35 Unique Things To Do in Raleigh North Carolina in 2022

35 Unique Things To Do in Raleigh North Carolina in 2022

If you're searching for things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina, we have you covered. In fact, whether you’re planning a staycation or looking to have a night out, we have recommendations you’re sure to love. 

Please allow us to welcome you to one of the world's best cities. If you're moving to Raleigh, then there's a good chance you've already discovered the magic of the City of Oaks.

Without further ado, here are our 35 favorite things to do in Raleigh, NC:

First Friday

Best for: Music lovers

Open: First Friday of each month, hours vary

Location: Location varies

Age: All ages 

The first Friday of each month is a special day in Raleigh. First Friday is a free, self-guided tour of downtown Raleigh's hot spots, local art galleries, studios, museums, and more. 

It's a great way to experience Downtown Raleigh, with live music, great people, and a lot of fun lining the streets of Raleigh. 

Many restaurants, retailers, and bars will support First Friday in Raleigh with specials for those participating in the affair. First Friday flags are easy to spot outside participating venues.

The events typically run until 9 p.m., though the hours may vary between locations. Check out more info and a list of participating venues for First Friday in Downtown Raleigh.

North Carolina Symphony

Best for: Music lovers

Open: Box Office open Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: 2 East South Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

The North Carolina Symphony was founded in 1932 and became the first state-supported symphony in the country. 

North Carolina cares about its live music so much that Raleigh’s willing to shut down the main streets in City Plaza for free concerts. 

The North Carolina Symphony instantly became a vital part of North Carolina's cultural life and its 175 annual performances are greeted with enthusiasm throughout the state. Grab a bottle of wine and head over to Meymandi Concert Hall for a musical experience you won’t forget.

Theatre in the Park

Best for: Theatre lovers

Open: Hours vary based on showtimes

Location: Pullen Park Northern End

Age: All ages

Founded in 1947 as The Children’s Theatre of Raleigh, Inc, Theatre in the Park aims to make high-quality theater accessible to Raleigh locals.

Offering both classes and opportunities to see productions and located in scenic Pullen Park, Theatre in the Park is a great opportunity to support local arts. 

Theatre in the Park is also known for their yearly production of “A Christmas Carol,” which has been running for almost 50 years. Check out more information on shows for the rest of 2022.


Best for: Movie lovers

Open: Hours vary based on showtimes 

Location: 525 New Waverly Place, Suite 203, Cary, NC

Age: All ages 

Love eating? Love movies? Maybe a cocktail to go with them both? Here's something fun for you to do in the Raleigh area even when it's raining.

CineBistro takes the "dinner and a movie" concept to a whole new level. The moviegoing experience has never been better with amenities like:

  • Reserved seating

  • Cozy, oversized reclining leather seats

  • Full-service in-theater dining

  • State-of-the-art movie viewing 

You can enjoy great American dishes, wines, cocktails, and, of course, popcorn and candy while watching great flicks.

Lincoln Theatre

Best for: Live music lovers

Open: Hours vary based on showtimes

Location: 126 East Cabarrus Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages, unless otherwise stated for a specific show

Almost every day there is a show or some fun being had at the Lincoln Theatre. From concerts to plays, to Super Bowl screenings, the Lincoln Theatre provides the people of Raleigh with all sorts of shows to see.

For any live music fans, this spot is a must. Reviews rave about Lincoln Theatre’s fantastic acoustics, fun atmosphere, and old-school venue vibes.

A historical tour of Raleigh would start at the North Carolina State Capitol, then go to the North Carolina Museum of History, then The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and end at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Best for: Science lovers

Open: Monday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: 11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 

Age: All ages

North Carolina's most visited museum is an iconic landmark in Downtown Raleigh. You can't miss it with the large daily planet just outside of its West Jones street location. 

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the largest institution of its kind in the southeast region of the United States. The museum answers four basic questions about natural sciences: 

  • What do we know? 

  • How do we know? 

  • What's happening now? 

  • How can you participate?

North Carolina's most popular museum offers its guests a great variety of things to do upon entering the museum including seven floors of interactive exhibits — each fueled by great expertise and a diversifying portfolio of public, earned, and contributed funds.

The North Carolina Museum of History

Best for: History lovers

Open: Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: 5 East Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

Among the best free things to do in Raleigh is the North Carolina Museum of History. While there are admission fees for special exhibits, there’s still plenty to check out for free. 

The museum gives people an opportunity to learn about the history of Raleigh and North Carolina. People have lived in North Carolina for over 14,000 years, so there’s quite a story to hear from the North Carolina Museum of History.

