Things to do

10 Best Things to Do in Raleigh NC

What are the top ten best lovely things to do in Raleigh NC? Well, Raleigh is situated in the northeastern U.S. state of North Carolina. It is the state of North Carolina’s capital and the second-largest city.

Moreover, it is the 42nd largest city in the United States. Raleigh is called the “City of Oaks” because of its extensive oak tree forest. In addition to being the state capital, Raleigh serves as the county seat for Wake County in North Carolina, United States.

Raleigh, North Carolina, founded in 1792 with the express goal of becoming the state capital, may not be the city of first choice for travelers to North Carolina, but it still has much to offer.

1. What is Raleigh NC Best Known For?

It is renowned for its educational exhibit institutions, including North Carolina State University. Research Triangle is the name given to the region surrounding Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham due to the concentration of technological and academic institutions in the area.

It boasts a pleasant downtown area with a scattering of high-quality museums that are both affordable and accessible (several free). The city of Raleigh is gradually establishing a reputation for its art galleries, culinary scene, and musical background, all of which are contributing to the city’s increasingly sophisticated culture. It would help if you could see Raleigh’s excellent museums and art galleries.

The city of Raleigh is quickly becoming a bustling and alluring metropolitan area. Raleigh offers an unlimited selection of attractions for visitors of all types with its cosmopolitan charms and historical wonders. Also, it’s a reasonably inexpensive place to visit with lots of freebies.

Finally, the natural setting of Raleigh is nothing short of magnificent. You will be amazed by the magnitude of Umstead State Park. The stunning Historic Yates Mill County Park allows visitors to get up and personal with a diverse range of flora and fauna.

In addition, Raleigh is a city that knows how to party, as seen by the city’s burgeoning craft beer sector and its abundance of wine bars. Food tours, pottery lessons, and chocolate factory tours are a few more entertaining things to do in Raleigh NC.

2. Best Things To Do in Raleigh NC

Hence, if you want to start organizing your trip here, check out our list of the 10 top things to do in Raleigh NC.

2.1. Pope House Museum

Visiting the Pope House Museum is one of the top things to do in Raleigh NC. The Pope House Museum was established in 1901 and can be found in the heart of downtown Raleigh, only a few short blocks away from the state capital. The Pope House Museum is at 511 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27601. It was constructed by Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope, a notable African-American icon in the local community who ran for mayor in defiance of the Jim Crow system during the period.

By The Pope House Museum

The Pope House Museum is the only museum dedicated to Black Americans in the state. The Pope House is the only African-American house museum in the form of North Carolina. It provides an insight into the life of one of Raleigh’s most fascinating individuals, Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope. Dr. Pope was the only African-American man to run for governor of a Southern capital during the Jim Crow era. He was the first African-American man to be elected governor of a Southern capital.

Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope was the only African-American to run for mayor of a southern city during the Jim Crow Era. The museum showcases artifacts and authentic furnishings from that era. Dr. Pope was the sole African-American candidate for mayor in a southern capital city during the Jim Crow era when racial segregation was permitted in the United States’ southern states.

One of Raleigh’s most fascinating historical individuals, Dr. Pope, is commemorated by the Pope House Museum, which houses more than 3,000 objects about his life. They include authentic furniture and relics like his father’s paperwork from his father’s time as a freedman, his Spanish-American War medical bag, and his voter registration card.

 Why This Museum is a Must Visit?

The museum provides a fascinating look into the life of Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope and his family. He was a great man. A lovely house museum that is a hidden gem and tells the fascinating tale of a well-known Black Raleigh doctor and his family.

It has a lot of fascinating historical information and visiting this place is one of the best things to do in Raleigh NC. Intriguing, educational, and engaging all rolled into one. When exploring Dr. Pope’s home, you used to have a wonderful time learning about all the fantastic things he had accomplished throughout his life.

The Museum is open on the weekends, and there is no charge for admittance. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour, but reservations are required. There are currently no rental opportunities available at the Pope House.

2.2. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

A trip to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is consistently ranked among the most well-liked things to do in Raleigh NC.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is a prominent Raleigh destination and one of the nation’s best museums. This enormous museum offers exhibits on various topics, including dinosaurs, insects, and marine life, so there is something here for everyone.

