35 Best Things to do in Raleigh, NC

The capital city of Raleigh in North Carolina is a modern, vibrant city with authentic Southern charm in the heart of Dare County. Fondly called ‘The City of Oaks’ for its beautiful oak trees, Raleigh is renowned for its universities and technology and scholarly institutions, and forms part of the Research Triangle along with Chapel Hill and Durham.

The city has a wealth of things to see and do from the beautiful 19th-century Greek Revival–style building of the State Capitol to many museums, art galleries, and cultural institutions, many of which are free. The city is also home to an array of outdoor recreation with over 150 parks in and around the city offering lovely gardens, hiking and biking trails, and water-sports like boating and swimming.

Raleigh is definitely worth a visit on your next road trip and here are the best things to see and do in and around the city.

1. Visit the State Capitol

1. North Carolina State Capitol North Carolina State Capitol, Raleigh NC by Bill Dickinson / CC BY 2.0

Located on Edenton Street in heart of Raleigh, the State Capitol building is a beautiful example of the Greek Revival architectural style. Dating back to 1840, the building is a National Historic Landmark and well worth a visit to see the building’s impressive rotunda centerpiece.

You can explore the building on self-guided or guided tours and admission is free. Lovely gardens surrounding the building are the perfect spot for a coffee or a lunch break.  

Address: 1 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601, United States

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm

Suggested Tour: Historic Tours of Raleigh


2. Explore the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

2. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences by Sergey Galyonkin / CC BY 2.0

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences offers a fantastic way to learn more about the natural sciences of the world. One the largest museum of its kind in the Southeastern United States, the vast museum is spread across four buildings on three campuses and features a collection of more than 1.7 million specimens from amphibians to fish.

Located in Downtown Raleigh, the museum boasts a plethora of interactive exhibits and educational programs for all ages to enjoy with both permanent and seasonal exhibitions.

Address: 11 W Jones St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm

Suggested Tour: Guided Museum Tour


3. Have Some Outdoor Fun at Pullen Park

3. Pullen Park Carousel
Pullen Park Carousel by -ted / CC BY 2.0

Located on Raleigh’s iconic Hillsborough Street in Downtown Raleigh, the 66.3-acre Pullen Park is the oldest public park in North Carolina and offers a wealth of fun for the whole family. There several attractions and activities, including the 1911 Pullen Park Carousel that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, kiddie boats and pedal boats on a lake, and a miniature train that children can ride around the park.

A fun themed playground with four age-appropriate sections focuses on art, nature, and history. The park is also home to the Pullen Aquatic Center, Pullen Arts Center, and the Theatre in the Park.

Address: 520 Ashe Avenue, Raleigh, NC

Opening Hours: 10 am – 6 pm, daily


4. Take in Some Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art

4. The North Carolina Museum of Art
The North Carolina Museum of Art by the NC Museum of Art / Attribution

The North Carolina Museum of Art features a fantastic collection of artworks from around the world, including European, ancient American, African, Egyptian and Jewish works of art. Over a dozen galleries display everything from Renaissance paintings to contemporary photography and Rodin sculptures, and exhibitions run for several months at a time.

The Iris restaurant located inside the museum serves excellent contemporary American cuisine in a modern setting, and the Museum store sells an array of items based on the museum’s collections. Admission is free, and guided tours are given daily.

Address: 2110 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh, NC 27607, United States

Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm

Suggested Tour: Guided Museum Tour


5. Have a Picnic at the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park

5. The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park
The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park by JR P / CC BY-NC 2.0

Based at the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park is a beautiful public space with environmentally sustainable landscapes, colorful and contemporary gardens, art installations by international artists, and a tranquil terraced pond.

There are also miles of recreational trails and you can meander along the Capital Area Greenway and wooded trails by bike or on foot. Visitors can also participate in recreational programs and performing arts and the lovely Ellipse lawn is a wonderful place for a picnic with family and friends.

