Fun things to do in Raleigh:
Our list of things to do in Raleigh comes from the most highly rated activities, events and our editorial liberties.
WINTER EVENTS IN RALEIGH- Staycation ideas everyone can enjoy!
Symphony, Carolina Ballet and comedy shows and Broadway Series South musicals and plays this winter at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.
From highly acclaimed musical performances to Tony Award winning musicals, comedy shows, etc you can find it all in one location – downtown Raleigh at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Built in the 1930s, in the Greek Revival style architecture, the Center now includes the Kennedy Theatre, Meymandi Concert Hall, and the Fletcher Opera House.
There are some great things happening at the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center in downtown Raleigh this February and March. The Carolina Ballet will preform Romeo & Juliet and Bolero at the Fletcher Opera House. NC Symphony is set to preform Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and the Music of Michael Jackson. Enjoy the hits of Robert Plant and the Broadway Series South musical the Wizard of Oz are all on the calendar this season. For more events and ticket information, here you go: Click Here!
RALEIGH PARKS, TOURS, MUSEUMS & FUN-GREAT FOR THE KIDS!
Pullen Park near downtown Raleigh is the first public park in North Carolina’s history, circa 1887. A 66.33 acres public park in Raleigh, North Carolina west of downtown, adjacent to the campus of North Carolina State University, between Western Boulevard and Hillsborough Street. The park features picnic areas, a concessions stand along with several small rides including the Park Carousel, train, and kiddie boats. Pedal boats are also available for rent seasonally on the park’s large pond. The Pullen Aquatic Center, Pullen Arts Center and Theatre In the Park are also located on the park grounds. It is one of the most famous and known parks around the Raleigh/Durham area. Great entertainment for all ages here!
Marbles Kids Museum is a nonprofit children’s museum located in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina in the Moore Square Historic District. Its mission is to “inspire imagination, discovery and learning through extraordinary adventures in play and larger-than-life Wells Fargo IMAX Theatre at Marbles experiences.” It was created through the merger in 2007 of two existing children’s museums: Exploris and Playspace.
For a current list of 3-D movies and events, CLICK HERE.
By the way, our Raleigh Sightseeing City Bus Tour stops at Pullen Park! It runs every other Saturday from 1pm-4pm. One ride ticket is included.
Winter Nightlife in Raleigh
RALEIGH PUB CRAWL & HAUNTED ADVENTURE
Tobacco Road Tours has two great tours that include a visit to and around this the modern southern city. Great bars, pubs, beers and cocktails await you on the Raleigh Pub Crawl & Haunted Adventure. Guest experience a fast paced 2.5 hours of paranormal, ghost and haunting stories & folklore in between four cleaver and hip bar stops! Favorite activity in Raleigh, NC for sure. This tour starts at 7:30pm and meets in downtown Raleigh.
RALEIGH SIGHTSEEING BAR CRAWL
A little earlier in the evening, enjoy the Raleigh Sightseeing Bar Crawl Tour (4:30pm-6:30pm). TRT is hosting a FUN, humorous and educational Raleigh Sightseeing Bar Crawl. Learn some Raleigh & North Carolina history, hear some very STUPID laws that our state legislature created. Imbibe at some cool, hip, cleaver Raleigh watering holes off the beaten path. Tobacco Road Tours presents the rich tales that Raleigh, NC has to offer.
Celebrate African American History Month
Celebrate Black History month at the Museum of History kicking off with the 17th Annual African American Cultural Celebration.
Tobacco Road Tours offers two tours focused on African American history: the Raleigh African American Cultural Heritage Tour and the Durham African American Cultural Heritage Tour. To know where you are headed, you must know from where you came! One must retrieve the past in order to move forward. Out of the plentiful and varied history of African Americans in North Carolina grew a rich and diverse culture. That culture thrives today in the Triangle. And it is blessed with an even richer heritage that is just waiting to be explored. We invite you to join us visiting museums, galleries, and cultural centers in Raleigh to view examples of African American culture, business, creativity, faith, music, artistry, cuisine and much more.
(Note: This tour is on-demand and last 3 hours. A minimum enrollment of 8 guests and a maximum of 14 guests per tour please. Tickets must be purchased in advance. For larger groups, private VIP and charter tours, please contact Tobacco Road Tours directly at (919) 371.2653 or TRTservice@tobaccoroadtours.com).
RALEIGH UPCOMING EVENTS
Tackle the Krispy Kreme Challenge on February 3. With almost 7,000 competitors, burning 2,400 calories, eating 12 doughnuts while running five miles in one hour. This challenge epitomizes your physical fitness and gastrointestinal fortitude. This popular event started as a challenge among 10 friends has transformed into a nationally-publicized charity race and one of the top traditions to complete before graduating from North Carolina State University.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Raleigh at the Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade taking place March 17th- Saturday starting at 10am. After the parade, the Wearin’ ‘O the Green Festival begins at City Plaza at the south end of Fayetteville Street and features live music, dancing and fun activities for the kids.
