Things to Do in Downtown Raleigh
There are so many things to do in Raleigh, NC! Here are a few ideas on how to spend your time downtown.
- Visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. It’s the largest museum of its kind in the Southeast and has interactive exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to ecology.
- Stroll through the Historic Oakwood Cemetery. This beautiful cemetery is the final resting place for many notable Raleigh residents, including governors, senators, and Civil War veterans.
- Have a picnic in Moore Square. This beautiful park is perfect for a leisurely lunch or an afternoon of people watching.
- Catch a show at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. This center is home to the North Carolina Symphony and the Carolina Ballet, and it also hosts touring Broadway shows.
- Attend a game or event at PNC Arena. It hosts the Carolina Hurricanes and the NC State Men’s Bball.
If you’re looking for some fun nightlife options, downtown Raleigh has plenty of bars and restaurants to keep you entertained.
Things to Do with Kids in Raleigh
What are some things to do in Raleigh, NC with kids? If you’re traveling as a family, be sure to check out the Marbles Kids Museum. This interactive museum is perfect for little ones, and it’s located right in downtown Raleigh. Tickets are $9 for everyone, with $1 discount for the military.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is another great option for families. With its many exhibits and hands-on activities, it’s a fun and educational way to spend the day. If your kids are into animals, they’ll love the North Carolina Zoo. Do they have a sweet tooth? Take them to the Videri Chocolate Factory for a tour and some delicious samples!
And if your little ones need to burn off some energy, take them to one of Raleigh’s many playgrounds or splash pads. There’s also the Pullen Park Carousel, which is a historic carousel that has been in operation since 1894. Tickets are only $1.5 per ride.
Things to Do in Raleigh, NC for Outdoor Adventure Lovers
Raleigh offers plenty of green space to explore. For something active, take advantage of Raleigh’s many hiking and biking trails. If you’re looking to cool off on a hot day, head to Falls Lake or Jordan Lake for some swimming, fishing, or boating. What are some other outdoor things to do in Raleigh, NC?
Pullen Park is a great place to take the kids for a day of play. With its playgrounds, carousel, and miniature train, it’s sure to be a hit with the whole family. Fun fact: it’s the 5th oldest functioning amusement park in the USA.
William B. Umstead State Park
If you’re looking for something more active, hike or bike the 20 miles of trails at William B. Umstead State Park. It’s also a popular choice for equestrians and birdwatchers.
The North Carolina Museum of Art
Outdoor art lovers will enjoy the North Carolina Museum of Art, which has a beautiful sculpture garden and miles of walking trails. And if you’re looking for even more art, be sure to check out the Raleigh Little Theatre and the Weatherspoon Art Museum.
Historic Oak View County Park
For a more leisurely outdoor experience, stroll through the Historic Oak View County Park. This beautiful park is home to a working farm, as well as a historic cemetery and an event venue.
More Attractions for History Lovers
Raleigh is rich in history, and there are plenty of attractions to satisfy your inner historian. If the section about things to do in Raleigh, NC downtown wasn’t enough for you, here are a couple more places to visit!
- Yates Mill is a restored gristmill that’s now a working museum. It’s open for tours on Saturdays, and you can also hike the trails or fish in the millpond.
- The North Carolina Museum of History is one of the state’s most popular museums. It covers everything from the Civil War to the civil rights movement.
- The NC State Capitol is another must-see for history buffs. It’s the second-oldest state capitol building in the country, and it’s where the NC General Assembly meets.
A Bit of History Before You Visit Raleigh
Raleigh was founded in 1792 as the capital of the North Carolina state. It was named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who established the Roanoke Colony in present-day Virginia. The city has a population of about 460,000, and it’s the second-largest city in the state.
The city was an important center of the Civil War, and it was occupied by Union troops for much of the conflict. After the war, Raleigh experienced a period of rapid growth, fueled by the establishment of several colleges and universities.
Today, Raleigh is a thriving city with a vibrant arts and culture scene. It’s also home to numerous parks and green spaces, as well as a growing foodie culture. Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, there’s plenty to see and do in Raleigh!
Things to Do in Raleigh, NC for Free
If you’re looking for things to do on a budget, Raleigh has plenty of options. For starters, all the city’s parks are free to enter. The NC Museum of Art is also free, except for admission to the West Building and special events.
If you enjoy live music, be sure to check out the First Fridays series at CAM Raleigh. This monthly event features local bands and artists, as well as food trucks and beer from Raleigh Brewing Company.
The NC Museum of Natural Sciences also hosts a number of free events throughout the year. Check their website for upcoming lectures, films, and family-friendly activities.
And of course, no visit to Raleigh would be complete without taking a stroll through the beautiful NC State University campus. With its impressive buildings and lush gardens, it’s one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
Planning Your Trip Already?
We hope this guide has given you some ideas for things to do in Raleigh, NC. Whether you’re a history buff or an outdoor enthusiast, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. You could also take a tour of the whole Research Triangle – including Raleigh, Durham, and Cary.
Start planning your trip today, and be sure to add these attractions to your itinerary!
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