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Is Raleigh Fun? Check Out What We Found!

By: Swena Kalra

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 6, 2023

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Raleigh is definitely a fun place to visit! There's always something going on downtown, with great restaurants, bars, and shops. The museums and art galleries are top-notch, and there's always something new to see. The greenway system is fantastic for getting outdoors, and there's always a festival or concert happening somewhere.

Plus, the city is very bike and pedestrian-friendly, so it's easy to get around. Overall, Raleigh is a great place to live, work, and play!

Top 10 Attractions & Things To Do in Raleigh

These are some of the most popular things to do in Raleigh:

1. Wander through the North Carolina Museum of Art

The West building and courtyard of the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh

The North Carolina Museum of Art is a great place to explore art from all over the world. They have galleries showcasing art from the Renaissance, ancient Greek and Roman sculpture and artifacts, Egyptian burial artwork, pre-Columbian works, and early American art. They also have two permanent exhibits dedicated to Jewish art.

The museum offers guided tours of its galleries and special exhibits and also hosts workshops, lectures, films, and performing arts shows. The museum grounds are also great to explore, with sculptures, gardens, and a peaceful reflecting pool.

The African American Cultural Center at North Carolina State is also a great place to visit, with exhibits by prominent artists that focus on this rich heritage. It also has a library, theatre, and an auditorium that hosts films and lectures.

2. Stroll through the Historic Oakwood Neighborhood

Red Autumn leaves on stairs of a home in the historic Oakwood neighborhood of Raleigh

Oakwood is a historic neighborhood in Raleigh that is full of beautifully restored 19th-century homes. If you're in the area, be sure to stroll past the Tucker House, an impressive Neoclassical Revival-style home. You'll also see beautiful gardens surrounding many of the homes.

This neighborhood is perfect for a walking tour, and you can find a guide at the Capitol Area Visitor's Center. If you're interested in learning about the houses and history of the area, they have plenty of information and maps available.

The Historic Oak View Country Park is definitely worth a visit – it's an old farmhouse from 1885 that has a lot of character. You can explore the Farm History Center, Cotton Gin House, and Plank Kitchen, or just enjoy the gardens and Orchards. If you're looking for a place to have a picnic, this is the perfect spot.

3. Visit the State Capitol Building

North Carolina State Capitol Raleigh

One of the best-preserved examples of Greek revival architecture in the United States is the North Carolina State Capitol Building. The intricate molding and plasterwork, cantilevered gallery, and grandiose Greek elements are all testimony to architect David Paton's attention to detail.

In 1840, the building was completed and quickly became one of Raleigh's most cherished landmarks. It housed all of North Carolina's State Government until 1888, but today it is only used to house the Governor's office. You can see this historic building for yourself by taking Raleigh's Trolley Tour.

4. Relax In Pullen Park

Winding walk path beside pond of Pullen park, Raleigh, North Carolina

The first public park in North Carolina, Pullen Park offers more than just your typical city park. With 66 acres, the park has something for everyone. Take a ride on the Gustave A Dentzel Carousel or the C.P. Huntington miniature train. Or rent a pedal boat for a cruise around Lake Howell. You can also take a kiddie boat ride.

With so much to do, Pullen Park is the perfect place to take the kids for a day of fun. They'll love playing in the huge playground, cooling off in the water play area, and watching shows in the amphitheater. You can even get your picture taken with the "Andy and Opie" statue! In addition to all of that, the park also has a café, tennis courts, an aquatic center, sports fields, and a theater. Plus, there are many special events throughout the year that you can enjoy.

5. Learn Something New at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

View of the globe at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

This museum has two buildings, one of which is focused on educational exhibits and the other on the methods behind the science. The permanent installations in the Nature Exploration Center include the Living Conservatory, the Arthropod Zoo, and more interesting exhibits that explore North Carolina's mountains, coasts, and local natural history. This makes it an interesting place to visit for those who want to learn more about the natural world.

One of the most popular areas in the museum is the Prehistoric section, where you can see Acro - the only genuine skeleton of an Acrocanthosaurus on display in the world. If you're someone who likes to get hands-on, you'll love the Discovery Room, where touching and exploring everything is encouraged.

The Nature Research Center is a great place to learn about the science behind the natural world through DNA Investigative Lab and space exploration. However, the SECU Daily Planet is the cannot-miss exhibit here. It's a three-story theatre that explores planet earth from the inside out.

6. Take a Hike through William B Umstead State Park

Umstead State Park in Raleigh, North Carolina

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The William B. Umstead State Park is a great place to go for a hike, bike ride, or horseback ride. There are also three man-made lakes that are perfect for fishing. If you love spending time outdoors, this is the place for you.

One of the best things about the park is the art project that is hidden among the trees. If you take the Graylyn multi-use trail, you will come across a fallen red oak tree that has been carved by two artists. The carving is very intricate and includes pictures of animals, tree branches, and leaves. It's definitely worth taking the time to see this amazing piece of art.

7. Visit the Marbles Kids Museum

In the Marbles Kids Museum, there are many interactive exhibits that will keep your children entertained. They can explore music at Tree Tunes, horticulture at Sun Sprouts, and have an energetic time at Kid Grid.
For the younger ones, there is BB&T Toddler's Hollow, where they can play safely. You can also borrow Laminated Picture Maps to help plan your day. And if you get hungry, there is an on-site café, or you can picnic lunch.

The Marbles Kids Museum is the perfect place to take your young children. They will be able to learn and play at the same time. With so many different exhibits, there is something for everyone. And you can't go wrong with the IMAX theatre.