Address: 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607

Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm


6. Go Marble Mad at the Marbles Kids Museum

6. Marbles Kids Museum
Marbles Kids Museum by Jmturner / Public Domain

Located in the heart of downtown Raleigh, the Marbles Kids Museum has a variety of interactive and hands-on exhibits that aim to spark imagination, discovery, and learning through play. Exhibits include Splash, a water-themed learning zone, and Tree Tunes, where making music is inspired by the great outdoors.

An IMAX theater at the museum plays the latest blockbusters and special educational films. It might be aimed at kids, but adults can have plenty of fun too.

Address: 201 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9: 00 am to 5:00 pm / 7:00 pm every Thursday


7. Discover the State’s History 

7. The North Carolina Museum of History
The North Carolina Museum of History by Arty-chan / CC BY 2.0

The North Carolina Museum of History is affiliated with the Smithsonian and worth a visit if you want to learn all about the history of the state. Located in Downtown Raleigh, the museum has some fascinating permanent exhibits that document the story of North Carolina and its treasures. The museum also hosts traveling exhibits and photography exhibitions.

Address: 5 East Edenton Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm / Sunday: 12 pm – 5 pm

Suggested Tour: Guided Museum Tour

8. Stroll Around the JC Raulston Arboretum

8. JC Raulston Arboretum
JC Raulston Arboretum by Jim Liestman / CC BY 2.0

Spanning 10-acres in the heart of Raleigh, the JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationally acclaimed botanical garden with an impressive collection of Southeastern flora from the Piedmont North Carolina area. The Arboretum acts as a ‘living laboratory’ for the students of the North Carolina University who can study a wide variety of plants from the gardens’ 6,500 species. Admission to the gardens is free and guided tours take place every Sunday between March and October at 2 pm.

Address: 4415 Beryl Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606

Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset


9. Go Fishing on Lake Johnson

9. Lake Johnson
Lake Johnson by Sergey Galyonkin / CC BY 2.0

Lake Johnson is a tranquil 150-acre lake surrounded by over 300 acres of land that is a great spot for spending the day and having some fun in the sun. The park surrounding the lake boasts 5.4 miles of hiking and biking trails, picnic shelters, and several concession stands. The lake is ideal for water sports such as canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding, and sailing, and is well-stocked with fish so take a rod. Admission to Lake Johnson Park is free and open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 4601 Avent Ferry Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA

Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset


10. Go Bowling at Buffaloe Lanes

10. Buffaloe Lanes North

Buffaloe Lanes North is an award-winning bowling alley that has been serving the community for the past 35 years. The alley is open to the public for family and friends to enjoy a game of bowls, as well as hosts a bowling league and tournaments throughout the year. The bowling alley also has starlight bowling with special lighting for special occasions.

Address: 5900 Oak Forest Drive, Raleigh, NC  27616

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9 am – 10 pm / Sunday: 1 pm – 10 pm


11. Shop at the Raleigh Flea Market 

11. Raleigh Flea Market
 Raleigh Flea Market by Paul Joseph / CC BY 2.0

Rated as one of the top flea markets in the country, the Raleigh Flea Market is a 20,000square-foot indoor-outdoor market with more than 600 vendors selling everything from arts and crafts to organic produce.

Located on Blue Ridge Road, the weekend market is a great place to spend a few hours exploring the stalls and hunting for treasures amongst the many stalls selling antiques, jewelry, home décor, furniture, and more.

Address: 1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC

Opening Hours: Saturday and Sunday: 9 am – 5 pm


12. Hike the Neuse River Greenway Trail

12. The Neuse River Greenway Trail
The Neuse River Greenway Trail by Bz3rk / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Neuse River Greenway Trail is a 27.5-mile paved greenway that runs along the banks of the Neuse River in the Raleigh area and is ideal for year-round outdoor recreation such as walking, hiking, jogging, running, rollerblading, and mountain biking.

