Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and one of the most impressive cities in all of the American South.
If you’re looking for a great experience in one of the most beautiful places in the United States, you need to plan a trip to Raleigh.
We’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina just for you.
Things To Do In Raleigh
1. North Carolina State Capitol
As the seat of government in North Carolina, Raleigh is an excellent place to visit for political education.
The North Carolina State Capitol is a historic and beautiful sight.
Touring this building is one of the best things to do in Raleigh.
First built in 1840, the North Carolina State Capitol has been updated over the years, such as with its stunning rotunda, installed in 1970.
However, its original Greek Revival design remains.
You can tour this state capitol and learn all about government in North Carolina.
Anyone who wants to have one of the top learning experiences should come to the state capitol in Raleigh.
The capitol is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There’s no charge for admission.
Address: 1 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
2. North Carolina Museum of Art
One of the most fun things to do in Raleigh is to go to the North Carolina Museum of Art.
This is one of the finest cultural institutes in the whole state.
This museum brings near absorbing pieces from talented artists all over the world.
If you’re in Raleigh for a weekend, you should definitely come to the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Going to the North Carolina Museum of Art is like going on a globe-trotting expedition.
There’s art not only from North America, but also places like Egypt, Oceania, and more.
Many of these pieces go back thousands of years.
There are also exhibitions such as “The Collector’s Eye” and “John James Audubon’s The Birds of America” that show unique perspectives on different topics.
The North Carolina Museum of Art is one of many reasons why art lovers should come to Raleigh.
At this museum, you can experience so much impressive artwork and learn engrossing stories about the different artists and eras.
The North Carolina Museum of Art is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is free for the permanent collection, but things like exclusive exhibitions and classes are charged.
Address: 2110 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA
3. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Downtown Raleigh is full of amazing attractions.
One of the biggest is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
Here, you can come in contact with tons of wonderful information about nature.
When you come to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, you’ll be able to grasp so much more about the world around you.
There isn’t a natural history museum bigger than this in the entire southeast.
They make the most of it, with exhibitions regarding fascinating topics such as the age of the dinosaurs, the tropics, and even a butterfly room.
There are also experts around who can help to further visitors’ understanding of complex topics.
This is especially great if you’re coming with your children and want to tap into their natural sense of curiosity.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences shows just how extraordinary our world is.
Because of the curators’ tireless efforts, you can find a much closer connection to the plants and animals.
This museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
There’s no charge for admission, but you’re welcome to donate.
Address: 11 W Jones St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
4. North Carolina Museum of History
There are so many great stories to be learned about North Carolina, and much of this information goes to before it was given that name.
At the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, you can get a very generous helping of history about this state.
Through information both visual and oral, you can come away feeling like an expert on North Carolina.
The North Carolina Museum of History is full of exhibitions that will have you expressing audible awe based on the incredible artifacts that have been shared, many of which date back for millennia.
Fun exhibits can be seen here, like the “1920s Drugstore” and inventor David Marshall “Carbine” Williams’s workshop.
Coming here is what to do for anyone with any kind of interest in the past.
Time spent at the North Carolina Museum of History is time well spent.
You can have lots of fun seeing all the exhibits and investigating North Carolina many backstories.
his museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
There’s no charge for admission.
Address: 5 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
5. Marbles Kids Museum
If you’re coming up to Raleigh, North Carolina for a weekend with your children, you should come to the Marbles Kids Museum.
This is one of the most fun Raleigh attractions.
Not only will you and kids be giddy with excitement, but you can also get a lot of learning done as well.
Marbles Kids Museum is all about showing that you’re never too young nor too old to be curious about your surroundings.
Some of the best parts of the Marble Kids Museum, located in downtown Raleigh, are “Around Town,” which gives kids a chance to simulate experiences like driving and going to school.
Also, “Treetunes,” an introduction to music, and “Sun Sprouts,” which teaches all about gardening.
Adults can have a great time at Marble Kids Museum as well.
Just being able to watch your children being astonished by how much wonder they have to uncover is thrilling.
You won’t be losing your marbles if you go to the Marbles Kids Museum.
This is one of the most enjoyable family outings in all of Raleigh.
This museum is every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is $7 for everyone except for children under one, who get in for free, and military members, who get in for $6.
Address: 201 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
Planning a road trip around North Carolina? Be sure to check out our lists of things to do in Charlotte & things to do in Wilmington, NC!
6. Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours
Hearing about some of the Raleigh culinary offerings will have you licking your lips in anticipation.
