There is a lot of excitement this week in Raleigh as the city prepares to host the second and third rounds of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 21 and 23. This will be the city’s 15th time hosting tournament games. We took a moment to catch up with one of our Raleigh marketing representatives, Patti Sasse, to talk about the facility updates and the upcoming March Madness games.

Patti, we’re excited to celebrate your five-year anniversary with Fast Park next month. We hear you’re a big basketball fan and that you watch 10 to 15 games a week during the season! We thought you’d be the perfect person to talk to about the NCAA Tournament games.

As the host city of preliminary NCAA tournament games for the fifteenth time, does this typically create a lot of excitement in the area?
Absolutely! Folks in the Raleigh area are very excited to be hosting the NCAA second and third rounds at PNC Arena, home of the Carolina Hurricanes NHL team and the NC State Wolfpack!

While we don’t know yet which team from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) will be playing here, we do know we will see at least two teams (likely Duke and possibly Virginia). Based on the size of the ACC this year (15 teams), it is even possible to add one or two more teams to that list. Raleigh is centrally located in the ACC, so fans won’t have to travel very far to see their favorite teams.

It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to host all eight teams that will make their way to Raleigh in March!

Many of our travelers are foodies. What are some great restaurants that they should check out while in town for the games?
Raleigh has more than 1,200 restaurants, clubs, sports bars and delis. It would be impossible to list them all; however, in Downtown Raleigh visitors can find sports bars, outdoor cafés, fine dining restaurants, Carolina Bar-B-Q and even several in-house breweries.

42nd Street Oyster Bar is one of Raleigh’s oldest landmark restaurants and has been in operation since 1931. It has great food, a huge oyster bar and live music! 

And of course, I have to mention the Angus Barn, located behind the RDU airport. It’s a favorite for our staff, since it’s right across the street from FastPark & Relax! The restaurant is best known for its steaks, atmosphere and extensive wine list.

And what about sports bars or other locations to watch the excitement if you don’t have tickets to a game?
There are a few places near PNC Arena where the locals will be rooting for their favorite teams. Right across the street from the arena is Backyard Bistro. It has big TVs, great food and is frequented by members of the Wolfpack and Hurricanes.

For those who want a quieter spot, Sammy’s Tap & Grill is right down the street from the arena. You can also stop in any of the five Carolina Ale Houses, located throughout the Triangle, or Tobacco Road Sports Café is always a popular spot to watch the games downtown.

If travelers are not in town for the games, what are some other great activities to experience in Raleigh?
Raleigh has many cultural venues, many of which are free! The North Carolina Museum of History is one option located in downtown Raleigh. For visitors staying near PNC Arena, visit the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Raleigh has one of the most beautiful greenways in the country. The Capital Area Greenway system has more than 100 miles of beautifully-maintained walkways and hiking trails. Visitors can choose from 28 individual trails which intermingle with each other. Someone could even walk from one end of the city to the other and never leave the trail!

The Raleigh FastPark & Relax location has special amenities for customers, such as the use of complimentary FastCharge EV charging stations. What else can customers expect at the Raleigh facility?
FastPark & Relax offers our customers car-to-terminal shuttle service, free car wash, free bottled water and a free newspaper. Guests don’t have to worry about the weather impacting their vehicles either—all of our parking spaces are covered.