The trail begins at the Falls Lake Dam in North Raleigh and stretches to the town of Clayton in southeast Raleigh, passing several historic sites and crossing suspension bridges, wetlands, and winding boardwalk areas along the way.

Address: Raleigh, NC 27610


13. Take in a Show at the Raleigh Little Theatre

13. The Raleigh Little Theatre
 The Raleigh Little Theatre by Cgb628 / CC BY-SA 3.0

Renowned for being the first theater in the South to cast actors of color during segregation, the Raleigh Little Theatre is a lovely community theatre that produces and presents up to 10 full productions each year. They also offer several comprehensive youth and adult theatre education programs such as dance, drama, and music classes.

Address: 301 Pogue St, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA


14. Go Back to a Bygone Era at Mordecai Historic Park

14. The 18th century Mordecai House
 The 18th-century Mordecai House by Mark Turner / Public Domain

Located in the Mordecai Place Historic District next to the Historic Oakwood neighborhood, the Mordecai Historic Park is centered around the 18th-century Mordecai House, which was the birthplace and home of President Andrew Johnson.

Also known as the Mordecai Plantation or Mordecai Mansion, the house was built in 1785 and is the oldest in the city. It is filled with some of the city’s most valuable treasures and is open to visitors to explore. The surrounding gardens are lovely and great for relaxing with a picnic.

Address: 1 Mimosa St, Raleigh, NC 27604, USA

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9 am – 5 pm

Suggested Tour: Guided House Tour


15. Go Sailing on Lake Crabtree

15. Lake Crabtree
Lake Crabtree by Sean Yu / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Lake Crabtree is a lovely lake that offers a wealth of fun outdoor activities such as sailing, leisure boating, kayaking, and canoeing in the summer months. The lake is set within the Lake Crabtree County Park, a densely forested park with a system of hiking and biking trails, two children’s playgrounds, and an observation tower offering spectacular views of the park and the lake. You can also watch some great sporting events on the lake every year like the Triangle Tango Regatta.

Address: 1400 Aviation Pkwy, Morrisville, NC 27560, USA


16. Visit the Governor of North Carolina’s Home

16. The North Carolina Executive Mansion
 The North Carolina Executive Mansion by Allen Forrest / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The North Carolina Executive Mansion is a beautiful Victorian-Style building and the official residence of the Governor of North Carolina and their family. Designed by architects Samuel Sloan and A.G. Bauer and built in 1883 from materials native to the area, the mansion has been home to the families of 28 governors. You can enjoy free tours of both the house and the lovely gardens surrounding the mansion.

Address: 200 N Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601, United States


17. Watch Planes Take Off from the RDU Observation Park

17. RDU Observation Park
 Air Force One Departs RDU 23R by Chris Pippen / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you love watching planes land and take off, a visit to the RDU Observation Park is a must. The public park overlooks Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s 10,000-foot runway and has audio speakers on an elevated observation platform where visitors can listen to piped-in pilot-tower communications from the nearby Air Traffic Control Center.

The park has grassy lawns for picnicking, a casual café, educational placards, and a play area for children. The park is open from sunrise to sunset every day.

Address: 2400 W. Terminal Blvd., Morrisville, NC

Opening Hours: Sunrise to sunset, daily


18. Visit the Home of North Carolina FC

18. Sahlens Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park
Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park by RailHawks / CC BY-SA 4.0

Formerly known as the Carolina RailHawks, the North Carolina Football Club is a professional soccer team based in Cary that currently plays in the USL Championship. The 10,000-seat Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park is the team’s home base where they play home games in the team colors of Atlantic blue, cardinal red, and Southern gold. Catch a game if you can – the atmosphere is electric!

Address: WakeMed Soccer Park, 201 Soccer Park Dr, Cary, NC


19. Explore Wake County’s Last Operating Gristmill

19. The Historic Yates Mill
 The Historic Yates Mill by Sergey Galyonkin / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Yates Mill County Park protects the historic Yates Mill, the last operating gristmill in Wake County. Located five miles from downtown Raleigh, the 174-acre wildlife park has several hiking and mountain biking trails and a tranquil 24-acre pond, which is fed by Steep Hill Creek.

