Main menu Open search menu

Things To Do In Raleigh

Raleigh is a growing metropolis where modern living meets Southern tradition. The city forms the eastern side of the Carolina Research Triangle, and its proximity to UNC makes it a cultural and educational mecca. When folks in Raleigh are done visiting the museums, galleries, and parks, they spend their time enjoying artisan Southern comfort food and Carolina style barbecue. Take a look at all of the other great attractions and things to do in Raleigh.

p>Raleigh has one of the most diverse and active art scenes in the South. The city is bursting with art museums and galleries, including CAM Raleigh, Gregg Museum of Art & Design, and the Mahler Fine Art gallery.

Here are some of the best things to do in Raleigh:

    • Admire the masterpieces in the North Carolina Museum of Art
    • Spend the day in William B. Umstead State Park
  • Hit the trails at Durant Nature Preserve
  • Gaze out at the stars at the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University
  • Learn about the past at the North Carolina Museum of History

Pullen Park was the first public park in North Carolina. Today, it acts as an activity hub for the community, containing a children’s amusement park, playgrounds, theaters, gardens, and aquatic center. For those looking for more indoor activities in Raleigh, sign up for classes at the community center.

Check out these cheap or free things to do in Raleigh:

  • The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park has a trail system dotted with sculptors
  • Anderson Point Park has plenty of space to fly kites
  • Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center costs a few dollars for a day of fun
  • Neuse River Greenway has a boardwalk trail over wetland
  • The James B. Hunt Library NCSU campus is one of the most beautiful libraries in town

Downtown Raleigh is the entertainment and historic center of the city. The district is filled with museums, diners, performance venues, and parks. Find yourself a Raleigh original at one of the many boutiques and galleries downtown.

Some popular attractions near Raleigh include:

  • Seeing the old structure at Historic Yates Mill
  • Exploring the Historic Oakwood Neighborhood
  • Learning about creatures North Carolina Museum of Natural Science
  • Admiring the contemporary art at CAM Raleigh
  • Touring the North Carolina State Capitol

Raleigh is one of the few places to find the perfect blend of Eastern style and Lexington style Carolina barbecue. Be sure to check out some of the hottest barbecue joints in town, like Aviator SmokeHouse, Brew N Cue, and Smokey’s BBQ Shack, for an eating experience like no other.

Make sure to check out these fun things to do in Raleigh:

  • Have a hot dog at Cary’s Ashworth Drugs
  • Shop ‘til you drop at the North Hills Mall
  • Fish from the pond at Pullen Park
  • Fill up on ribs and rolls at The Pit Authentic Barbecue
  • Tour the Seventy Eight C Spirits Distillery

Nothing beats listening to bluegrass outside in the moonlight. Catch a show at one of Raleigh’s best venues under the stars, like Red Hat Amphitheater, Coastal Credit Union Music Park, and Koka Booth Amphitheater.

More things to do in Raleigh at night:

  • Laugh your pants off at Goodnights Comedy
  • Hit the dancefloor at Ambis 1 Nightclub
  • Attend a event at Big Boss Brewing
  • Place a friendly wager at Bucks Billiards  
  • Feel the music at Deep South the Bar

The City of Oaks is full of fun things to do this weekend. Be sure to be in town at one of the many festivals held throughout the year, like the North Carolina State Fair, Brewgaloo, and the Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo.

Things to do in Raleigh this weekend:

  • Kerr Lake State Recreation Area has hundred of personal campsites
  • Tupelo Honey Cafe is a local favorite for brunch
  • Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve has picturesque scenery for photo shoots
  • Brews Cruise tours groups around several local breweries  
  • State Farmers Market sells produce and goods from local farmers and craftsmen

The Marbles Kids Museum is a hands on children learning center with exhibits on a variety of educational topics. There are plenty of things to do with kids in Raleigh, take them to experience the magic of learning with the Moneypalooza, Piece Out, and Seedlings exhibits.

Here are more family-friendly things to do in Raleigh:

  • Complete the obstacle course at the Three Bears Acres recreation farm
  • Watch the latest family flick at Cinemark Raleigh Grande 16
  • Taste a one-of-a-kind ice cream flavor at FRESH
  • Put the pedal to the metal go kart racing at Adventure Landing
  • Experience the wonder of flight in the simulator at Frankie’s Fun Park

What’s better than bringing your date a box of chocolate? Bringing your date to the chocolate! The Videri Chocolate Factory offers self guided tours through the viewing area and has a coffee bar and candy shop to buy refreshments and treats.

Here are some more ideas for romantic things to do in Raleigh:

  • Saint Jacques French Cuisine serves a high-class dinner for two
  • Vino Amoari Wine Bar offers vintage for every mood
  • Lake Howell has a picturesque shoreline for a moonlit walk
  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema offers intimate dinners for two with their showings
  • Polar Ice House in Wake Forest is great for breaking the ice on a first date

One of the top group things to do in The City of Oaks is to visit the The Raleigh Beer Garden, a  two-floor taproom with a rooftop bar. The Garden boasts of having the world’s largest craft beer selection, and offers a different beer menu on every floor.

Check out these fun things to do with your friends near Raleigh:

  • Reserve Historic Maple Hill Lodge for a group sleepover
  • Watch the Carolina Mudcats play at Five County Stadium
  • Build trust with your friends while rock climbing at Triangle Rock Club
  • Beer investigation and bar tour at Brewed Clues
  • Go bowling at Kings Dining & Entertainment

The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park is one of the top things to do in Raleigh. The Museum has a both contemporary and traditional exhibits from cultures all over the world. Finish your trip through the museum with a walk through the Park to see rare pieces just outside the museum doors.

Other things to do indoors in Raleigh include:

  • Making jewelry and pottery in the Sertoma Arts Center
  • Looking back in time at the Joel Lane House
  • Watching Shakespeare at Theater in the Park
  • Finding your center with Blue Lotus Yoga
  • Signing up for cooking class with Wyntons World

William B. Umstead State Park is the largest park in town, and is full of things to do outdoors for the whole family. The 22 miles of trails are perfect for biking, horseback riding, and hiking, and visitors can rowboats and canoes for the tree man made lakes.

Looking for things to see in Raleigh? Check out:

  • The Bike Guy rents bikes to ride on Falls Lake Trailhead
  • Dead Broke Farm has 10 miles of wooded trails to ride on
  • Lake Crabtree has volleyball courts for a friendly pick-up game
  • Lake Johnson rents Jon boats, kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddleboards
  • Lonnie Poole Golf Course has an unbeatable view of the Raleigh skyline

One of Raleigh’s crown jewels is the Capital Area Greenway Trail System, a network of trails that connect to parks throughout the city. The trails are open to the public and can be used for jogging, hiking, bird watching, nature study, fishing, picnicking and all other outdoor fun.

Check out these must-see attractions in Raleigh:

  • Visit a hobbit house, Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky at NCMA Museum Park
  • Look for the chainsaw art at William B. Umstead State Park
  • Taste some of the best Korean barbecue in town at Soo Cafe
  • Stop to smell the flowers in WRAL_TV’s Azalea Garden
  • Imbibe on a Raleigh original at Lonerider Brewing Company