13 Fun Ways To Spend A Day In Raleigh, North Carolina

things to do in raleigh nc
| 10 min read

Raleigh, North Carolina, is a diverse, vibrant city full of interesting things to do. From outdoor sports to beer trails to museums, this area has something for people of all ages and preferences. Some of the best spots to visit include Lake Johnson Park, Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, Joel Lane Museum House, North Carolina Museum of History, Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, and Pope House Museum. These things to do and places to visit are just the beginning of all the excitement you can have in this capital city. Just secure your accommodations first by renting a room in one of the city’s staycation spots or hotels with hot tub. Then keep reading to learn about the fun ways to spend a day in Raleigh, North Carolina.

1. Videri Chocolate Factory

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Reverie 39 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

When you get a craving for something sweet, Videri Chocolate Factory is there to save the day! This artisan chocolate shop on West Davie Street not only sells premium chocolate bars but also has a cafe for you to hang out in and try their other goodies like bonbons and espresso. They also offer soft-serve ice cream and baking products that you can bring home to imitate their well-loved treats. Customers are welcome to have a self-guided tour of the chocolatier and get behind the scenes of making the world’s most loved dessert. Sweet tooths definitely love this place.

Videri Chocolate Factory

Address: 327 W Davie St, Raleigh, NC 27601, United States

Website: Videri Chocolate Factory

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 9pm; Sun: 12pm - 6pm (closed on Mon)

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2. Morgan Street Food Hall

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Oak City Fish & Chips always brings the slap!

Posted by Morgan Street Food Hall on Saturday, October 9, 2021

Looking for a place to spend a fun night out with family and friends? For the ultimate foodie experience in Raleigh, there’s no better place to be than Morgan Street Food Hall. This bustling food court features over 20 local eateries ranging from cafes and dessert shops like Raleigh Rolls Amitie Macarons and Boba Brew to restaurants like Iyla’s Southern Kitchen, Cousins Maine Lobster, and Opa! Raleigh. This city’s culinary scene does not get any better than this, and you absolutely shouldn’t miss it.

Morgan Street Food Hall

Address: 411 W Morgan St, Raleigh, NC 27603, United States

Website: Morgan Street Food Hall

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 9am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 9am - 12am

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3. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh
Source: Photo by Flickr user Sergiy Galyonkin used under CC BY-SA 2.0

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the largest of its kind in the Southeast region and the oldest museum in the state. As you walk up to this building, a towering globe will greet you on the street outside, giving you just a glimpse of the magic to come.

Explore four floors of everything from North Carolina habitats, flora and fauna, gemstones, fossil skeletons, hands-on exhibits, educational exhibits, and more. The natural history museum also hosts rotating special exhibits, such as the RACE exhibit that will be on display until October 2017.

If you happen to be in town on Thursday night, be sure to catch the Science Café, a weekly talk given by experts in various fields over delicious food provided by the museum café.

NC Museum of Natural Science

Address: 11 W Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

Website: NC Museum of Natural Science

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4. Bike the American Tobacco Trail

American Tobacco Trail Foliage
Source: Photo by user Mr.TinDC used under CC BY-ND 2.0

The American Tobacco Trail (ATT) is 22.6 miles (42.8 km) long, stretching from Durham to Cary. It passes through three counties, three cities, and ends near a large lake. The trail is divided into three sections, portions of which are also open to wheelchair, rollerblade, and equestrian use.

The trail follows an old rail line and will take you beside creeks, through towns, and over busy highway bridges. If you like bike touring, there is no better way to get an intimate view of all areas of Raleigh.

American Tobacco Trail

Website: American Tobacco Trail

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5. Raleigh Beer Trail

Crank Arm Brewery, Raleigh, NC
Source: Photo by Flickr user James Willamor used under CC BY-SA 2.0

With more than 25 breweries in the city and a culture that has a taste for local, quality beer, Raleigh has a vibrant food scene and is a great place for brewery tours. The Raleigh Beer Trail makes brewery hopping an organized and fun experience – they even have prizes!

Just download the passport from the website below and print. Take the passport around to any of Raleigh’s 30 brewery locations listed and gather stamps. Once you get enough stamps for a prize, just snap a photo, send an email including your mailing address, and receive a present in the mail. Top prize is a Raleigh Beer Trail T-Shirt for 15 breweries visited.

There’s no time limit on brewery visits, they issue one “trail” per year, but only the bravest can complete all 15 in one day.

Raleigh Beer Trail

Website: Raleigh Beer Trail

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6. North Carolina Museum of Art

NC Art Museum European
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alexisrael used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located on Blue Ridge Road, North Carolina Museum of Art is the premier place in Raleigh for all art gatherings. A large portion of the art museum is free and open to the public, and the other portion consists of special rotating exhibits available for a small fee. They also have a permanent collection that’s worth seeing.

This is one of the best Raleigh children’s museums since it also hosts a large outdoor sculpture garden with a 1-mile (1.6 km) trail looping through it and the surrounding woods. When a new sculpture is opened either permanently or temporarily, the museum typically hosts a free “party in the park,” featuring local musicians, food trucks, and more.

The NCMA is big on community outreach and events, hosting summer outdoor movie nights, band nights, drawing parties, art classes, book clubs, and art outreach targeted to young children, teens, and college students. Art lovers, come find your inner artist and join in the fun here.

North Carolina Museum of Art

Address: 2110 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh, NC 27607

Website: NCMA

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7. Yates Mill County Park

Yates Mill
Source: Photo by user Larry Lamb used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Built in 1756, this fully restored gristmill is one of the hidden gems of Raleigh. Yates Mill operated for over 200 years and is the only surviving workable gristmill in the region. Admission to the grounds is free, and a guided tour can be purchased for 5 USD a person.

