12 Best Things to Do in Raleigh, North Carolina In 2022
Raleigh, North Carolina, was always meant to be the state capital. It was named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who founded a short-lived English settlement in the 1680s. But, like Washington, Raleigh was designed as the capital from the outset.
Since its founding in 1792, it has been called the “City of Oaks,” and its leaders have since been involved in protecting and maintaining parks and trees. The result is an attractive and amiable city where parks and green alleys temper modern glass and steel construction.
And if that’s not enough, just a few miles away is the beautiful Umstead State Park, where you can walk or cycle along wooded trails or rent a kayak or rowing boat to explore the lake.
Visual and performative arts are essential here, with art museums and theaters among the most popular tourist attractions. Raleigh’s African-American heritage is profound, and several places in the city celebrate that heritage, including the Pope’s House Museum, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the 35-acre Mount Hope Cemetery.
1. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Conveniently located in the city center, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is one of the largest natural science museums in the Southeast United States. It has two buildings: one focusing on educational exhibits and the other focusing on the methods behind the science.
In addition to travel exhibits, the Nature Exploration Center has permanent facilities, including the Arthropod Zoo, Living Conservatory, and exhibitions that explore North Carolina’s coastlines, mountains, and local natural history.
The most popular is the Prehistoric section, where you can meet Acro, the only real acrocanthosaurus skeleton in the world. Those who like to go into business will love the Room of Explorers, where encouraged to touch and explore everything. The Nature Research Center is where you can learn about the science behind the natural world, from the DNA Research Laboratory to space exploration.
However, a must-see here is the SECU Daily Planet, a three-story theater that explores planet Earth from the inside. The museum offers detailed floor maps for self-guided tours, or you can download their digital guide app.
Address: 11 W. Jones Street, Raleigh, North Carolina
2. North Carolina Museum of Art
The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) galleries first opened in 1956 as the first state-funded collection. They show Renaissance art, ancient Greek and Roman sculptures and artifacts, Egyptian funeral art, pre-Columbian works, and early American art.
The NCMA is also proud to be one of only two American museums that house permanent exhibits on Jewish art. The museum offers guided tours of its galleries and special exhibitions and organizes workshops, lectures, films, and performing arts shows. The museum grounds are worth exploring for the sculptures, gardens, and tranquil mirrored pool.
The North Carolina African-American Cultural Center is located at the Witherspoon Student Center and showcases prominent artists who focus on this rich heritage.
Address: 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, North Carolina
3. Pullen Park
Opened in 1887, it was North Carolina’s first public Park. The 66 acres of parkland offer much more than a typical city park. Visitors can ride the Gustave A Dentzel and C.P. Huntington miniature train. You can rent pedal boats for a cruise on Lake Howell, and for younger sailors, there is a children’s boat ride.
Children will also love the vast playground that offers water games for hot summer days, and there are frequent performances in the children’s theater. Fans of the Andy Griffith Show will want to pose for photos with the “Andy and Opie” statue.
In the Park, there is also a cafe, tennis courts, a water center, sports fields, a Theater in the Park, and many special events throughout the year.
Address: 520 Ashe Ave, Raleigh, North Carolina
4. Marbles Kids Museum
High on the list of places to visit for families with young children should be the handy Children’s Marble Museum.
It is full of interactive exhibits, including music exploration in Tree Tunes; the world of gardening at the Sun Sprouts Kindergarten; energetic time at Kid Grid; and BB&T Toddler’s Hollow, where children under the age of three can play and explore safely in one place just for them.
Laminated picture maps can be rented so children can plan their day, and parents will be happy to dine in the on-site cafeteria or bring their lunch for a picnic.
The Wells Fargo IMAX Theater in the Marbles displays Hollywood blockbusters and educational films on a 50-by-70-foot screen, keeping all family members entertained.
Address: 201 E. Hargett Street, Raleigh, North Carolina
5. North Carolina Museum of History
The North Carolina Museum of History has permanent and touring exhibitions that cover the state’s past. You’ll find Native American tools, household items from early European settlers, Revolutionary War costumes, Civil War weapons, and military equipment.
The history of African Americans is also presented, from the early days of slavery to the painstaking struggle for freedom and equality. Also located here is the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, where visitors can learn about native sports heroes and see many souvenirs.
Address: 5 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh, North Carolina
6. Walking through Historic Oakwood
Close to downtown Raleigh, Historic Oakwood is North Carolina’s largest intact residential neighborhood from the 19th century and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the hundreds of 19th-century houses have been completely restored to their former glory.
Be sure to wander around Tucker House, an impressive Neoclassical Renaissance home. In addition to the architecture, you will see beautiful gardens surrounding many houses.
A walker guide can be found at the Capital Area Visitor Center, including a map and information about the homes and history of the area. More detailed information and maps can also be found on Historic Oakwood.
The historic Oak View Country Park is a pre-war farmhouse built-in 1885. It includes the Farm History Center, Cotton Gin House, and a wooden board kitchen. The gardens and orchards are the perfect places for a picnic.
7. Performing Arts in Raleigh
Raleigh is home to many different performing arts venues and organizations. Theater lovers will love The Park Theater in Pullen Park, which hosts several productions every year and is best known for its annual December performance, A Christmas Carol.