The Marbles Kids Museum

Best for: Fun lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 201 East Hargett Street, Raleigh NC

Age: All ages, with dedicated adults-only nights

If you're searching for things to do with your family while in Raleigh, NC, the Marbles Kids Museum is a fantastic option that’s sure to please all — it’s a Downtown Raleigh icon!  

After opening its doors in 2007, the Marbles Kids Museum opened the imaginations of many kids around Raleigh. Kids are encouraged to use their marbles and learn new things through imagination, discovery, exploration, and play.

For the kids at heart, there are 21Marbles nights when they open up the museum to adults and serve adult beverages as well...It's fun to be a kid again.

North Carolina Museum of Art

Best for: Art lovers

Open: Wednesday – Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., park open daily dawn to dusk

Location: 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

For art lovers and those with an appreciation for creativity ordesign, you'll want to check out the North Carolina Art Museum. The Museum's history began in 1924 when the North Carolina State Art Society was formed.  

Their mission was to generate interest in creating an art museum for the state. The society received funds shortly after and began purchasing paintings from local native Robert F. Phiger. 

In 1947, the state committed one million dollars to fund the museum, which received national attention. The museum has an interesting history, including its start as the 'Miracle on Morgan street.'

North Carolina State Capitol

Best for: History lovers

Open: Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: 1 East Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

The North Carolina State Capitol has been located in Raleigh since 1840. Explore the rich history of North Carolina and see the historic building that once hosted the Governor’s office, the chambers of the General Assembly, and the North Carolina Supreme Court. This is one of NC's most historic sites.

You can walk in for a self-guided tour or schedule a group tour for groups of 10–25 people as well as enjoying the annual traditions the city holds.


Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Best for: Science lovers

Open: Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Location: 250 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC

Age: All ages

Founded in 1949, the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is the oldest planetarium in the southeast. Check out a show in the planetarium or visit the science center for exhibits that are fun for any age.

Try their new Launch Lab with self-guided activities that allow you access to tools such as a 3D printer and other cool equipment. Launch Lab access comes with every admission ticket.

 Nature lovers in Raleigh, North Carolina can visit William B. Umstead Park, Pullen Park, and Raleigh Farmer's Market

William B. Umstead Park

Best for: Nature lovers

Open: Visitor Center open daily 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: 8801 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

One of the top free things to do in Raleigh is to explore everything the city and area have to offer. This includes the William B. Umstead Park which is nestled between Raleigh, Cary, and Durham. The 5,599 acres of forest offer:  

If you're searching for a dog park in Raleigh, NC, William B. Umstead doesn’t have any fences. While your furry friend is free to join you in the park, they must be kept on a leash that’s six feet or shorter.

Pullen Park

Best for: Nature lovers

Open: Outdoor spaces open dawn to dusk daily

Location: 510 Ashe Avenue, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

The first public park in North Carolina, Pullen Park gives its visitors a lot of terrific things to do. The outdoor areas feature: 

  • Playgrounds with swing sets and sand areas

  • Lighted tennis courts

  • Two ball fields

  • Picnic areas

  • Paddle boats 

The park also offers amusement rides such as a carousel and a red caboose for kids to explore. There’s even a theater, an arts center, and an aquatics center. Pullen Park is great family fun for anyone in Raleigh!

Carolina Hurricanes Game

Best for: Sports lovers

Open: Ticket office open Tuesday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Location: 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages 

There is only one professional sports team in Raleigh — the Carolina Hurricanes. If you're searching for something to do with the family in Raleigh, this is a great event for everyone! 

Watch the Carolina Hurricanes dominate on the ice rink and experience the exhilaration of live hockey. The tickets are affordable, and the Hurricanes offer a clean, family-friendly environment for everyone who enters the PNC Arena. Check out the Carolina Hurricanes schedule to catch their next home game.

Collegiate Sports Events

Best for: Sports lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: Locations vary

Age: All ages

If you are looking for something to do and you love college sports, you can't beat the Triangle. With Duke, UNC, and NC State in the area, this town loves its college sports, and people don't hide their allegiances. 

If you have the opportunity to check out a Duke or UNC basketball game, it's an experience you must partake in. It's even on many out-of-staters’ bucket lists!

Football at any of the big three colleges is another event worth attending if you love sports. These games are highly affordable and entertaining. You can check out North Carolina’s favorite college sports at the following locations:

Raleigh Farmers Market

Best for: Food lovers

Open: Monday – Saturday 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: 1201 Agriculture Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

The Raleigh Farmers Market is unlike any other farmer’s market and Spring market. Featuring vendors, restaurants, and shops, it’s a great place to walk around and explore.

Find locally-grown produce, meats, cheeses, wines, and more. Whether you’re just visiting or you’re Raleigh born and raised, the farmers market is the top choice to stroll around and taste some of the best food Raleigh has to offer.