By North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The interactive Butterfly Pavilion, the immersive Ocean Hall, and the life-size recreation of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton are just a few of the most well-liked displays at the museum. The museum also has a planetarium, an IMAX theatre, and a range of educational events for people of all ages.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is one of Raleigh, North Carolina’s major attractions and the largest natural history museum in the Southeast. The museum features a variety of permanent collections in addition to special exhibits that are rotated frequently, as well as live shows and videos about nature that are appropriate for visitors of all ages.

The museum aims to allow visitors to learn more about nature, science, and their place in it. Unique places to see can be found all across Downtown Raleigh. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is one of the biggest. Every year, almost a million individuals visit the museum’s sprawling site. A memorable birthday celebration for any child can be held in one of the museum’s many rooms. This top-notch natural history museum is the biggest in the Southeast US, with four floors of exciting displays.

 Why Should You Go To This Place?

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is, without a doubt, the most frequented tourist destination in this town, and spending time at this place is among the best things to do in Raleigh NC. In addition to being completely free, it offers a plethora of exciting and informative exhibitions. Also, it is home to a café that serves a variety of mouthwatering treats prepared in the kitchen.

2.3. Pullen Park

Pullen Park is where to go in Raleigh if you’re seeking a historical and enjoyable destination. Pullen Park is located at 520 Ashe Ave, Raleigh, NC 27606. It was founded in 1887, making it the world’s 16th-oldest amusement park, the fifth-oldest amusement park in the country, and the first public park ever created in North Carolina. Visiting this park is another best things to do in Raleigh NC.

Together with its well-known amusement park, Pullen Park’s 66.4 acres of property are home to countless miles of hiking trails, a unique aquatic center, an arts center, several playgrounds, a community center, and a community center. Theater in the Park attracts more than 40,000 spectators yearly and frequently presents theatrical performances at the park’s northern end.

The famous Dentzel Carousel, which first opened its doors in 1921 and was later added to the National Register of Historic Sites, is likely the element of the park that draws the most significant number of visitors. The park’s rides, which include a train, a carousel, and pedal boats, are appropriate for kids of all ages.

Pullen Park, the state’s first public park, is a beautiful place to spend a leisurely day with the family. They feature a vast playground suitable for children of all ages and an Aquatic Center providing swimming and swimming class opportunities.

Recreational leagues and other visitors have a place to play on the available athletic fields and tennis courts. Many art workshops and exhibitions are available at the Arts Center. The Community Center is close to a restaurant that sells a variety of seasonal and fresh cuisine. The park’s theatre is home to various entertaining productions throughout the year.

In addition, restrooms, shelters, and pavilions are available for hire for parties and events of all kinds. There are some great picnic places at Pullen Park as well. Due to its affordable amusement rides, it is still one of the best family activities in Raleigh today.

 Why Should You Visit This Place?

Pullen offers all guests the famous carousel, train, and kiddie boats, going above and beyond the standard park attractions. You can take a trip around the pond in a pedal boat that you can rent during the summer or walk along the East Coast Greenway.

The park is transformed into a winter wonderland known as the Holiday Express during the colder months, complete with a train ride, hundreds of lights, and Santa Claus ready to hear your Christmas wish list. Pullen Park is incredible kiddie heaven; therefore, it is one of the best things to do in Raleigh NC.

As you explore, many kid-friendly attractions, including an outdoor theatre, an arts center, and an amusement arcade, may be found throughout the park. The park is also a great location to engage in various outdoor activities.

 What You Should Do Here?

You may ride the carousel and paddle boat for a reasonable price at this entertainment park.

2.4. Joel Lane Museum House

Another best things to do in Raleigh NC is to visit ” Joel Lane Museum House”. The Joel Lane House in Raleigh, North Carolina, often called Wakefield, was constructed in 1769.

It is a museum and has been restored to its former glory as a historic mansion. It is in the United States at 160 S St Mary’s St, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27603.

 What Does This Place is Best Known As?

The Joel Lane Museum House was once the family home of Colonel Joel Lane, well known as the “Father of Wake County” and the “Father of Raleigh.”   It is the oldest home in Wake County and features collections of artifacts and furnishings that are original to the 18th century.