One of the best things to do in Raleigh is going on one of the Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.
These tours bring you through some of the finest culinary establishments in all of North Carolina.
By the end of the tour, you might be lamenting not having all these places back home.
These walking tours are also a great way to get out and really get a sense of what Raleigh is all about.
On these tours, you don’t just get to try delicious food.
You also get to jump into different aspects of the city’s history.
Tour available are the Raleigh Downtown Dinner & Drinks Tours, Raleigh Downtown Tasting Tour: Foodies, Food Shops, and Food Halls, and Raleigh’s Downtown Speakeasies: The Craft Cocktail Tour.
Going on Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours is one of the top options for anyone who considers themselves to be a true foodie.
Tours are also operated in cities such as Durham, Asheville, and Charlotte.
On these weekend tours, you and your palate can have an amazing time.
7. Pullen Park
The outdoors are especially great when you’re in Raleigh, North Carolina.
At Pullen Park, which includes indoor and outdoor attractions, you can enjoy lots of neat attractions for unwinding and entertainment.
Pullen Park goes back to the late-19th century, and it continues to be one of the best places to visit in Raleigh.
With more 60 acres of land, this park, near downtown Raleigh, has been designed with lots of love for the city’s residents as well as tourists.
You can have a picnic, play some sports, see a performance at the theater, or go for a swim at the aquatic center.
You can also go for a stroll, taking in all of the joys of the environment.
Some of your best experiences in Raleigh can be had at Pullen Park.
This has been a prime location for fun for more than a century.
Pullen Park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Address: 520 Ashe Ave, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA
8. Joel Lane Museum House
Before the Joel Lane Museum House, Raleigh was a much more rustic area.
Plantation owner Lane having his house built here in the latter half of the 18th century helped to usher in a new era of prosperity for Raleigh.
When you come to the Joel Lane Museum House, you’ll be able to gather an even greater sense of Raleigh fascinating history.
Operated by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of North Carolina, the Joel Lane Museum House has been kept in remarkable condition.
The heavily yellow color scheme gives it a distinct look on the outside.
You can also take tours that are chock full of cool information.
When you’re at the Joel Lane Museum House, you can really start to see how Raleigh got off the ground.
Touring this historic place is one of the top things to do in Raleigh.
The Joel Lane Museum House is open from Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for students (from elementary school to college), and free for children six and younger.
Address: 728 W Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27603, USA
9. JC Raulston Arboretum
Thousands of amazing plants can be seen at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, North Carolina.
This is one of the most fun things to do in Raleigh if you love nature.
Your eyes, nose, and hopefully more will be enchanted by all of the natural gems that are able to thrive at the JC Raulston Arboretum.
As you’d hope, there are lots of incredible trees at this arboretum.
Among these are the muku tree, the golden chain tree, and the seven-son’s tree.
Other plants you can see here include the twin-flowering abelia, the blue baneberry perennial, and the ‘Twisted Tongue’ agave.
Tours, offered on Sundays from March to October, give an even deeper understanding.
At the JC Raulston Arboretum, there are more beautiful plants than you could ever dream of seeing.
This is one of the best tourist attractions in all of Raleigh.
This arboretum is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from April to October and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from November to March.
Admission is free of charge.
Address: 4415 Beryl Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA
10. The Mordecai House
Another fantastic and historic home in Raleigh, North Carolina is The Mordecai House.
This home was completed in 1785. It’s been around longer than any other home in the entire city.
Now a National Historic Landmark, The Mordecai House gives visitors one of the best educational opportunities in Raleigh.
While the Mordecai House, built in part by Joel Lane, was a plantation centuries ago, it’s now a very lovely museum and park.
Mordecai Square Historic Park is a great place to wander about.
This home is also where President Andrew Johnson was born.
You can also have fun with transportation by riding one of the Historic Raleigh Trolley Tours, commencing and concluding at the Mordecai House.
Checking out The Mordecai House is one of the coolest things to do in downtown Raleigh.
You tap into a supremely interesting part of Raleigh history and see some amazing sights along the way.
If you’re looking for fun places to go to in Raleigh, you should definitely visit The Mordecai House.
Address: 1 Mimosa St, Raleigh, NC 27604, USA
Looking for more places to visit in North Carolina? Be sure to read our lists of fun things to do in Boone, NC & things to do in Fayetteville, NC!
Great Raleigh restaurants like Stanbury give you a dining experience that doesn’t stop with the food.
