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Top 15 Things to Do in Raleigh, NC

Downtown Raleigh

Welcome to Raleigh, North Carolina– a city with exciting things to do and discover!

From beautiful parks to excellent restaurants serving up some of the best eats in the South, you will always have fun activities to check off your list while visiting this vibrant city.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor looking to explore the area, here are the top 15 things to do in Raleigh.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Exploring the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

If you’re looking for things to do in Raleigh, you should visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

This museum in downtown Raleigh is the largest of its kind in the Southeast.

With more than 1.2 million artifacts and specimens, the museum offers a wealth of knowledge about the natural world.

From planetariums to outdoor gardens and interactive exhibits, there’s something for everyone to explore.

And be sure to check out the museum’s special events and programs.

Admiring Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art

If you’re looking for a place to take in some art or want to explore the area’s history, the North Carolina Museum of Art is a great place to start.

This museum is home to an impressive collection of art, ranging from the ancient sculptures of the Greeks to the modern masterpieces of the 20th century.

You can also explore exciting lectures, hands-on workshops, and guided tours designed to ignite your curiosity and deepen your understanding. Bonus, admission is free here!

Marbles Kids Museum

Visiting the Marbles Kids Museum

Visiting the Marbles Kids Museum is an absolute must for families exploring Raleigh.

This fun and interactive museum is great for kids of all ages and will surely be a hit with the whole family.

STEM-focused workshops, vibrant art studios, and an imaginative kid-sized community in ‘Around Town’ await exploration making them a treasure trove to be discovered.

Whether you’re looking for a fun day out or an educational experience, Marbles Kids Museum offers a warm, friendly, and engaging environment that kids (and adults!) will love.

Enjoying Nature at the William B. Umstead State Park

If you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an adventurous hike, a visit to William B. Umstead State Park is an absolute must.

Covering an area of 5,579 acres, this park provides a peaceful retreat from the busy city life, giving you the chance to fully engage with the stunning natural surroundings.

The park offers a variety of trails perfect for biking and horseback riding. It also features a nature center that provides an immersive experience of the park’s abundant wildlife and intricate ecology.

You can also enjoy fishing and boating in the serene lake within the park’s premises.

Those looking for a more relaxing experience can take advantage of the picnic areas, playgrounds, and campgrounds.

Raleigh Flea Market

Shopping at the Raleigh Flea Market

The Raleigh Flea Market is the perfect place if you’re looking for something special or want to spend a day exploring.

This flea market is located at the NC State Fairgrounds and showcases many goods and merchandise.

You can find deals on everything from jewelry to antiques, and the selection changes weekly. 

The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming. The vendors are always willing to answer questions and help you find the best items.

This open-air market is open every weekend from 9 a.m to 6 p.m.

Eating Out at the Brewmasters Bar and Grill

A great night in Raleigh will only be complete with a visit to the Brewmasters Bar and Grill.

With a wide selection of craft beers, tasty appetizers, and a lively atmosphere, this is the perfect spot for a night out with friends.

Their menu features a variety of classic pub favorites and some unique dishes that will tantalize your taste buds.

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, always willing to help you find the perfect beer or cocktail to pair with your meal.

Joel Lane Museum House

Learning About History at the Joel Lane Museum House

Joel Lane Museum House is a great place to learn about the history of Raleigh and the surrounding area.

This historic house museum was built in 1769 and is the oldest surviving home in Wake County.

Here, you can explore the artifacts and the stories of the people who lived there.

The museum also offers guided tours, educational programs, and special events throughout the year.

Bonus, the area is surrounded by beautiful gardens, making it a pleasant and peaceful place to spend your afternoon.

Visiting the Historic Yates Mill County Park

If you’re looking for a way to experience the outdoors and learn about the fascinating agricultural history of the area, Yates Mill County Park is a must-visit destination. 

Just a short drive from downtown Raleigh, this beautiful park offers the opportunity to explore the historic Yates Mill, which has existed since 1756. 

You can also explore the park’s trails, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike.

Do not forget to stop by the lake to enjoy the beautiful views and spot some wildlife.

Oakwood Cemetery

Taking a Stroll Through Raleigh’s Historic Oakwood Cemetery

Established in 1869, Oakwood Cemetery is the final resting place of many of the city’s most notable figures.

Walking through the markers, you’ll find monuments that tell the stories of those who have gone before us.

From the graves of Confederate soldiers to the African American pioneers, this cemetery is a living history.

The lush greenery and well-maintained surroundings make it an ideal place to find solace and reflect on life.

Visiting the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

Located just outside of the city, the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores offers a variety of exhibits and activities for visitors of all ages.