Joel Lane Museum House

The museum grounds feature a separate middle-class home erected around 1790 and a formal city garden and herb garden from the era. Lane made his home in the colonial Johnston County community of Wake Cross Roads in the 1760s. Lane and his mansion were critical in the evolution of North Carolina from a colony to a state and in selecting Raleigh as the state’s capital.

Joel Lane’s plantation mansion was atop a small hill overlooking Raleigh’s ultimate location. Due to his extensive land holdings, Lane was able to influence politics. Lane was a representative in the colonial General Assembly and was crucial to the creation of Wake County in 1770.

The area was largely uninhabited then, and Lane’s efforts resulted in the county’s formation. In honor of Margaret Wake, the wife of colonial governor William Tryon, the county was named “Wake.” The locals call the Joel Lane Museum House “the birthplace of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina.” The appearance of Lane’s home as it appeared in 1790 was recreated, and it was opened to the public in 1976.

The National Society of Colonial Dames of the United States has designated the home as a museum. Known as “The Finest Mansion for 100 Miles at the time, Joel Lane’s plantation manor was a prominent location. It has been meticulously renovated and is now a significant historic landmark that transports tourists to a different era.

The North Carolina chapter of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America is the house’s current owner. Colonel Joel Lane, his family, and the enslaved people who resided on his property in Piedmont, North Carolina, during the latter part of the 18th century are all used as examples in the Joel Lane Museum House’s educational programs on American history.

It can be rented for special occasions and frequently holds activities, including talks, movies, and guided tours. The exquisite Museum House gardens would be a beautiful setting for a birthday celebration. You can travel back in time to discover the origins of Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, and the United States at the Joel Lane Museum House.

This museum takes you through the colonial period, the Revolutionary War, and the early years of our country. Tours start at the Visitors Center and are led by guides dressed in period garb to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Children under the age of six are free.

2.5. The Contemporary Art Museum

CAM Raleigh is another important museum to visit in downtown Raleigh. It is in the United States at 409 W Martin St, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27603.

The Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, also known as CAM Raleigh, is a multi-media gallery showcasing contemporary art in Raleigh, North Carolina. Touring this Museum is another best things to do in Raleigh NC.

 What Does It Host?

It hosts exhibitions of works by recognized artists from the region, the country, and the world but does not have a permanent collection. The CAM Raleigh is where you may find frequently changing modern art exhibitions. CAM maintains current with new content every few months because the museum’s mission is to introduce contemporary art to the city.

It is a multi-media contemporary art gallery that is privately owned and located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The gallery does not have a collection that is kept on display permanently; instead, its mission is to seek out contemporary artists and showcase the most outstanding examples of their work in a series of rotating shows that have been carefully chosen to be current, engaging, and representative of what is happening in the art world in the city; therefore, it is one of the best things to do in Raleigh NC.

The museum collaborates with the Faculty of Design at North Carolina State University and is housed in a downtown warehouse converted into a museum in 1910. The warehouse has 20,000 square feet of space. The museum’s most prominent exhibitions featured Angel Otero, Jonathan Horowitz, and Marilyn Minter.

It is, without a doubt, a favorite among the community for a good reason. It is cutting-edge, contemporary, and unexpected. This spectacular, non-collecting contemporary art museum in Raleigh’s burgeoning Warehouse District features avant-garde creations by local and international living artists. Every show is one of a kind, daring, extremely memorable, and purposefully crafted to be thought-provoking and transformative.

The North Carolina Museum of Art and the Faculty of Design at North Carolina State University both provided funding for the museum’s opening in 2011, which was made possible by the commitment and creative energy of many committed people.

2.6. The North Carolina State Capitol

The State Capitol of North Carolina, also a National Historic Landmark, can be found in downtown Raleigh on Capitol Square. It is at 1 E Edenton St, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27601.

It is generally agreed that the State Capitol Building in North Carolina is one of the outstanding examples of Greek revival architecture maintained anywhere in the United States.

The exquisite plasterwork and molding, the cantilevered gallery, and the ornate Grecian features are all examples of the architect David Paton’s influence. Exploring this place is another best things to do in Raleigh NC.

 Why This Place is a Must Visit?

The structure, finished in 1840, is regarded as one of Raleigh’s most iconic landmarks. It served as the headquarters for the whole North Carolina State Government until 1888, but it now just contains the governor’s office. The historic Trolley Tour around Raleigh includes this stop for sightseeing. Raleigh is an excellent destination for political education since it is the capital of North Carolina.