The Burning Coal Theater is centrally located. The nearby Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts hosts plays and musicals produced by the North Carolina Theater and the North Carolina Opera.
It is also home to the Carolina Ballet performances and the North Carolina Symphony, which takes place across the country. The city hosts the World of Bluegrass from the International Bluegrass Music Association in September.
8. Historic Yates Mill
About five miles south of downtown, Yates Mill is the area’s last surviving watermill, reminding us of the era when 70 of this ground corn and wheat was turned into flour for the county residents. Wake. The mill still has its original equipment and operated until the mid-1950s.
During your visit to the mill, which is open from March to November, you can see disguised millers grinding corn and learn how the water wheel drives the millstones.
Programs, events, and exhibitions help preserve the region’s agricultural heritage, and the mill is located in a park that includes a 174-acre wildlife sanctuary and an environmental research center.
Several kilometers of hiking trails around the Młyński Pond and the surrounding park. Two walkways provide fish, as villagers did when the mill was the local meeting place.
Address: 4620 Lake Wheeler Road, Raleigh, North Carolina
9. JC Raulston Arboretum
With one of the largest and diverse collections of plants in the southeast, JC Raulston Arboretum is a tourist attraction and a source of inspiration for regional gardens.
Plants are collected and evaluated to find the most suitable for Karolina Piedmont North and Southern landscapes. Still, for an informal guest, the gardens are simply a beautiful place to visit each time of the year.
Rieroodendron, Iris, and Wisteria bloom in April and strike Kanas, Lily, Hydrangea, and Dallas in June. Even in winter, there are camellia in the Asian Valley and the Garden of the Southall Memorial, and in February, Chinese Redbud, pink-white Magnolias, Squills, and Snowdrops.
In addition, there are many years of edges, garden Rosas Finley-Nottingham, contemplating Garden Swindell, wall garden, white garden, and other topics.
Address: 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina
10. Mordecai Historic Park
Mordecai Historical Park maintains the birthplace of Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States. Built-in 1785, the Mordecai House is the oldest, still standing in the original foundation.
Guided tours are offered at this time and include a farm and gardens and many additional nineteenth-century buildings, such as the San Marcos chapel; Office right Badger IEDELLA; And Allen’s cuisine, which was re-created using descriptions that remained in Ellen Mordecai correspondence.
It is also the basis of a house for the historic Raleigh trolley, a visit to the historical places in the city.
Address: 1 Mimosa Street, Raleigh, North Carolina
11. North Carolina State Capitol
The North Carolina state chapter building is considered one of the best-preserved examples of Greek Renaissance architecture in the United States. The influence of the architect David Paton can be seen in detail in its complicated forming and plaster, gallery Voladiz and excellent Greek elements.
It was completed in 1840. The building is one of the most beloved Raleigh reference points. Until 1888, he took the entire state government of North Carolina but now is only in the Governor’s office. This tourist stop is located on the historic Raleigh wheelchair.
Address: 1 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh, North Carolina
12. William B. Umstead State Park
On the outskirts of Raleigh, half of Durham is expansive William B. Umstead State Park. This natural paradise is a 13-mile network of curly trails that weave around three lakes made by a man.
The Umstead State Park is popular with wanderers, routes, cyclists, and riders. Fishing is also the main activity, especially in the Great Lake, with kayaks and rowing boats. In summer, camps are opening overnight below the stars.
But perhaps the best secret to Umstead State Park is a design art hidden among the trees. Take a multifunctional trail Grayly to discover a red oak with a height of 25 feet, whose trunk was carved by two artists to reveal sophisticated images of animals, branches of trees, and leaves. This is a site to travel to when you discover a wooded nature trail.
Address: 8801 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, North Carolina
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things to Do in Raleigh
Is Raleigh North Carolina worth visiting?
Raleigh, N.C., is a booming metropolis that offers a big city feel with Southern charm. It’s a smart, modern-meets-historic destination that has a lot to offer and no matter what path you choose on your visit, we know you’ll be energized by the fired-up cultural heartbeat fostered by passionate minds of Raleigh.
What’s Raleigh famous for?
Raleigh is nicknamed the “City of Oaks” for its sheer number of majestic oak trees which line the streets. The area is also nicknamed “The Triangle”. Raleigh is part of the Research Triangle area, together with Durham and Chapel Hill.
Is Raleigh a walkable city?
Raleigh is the 47th most walkable large city in the US with 403,892 residents. Raleigh has some public transportation and does not have many bike lanes. The most walkable Raleigh neighborhoods are College Park, Oakwood and Stonehenge East.
How far is Raleigh NC from the beach?
Is Raleigh NC safe?
Raleigh ranks as one of the safest cities in the nation, due to its low violent crime and property crime rates. In fact, Raleigh is 72% safer than other North Carolina cities, and it’s 43% safer than other U.S. cities.
Is Raleigh a boring city?
Simply put, Raleigh is pretty boring. In talking, I’ve found that describing Raleigh as boring isn’t exactly controversial among peers, especially international students, of which NC State has many who are often used to bigger cities and/or warmer weather.
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