Visitors can learn about the gristmill and the area’s natural history at a modern visitor center in the park and guided tours of the mill are available by appointment. The Mill is open seasonally and admission to the park is free.

Address: 4620 Lake Wheeler Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603, USA

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8 am – 5: 30 pm


20. Marvel at the Beauty of St Paul AME Church

20. The Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church

The Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church by D. Strevel, Capital City Camera Club / CC BY 2.0

The Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church is a beautiful example of a building built in the historic American Gothic Revival style. Located in Downtown Raleigh, the impressive red brick and frame Gothic building was built in 1884 by Raleigh’s first independent congregation of African Americans.

The church is the oldest African-American church in Wake County and has a fascinating history that begins a decade before the construction of the church began. The church is a Raleigh Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Address: 402 W Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27603, United States


21. Taste Local Wines at the State Farmer’s Market

21. The State Farmers Market
The State Farmers Market by Joe Shlabotnik / CC BY 2.0

The State Farmers Market is a vast regional farmers market that serves North Carolina farmers, and you’ll find everything here from farm-fresh fruit and vegetables, prime grass-fed meat, dairy products, organic honey, and fresh flowers.

The adjacent 15,600-square-foot Market Shoppe houses specialty shops selling antiques, old-fashioned candies and sweets, organic soaps and lotions, and gifts, and vendors offering services such as custom framing, ironwork, pottery, and ceramics, water features, and wine tasting.

Address: 1201 Agriculture St, Raleigh, NC 27603

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 5 am – 6 pm / Sunday: 8 am – 6 pm


22. Walk Among the Trees 

22. The Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky
The Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky by Jeff Myers / CC BY 2.0

Located in the NCMA’s Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, the Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky is a squat, round hut that acts as a rustic camera obscura. Created by British artist Chris Drury, the unique, fairytale-like structure is made of large stone blocks in the shape of a rocky igloo with a lush, green turf on top with a small hole in the roof of the chamber which acts as a camera obscura.

The medieval optics trick projects a mirror image of the area on the lit side of the camera, making it seem as if the cloud chamber has trees, clouds, and blue sky. Visitors can “virtually” walk among the clouds and the treetops in the chamber. 

Address: 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27607, United States


23. Gorge on Chocolate at the Videri Chocolate Factory

23. Videri Chocolate
Videri Chocolate by Susie Wyshak / CC BY 2.0

Calling all chocolate-lovers – a visit to the Videri Chocolate Factory is a must! Located in Downtown Raleigh, the family-owned factory produces fine, hand-crafted, artisan chocolate from scratch using the highest quality, sustainably-sourced ingredients.

Visitors can learn about the history of chocolate and the process of chocolate-making from bean to bar and enjoy plenty of sampling along the way. The factory has a shop that sells all things chocolate-y from bars and bonbons to drinking chocolate and soft-serve ice cream.

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

Opening Hours: Monday: 10 am – 3 pm / Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm / Sunday: 12 pm – 6 pm


24. Visit the Pope House Museum

24. The Pope House Museum
The Pope House Museum by National Park Service / Public Domain

The Pope House Museum is the only African-American house museum in the state and stands as an example of the prominent African-American family of Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope who lived in the late 1800s. Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope was famous for being the only African-American to run for mayor of Raleigh and the museum celebrates his life with a collection of original furnishings, artifacts, and documents that date back to 1851. Admission to the museum is free and one-hour tours begin every hour.

Address: 511 S Wilmington St, Raleigh, NC 27601, United States

Opening Hours: Saturday: 10 am – 3 pm


25. Play a Round of Golf at the North Ridge Country Club

25. North Ridge Country Club Clubhouse
North Ridge Country Club Clubhouse by Willthacheerleader18 / CC BY-SA 3.0

The North Ridge Country Club is a private residential golf estate set on 400 acres of pristine grounds with two 18-hole golf courses designed by Gene Hamm and George Cobb. The luxury club has a stately clubhouse with a casual coffee bar and fine dining restaurant, and a wealth of deluxe facilities at the club include tennis courts, a fitness center, pickleball, and a resort-style pool complex with a large swimming pool.