The North Carolina State Capitol can be found in Raleigh, the state’s official capital. This magnificent structure is one of the most recognizable monuments in the entire city. Take a tour of the Capitol instead of just taking pictures of the outside to learn more about its history and the workings of the state’s administration.

This public building offers free guided tours. The State Capitol building in North Carolina is rich in history and a stunning architectural achievement. One of the most incredible things to do in Raleigh NC is to tour this structure. The North Carolina State Capitol, initially constructed in 1840, has undergone numerous renovations, including installing its beautiful dome in 1970. There is no admission fee.

2.7. North Carolina Executive Mansion

Another best things to do in Raleigh NC is to visit the “North Carolina Executive Mansion”. The North Carolina Executive Mansion, sometimes called the Governor’s Mansion, is a Queen Anne-style mansion on Burke Square in downtown Raleigh. It is at 200 N Blount St, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27601.

The building was constructed between 1883 and 1891 on a square designated as a public park ever since the city’s establishment in 1792. Before the structure’s construction, the square had been used as the location of the Raleigh Academy.

This North Carolina Executive Mansion is often called “the People’s House.” Initially constructed in 1891, this magnificent home is now the residence of the governor of North Carolina.

As you make your way through downtown Raleigh, you should come by here for a picture because it is conveniently located close to the museums, the Capitol building, and other area attractions. The governor offers house tours on a few specific days and hours if you are in town during the winter.

 What Is It So Famous?

The official residence of the Governor of North Carolina is not your typical house; instead, it is a very stylish mansion. This well-known 1891 residence on Blount Street, also called the “people’s house,” is an outstanding example of Queen Anne architecture and is in the heart of everything, just a few blocks from the legislature, the museum park, and all that downtown Raleigh has to offer.

 Why You Should Go To This Place?

Truly, the Executive House is a beauty to behold. You can get a good look at it from the street, but during the winter months, the governor of the state and his family open their historic mansion to the public and give tours of it when it is decked out in its finest holiday gear. You may observe it anyway.

2.8. Marbles Kids Museum

Visit the Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh with your children. It’s an excellent place for them to learn and have fun. The Marbles Kids Museum is a non-profit children’s museum in the Moore Square Historic District in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. It is at 201 E Hargett St, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27601. Thus, it is the other best things to do in Raleigh NC.

The Marbles Kids Museum, geared towards youngsters ten and younger, is filled with engaging, interactive displays. This children’s museum in downtown Raleigh exhibits various topics, such as music, horticulture, art, and sports. Moreover, there is a café and an IMAX cinema located on the premises of the Marbles Kids Museum.

By Marbles Kids Museum

 What Does This Museum Offer?

This children’s museum in downtown Raleigh offers year-round special events, educational exhibitions, IMAX documentaries, summer programs, and marble runs. Marbles thinks the best way for kids to learn is through play. Children learn through engaging in a self-guided exploration of the displays, which are designed to spark their imaginations.

Children can engage their mathematical curiosity with brain teasers, puzzles, games, and challenges at the STEMosphere display. Kids can learn about financial topics such as budgeting, working to earn money, and managing a business at the Moneypalooza display.

Children are provided with a secure environment to develop, design, and construct anything their minds can conjure up when visiting the ImagiFAB display. Children can learn about science, math, and engineering through various other interactive exhibits at the museum.

STEM learning stations and many indoor and outdoor study areas for all ages. The “About Town” area of the Marble Kids Museum, a family-friendly attraction in the heart of Raleigh, is among its best features. Here, young visitors may practice driving and attending school while simulating real-world situations.

Why You Should Visit This Place?

The Kids Museum provides meaningful play for children in a significant way. This museum encourages creativity and education in children under the age of ten through the utilization of its STEM-focused hands-on learning stations.

2.9. Morgan Street Food Hall

A trip to the Morgan Street Food Hall in Raleigh is something you owe to yourself if you consider yourself a foodie and are in the area. The dining hall offers everything from Maine lobster to Thai cuisine, with more than 20 culinary themes. It is a popular attraction in Raleigh, North Carolina, for foodies. If you are a Food enthusiast then visiting this mall is one of the top things to do in Raleigh NC.