This place has not only a great menu, but it’s also furnished with lots of love.
When you come to Stanbury, you can count on cleaning your plate and looking all around in total wonder of all there is to see.
The food at Stanbury is familiar enough to be satisfying but daring enough that you don’t feel like it’s something you could just get anywhere.
One of the coolest things about this place is that each day’s menu is different from the one before it.
The design is also quite fabulous, including the open kitchen construction.
Stanbury is definitely one of the top places to visit for food in Raleigh.
You can get food and drinks that are both beyond magnificent.
This restaurant is open from Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Address: 938 N Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27604, USA
12. North Carolina Executive Mansion
Raleigh is full of historic estates that are fit for a king.
The North Carolina Executive Mansion is one of the most enticing of these tourist attractions.
If you love elaborate real estate, one of the most enjoyable activities in Raleigh is touring the North Carolina Executive Mansion.
This is the place the state’s governors have called home from 1891 and on.
More than two dozen state leaders have called it home since its founding.
Residing here is a badge of honor, not only for it signifying one’s political power but also for its fine Victorian architecture.
Going on a tour of the Executive Mansion puts you near generations of greatness.
If you want to see this mansion, you should start planning today, as tours must be scheduled at least two weeks ahead.
The Executive Mansion has been called “the most beautiful governor’s residence interior in America” by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and we hope you’ll see why.
Address: 200 N Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
13. Videri Chocolate Factory
Inside the long-standing Raleigh Depot building is one of the most mouthwatering environments in the whole state.
The Videri Chocolate Factory has been satisfying all kinds of sweet tooths.
Chocolate fanatics have to find time in their Raleigh trip for a tour of the Videri Chocolate Factory.
On this tour, you can see how some of the finest chocolate in the south is produced.
Not only is Videri chocolate delicious, but it’s also socially-conscious, as they take part in fair trade practices.
When the tour is done, you’ll want to get your hands on as much chocolate in the shop as possible.
The Videri Chocolate Factory is one of the most comforting Raleigh attractions.
This company and the city has so much love for this product.
Tours must include at least ten people and cost $20 per person.
Address: 327 W Davie St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
14. City Cemetery
It’s not one of the more fun Raleigh attractions, but a chance to visit City Cemetery isn’t one you should forego.
This is a massive and magnificent cemetery.
Whether you have anyone who you specifically want to pay your respects to, City Cemetery gives you quite a lot to take in.
Going back to the end of the 18th century, City Cemetery is enclosed by a fence made of iron.
It’s also divided into different areas, including one for black deceased that’s largely comprised of slaves.
More information about the cemetery and its story can be gathered through guided tours.
The afterlife is a mystery, but at City Cemetery, the dead can be given a truly noble resting place.
City Cemetery is one of the most interesting places to visit in the entire state.
This cemetery is open 24 hours a day.
Address: 17 S East St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
If you love Mediterranean food and are coming to Raleigh, you have to make a stop at Sassool.
This is one of the best places to visit for those who devour hummus, shwarma, and other delights.
Biting into a falafel is rarely as good as it is at Sassool.
This is also a Lebanese restaurant. You can find classic Lebanese concoctions like labneh and mjadarah.
There are plenty of items on this menu without meat, making it a great place to visit for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans.
Should you want to pick up some things to take back, you can go to the adjacent grocery.
Sassool is one of the best parts of Raleigh in terms of showing cultural diversity.
It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Address: 9650 Strickland Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615, USA
Interested to explore outside of Raleigh? Why not check out some of the things to do in Cherokee, NC & some of the things to do in Greensboro, NC?
16. City of Raleigh Museum
Another great learning establishment in Raleigh is the City of Raleigh Museum.
Coming to this museum, you get to find all about Raleigh and what makes it tick.
Its location is also especially interesting, as it’s in the notable Briggs Hardware Building.
Thousands of items related to Raleigh can be seen at the City of Raleigh Museum.
This museum has also played host to some very cool exhibitions.
Some of these include “Silent Killers: The Legacy of the 1918 Spanish Flu” and “America’s Wars: Individual Experience and Collective Memory.”
Visiting the City of Raleigh Museum is one of the most satisfying activities you can enjoy when in Raleigh.
It’s very heartening to know that the people of Raleigh have a museum that preserves their history as well as the City of Raleigh Museum.
This museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
There’s no charge for admission.
Address: 220 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
17. Raleigh Farmers Market
The farmers market is a beloved tradition in many cities, and Raleigh is no exception.