Join Tobacco Road Tours for our St. Patrick’s Day Sightseeing Bar Walk in downtown Raleigh from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. Don’t forget to wear green!
RALEIGH FOOD TOUR
Want to explore, savor, taste and here folklore stories from a gifted story teller? Then consider taking our professionally guided city tour: the Raleigh Culinary & Cultural Walking Tour running Saturday afternoons. This fun tour focuses on a variety of Raleigh City people, places and events about Raleigh, NC. The three-hour long tour includes food, local beverages and key investigative stops for guests to experience the REAL Raleigh.We will explore the different districts in the heart of Raleigh sampling the best food Raleigh has to offer. Our small group tours are intimate, fun and informal, where the people behind Raleigh’s food meccas welcome you like a friend and give you the inside scoop on what makes their food culinary masterpieces.
The Delicious Way to Savor the City!
Buy the way, the food tour is a great way to show your out of town guests the City of Oaks. You can book the event as a private tour for your friends, family or for a business function. Tour runs on Saturday afternoons.
EXPLORE NC MUSEUMS, ARBORETUM & FAIRGROUNDS
NC Museum of History
An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the North Carolina Museum of History is located in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Admission is free. Special programs include educational programs for children and families as well as craft demonstrations, music concerts, and other events for visitors and members. The Museum Shop features an assortment of North Carolina–made crafts and products. The museum houses the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and has up to 12 exhibits on displace at any given time.
North Carolina and World War I is now open at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, N.C. and will run until January 6, 2019. Also, be sure to check out the Story of North Carolina exhibit. The Story of North Carolina, the largest exhibit ever produced at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, opened to rave reviews in 2011. This permanent exhibit traces life in North Carolina from its earliest inhabitants through the 20th century. Admission is free. This exhibit will commemorate the centennial of the U.S.’s entry into World War I and will focus on N.C.’s role in the War to End All Wars on the Western Front in France and Belgium. You’ll experience a re-created trench warfare environment to discover what life was like for Tar Heel soldiers.
Did you know North Carolina was first in flight? The N.C. Museum of History is providing a temporary home for the reproduction 1903 Wright Flyer from the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center in Kill Devil Hills. The Outer Banks site is undergoing a rehabilitation project through summer of 2018. It’s a great time to see this replica.
JC Raulston Arboretum & NC Fairgrounds
Do you like botanical gardens? Then you should check out JC Raulston Arboretum near the North Carolina Fairgrounds .The JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationally acclaimed garden with one of the largest and most diverse collections of landscape plants. Plants especially adapted to Piedmont North Carolina conditions are collected and evaluated in an effort to find superior plants for use in southern landscapes.
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Raleigh, NC is known as a small Smithsonian city because our North Carolina Museum of Art, Natural Science and History. The Museum of Natural Science and the Museum of History are both complimentary or FREE to visit. Yes, free. Amazing isn’t it. What can you get for free these days. Well, in Raleigh a lot!
The Museum of Natural Sciences has a number of new exhibits this spring including: Race- Are we so different? Love animals? Meet them daily at the museum or become a naturalist at The Naturalist Center – The Naturalist Center provides visitors access to an extensive collection of specimens for individual research, student exploration, or for general interest. . Get up close and person and ask the experts questions. Click here for details and times.
The NC Museum of Natural Science is truly amazing. This museum is the oldest established museum in North Carolina and the largest museum of its kind in the Southeast. As of 2013, it was the states most popular museum or historic destination with 1.2 million visitors annually. In 2014, it was one of ten museums and libraries in the United States to receive the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
William B. Umstead State Park
The museum’s campus consists of four facets: the Nature Exploration Center (NEC; formerly the “Main Building”) and the Nature Research Center on Jones Street in Downtown Raleigh, the Prairie Ridge Eco-station satellite facility and outdoor classroom in northwest Raleigh near William B. Umstead State Park.
NC Museum of Art
For you Art & Photography Lovers…head over to the North Carolina Museum of Art to view: Night (light), Andrea Donnelly: We’ve met Before and the Sabine Gruffat Exhibitions.
NC Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh, North Carolina opened in 1956 as the first major museum collection in the country to be formed by State legislation and funding. Since the initial 1947 appropriation that established its collection, the Museum has continued to be a model of enlightened, versatile collections with free admission to it’s permanent collection. Today, it encompasses a collection that spans more than 5,000 years of artistic work from antiquity to present day art, an amphitheater for outdoor performances, and a variety of celebrated exhibitions and public programs. Be sure to make time to enjoy lunch, dinner or their famous brunch at the incredible Iris Restaurant.
