26 Things to Do in Raleigh NC: Museums, Beer, BBQ, Parks, Theater & Outdoor Fun

The Rose Garden, a popular park in Raleigh North Carolina known for its wide variety of colorful blooms

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Looking for fun things to do in Raleigh? Whether you’re local and looking for new inspiration or visiting for the very first time, our list covers a wide variety of fun activities and places to go in the City of Oaks.

If you’re hungry, Raleigh is your spot; you’ll find an incredible array of eateries from drool-worthy street food to upscale fine dining.

The city also offers plenty of green spaces to enjoy, so pack a picnic and stroll the trails from sculpture gardens to community spaces and beyond.

You might also like our guide to the best beaches in NC for families if you’re ready to head to the coast after spending time in the city!

And don’t skip visiting Charlotte, Wilmington, Burlington, or Durham NC for more awesome places with plenty to keep you eating well and having fun.

Fun Things to Do in Raleigh North Carolina

The Pit

Visit The Pit Authentic Barbecue (328 W Davie St) for some of the best BBQ in the state, with pulled pork, brisket, and ribs served up with classic sides like mac and cheese, collard greens, and hush puppies. 

Before you head off to complete your checklist of things to do in Raleigh, try the roasted chicken, it’s also a hit!

Videri Chocolate Factory

Videri Chocolate Factory (327 W Davie St) is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory that also serves delicious coffee drinks and chocolate desserts.

Visitors to Videri can take a tour of the factory, which includes a walk-through of the chocolate-making process, from roasting the cacao beans to molding the finished chocolate bars.

Boxcar Bar + Arcade 

Boxcar Bar + Arcade (330 W Davie St) features classic arcade games and craft beer, making for a fun night out with friends.

Boxcar Bar + Arcade also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including trivia nights, karaoke, and live music performances.

The venue is also available for private events, including corporate events, birthday parties, and bachelor/bachelorette parties.

Take a Trolley Pub Tour

Spend two hours peddling and drinking your way around some of Raleigh’s favorite watering holes on this trolley pub tour.

It’s BYOB with on-board coolers and you’ll stop at a few local spots for a cold pint before hopping back on and peddling away.

You’ll also have a driver-guide to make the experience fun…and to make sure you don’t get lost after a few.

Karaoke Cruising

Belt out your favorite tunes while enjoying a pedicab ride through the city and learning about Raleigh’s history and top sites.

Spend about an hour on this karaoke pedicab tour leaving a lasting impression on passersby as you sing some songs straight into that mic.

In between your serenades, learn a little about Raleigh from your friendly guide!

North Carolina Symphony 

Prefer a more professional musical experience?

The North Carolina Symphony (2 E South St) offers family-friendly concerts and events throughout the year, including outdoor concerts in the summer.

The symphony is an integral part of the cultural landscape of North Carolina.

With its talented musicians, diverse repertoire, and commitment to education and community engagement, the orchestra provides a unique and enriching musical experience for audiences throughout the state.

Beasley’s Chicken + Honey 

Beasley’s Chicken + Honey (237 S Wilmington St) is a local favorite for crispy fried chicken served with honey drizzle and classic Southern sides like biscuits, coleslaw, and mashed potatoes.

You won’t regret stopping in here for a delicious Raleigh experience!

Marbles Kids Museum 

The Marbles Kids Museum (201 E Hargett St) is designed for kids ages 10 and under, with hands-on exhibits and activities that explore science, art, and culture.

One of the museum’s most popular exhibits is the IMAX theater, which features a giant screen and state-of-the-art sound system.

The theater shows a range of educational and entertaining films, including nature documentaries, space adventures, and blockbuster hits.

This is one of the top things to do in Downtown Raleigh for families.

North Carolina State Capitol 

This historic North Carolina State Capitol building (1 E Edenton St) is open for guided tours and has exhibits on North Carolina history and government.

One of the most distinctive features of the North Carolina State Capitol is its copper dome, which is visible from many parts of downtown Raleigh.

The dome was added to the building in the early 20th century and is a popular symbol of the state’s government and history.

North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh

Do a Scavenger Hunt

Make it a game to learn more about the city together!

A scavenger hunt is a fun way to explore a place — whether you’re visiting or you think you know everything there is to know about Raleigh.

Compete against your friends or work together, it’s up to you!

Buy it on Viator or on GetYourGuide.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 W Jones St) has plenty of exhibits to fascinate kids, including dinosaurs, hands-on experiments, and a 3-story waterfall.

This is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the natural world.

The museum’s Nature Research Center is an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to engage in scientific research and exploration.

With its extensive exhibits, educational programs, and events, the museum offers a fun and engaging way to learn about the world around us.

Skull of an Acrocanthosaurus in the dinosaur exhibit at the Museum of Natural Sciences , one of the most visited attractions in Raleigh North Carolina

Trophy Brewing Company

Check out Trophy Brewing Company (656 Maywood Ave) when looking for things to do in Raleigh North Carolina. You’ll find creative brews and delicious pizza.

With over 30 breweries in the Raleigh area, there’s no shortage of local beer to sample.