When you want to mingle with vendors and other customers in a marketplace that will have you looking everywhere in excitement, you’ll want to come to Raleigh Farmers Market.
It has everything you’re looking for if you love things that are fresh and beautiful.
Farmers from the area promote their most tempting fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and other goods at this farmers market.
Should you need ingredients for a meal while in Raleigh, this is where to come first.
You can also pick up awesome artisanal goods here, such as soap.
Lots of fun can be had to browse all the different parts of the farmers market.
The Raleigh Farmers Market is a great place to visit both during the week and on the weekend.
It’s definitely one of the top farmers markets in the south.
Stock up on goods at this farmers market, because it might include some of the freshest and most delicious produce you’ve ever come across.
It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Address: 1201 Agriculture St, Raleigh, NC 27603, USA
18. J.S. Dorton Arena
A great place for seeing big events when in Raleigh, is at J.S. Dorton Arena.
Around since 1952, Dorton Arena is one of the most well-designed event spaces in the state.
No matter how large the crowd or how big the performer is, Dorton Arena feels like a close-knit environment that everyone can enjoy themselves at.
Something really cool about Dorton Arena is how it’s roof is there aren’t any steel posts that block your vision, due to the roof having a suspended design.
Events such as concerts, athletic competitions, and even the state fair are hosted here.
Artists like Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash have headlined at Dorton Arena.
If you’re seeking out what to do while in Raleigh, you should see what’s happening at Dorton Arena.
Just the experience of being at this venue is a lot of fun.
There could even be something awesome occurring there this weekend.
Address: 1025 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA
19. Tazza Kitchen
Tazza Kitchen is a great place to visit for adults and kids looking to have a romantic evening out in Raleigh.
This restaurant satisfies the stomach without breaking the bank.
Regional ingredients help to make the dining experience even more special, as you can really sense all of the freshness.
Tazza Kitchen is in the planned community of Cameron Village.
It started in Virginia but has branched out into other areas of the southeast.
No matter where you go, you can count on a greatly satisfying menu of wood fire-prepared foods as well as fantastic drinks.
It’s a terrific place to stop in for breakfast, lunch, or brunch.
Eating at Tazza Kitchen is a very good choice for dining in Raleigh.
Just about everyone can find something they like at this restaurant.
Tazza Kitchen is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and then from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
It’s also open on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Monday from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Address: 432 Woodburn Rd, Raleigh, NC 27605, USA
20. Raleigh Little TheaterLive theater is a real treat to experience, especially when you’re in Raleigh.
At the Raleigh Little Theater, you can see the people of the city come together for community theater productions that demand as much applause as possible.
Guests of all ages can find something they like at the Raleigh Little Theater.
The Raleigh Little Theater was started in 1936.
In the last few years alone, it has hosted shows such as “SPAMALOT,” “Charlie Brown Christmas” and “The Tempest.”
Catching a performance at Raleigh Little Theater is one of the most fun things to do at night.
There’s always going to room for live theater venues, but that’s only if people do all they can to keep them around.
This theater is such a rightfully venerated cultural site.
Take a look at the schedule to see if there are any shows you’ll be able to catch while you’re in Raleigh.
You can count on seeing some high-quality entertainment.
Address: 301 Pogue St, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA
21. Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh
Coming to The Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, better known as CAM Raleigh, is one of the nicest activities for those who love art that can be interpreted in all kinds of ways.
Experiencing it is one of the most fun things to do in downtown Raleigh.
You could come to CAM Raleigh and then come back a year later and it could look completely different.
That’s because the exhibitions are regularly rotated.
However, there’s always something worth checking out at CAM Raleigh.
Some of the artists who’ve had work shown at this museum include Angel Otero, Jonathan Horowitz, and Chris Bradley.
There are plenty of amazing things to see at this museum.
It’s open on Thursday and Friday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
It can also be visited on Tuesday and Wednesday by appointment.
There’s no admission charge at the museum either.
Address: 409 W Martin St, Raleigh, NC 27603, USA
22. Yates Mill
There are lots of reasons to come out to Yates Mill County Park, including a wildlife refuge.
However, the biggest might be the eponymous Yates Mill.
Touring this attraction is a very good way to spend a day.
If you’re in or near Raleigh, you should see Yates Mill.
This is a mill that goes back to the 18th century.
Thanks to its restoration, it continues to be a part of the local industry.