Address: 6612 Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615, United States


26. Horseback Ride Through William B Umstead State Park

26. William B Umstead State Park
William B Umstead State Park by Mel Bramble / CC BY 2.0

Soak up the spectacular natural beauty of North Carolina in the William B Umstead State Park. The 6,000-acre park has a network of well-marked and maintained trails that cater for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding that wind their way through the park’s lush landscapes. There are also several lakes in the park where you can enjoy boating, fishing, kayaking, and swimming. The William B Umstead State Park is a great day trip from Raleigh.

Address: 8801 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617, United States

Opening Hours: 8 am – 6 pm


27. Check Out the JS Dorton Arena

27. JS Dorton Arena
 The JS Dorton Arena by Leah Rucker / CC BY-SA 3.0

The JS Dorton Arena is an impressive structure with an acclaimed reputation for its striking design which features exterior walls constructed of tinted, glare-reducing glass and a suspended “floating” roof. Originally built to serve the agriculture industry, the 25,000 square foot arena now hosts athletics events, music concerts, circuses, and trade shows. The building was named a National Architectural and National Civil Engineering Monument and a National Historic Monument.

Address: 1025 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh, NC 27607, United States


28. Try a Local Craft Beer at the Bond Brothers Beer Company

28. Bond Brothers Beer Company

The Bond Brothers Beer Company is a locally owned brewery in downtown Cary that produces 14 unique handmade beers on tap and has a barrel sour program. The brewery produces a variety of beers from Stouts and Saisons to IPAs and Sours which can be tasted in the stylish taproom or the laid-back garden. The Bond Brothers Beer Company also offers monthly guided brewery tours.

Address: 202 E Cedar St, Cary, NC 27511

Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 2 pm – 10 pm / Friday – Sunday: 12 pm – 10 pm


29. Wander Around One of America’s Most Spectacular Gardens

29. The Juniper Level Botanic Garden
 The Juniper Level Botanic Garden by Mark Levisay / CC BY 2.0

The Juniper Level Botanic Garden is one of America’s most spectacular gardens and a sanctuary to plant lovers around the world. Located 12 miles south of downtown Raleigh, the gardens are open to the public just eight weekends per year and are home to over 27,000 species of rare and exotic plants, shrubs, trees, and native perennials, many of which are endemic to North Carolina.

Address: 9249 Sauls Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603, United States

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm

Suggested Tour: Guided Garden Tours


30. Tour the Futuristic James B. Hunt Library

30. The James B. Hunt Library
 The James B. Hunt Library by Seannator / CC BY-SA 3.0

Part of the North Carolina State University and built to reflect the university’s position as a leading technological research institute, the James B. Hunt Library is said to be one of the most advanced libraries in the world.

The library’s bold and iconic architectural design boasts an amalgamation of glass and crisscrossing solar fins, while the interiors feature state-of-the-art technologies like touchscreen kiosks, curved digital display screens, and bookBot—a subterranean robot programmed to fetch books from an underground storage facility where over 1.5 million books are housed.

Address: 1070 Partners Way, Raleigh, NC 27606, United States

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 9 am – 5 pm

Suggested Tour: Library Tours



31. Climb, Swing, and Zip Through Trees 

31. Go Ape Zipline Adventure Park
Go Ape Zipline & Adventure Park by Ruwanindika / Public Domain

Have some outdoor fun at the TreeRunner Adventure Park where you can take on several courses over three difficulty levels with more than 70 obstacles, some of which are 40-feet high. Go Ape Zipline & Adventure Park offers a canopy course that includes more than 40 obstacles, 50-foot-high platforms, and a 500-foot-long zipline. Friday nights at the TreeRunner Adventure Park are Glow Nights with LED sequence lighting, color arches, and lasers for nighttime fun.

