Cary was the first public skate park in Wake County.

The place to tour on two wheels 
With a growing bicycle network throughout the Town, Cary has received national recognition as a “Bicycle-Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists. There are over 70 miles of greenways and network of bicycle-friendly facilities and pavement markings.

A jewel in the crown of Mother Nature 
Hands-on exhibits, native wildlife garden, and environmental education programs are just a few of the natural experiences awaiting you at Stevens Nature Center at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. Eastern Hemlocks, usually found more than 200 miles away in the Appalachian Mountains, thrive on the north-facing bluffs of Swift Creek in Hemlock Bluffs.


Proactive in fire protection
The Town of Cary Fire Department became the second department in North Carolina to earn national accreditation and currently maintains an ISO Class I rating.

Progressive in law enforcement
The Town of Cary Police Department became nationally accredited in 1992 by voluntarily demonstrating adherence to professional standards. It is one of four accredited police departments in the Triangle, was the first to receive the Accreditation with Excellence Award and continues to earn the CALEA’s accreditation year after year.

Statewide leader in emergency medical care 
Cary Emergency Medical Services was the first agency in the state to have a federally certified ambulance service.


Leading the way in reducing what we throw away
Cary’s curbside recycling program was the first in the state. Implemented nearly 25 years ago, it continues to grow based on citizen demand and market availability.

Protecting water quality by controlling storm water runoff
In 2008, Cary was selected as the outstanding Erosion and Sedimentation Control Local Program for the state of North Carolina.

Keeping Cary green
The Town received its 33rd Tree City USA award in 2016, demonstrating its long-term commitment to urban forestry. Cary was one of the first towns in the state to get a tree protection bill through the N.C. General Assembly. Annually, the Town celebrates its urban forests with an Arbor Day celebration.

Conserving our natural resources
Cary was the first in the state to save drinking water by reclaiming treated wastewater for irrigation. In 2014, western Wake county municipalities– including the Town of Cary– opened one of North Carolina’s most important public works projects, the Western Wake Regional Wastewater Management Facilities.

The system of wastewater pump stations and a water reclamation facility provides additional wastewater treatment capacity—up to 18 million gallons per day—for new and expanding businesses as well as residents in RTP South, Apex, Cary (including northeastern Chatham County) and Morrisville. The project was necessary to meet State-mandated interbasin transfer requirements and the growing demand for water services in western Wake County.

Where careful planning preserves high quality of life 
The Town has received the Outstanding Planning Award from the N.C. chapter of the American Planning Association for its Open Space & Historic Resources Plan.

Putting the brakes on stop-and-go traffic
Cary is the largest municipality in the state to fully fund its own traffic signal system, reducing air pollution caused by frequent stops and delays. The system includes closed circuit cameras at key intersections, allowing the Town to change signal timing and keep traffic moving smoothly, and real-time traffic information via rush-hour programming on

Cary TV 11 and on Twitter@TOC_Traffic.


Best high schools in America
US News ranked Cary’s Green Hope High School among the best in America.

Groundbreaking in public education 
North Carolina’s first public high school was on the campus of what is now Cary Elementary School. In 2011, it was restored and reopened as the Cary Arts Center.

A public school system with boldness and vision
The Wake County Public School System is poised to lead the nation in narrowing the achievement gap and attaining remarkably high academic goals for all.


The Technology Town of North Carolina
Ninety-seven percent of Cary’s citizens have access to the Internet at home or at work — about twice the national average. The town’s top employer is SAS Institute, Inc., the largest privately held software developer in the world. The Town of Cary website has more than 55,000 files. Connected by more than 80 miles of fiber optics, Cary has the most advanced traffic timing and monitoring program in the region.

Award-winning Town government Web site
The Town’s website,, has received two Golden Web awards from the International Association of Web Masters and Designers.


Where history and heritage come alive
The Page-Walker Arts and History Center is located in Cary’s oldest and most historic building. Built by Town founder Allison Francis “Frank” Page as a railroad hotel, it is one of Wake County’s best examples of Second Empire-style architecture, which was popular in 1868 when the hotel was built. It is also home to the Cary Heritage Museum.

A “friend of Britain in her sorest need”
Walter Hines Page, son of Allison Francis Page, was an editor and public education proponent. He was also ambassador to Great Britain from 1913-1918 and is honored with a tablet in Westminster Abbey for advocating that the United States side with Britain and its allies during World War I.

Commitment to historic preservation
Cary is fortunate to have three National Register Historic Districts that recognize the past and provide incentives for preservation.  In addition there are individual listings on the National Register of Historic Places and several local historic landmarks.

Source: Town of Cary

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