You can go on tours like the Corn Grinding tour to get a comprehensive education on mills and how they operate.
A visit to Yates Mill makes for a great entry into your travel diary.
The park is open every day from 8 a.m. until sunset.
Tours are available during specific hours and by appointment.
It’s between 3 and 5 dollars for admission.
Address: 4620 Lake Wheeler Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603, USA
23. Morgan Street Food Hall
If you want to be bowled over by dining options, you should come to Morgan Street Food Hall.
This is a fairly new complex with more than a dozen great eateries to choose from.
Part of the city’s Warehouse District, Morgan Street Food Hall appeals to all sorts of taste sensibilities.
The name and concept of Morgan Street Food Hall might make you think of a food court, but it’s much more refined than that.
If you know of a food court with options as fine as Cousins Maine Lobster or Iyla’s Southern Kitchen, please let us know.
Morgan Street Food Hall covers so much ground when it comes to dining.
With so much stuff to do in this city, you’ll want to find quality places to refuel.
Morgan Street Food Hall brings all kinds of places together to give visitors a superb dining experience.
Take a look at the great restaurants located here.
Address: 411 W Morgan St, Raleigh, NC 27603, USA
24. Clemmons Educational Forest
You don’t have to be in school, or even indoors, to get some learning done.
There are multiple educational forests in North Carolina, and one of the finest is Clemmons Educational Forest.
You and your companions can learn all kinds of great things about nature when visiting this forest.
Established more than 40 years ago, Clemmons Educational Forest lets you work your body by providing hiking trails and your mind by including informative exhibitions.
There are also lessons provided by rangers.
You can reward yourself for all the learning by eating at one of the many designated picnic areas.
So many things to see and learn about being in nature.
Clemmons Educational Forest gives you wonderful access to this kind of knowledge.
It’s open from Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Address: 2256 Old U.S. Hwy 70, Clayton, NC 27520, USA
25. Go Ape Treetop Adventure
One of the most riveting experiences in the city is at Go Ape Treetop Adventure.
This attraction, located at Blue Jay Point Country Park, brings you high above the trees.
You can go through all sorts of scenarios and have a blast no matter what.
Some of the things you can do at Go Ape! include canopy tours, ziplining, and a Log Swing.
You need to make sure to pay attention to all the safety instructions.
After all, it only takes a little bit of horseplay or carelessness for a fun experience to turn sour.
Outdoor entertainment like Go Ape Treetop Adventure is a joy of coming to this city.
You can here with your family and be all smiles when all is said and done.
For nature thrills, come to Go Ape.
Address: 3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd, Raleigh, NC 27614, USA
26. Pope House Museum
During the age of segregation, Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope, a black man, did something incredible: he ran for mayor.
He was the only black male to vie for such a position in the south during that time.
Today, the city honors his legacy with the Pope House Museum.
When planning your trip to the city, you should visit the Pope House Museum.
Restorative care has made it quite beautiful, as it goes back to the early 20th century.
There are also lots of amazing artifacts and tours.
On the Pope House Tour, you can learn about how impressive of a man Dr. Pope was.
Tours are available at Pope House Museum every Saturday.
You could come down this weekend and have an excellent time.
American history is not complete without touching upon African American history, and the Pope House Museum is an essential part of a Raleigh visit.
Address: 511 S Wilmington St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
27. Jose and Sons
An excellent place to go to at night is Jose and Sons Bar & Kitchen.
This is a very welcoming Mexican restaurant with some southern flair in the mix as well.
This family establishment is a top-notch place to fill your belly up at.
Jose and Sons has a menu you’ll want to read up and down.
Among the menu options are classic Mexican fare like tacos and huevos rancheros.
You can also see the southern influence coming out in dishes like their “Smokey shrimp ‘n grits.”
The flavor profiles are so well-thought-out at this restaurant.
You might have to do everything in your power to stop yourself from asking for the chef’s recipe.
Raleigh is one of the best places to travel to in part because of all the great food.
Jose and Sons should be visited if you love Mexican and/or southern cooking.
Address: 327 W Davie St #102, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
Start Planning Your Trip To Raleigh
Fun is all around you when you come to Raleigh.
This city has tons of attractions that appeal to adults, children, and everyone in between.
When you come here, you’ll get southern hospitality and incredible urban developments.
With museums that are great for learning and restaurants that are great for eating, it’s hard to ask for anything more.
Start planning for a trip to North Carolina’s capital today.
You’ll hopefully find it’s a place that you want to come back to very soon.