 Breweries to visit in Raleigh, North Carolina are The Raleigh Beer Garden, Raleigh Brewing Company, Crank Arm Brewing, Trophy Brewing Co., and Brewgaloo.

The Raleigh Beer Garden

Best for: Beer lovers

Open: Daily 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Location: 614 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC

Age: 21+

Although not a brewery in and of itself, we can't talk about Raleigh beer without an honorable mention for the World's largest beer garden (sorry, Germany), Raleigh Beer Garden.  

With 366 beers on tap, the Raleigh Beer Garden became the world's largest with an incredible local selection. Located at the corner of Glenwood and Peace, this is a must-do for restaurant and bar beer lovers alike.

Raleigh Brewing Company

Best for: Beer lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 3709 Neil Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: 21+ 

A full craft beer experience that embraces the personality of the City of Oaks, is Raleigh Brewing Company Learn beer, the process of crafting, and gain a whole new perspective on what it takes to make great beer.

These guys have a serious appreciation for the city of Raleigh and its history, as well as a passion for crafting great beers. That’s the type of combination that deserves a visit if you're in Raleigh! 

Crank Arm Brewing

Best for: Beer lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 319 West Davie Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: 21+ 

One of my personal favorite things to do in Raleigh is to take my dog down to the Crank Arm Brewing on a warm sunny day and enjoy a beverage or two. Located in the Warehouse District and directly across the street from The Pit, Crank Arm offers visitors some amazing craft beers.  

Crank arm started by combining two of their passions — bikes and beers. You'll notice the beer right away and the bike decor has made Crank Arm an icon in Downtown Raleigh. If you're looking for a small local business you can really get behind, and root for, this is it!

Trophy Brewing Co.

Best for: Beer lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 827 West Morgan Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: 21+ 

Trophy Brewing Co. is another icon in Downtown Raleigh, with a great location near NC State, you're sure to drive by it at some point while cruising through downtown. 

The Morgan Street location opened in February 2013 has been a part of building Raleigh’s reputation for great craft breweries ever since! 

It’s not uncommon for food trucks to visit the Maywood location as well, which opened in December of 2015. You can visit Trophy Brewing Co for dinner or swing by for a quick cold one at either of their locations.


Best for: Beer lovers

Open: Annual event

Location: Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

If you're familiar with Shop Local Raleigh, you know these guys put on some incredible events citywide and are constantly supporting local businesses.

One of these events that beer lovers will enjoy is Brewgaloo, when the streets in City Plaza shut down for food trucks and a celebration of local breweries. It's a great event and an even better way for breweries to put their product in front of thousands of people. 

While this event features many breweries, visitors of all ages are welcome to come and enjoy live music, food trucks, and non-alcoholic vendors.

Restaurants to try in Raleigh include Beasley's Chicken + Honey, The Fiction Kitchen, Bida Manda, The Pit, and Stanbury

Beasley's Chicken + Honey

Best for: Southern food lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 237 South Wilmington Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

If you’re familiar with dining in Downtown Raleigh, then there's a good chance you've been to one of Ashley Christensen's spots. Whether you’re looking to grab brunch or dinner, eating at Beasley's Chicken + Honey is one thing you have to do while in Raleigh.  

Beasley's is constantly making appearances on lists of the best restaurants in Raleigh, so check out their award-winning menu for yourself. 

PS: You definitely want to order the Chicken and Waffles, they're a specialty!

Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tour

Best for: Food lovers

Open: Tours at 1:00 p.m. Friday, 1:00 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Saturday

Location: Varies, see meeting spot details

Age: All ages with designated 12+ tours

If you’re looking to taste the best of Raleigh but don’t know where to start, look no further than a tour with top-rated Taste Carolina. Try their earlier if you’re all about tasting local Raleigh dishes and the later tour if you want some drink pairings too.

Taste Carolina also offers private and custom tours to create an experience that’s all your own on any night of the week.

The Fiction Kitchen

Best for: Vegetarian food lovers

Open: Wednesday – Saturday 4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Location: 428 South Dawson Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

The Fiction Kitchen is a vegetarian-inspired restaurant and another one of Raleigh's best spots to have dinner. For those who aren't vegetarians, I promise you’ll find something you love on this menu. 

The mushroom risotto is one of my personal favorites. The Fiction Kitchen is one of the top-rated restaurants in Raleigh, and it’s located in the revitalized warehouse district.

Bida Manda

Best for: Food lovers 

Open:  Hours vary

Location: 222 South Blount Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

One of the newer, top restaurants in Raleigh is Bida Manda. It's a Laotian-inspired restaurant in Moore Square, with a famous pork belly soup you have to try. 

From the Bida Manda website, 'Bida Manda is the Sanskrit term for father and mother.' If you're looking to try a dish that will hit tastebuds you didn't know you had, check out the Bida Manda menu. Hands-down, it’s one of the best downtown Raleigh restaurants.

