A Guide to the Best 20 Things to Do in Raleigh NC
16 mins read

A Guide to the Best 20 Things to Do in Raleigh NC

Welcome to Raleigh, North Carolina, a city where the past and present coexist harmoniously, offering a rich tapestry of experiences for residents and visitors alike. This vibrant metropolis, often referred to as the “City of Oaks,” is a hidden gem in the southeastern United States. When you’re wondering about fun things to do in Raleigh NC, rest assured that the city has an abundance of options to keep you entertained. It’s a cultural treasure trove that should be on everyone’s list of fun things to do in Raleigh NC.

For history enthusiasts, Raleigh offers a glimpse into the past with historic sites such as the North Carolina State Capitol and Historic Oakwood, a beautifully preserved Victorian neighborhood. These sites are not only historically significant but also offer a sense of charm that is uniquely Raleigh, making them essential stops on your list of fun things to do in Raleigh NC.

North Carolina Museum of Art:

Our adventure begins at the North Carolina Museum of Art, a cultural gem nestled in the heart of Raleigh. This museum boasts an impressive collection of European masterpieces, American classics, and an enchanting outdoor sculpture garden. As you wander through its halls, you’ll be transported through time and across continents, making it a must-visit for art lovers of all ages.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences:

For those with a curiosity about the natural world, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is a treasure trove of knowledge. This institution houses an array of captivating exhibits, from awe-inspiring dinosaur fossils to immersive displays of marine life. It’s an educational adventure that’s as entertaining as it is enlightening.

North Carolina Museum of History:

Step back in time at the North Carolina Museum of History, where the stories of the state come to life. Engage with exhibits that chronicle North Carolina’s rich and diverse history, from its Native American heritage to its pivotal role in the Civil War. It’s a captivating exploration of the past that offers a deeper understanding of the present.

Stroll through Pullen Park:

Next on our itinerary is a visit to Pullen Park, the oldest public park in the United States. Here, you can unwind amidst the lush greenery, take a spin on the charming carousel, or enjoy a leisurely pedal boat ride on the tranquil lake. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic with family and friends.

Go to the State Capitol:

A short walk from Pullen Park takes you to the State Capitol Building, a historic landmark that offers insight into North Carolina’s government. Take a guided tour and learn about the state’s legislative history and its role in shaping the nation.

Raleigh City Market:

Step into the past as you explore the Raleigh City Market, a historic district brimming with unique shops, boutiques, and restaurants. This charming area is the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind gifts and savor local flavors.things to do in raleigh nc

Visit the JC Raulston Arboretum:

Nature enthusiasts will find solace at the JC Raulston Arboretum, where themed gardens and colorful displays showcase a diverse collection of plants. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just appreciate the beauty of blooms, this arboretum is a serene escape.

PNC Arena:

Sports fans and music lovers alike will find their bliss at the PNC Arena. Home to the Carolina Hurricanes and a venue for major concerts and events, it’s a hub of entertainment in Raleigh. Check the schedule to catch a thrilling game or a chart-topping performance.

Dine at Raleigh’s Food Halls:

One of the joys of visiting Raleigh is indulging in its culinary scene. The city’s food halls, such as Morgan Street Food Hall, offer a wide variety of dining options, from international cuisine to classic Southern comfort food. Embark on a gastronomic journey through these vibrant culinary spaces.

Raleigh City Market:

The Raleigh City Market offers more than just unique shops; it’s a living testament to the city’s history. As you stroll through its cobblestone streets, you’ll be transported to a bygone era, where traders and merchants once bustled.

Pullen Arts Center:

For those with a passion for the arts, a visit to the Pullen Arts Center is a must. Engage in pottery, painting, and other creative endeavors in a welcoming and inspiring environment. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or a beginner, you’ll find a space to let your creativity flourish.

William B. Umstead State Park:

Escape the bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the tranquility of William B. Umstead State Park. Whether you prefer hiking, biking, or simply lounging by the lake, this park offers a peaceful natural retreat within reach of downtown Raleigh.

NC Museum of Sciences’ Nature Research Center:

For science enthusiasts of all ages, the North Carolina Museum of Sciences’ Nature Research Center is a place of wonder. Engage with hands-on exhibits, learn about cutting-edge research, and explore the wonders of the natural world in an interactive and educational environment.