The grounds and the mill are absolutely gorgeous. The entire public park is a wildlife refuge, and among other things, you will find ducks and turtles basking on a serene pond and a rare breed of snake sunning on rocks (don’t worry, they’re blocked off in their own special area and are non-venomous).

One of the Raleigh’s most popular photography spots, you’ll find amateurs and professionals alike snapping photos of the mill and the landscape. There are also several miles of hiking trails for exploration.

Yates Mill County Park

Address: 4620 Lake Wheeler Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603

Website: Yates Mill

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8. Frankie's Fun Park

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Frankie’s Fun Park is a great way for the entire family to spend an afternoon. With mini golf, a go-kart course, batting cages, amusement arcades, a sky trail, bumper boats, and more, there is something to do here for kids of all ages.

The park also offers food and a full service bar, so families can spend the entire day here having fun.

Frankie's Fun Park

Address: 11190 Fun Park Dr, Raleigh, NC 27617

Website: Frankie’s Fun Park

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9. Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden

Source: Photo by Flickr user Chris Short used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This beautiful corner of Raleigh is listed as a Special Events Venue, but is free and open to the public 7 days a week. It is one of just three accredited gardens in North Carolina, and is the display garden for all new roses presented by the All American Rose Society. The garden includes sixty beds and 56 varieties of roses, as well as hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, miniatures and antiques.

Upon arrival, you’ll park on the street and walk down a stone path into a hidden valley. Seeing the garden from above is an amazing sight, as the land before you opens up to more beautiful and vibrant roses than you can imagine.

Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden

Address: 301 Pogue St, Raleigh, NC 27607

Website: Little Theatre Rose Garden

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10. Segway Tours

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Triangle Glides is the paramount Segway tour company in the Raleigh area. Offering multiple tours nearly every day, this company provides a unique way for visitors to see the city. They strive to find new ways of looking at Raleigh, offering tours such as Downtown Discovery, City Center, Historic Oakwood, and the popular Raleigh’s Darkest Secrets Tour. They provide training, helmets, and an audio pack to fully enjoy this experience.

Segway Tours

Address: 323 Blake St, Raleigh, NC 27601

Website: Triangle Glides

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11. William B. Umstead State Park

Umstead State Park - Road and trees 2014
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Monumenteer2014ca... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Just a 19-minute drive from downtown, William B. Umstead State Park is the largest state park in the area. Covering 5,599 acres (2,266 hectares) and spanning around Cary, Durham, and Raleigh, you can find entrances to this wooded oasis all around the Raleigh area. More than 20 miles (32 km) of trails will take you beside creeks, lakes, and through woods. Be prepared to see local wildlife such as deer, squirrels, turtles, and more. While easily accessible and very close to the city, once you enter here you’ll forget you were just around concrete and asphalt, and be able to soak up the joy of being in nature.

William B. Umstead State Park

Address: 8801 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617

Website: William B. Umstead State Park

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12. Downtown nightlife

Deerhoof w/ Ben Butler & Mousepad, and Le Weekend @ Kings
Source: Photo by Flickr user Bryan Viers used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Featuring various things to do, the nightlife in the heart of downtown Raleigh assures a good time. One of the best places to start is at a semi-hidden bar called Fox Liquor Bar. Here you will find a large supply of custom crafted cocktails. You can even request a “bartender’s choice,” or a drink made just for you.

If you’re in the mood for a more club-like atmosphere, head over to Ruby Deluxe. This liberal club hosts numerous local DJs and advertises itself as a “mainly queer space, straight people allowed if they’re cool.” Locals have affectionately dubbed it the “sparkle dungeon,” and people of all kinds enjoy a fun night dancing and drinking here – although probably not Republicans; the bar staff all wear shirts that say “no republicans allowed.”

For craft beer aficionados, Paddy O Beer’s is a must-stop. With several rotating taps and a patio, this place always has a wide selection. You can also find cases of rare beers here for purchase. Raleigh Beer Garden is another stop for great draft beers - with 3 levels, 5 bars with countless beers on tap, and outdoor seating with games, visitors can easily spend an entire night here enjoying the company of old and new friends.

Fox Liquor Bar

Website: Fox Liquor Bar

Ruby Deluxe

Website: Ruby Deluxe

Paddy O Beer’s

Website: Paddy O Beer’s

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13. Marbles Kids Museum

Source: Photo by Flickr user North Carolina Na... used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Marbles Kids Museum is a place of interactive fun and learning for children 10 and under. Exhibits include a fire truck complete with outfits for kids to try on, a vet clinic, interactive farm, Lego city building space, hula hoops, painting, and more. They even have a large indoor pirate ship. Allow your kids to run and play and learn through hands-on experiences.

Marbles Kids Museum

Address: 201 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

Website: Marbles Kids Museum

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This is just the beginning

This is just the beginning of all the things you can do in Raleigh. Some of the other attractions and establishments that you should visit are Crank Arm Brewing Company, Wye Hill Kitchen & Brewing, Andrew Johnson’s birthplace Mordecai Historic Park, and North Carolina State University. There are a number of wine bars and hip-hop bars to discover as well.

Even people who have lived here for a year still find exciting new things to do every weekend. Keep an eye out for special events such as North Carolina State Fair and enjoy all the fun to be had in the city.

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Fun Ways To Spend A Day In Raleigh, North Carolina
Source: Trip101.com
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Molly is a technology marketing and sales professional. She earned a Bachelor's degree from Baylor University and has been writing for many years. Currently, she is a contributor at trip101.com...Read more

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