7 Engrossing Things to Do in Raleigh NC

The capital city of North Carolina is a bustling metropolis with sweet Southern charm and modern amenities. You will find well-preserved historic buildings next to educational museums next to entertainment complexes. And all of these provide you with many fun things to do in Raleigh NC.

Known as the City of Oaks thanks to the beautiful and stately oak trees lining the downtown streets, some of these things to do in Raleigh stem from the grassy parks. While others involve eating at homegrown restaurants or attending local productions. For a unique and charming city experience, look no further than the Southern jewel of Raleigh.

1. Wander Through the Joel Lane Museum House

The Joel Lane Museum House, built by the plantation owner of the same name in 1769, was originally considered the best house in the surrounding 100 miles. It has now been restored and designated as an important historic site that offers lectures, guided tours and informational videos to those who visit. Although it was originally built in the middle of the untamed North Carolina terrain, the house is now downtown and is one of the best things to do in Raleigh NC. Joel Lane himself was dedicated to helping the city become the state capital. You can examine his personal historical artifacts, period furnishings, and formal gardens.

Visit the house and receive a 45-minute tour led by a costumed docent from Wednesday through Friday. Adults over 18 years old pay $8, and children from ages 7 to 17 years owe just $4. There are additional ticket deals for senior citizens, national group members and AAA members.

  • Best for: Couples, families.
  • Season: Open year-round, tours take place Wednesday through Friday at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. You can also take a tour on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m.
  • Address: 728 West Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC 27603.

2. Tour the Videri Chocolate Factory

There are few things to do in Raleigh NC, as delicious as a tour of the Videri Chocolate Factory. Operating in a historic depot building, the factory features exposed brick and ductwork that only adds to its industrial charm. You can watch the entire chocolate-making process before you travel to the factory gift shop to purchase some of the sweets to enjoy later. The factory offers candies made from fair trade cocoa beans and sugars from organic farms in Central and South America.

Visits to the factory are free to the public. But you can also purchase and schedule a guided tour by contacting the factory directly.

  • Best for: Couples, families, children.
  • Season: Open year-round, the doors of the factory are open from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. In addition, you can visit from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday or from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Address: 327 W. Davie Street, Sweet 100, Raleigh, NC 27601.

3. Climb the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course

You will get your heart pumping and your muscles hurting after a trip through the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course. This unique outdoor experience allows you to view and to travel the Blue Jay Point Country Park from high up in the air. After an hour of safety training, they will strap you into a harness. That will allow you to climb rope ladders, sway on Tarzan swings, cross a spider’s web and endure five zip lines among other attractions. If you are a little less adventurous, you can stick to the canopy tour that allows you to fully explore the area.

If these things to do in Raleigh NC, sound like something you would enjoy, plan 2-3 hours for your adventure. All participants must be at least 55 inches in height and under 285 pounds for the harness to fit appropriately. Children ages 10-15 years are the youngest climbers, and they pay $38 for the course. Everyone ages 16 years and up owes $58 for the chance to experience the incredible views.

  • Best for: Couples, families, children of at least 10.
  • Season: Open year-round, hours generally vary by season, course and weather. Call ahead for hours.
  • Address: 3200 Pleasant Union Church Road, Raleigh, NC 27614.

4. Mold Some Pottery at Klaystation

No skill is required at Klaystation, a studio where you can make your own mug or other homemade gift chosen from hundreds of pre-fired ware. If you choose this activity as one of your things to do in Raleigh NC, you will not be disappointed; the shop provides you with all the paint, brushes and assistance that you need to create your masterpiece. When you finish designing your one-of-a-kind item, Klaystation will glaze it for you in its kiln. And it will be ready for pickup in a few days.

Klaystation caters to artists of all ages and abilities and does not charge a studio fee to complete your project. When you select your piece for painting, they mark the price directly on it. The cost includes supplies, glazing, and firing in the kiln. There is also a wide range of stencils, stamps, and stickers available for application to your unique piece of art.

  • Best for: Couples, families.
  • Season: Open year-round. Visit the studio from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from Monday through Saturday. Or stop by on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to get started.
  • Address: 10511 Shadowlawn Drive #113, Raleigh, NC 27614.

5. Attend a Concert at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek

Located on Rock Quarry Road, the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek is one of the best places to see a live concert in the area. Performances at this outdoor amphitheater are subject to weather conditions. However, with several shows each week, especially during the spring and summer months, attending this music park is one of the most exciting things to do in Raleigh NC, and the shows go on through rain or shine. You can find country artists like Brad Paisley, classic rock groups like Chicago and today’s top musicians like Bruno Mars all booking performances at this iconic location.

Ticket costs vary widely by show and by seat, running anywhere from $10 to over $400. You can purchase tickets online. There is a $6.50 service charge for each additional ticket you purchase.

  • Best for: Couples, families.
  • Season: Open year-round, the box office is open from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., as well as 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on show days.
  • Address: 3801 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh, North Carolina 27610.

6. Stroll Through the JC Raulston Arboretum

The JC Raulston Arboretum is part of the NC State University campus. This nationally acclaimed botanical garden offers a huge collection of diverse landscape plants throughout its 10-acre spread. Dr. Chester Raulston established the arboretum in 1976. It has since grown into several gardens featuring different themes and overall plans. You can wander through the A.E. Foundation Rooftop Terrace, watch the wildlife in the Butterfly Garden and examine the roots of eastern vegetation in the Asian Valley Garden. One of the most popular spots is the Color Trials garden, which allows seed companies to test plugs and to display their new flowers.

Since the university manages it, the arboretum is free to the public. The students studying botany and related subjects use the location as their living laboratory, and they offer much of that knowledge to the public that visits through educational experiences, including lectures, workshops and classes.

  • Best for: Couples, families.
  • Season: Open year-round, November to March from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and April to October from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Address: 4415 Beryl Rd., Raleigh, NC 27606.

7. Enjoy the Raleigh Beer Garden

If you are looking for slow-paced things to do in Raleigh NC, look no further than the Raleigh Beer Garden. With the self-proclaimed largest selection of draft beers available in one restaurant, this dining locale offers a constantly updated online menu for interested patrons who are at least 21 years old. You can even take your favorite beers home with you after your visit because the restaurant provides carry-out growlers to its patrons.

With full-service indoor and front porch seating, you will find a complete menu of pizzas, sandwiches, salads and other selections to complement your beer choices. The Raleigh Beer Garden also offers bar-style outdoor seating in the back garden and on the rooftop patio, and you can take up a game of ping-pong or cornhole with your friends.

  • Best for: Couples, adults.
  • Season: Open year-round. The restaurant highly suggests reservations on Mondays through Thursdays, but it does not accept them on Fridays through Sundays.
  • Address: 614 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, NC 27603.

With a wide variety of historic, entertaining and delicious options, it is easy to see why you can find so many fun things to do in Raleigh NC. Take a trip through this state capital, and you will not be disappointed in the many different activities available to you in the City of the Oaks.

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