The Pit

Best for: BBQ lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 328 West Davie Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

The Pit is an authentic Carolina BBQ spot, located across the street from Crank Arm Brewing in the Warehouse District. It's a great restaurant for those who love BBQ and enjoy dining out. 

North Carolina is known as being a legendary spot for great Barbecue, and The Pit does everything to live up to the hype! From the amazing cornbread to the pulled pork, the menu has something for all appetites.

Sassool Mediterranean Cafe

Best for: Food lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 9650 Strickland Road, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

Offering both hard-to-find grocery items and delicious prepared food, Sassool is a local favorite for healthy and delicious Lebanese fare.

Whether you’re picking up a whole meal or a few ingredients for your own culinary adventure, Sassool keeps it fresh and lives up to its stellar reputation.

Videri Chocolate Factory

Best for: Dessert lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 327 West Davie Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages 

When you’ve got a sweet tooth, head to Videri Chocolate Factory for a self-guided tour with free samples. There are videos to check out explaining each step of their meticulous chocolate-making process from bean to bar.

As an added bonus, Videri chocolate is allergy-friendly — it’s nut-, gluten-, soy-, and egg-free (score!). Enjoy their walk-up window after hours for some soft serve and chocolate treats.


Best for: Food lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 938 North Blount Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

Stanbury serves up truly local Raleigh food with a menu that changes each day,  depending on the local ingredients available. Check out Stanbury if you want a near guarantee of discovering a new favorite food.

The Morning Times

Best for: Coffee lovers

Open: Daily 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Location: 10 East Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

The Morning Times is one of our personal favorite coffee spots located in downtown Raleigh, and is a great spot to visit no matter the time of day. Serving up some locally-roasted coffee and house-made bagels, this neighborhood cafe is the perfect place for your morning (or afternoon) pick me up. 

While this location offers food along with its great drinks, be sure to get there early, as the kitchen closes at 3:00pm.

Morgan Street Food Hall

Best for: Food lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 411 West Morgan Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: All ages

The Morgan Street Food Hall is perfect if you’re not sure what you’re craving or working with a big group of varied tastes. You can check out their list of vendors and see they have everything from waffles to curry, all in one place.

A night out in Raleigh typically starts at the Cornerstone Tavern for drinks, then goes to The Raleigh Times for mingling, then ends at The Architect or Alchemy for dancing.

The Raleigh Times

Best for: Bar lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 14 East Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: 21+ 

The Raleigh Times is a classic icon in Downtown Raleigh. It offers guests a rooftop bar with plenty of Raleigh history.  

A typical night in Raleigh will start with dinner, and a drink or two at the Raleigh Times before venturing off to find other friends, a dance floor, or some live music.

The Architect

Best for: Nightlife lovers

Open: Daily 5:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Location: 108 1/2 East Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC

Age: 21+

A short walk from the Raleigh Times, The Architect is a spot for drinks and dancing. There is a DJ and a large dance floor with a crowd of people letting loose. 

It's a spot to check out if you're in Raleigh and like the club-ish type of atmosphere playing today's top hits, and electronic dance music.

Cornerstone Tavern

Best for: Nightlife lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 603 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC

Age: 21+

Cornerstone Tavern is a great outdoor bar with fire pits that keep you warm during cooler nights. There are bars outside, and inside, where there is also a DJ and a smaller dance floor. 

If you want to dance, it's typical people will start their night at Cornerstone Tavern or the Raleigh Beer Garden before heading next door to Alchemy.


Best for: Club lovers

Open: Hours vary

Location: 606 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC

Age: 21+

If dancing is something you like to do on a night out, Alchemy is a club-type atmosphere that’s great for meeting new people. There are outdoor bars and a patio to sit, as well as a large dance floor inside.

Explore the Triangle with Raleigh Realty

There are so many things to do in Raleigh regardless of your age or interest. Next time you’re planning a weekend for visitors or are simply looking for something new to do in Raleigh, try one of our recommendations.

Our website offers visitors easy and convenient access to search homes for sale in Raleigh, as well as guides to local information and events. When you or anyone you know is considering selling or buying a home in Raleigh, let them know about the resources on our website. We’re here to help!

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! Nice to 'meet' you and thanks for visiting our Raleigh Real Estate Blog! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I'm a REALTOR® in Raleigh-Durham, NC, the owner of Raleigh Realty. I work alongside some of the best Realtors in Raleigh. You can find more of my real estate content on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and more. Realtor Magazine named me a top 30 under 30 Realtor in the country (it was a long time ago haha). Any way, that's enough about me. I'd love to learn more about you if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram or connect with our team at Raleigh Realty. Looking forward to connecting!