From interactive touch tanks, jellyfish displays, and sea turtle rehabilitation centers, visitors can expect diverse activities. 

Stingray petting tanks add to the fun and make for an unforgettable experience. 

The aquarium also offers learning sessions focused on marine life conservation and an opportunity to interact closely with various captivating marine creatures.

JC Raulston Arboretum

Exploring Nature at the JC Raulston Arboretum

If you’re looking for a unique way to explore Raleigh, JC Raulston Arboretum is the best place to go.

With over 6,000 different kinds of plants this public garden, founded in 1976, is a great place to spend your afternoon.

Here, you can stroll through the stunning gardens, explore the trails, and learn about the various exotic plants and trees.

The Arboretum also hosts various events throughout the year.

Taking a Tour of the Capitol Building

A tour of the iconic North Carolina State Capitol Building should be on your list when visiting Raleigh.

The impressive building in downtown Raleigh is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture. 

The building itself is a work of art, and the grounds are carefully landscaped and maintained.

Inside, you can explore the Legislative Building, the Supreme Court, and the Governor’s Mansion.

During your visit, you’ll get a chance to learn firsthand the building’s political and cultural significance.

Raleigh Little Theater

Enjoying a Night at the Raleigh Little Theatre

Raleigh Little Theatre is a cherished theater that has entertained audiences since 1936. As one of the oldest community theaters in the United States, it holds a special place in the hearts of many.

Whether you’re in the mood for a classic play, a musical, or a special event, this place has something for everyone.

The theater offers a variety of shows throughout the year, from comedies to dramas and everything in between.

You can get involved by attending one of their special events, such as their annual fundraiser Gala or summer camp for children.

Shopping at the Raleigh City Farm

Raleigh City Farm offers a unique shopping experience for everyone. 

This unique farm store specializes in local and regional produce and other handmade goods.

You can find various items here, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, honey and jams, crafts and gifts, baked goods, wines and beers – even pet treats!

Locally-sourced meats, dairy, eggs, and a variety of fresh produce, flowers, and herbs are also up for grabs.

Pullen Park

Visiting the Pullen Park

Raleigh has a lot to offer, and Pullen Park is one of the most popular attractions.

This park is great for spending the day with family and friends.

It has a carousel, a train, a boat ride, a playground, a swimming pool, a lake, and plenty of walking trails.

You can also rent paddle boats and kayaks to explore the lake. 

There’s also a mini-golf course, a picnic area, and a snack bar. With so many things to do here, Pullen Park is a must-visit!

These are just a few of the many things to do in Raleigh. With all the outdoor adventures and cultural experiences available, it’s easy to see why the city is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

Whether you’re looking for a day of adventure or a night of entertainment, Raleigh has something for everyone. 

So come visit and explore all that this fantastic city has to offer!

Frequently Asked Questions

In the following section, you will find answers to frequently asked questions to help you make the most of your time in this captivating destination.

Q: What are some top things to do in Raleigh, NC?

A: There are many great things to do in Raleigh, NC, including exploring the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, admiring the art at the North Carolina Museum of Art, visiting the Marbles Kids Museum, enjoying the nature at the William B. Umstead State Park, shopping at the Raleigh Flea Market, eating out at the Brewmasters Bar and Grill, learning about history at the Joel Lane Museum House, visiting the Historic Yates Mill County Park, taking a stroll through Raleigh’s Historic Oakwood Cemetery, visiting the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, exploring nature at the JC Raulston Arboretum, taking a tour of the Capitol Building, enjoying a night out at the Raleigh Little Theatre, shopping at the Raleigh City Farm, and visiting the Pullen Park.

Q: What is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences?

A: The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is a museum located in downtown Raleigh, NC. It is the largest natural history museum in the Southeast and features interactive exhibits, live animal shows, and educational programs. The museum has an outdoor nature park with a lake, gardens, and trails.

Q: What is the Marbles Kids Museum?

A: The Marbles Kids Museum is an interactive children’s museum that features a variety of exhibits and activities designed to engage and educate children of all ages. It offers educational programs and special events throughout the year.

Q: What is William B. Umstead State Park?

A: The William B. Umstead State Park is a 5,579-acre park in Raleigh, NC. It features trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as a lake for fishing and boating. The park also has picnic areas, campgrounds, and a greenhouse.

Q: What is the Raleigh Flea Market?

A: The Raleigh Flea Market is a weekly outdoor market in downtown Raleigh. It features a variety of vendors selling antiques, vintage items, handmade crafts, and more. The market is open every Saturday and Sunday.

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