TreeRunner Adventure Park Address: 12804 Norwood Rd, Raleigh, NC 27613, United States

Opening Hours: Sunday: 11 am – 11: 30 pm

Go Ape Zipline & Adventure Park Address: 3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd, Raleigh, NC 27614, United States


32. Pay Respects at the Historic Oakwood Cemetery

32. The Historic Oakwood Cemetery
The Historic Oakwood Cemetery by Daniel Mennerich / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Raleigh’s Historic Oakwood Cemetery is a 72-acre resting place for more than 28,000 residents, including over 1,400 Confederate soldiers from the American Civil War. The cemetery is steeped in history and is rich in stories of the people that rest among its historic oaks. It is also an outstanding example of mortuary art and Victorian landscaping. Several tours of the Historic Oakwood Cemetery are offered, including a Civil War Tour and a Monument Art & Symbolism Tour.

Address: 701 Oakwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27601, United States

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8 am – 5 pm

Suggested Tour: Civil War Tour 


33. Get Fit at the Triangle Rock Club

33. Triangle Rock Club
The Triangle Rock Club is a state-of-the-art indoor climbing and fitness center that features a comprehensive fitness with a yoga studio, expansive bouldering terrain, and both lead and top-rope climbing. Located in Morrisville, the facility has some of the largest climbing structures in the region, including 100 climbing lanes and walls up to 55 feet high.

Address: 6022 Duraleigh Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612, United States

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 5:30 am – 10 pm / Saturday: 10 am – 8 pm / Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm


34. Smell the Roses at the Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden

34. The Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden
The Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden by Jason Raitz / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden is located on the campus of the Raleigh Little Theatre and features more than 1,200 roses of 60 different varieties which burst into bloom every spring and make for a spectacular display. Stroll around the gardens in the summer months and enjoy a free outdoor movie among the roses. Admission to the garden is free in the summer.

Address: 301 Pogue St, Raleigh, NC 27607, United States

Opening Hours: Daily, sunrise – sunset


35. Practice Your Swing at the Drive Shack

35. The Drive Shack

The Drive Shack is a three-story interactive golf complex with a 260-yard-long driving range, 96 climate-controlled golf bays, a rooftop bar and full-service restaurant, and an arcade area. The complex has state-of-the-art TrackMan technology that allows you to play virtually on real-world championship golf courses and pinpoints the flight of your golf ball. A great spot for a night out and practicing your swing.

Address: 6901 Play Golf Way, Raleigh, NC 27607, United States

Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 10 am – 10 pm / Friday: 10 am – 12 am / Saturday: 9 am – 12 am / Sunday: 9 am – 10 pm

The Best of Raleigh

The Best Hotels in Raleigh

The Umstead Hotel and Spa

Surrounded by 12 beautifully landscaped grounds and a tranquil lake, the Umstead Hotel and Spa is a luxurious retreat just off Interstate 40. Plush guestrooms have all the mod-cons and high-end amenities include a luxe spa area, a fitness center, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool with private cabanas, and an acclaimed restaurant. There are loaner bikes for exploring the city.

Address: 100 Woodland Pond Dr, Cary, NC 27513, United States, Phone: +1 919-447-4000

Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

The Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel is a refined hotel a few miles from Downtown Raleigh with polished guestrooms and suites with whirlpool tubs. An Italian eatery serves delicious Mediterranean cuisine, and a casual lounge offers tapas and cocktails. The hotel has a fitness center and a business center and next to the North Hills Mall.

Address: 4100 Main at North Hills St, Raleigh, NC 27609, United States, Phone: +1 919-571-8773

Hilton Garden Inn Raleigh /Crabtree Valley

Located just off Interstate 440, this laid-back, modern hotel is a great base for exploring the city. A short walk from the Crabtree Valley Mall, the hotel has relaxed guestrooms with en-suite bathrooms and whirlpool tubs. Hotel perks include a casual restaurant and bar, a 24-hour fitness room, and an indoor swimming pool.