Raleigh City Farm:

Delve into urban agriculture and sustainable farming practices at the Raleigh City Farm. This community garden not only produces fresh, organic produce but also serves as an educational space for those interested in sustainable living.

Catch a Show at DPAC:

The Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), located just a short drive from Raleigh, is a premier venue for live performances. Whether it’s a Broadway show, a concert by a world-renowned artist, or a captivating dance performance, DPAC promises a cultural extravaganza that will leave you in awe.things to do in raleigh nc

Pullen Park Aquatic Center:

Cool off and have some aquatic fun at the Pullen Park Aquatic Center. It’s an ideal spot for families with its water slides, splash pads, and pools. Beat the summer heat with a day of splashing and laughter.

Go to a Live Music Venue:

Raleigh’s music scene is thriving, and you can experience it firsthand at various live music venues. From intimate local bars hosting emerging artists to larger arenas featuring big-name acts, there’s a rhythm for everyone to enjoy in the city.

Historic Yates Mill County Park: 

Take a step back in time at Historic Yates Mill County Park, where a beautifully restored gristmill stands as a testament to Raleigh’s industrial heritage. Explore the historic buildings and the scenic surroundings, which include hiking trails and a tranquil pond.

Oakwood Historic District: 

Immerse yourself in the charming ambiance of the Oakwood Historic District, a residential neighborhood known for its well-preserved Victorian and early 20th-century homes. Stroll through tree-lined streets, admire the architecture, and gain insights into Raleigh’s architectural history.

J.S. Dorton Arena:

For architecture enthusiasts, the J.S. Dorton Arena is a must-see. This unique and iconic structure, designed by architect Matthew Nowicki, is known for its innovative roof design and serves as a venue for various events and exhibitions.