Morgan Street Food Hall is a trendy new cuisine and vendor hall that opened in August 2018 in Raleigh’s Warehouse District. The 20,000 square foot food hall offers shared dining space where patrons may choose from close to 20 trendy and creative independent food stalls dishing up various cuisines.

 Why This Place is a Must Visit?

There are a variety of restaurants to choose from, such as Maku’s Empanadas, which specializes in Cuban cuisine, Curry in a Hurry, which serves Indian cuisine; Iyla’s Southern Cooking, which serves comfort food; and Raleigh Rolls, which serves folded ice cream in the style of Thailand. Visiting and having food from this place is considered one of the best things to do in Raleigh NC.

Moreover, specialty drinks are offered at stands like Boba Brew, which imports real bubble teas. Various retailers, such as the Huntington Provision Co., Mike D’s Barbeque, Fancy Berries, and the Five Points Bakery Company, offer food and household items in addition to the establishments that provide food, such as restaurants.

Choose from some truly fantastic restaurants by going to Transfer Co. Food Hall or Morgan Street Food Hall. You and your group will discover precisely what you’re searching for in one of these dining halls because there are many different restaurants from which to choose. You place orders from several cafes and restaurants and then eat in a standard dining room. Also, they provide terrace seating.

The Morgan Street Food Hall is a true heaven for foodies, as it features more than 20 distinct merchants, each of whom takes great pride in presenting their one-of-a-kind specialties.

When you peruse the food court, you may select from a variety of foods like Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches at Iyla’s Southern Kitchen, tacos stuffed with meat and vegetables at Wicked Taco, Indian curries, and street food at Curry in a Hurry, authentic Greek food at Opa! Raleigh, and much more.

Everything is available at Morgan Street, including rolled ice cream, a fry bar, lobster, tacos, bagels, and crepes. Also available at Transfer Co. are empanadas, wood-fired bagels, freshly cooked spaghetti, a world-class cookie shop, and more. These food halls offer fantastic food as well as a welcoming environment.

Whatever you choose, don’t forget to leave space for dessert.  Also, the food court contains a gelato counter that offers tasty handcrafted varieties such as chocolate hazelnut and pistachio.

2.10. North Carolina Art Museum

Visiting the North Carolina Museum of Art is among the most entertaining things to do in Raleigh NC. It is at 2110 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh, North Carolina, 27607. The North Carolina Museum of Art is widely regarded as one of the finest art museums in the United States.

It was established in 1949 and housed an extensive collection that includes ancient artifacts and contemporary works of art worldwide. It comprises two buildings, one of which is home to the permanent collection and the other to educational activities and special exhibitions. In the entire state, this is among the best cultural institutions.

This museum exhibits works by accomplished artists from all over the world that are close to captivating. A trip to the North Carolina Museum of Art is comparable to embarking on an adventure around the globe. Art enthusiasts will find many reasons to enjoy themselves in Raleigh, not the least of which is the North Carolina Museum of Art.

What Does This Museum Offer?

This museum offers a wealth of magnificent artwork and fascinating information about the many artists and historical periods. The North Carolina Museum of Art is among the most excellent museums in the South for visual arts. There are art galleries, special exhibits, an outdoor park with art, pathways, and a live music venue all contained within this area. There is a substantial amount of skill to view here, with a permanent collection that covers 5,000 years of history.

The art collection here has more than 4,200 pieces, including European paintings from the Renaissance to the 19th century, Egyptian funerary art, sculptures and vase paintings from Greece, Italy, Rome, American and early American art, African art, Jewish ceremonial artifacts, and more.

More than a dozen massive works of art can be seen dotted across the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, which spans 164 acres. The artists collaborated with the museum to incorporate the art into the area’s natural systems throughout the landscape restoration. The NC Museum of Art is free to enter.

3. Conclusion

Thank you for reading this article. We hope you found this article helpful. It’s a charming little town with many interesting top things to do in Raleigh NC.

Through its museums, recreational spaces, educational system, variety of zoos, and antique shops, Raleigh blends the spirit of discovery with historical legacy in our list of 10 best Things to Do In Raleigh NC.

Raleigh is a region in North Carolina that offers a variety of parks, tourist destinations, and scenic landscapes. To make the most of your time here, we suggest you stop by each of the places included in the top 10 best things to do in Raleigh NC.

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Pooja Thakur

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