8. Catch a Show at the Raleigh Little Theatre

The Raleigh Little Theatre is the perfect place to see a live performance. They offer a wide variety of productions, including musicals, comedies, and dramas. You can also take classes or participate in workshops.

This theatre has been around since 1936 and is one of the most beloved cultural institutions in Raleigh. In addition to the great performances, the theatre also has an art gallery and a gift shop. The Raleigh Little Theatre is a great place to spend an evening.

9. Shop til You Drop at Crabtree Valley Mall

If you love to shop, then you will definitely want to visit Crabtree Valley Mall. This mall has over 200 stores, including department stores, boutiques, and restaurants. You can find pretty much anything you're looking for here.

In addition to the great shopping, the mall also has a food court, a movie theatre, and an arcade. There is also a children's play area and a computer lounge. Crabtree Valley Mall is the perfect place to spend a day, especially if the weather is not cooperating.

10. Visit JC Raulston Arboretum

This arboretum is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse plants in the Southeast. You can find Rhododendron, iris, and wisteria blooming in April, and showy cannas, daylilies, hydrangea, and dahlias in June.

The arboretum is also home to many different gardens, such as the Finley-Nottingham Rose Garden, the Swindell Contemplation Garden, and a walled garden. You can also find camellias blooming in the Asian Valley and in the Southall Memorial Garden.

In February, you can see Chinese redbud, pink and white magnolias, squills, and snowdrops blooming. The arboretum is a beautiful place to visit at any time of year!

Top 4 Day Trip Ideas from Raleigh

In Raleigh, there are many different places to visit and things to do. If you're looking for something to do for the day, here are four great ideas.

1. Interactive BayPlay Golf Tour

Raleigh is a great place to enjoy some BayPlay Golf. The city is home to Drive Shack, a high-tech driving range that uses cutting-edge radar technology to track your every shot. This is the perfect place to improve your game or have some fun with friends. And if you get hungry, there's no need to worry – Drive Shack has a delicious menu with something for everyone. It's the perfect place to relax, have some fun, and maybe even learn something new.


2. Craft Beer Tasting Tour

On this small-group tour, you'll visit some of Raleigh's top breweries and enjoy a variety of tastings. You'll go behind the scenes at each brewery and will have the opportunity to try some of their finest beers. Plus, you'll enjoy a beer-pairing lunch at a local brewpub. This is the perfect way to explore Raleigh's craft beer scene and taste some of the best brews the city has to offer. Hop aboard the comfortable minibus and let your guide do the driving while you sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

3. Private Pedicab Tour

The best way to see Raleigh is from the seat of a pedicab! This private tour will take you on a customized route through downtown, lasting about 90 minutes. You'll get an up-close and unobstructed view of all the landmarks and history that make Raleigh special. Plus, your guide will be happy to answer any questions you have along the way. The pedicab can seat up to three people, so bring your friends or family and enjoy the ride!

4. Radical Raleigh Adventure Scavenger Hunt

This tour is unlike any other because it provides guests with their own remote, interactive live host. This is a great opportunity to learn about the city and its hidden gems while also competing against other teams from around the world. With this adventure, you'll get to experience the best that Raleigh has to offer, all while having a blast! You won't want to miss out on this one-of-a-kind experience.

Top 3 Places To Stay in Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

It can be tough to decide where to stay when you're visiting a new city, but luckily Raleigh has a wide range of options to choose from. Here are three of the best places to stay in Raleigh, whether you're looking for a luxurious hotel, a cozy bed, and breakfast, or something in between.

1. Aloft Raleigh

The Aloft Raleigh hotel is a great place to stay if you're looking for a modern and stylish atmosphere. It's located on a tree-lined boulevard across from North Carolina State University, and it's just a mile from the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh. If you're looking for something to do, the North Carolina State Capitol is only 2 miles away. The rooms at the hotel are sleek and modern, with bright accents and plenty of amenities like free Wi-Fi and 49-inch flat-screen TVs. You can also upgrade to a suite if you want more space or want to stay in a separate living area. If you get hungry, the hotel's hip restaurant/bar offers regular live music and a great selection of food and drink. And if you need to stay connected, there's also meeting space available. Other amenities at the hotel include a terrace, a gym, and an outdoor pool.

2. The Longleaf Hotel and Lounge

This hotel is a great place to stay if you're looking for chic accommodations with a mid-century modern vibe. The rooms are hip and feature flat-screen TVs, minibars, and Bluetooth speakers, and the suites even have separate living rooms with sofabeds. The hotel also has a retro-style bar and a patio, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind. Best of all, parking is available on-site.

3. Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh

The Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh is a wonderful place to stay while visiting the Raleigh area. The hotel is modern and conveniently located off Interstate 40, making it easy to get to the airport. The downtown area of Raleigh, with its great shopping and dining, is only a 15-minute drive away. The rooms at the Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh are comfortable and spacious, with flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and custom-designed beds. The suites also have minifridges and microwaves. Some of the great amenities offered by the hotel include free parking, hot breakfast each morning, and weekday breakfast bags to go. There is also an outdoor pool, a gym, a coin-operated laundry, and a business center.

In Conclusion

Raleigh downtown skyline

Raleigh is a great city with plenty to offer tourists and visitors. Whether you're looking for a fun pedicab tour of the downtown area, an interactive scavenger hunt, or simply a place to stay while in town, Raleigh has something for everyone. We wish you all the best on your travels and have an amazing experience!

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