  1. Is Raleigh a walkable city?
    Raleigh has been working on improving its walkability, particularly in downtown areas. While some neighborhoods are more walkable than others, it’s generally advisable to have a car for convenient transportation within the city.
  2. Are houses cheaper in Raleigh or Charlotte?
    Raleigh and Charlotte have similar housing markets, but the specific cost of housing can vary depending on the neighborhood and the type of property you’re interested in. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Raleigh tends to have slightly lower housing costs compared to Charlotte, but it’s essential to check current real estate market conditions for accurate information.
  3. Is Raleigh NC cheap?
    Raleigh’s cost of living is generally considered moderate compared to larger cities in the United States, but it’s not necessarily cheap. Housing costs, in particular, can vary widely, and factors such as lifestyle and personal spending choices will also influence your perception of affordability.
  4. What is the main industry in Raleigh?
    Raleigh’s economy is diverse, with a significant presence in technology, research, education, and healthcare. The city is often associated with the Research Triangle Park, which houses numerous tech companies and research institutions.
  5. What is a good salary for a single person in Raleigh NC?
    A “good” salary for a single person in Raleigh depends on your lifestyle and expenses. Generally, a salary that allows you to cover your basic needs, save, and enjoy some recreational activities would be considered good. This could range from around $50,000 to $80,000 or more per year, but it varies widely.
  6. Is Raleigh hilly or flat?
    Raleigh is generally quite flat, with some gentle slopes in certain areas. It doesn’t have the significant elevation changes seen in more mountainous regions of North Carolina.
  7. What makes Raleigh special?
    Raleigh is known for its research and technology hub, its thriving cultural scene, beautiful parks, historic neighborhoods, and a strong sense of community. It’s often praised for its quality of life and educational opportunities.
  8. Which is more fun, Charlotte or Raleigh?
    Fun is subjective and depends on your interests. Both cities offer a range of activities, entertainment, and cultural attractions. Raleigh has a more relaxed, smaller city vibe, while Charlotte is larger and offers a bustling urban experience.
  9. What is a good salary to live in Raleigh NC?
    As mentioned earlier, a good salary in Raleigh depends on your lifestyle and expenses. It’s advisable to create a budget based on your specific needs and then determine an appropriate salary goal.
  10. What is the nicest area of Raleigh?
    Raleigh has several attractive neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. Some of the popular and well-regarded areas include North Hills, Cameron Village, and Brier Creek, among others. The “nicest” area can vary depending on your preferences and priorities.
  11. How far is Raleigh from the beach?
    Raleigh is located inland, so it’s not directly on the coast. The nearest beach towns, such as Wrightsville Beach and Atlantic Beach, are roughly 2 to 3 hours away by car.
  12. Is Raleigh an expensive city?
    Raleigh is not considered one of the most expensive cities in the United States, but like any city, costs can vary depending on your lifestyle and housing choices.
  13. What is the vibe of Raleigh?
    Raleigh has a diverse and welcoming atmosphere. It’s often described as a city with a strong sense of community, a focus on education and technology, and a growing arts and culture scene.
  14. What are Raleigh people called?
    People from Raleigh are typically referred to as “Raleighites” or simply “residents of Raleigh.”
  15. Are there a lot of Indians in Raleigh?
    Raleigh has a diverse population, and there is a notable Indian community in the area, which has contributed to the city’s cultural diversity.
  16. Why do people like Raleigh so much?
    People are drawn to Raleigh for its job opportunities, quality of life, educational institutions, vibrant arts scene, and access to outdoor activities. It offers a balanced mix of urban amenities and natural beauty.
  17. What’s better, Durham or Raleigh?
    Whether Durham or Raleigh is “better” depends on your preferences and priorities. Both cities have their own unique characteristics, and the choice between them may come down to factors such as job opportunities, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
  18. Is Raleigh a white city?
    Raleigh, like many U.S. cities, has a diverse population with residents of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. It’s not exclusively a “white city.”
  19. Is Raleigh a healthy city?
    Raleigh promotes a healthy lifestyle with its numerous parks, recreational opportunities, and access to healthcare. However, individual health outcomes can vary.
  20. Is Raleigh a foodie city?
    Raleigh has a growing food scene with a wide range of restaurants, including Southern cuisine, international options, and farm-to-table dining. It can be considered a foodie-friendly city.
  21. Is rent expensive in Raleigh?
    Rent in Raleigh can vary widely depending on location, type of housing, and demand. Generally, it is more affordable than in some larger U.S. cities, but it’s essential to research specific areas and current market conditions.
  22. Does Raleigh have a beach?
    Raleigh is not located directly on the coast, so it doesn’t have a beach within the city limits. However, the North Carolina coast is accessible by car within a few hours.
  23. Should I live in Charlotte or Raleigh?
    The choice between Charlotte and Raleigh depends on your personal preferences, career opportunities, and lifestyle. Both cities offer unique advantages, so it’s important to consider your priorities when making this decision.
  24. How is Raleigh for singles?
    Raleigh can be a great city for singles, offering a mix of social opportunities, job prospects, and cultural activities. The presence of universities and a young population adds to the vibrant social scene.
  25. What is Raleigh most famous for?
    Raleigh is known for its role in the Research Triangle Park, its state government institutions, educational institutions like NC State University, and its vibrant arts and culture scene.
  26. Does it snow in Raleigh North Carolina?
    Raleigh experiences occasional snowfall during the winter months, but it is not known for heavy or frequent snowfall. Winters tend to be relatively mild compared to northern states.
  27. Is Raleigh a good college town?
    Raleigh is home to several universities and colleges, including NC State University. It has elements of a college town, making it attractive to students and offering educational and cultural opportunities.
  28. What is the best month to visit Raleigh NC?
    Spring and fall are generally considered the best times to visit Raleigh due to milder weather and numerous outdoor festivals and events. However, the city has something to offer year-round.
  29. Is Raleigh a big city?
    Raleigh is one of North Carolina’s largest cities, but it is smaller in population and area compared to some major U.S. cities. It offers a balance of urban amenities and a more manageable size.
  30. Is Raleigh an educated city?
    Raleigh has a well-educated population, partly due to the presence of universities and research institutions. The city values education, and it is home to a highly educated workforce.
  31. Is Raleigh North Carolina worth visiting?
    Raleigh is worth visiting for its cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and the opportunity to experience the Research Triangle area. Whether you’re interested in history, technology, or the arts, there’s something for everyone.
  32. Is living in Raleigh fun?
    Many residents find living in Raleigh enjoyable due to its mix of urban amenities, outdoor recreation, cultural events, and educational opportunities. It’s often considered a fun and vibrant place to live.

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