Raleigh Beer Garden

Amongst other fun things to do in Raleigh, Raleigh Beer Garden (614 Glenwood Ave) holds the Guinness World Record for having the most beers on tap, with over 300 choices!

This is an iconic spot you won’t want to skip.

Close-up of four small beers as a sampler

Pullen Park 

Historic Pullen Park (520 Ashe Ave) features a carousel, train ride, playgrounds, and paddle boats on the lake.

Pullen Park is a popular destination for families, tourists, and locals alike.

One of the main attractions at Pullen Park is the historic carousel, which was built in 1911 and restored in 2011.

There are multiple shelters you can rent for a private event, restrooms are on-site, and there are playgrounds, tennis courts, fields, and an indoor pool for recreation.

Bridge Over Lake in Pullen Park in Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh Farmers Market 

Raleigh Farmers Market (1201 Agriculture St) features local produce, crafts, and food vendors, and is open year-round.

The farmers market isn’t quite on the list of popular Raleigh attractions, however, it hosts delicious food and enduring vendors with southern charm.

Jona Gold and Golden Delicious apples for sale at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh Rose Garden 

This beautiful Raleigh Rose Garden (301 Pogue St) is a great place to go in Raleigh.

It is home to over 60 varieties of roses and is a great place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.

The Raleigh Rose Garden is open to the public year-round and is free to visit.

It also offers a variety of educational programs and events, including workshops, classes, and tours.

The garden is a popular destination for weddings and other special events, with its beautiful scenery providing a picturesque backdrop for any occasion.

The Fayetteville Rose Garden is another beautiful spot and one of our top recommendations for things to do in Fayetteville if you like exploring botanical spaces in North Carolina.

The Rose Garden, a popular park in Raleigh North Carolina known for its wide variety of colorful blooms

The Raleigh Little Theatre 

The Raleigh Little Theatre (301 Pogue St) offers performances ranging from classic plays to modern musicals.

The Raleigh Little Theatre is housed in a beautiful historic building in the heart of Raleigh’s Rose Garden neighborhood.

The theatre’s facilities include a mainstage theatre, a studio theatre, and a scene shop.

The North Carolina State Fair 

If you are looking for things to do in Raleigh North Carolina, stop by the fairgrounds during fair season!

The North Carolina State Fair (1025 Blue Ridge Rd) takes place in October and features rides, games, and lots of delicious food.

PNC Arena 

The PNC Arena (1400 Edwards Mill Rd) hosts concerts, sports games, and other events throughout the year.

PNC Arena is a premier destination for sports and entertainment in the Triangle area of North Carolina.

With its modern amenities, diverse events calendar, and versatile event spaces, the arena provides a top-notch experience for visitors of all ages and interests.

North Carolina Museum of Art 

The North Carolina Museum of Art (2110 Blue Ridge Rd) has an impressive collection of art from around the world, as well as a beautiful outdoor park with sculptures and walking trails.

Take some time to appreciate the cultural value and natural beauty of this space.

The outdoor park grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, which includes trails and sculptures

The Rialto Theatre

The Rialto Theatre (1620 Glenwood Ave) is a great place to catch a movie, with a selection of independent and classic films.

The Rialto Theatre in Raleigh is a popular destination for film lovers and culture seekers in the area.

It is a unique and intimate venue that offers a different experience than the larger multiplex theaters in the city.

Polar Ice Raleigh

Polar Ice Raleigh skating rink (2601 Raleigh Blvd) offers public skating sessions, as well as skating lessons and hockey programs for kids.

The skating rink at Polar Ice Raleigh is NHL regulation size and features a state-of-the-art cooling and air circulation system, ensuring optimal ice conditions for skaters.

The rink is open for public skating sessions throughout the week, providing a fun and healthy activity for families, friends, and groups.

Adventure Landing

Adventure Landing (3311 Capital Blvd) has mini-golf, go-karts, laser tag, and an arcade.

Adventure Landing is a perfect destination for a day of fun and adventure.

Each Adventure Landing location is designed to provide a fun and safe environment for visitors of all ages.

William B. Umstead State Park

William B. Umstead State Park (8801 Glenwood Ave) has over 5,000 acres of trails for hiking and mountain biking, as well as fishing and boating opportunities.

Frankie’s Fun Park

Frankie’s Fun Park (11190 Fun Park Dr) has go-karts, laser tag, mini-golf, batting cages, and more.

Frankie’s Fun Park is a popular destination for families, friends, and groups looking for fun activities in Raleigh.

Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course

The Go Ape Park course (3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd) offers a unique experience of zip lining and obstacle courses high up in the trees.

The courses are designed to challenge participants both physically and mentally, with obstacles ranging from rope ladders and balance beams to Tarzan swings and zip lines.

The courses are constructed using high-quality materials and are regularly inspected for safety.

The Go Ape Park also offers a variety of other outdoor activities, including axe throwing, giant swing, and team-building activities.

The park is also available for private events, including birthday parties, corporate events, and school groups.

Final Words

Have you tried all these fun things to do in Raleigh?

Share your favorite local activities in the comments below.

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