Address: 3912 Arrow Dr, Raleigh, NC 27612, United States, Phone: +1 919-703-2525

The Best Restaurants in Raleigh

42nd Street Oyster Bar

36. 42nd Street Oyster Bar
 42nd Street Oyster Bar by Eugene Kim / CC BY 2.0

With humble beginnings as a grocery store that sold oysters and beer in 1931, 42nd Street Oyster Bar has grown into one of the region’s best seafood restaurants.  The menu features an array of delights from Southern-fried seafood platters to freshly shucked oysters from the raw bar. The dining room has a nostalgic mood with linoleum tile floors and beautiful stainless steel art deco doors.

Address: 508 W. Jones Street, Raleigh, Phone: 919-831-2811

Angus Barn

37. Angus Barn
 Angus Barn by Kevin Oliver / CC BY 2.0

Angus Barn is an award-winning steakhouse that has been serving exceptional steaks and world-class wines for over six decades. Based in a big red barn on the outskirts of Raleigh, the restaurant has a warm and welcoming ambiance, friendly staff, and an outstanding menu and wine list.

Address: 9401 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, Phone: 919-781-2444

Big Ed’s

38. Big Eds Breakfast
Big Ed’s Breakfast by Randy Nichols/ CC BY 2.0

Big Ed’s a decades-old City Market landmark with a sprawling dining room packed with more bric-a-brac from bygone days. The menu features classic Carolinian country-style fare like chuckwagon steak, fried or barbecued chicken, fried catfish, and roast pork. Go here for the best Southern breakfast of country ham, grits, and redeye gravy with biscuits and molasses.

Address: 220 Wolfe Street, Raleigh, Phone: 919-836-9909

The Best Bars in Raleigh

Hoppy Endings

This charming neighborhood bar has the largest collection of bourbon, whiskey, and scotch in the Southeast U.S, as well as 500 varieties of craft and specialist beers, from local and international breweries, and 17 beers on tap.

Address: 8320 Litchford Rd #106, Raleigh, NC 27615, United States, Phone: +1 919-455-3557

Watts & Ward

Tucked in the basement of Caffé Luna, this swanky speakeasy in downtown Raleigh has a laid-back atmosphere with brick walls, dark woods, tufted sofas, and old books. Fantastic for craft cocktails.

Address: 200 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601, United States, Phone: +1 919-896-8016

Blind Barbour

Blind Barbour is a vintage-chic speakeasy with live music that serves specialty drinks and an extensive list of bourbons.

Address: 3055 Medlin Dr, Raleigh, NC 27607, United States, Phone: +1 919-579-1524

The Best Coffee in Raleigh

Sir Walter Coffee

Located right across the street from City Market, Sir Walter Coffee is a buzzing café with bright orange seating, eclectic artwork, and a retro atmosphere that serves pour-overs, cold brews, and coffeehouse-inspired cocktails. Sir Walter offers an all-day breakfast menu and unique spiked tea cocktails.

Address: 145 E Davie St, Raleigh, NC 27601, United States, Phone: +1 919-322-0019


Brew has a relaxed, cozy atmosphere with great coffee and great service with locations in and around the Downtown Raleigh area.

Address: 2409 Crabtree Blvd STE 101, Raleigh, NC 27604, United States, Phone: +1 919-555-1234


Located in Raleigh’s up-and-coming warehouse district, Heirloom is a modern coffee shop with a globally inspired ambiance and Asian touches. The coffee shop serves espresso drinks, loose-leaf teas, and doubles as a sake bar with an array of beer, wine, and cocktail options.

Address: 219 S West St, Raleigh, NC 27603, United States, Phone: +1 919-297-8299

35 Best Things to do in Raleigh NC 2 35 Best Things to do in Raleigh NC