The Museum of Art’s Park is over 160 acres incorporating sculptures, art, landscaping, natural trails and woodlands… and it is growing once again. From now until July 2016, they will be be creating a new campus entrance and streetscape, increasing parking capacity, creating water-treatment and native grass gardens, and expanding bicycle and walking paths connecting the Museum’s gallery buildings to the Park.
The Museum features more than 40 galleries as well as more than a dozen major works of art in the nation’s largest museum park with 164-acres. One of the leading art museums in the American South, the NCMA recently completed a major expansion winning international acclaim for innovative approaches to energy-efficient design.
City of Raleigh Museum (COR)
R3: Raleigh Then, Raleigh Now, Raleigh Next: Explore Raleigh’s history through 200 years of artifacts and images. This multimedia exhibit offers a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural landscape through fun and challenging games and interactive programs. The COR Museum’s mascot, Sir Sammy the Squirrel, helps children learn about how trees in the City of Oaks can reveal secrets about the past.
Let Us March On: Raleigh’s Journey Towards Civil Rights recounts the forty-year period from the mid-1930s to the mid-1970s as the city struggled toward equal rights for all. The exhibit covers desegregation in schools and institutions of higher education as well as the efforts of individuals, both black and white, who worked for integration.
The People’s Politics: Local Democracy in Raleigh. How does local government affect you? Does your opinion matter? Can you make a difference? The City of Raleigh Museum will explore these questions in its newest exhibit. This exhibit tells the story of city government and democracy at a local level, from the election of Raleigh’s first mayor in 1795 to issues facing current and future mayors. Using research from city council minutes and artifacts from the museum’s collection, this interactive exhibit highlights the citizen role in law-making, giving visitors the opportunity to examine significants decisions from Raleigh’s past, and cast their vote on current challenges facing citizens and leaders of our growing city.
Raleigh’s City Flag: Lost and Found. Did you know Raleigh is one of only 450 cities with a flag? How did the flag come into existence? Who designed it and what does it mean? Come learn the story behind one of Raleigh’s most visible symbols. This exhibit tells the story of the long journey of the city’s most iconic emblem.
“You Really Stuck It To Me Today”: The Political Cartoons of Dwane Powell: the free exhibit features more than 20 cartoons from Powell’s childhood to the present, as well as sketchbooks, artifacts of the cartoonist’s trade, and an original mural. “You really stuck it to me today” will be on display through 2019.
NC WINE TOURS & FARMERS MARKET
What about NC Fresh? Fresh agriculture that is. The NC State Farmers Market is the place to explore. The popular Farmers Building is 30,000 square feet of space where North Carolina farmer’s sell fresh produce, plants, and other specialty items produced on local farms. If you want to implement the Farm to Fork movement into your menu planning, it’s easy because plants are available starting in March and local fruits and vegetables are sold throughout the growing season. Don’t forget the Market Shoppes, Truckers Building, Wholesale Terminal and Markets Imports. It’s a great place to shop for local, fresh foods all in a really FUN and FRESH place.
RALEIGH STATE CAPITAL & HISTORIC OAKWOOD
Raleigh is full of interesting historic places including the Historic Oakwood Cemetery, which was founded in 1869 near the North Carolina State Capitol in the city’s Historic Oakwood neighborhood. The Historic Oakwood Cemetery contains two special areas within its 102 acres, the Confederate Cemetery, located on the original two and one-half acres, and the Hebrew Cemetery, both given for that purpose by Henry Mordecai in 1867. The cemetery is located in a wonderful Victorian neighborhood with the same name, Historic Oakwood.
Tobacco Road Tours offers a private group City of Oaks Walking Tour. Stroll the streets and go back in time and go where Raleigh’s roots began & where the City has evolved today.
Tobacco Road Tours offers guided city tours, pub crawls, haunted walking tours, family reunion services, corporate activities/events & spouse tours, culinary & food, craft cocktail, private event and receptive tour services and much more.
Contact Tobacco Road Tours if you have questions regarding this list or if you would like more information about our tours, events and activities.. It was written by Tobacco Road Tours staff and is subject to our personal interpretations of the research and information at hand when written in 2016-2017 and is updated periodically.
Looking to relocate to the area? Tobacco Road Tours offers relocation tours of the Triangle area? Contact us and we’ll set something up for you.
Please let us know if the list, and links, were of value to you and your visit to Raleigh. Thanks, TRT.
Thinking about visiting Durham. See our Things to Do in Durham page for ideas.