What are some things to do in Raleigh North Carolina? North Carolina is a beautiful state with history and greenery and Raleigh is a city filled with good food, history and beauty! The surrounding areas like Durham, Cary and Greensboro offer a lot as well. I have been to Raleigh four times and I love it there. So let me share with you places to eat, hike and explore within Raleigh and the surrounding areas.
Raleigh is a great spot to spend a weekend getaway with your partner, take a fun girls trip or even a family vacay. All the things listed below are family friendly but can also totally be fun for the full grown adult! Do you have any must see’s while in Raleigh? Let me know in the comments below, I’m always looking for new things to check out when I am there.
Planning other trips? Check out my Southern California Itinerary: How to Spend 7 Days or 8 Things to do in Tobermory!
While in Raleigh, you can eat, hike, swim, shop, and explore. There are lots of parks to check out, free museums, lots of history, and murals.
Good Places to Eat in Raleigh NC
If you know me, a good trip must include food! So here are some places I love eating at while in Raleigh.
This is a casual dining spot with tons of food options all at great prices! I loved the chicken fingers and mac n cheese.
This is such a fun place to go. And delicious! It’s basically burgers, BBQ, fries, milkshakes and all that jazz but the prices are amazing and the food is incredible.
This is a fun little place where they give you little dishes of unshelled peanuts at your table. You can munch on these while you wait for your food and the fun part is you can throw your peanut shells on the floor. Yes you heard me right. They have lots of yummy menu choices and I really liked their catfish!
I love the blackberry martinis here and the famous Bloomin’ Onion. Their steak is good and I love their sides too!
This little place has sooo many options! There is breakfast options, burgers, salads, pasta, comfort food like pot roast, meatloaf and steak. There is also fish dishes, sandwiches, and seasonal specials. The French Onion soup is delicious. (I haven’t been here yet!) My friend goes here all the time and it’s next on my list when I visit again.
NOTE: I just found out the Raleigh location is now closed but there is one in Greensboro (an hour and a half away) if you will be near there!
Fun Parks to Check Out in Raleigh NC
Only 7 minutes from Downtown Raleigh, Pullen Park is a great stop if you’re on a girls trip! You can ride the little train through the park as well as hop on the carousel. It’s a cute place to walk around, rent a pedal boat, take photos, and enjoy the scenery. There is even a playground if you have kids with you making it a family friendly spot. It’s also quite romantic if you’re into that sort of thing haha.
Historic Oak View County Park
This is a perfect little gem for interactive history located just east of downtown Raleigh. Your kids will love it and it offers great photo ops for your girl’s trip. There are old buildings displaying things like cotton gins, kitchens in the 1800’s, tractors, and more! There are goats outside that you can feed and a cool old house to explore.
White Deer Park
Your kids will love this place and so will the kid in you! It has fun playground equipment, hiking trails, a nature center and all kinds of activities. It’s only about eight minutes from downtown Raleigh.
Historic Yates Mill Country Park
This is an amazing spot to hike, learn, fish, have a picnic, and just simply enjoy nature. The old mill provides cool photo opportunities and is a stunning piece of history. There is lots of acres to explore and trails to hike! I enjoyed this place a lot when we went (twice!). And it’s only 5 minutes south of Downtown Raleigh!
Things to Do: Check Out Downtown Raleigh
And while we’re checking out things to do in Raleigh North Carolina, we can’t forget about Downtown Raleigh. There are lots of little shops and places to eat. Murals are always a fun thing to see in a city. Check out 10 Murals in Raleigh!
Museums in Downtown Raleigh
There are quite a few museums in Raleigh and most of them are free (if not all!)
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
- North Carolina Museum of History
- North Carolina Museum of Art
- CAM Raleigh
- Marbles Kids Museum
- COR (City of Raleigh) Museum
As you can see there is lots of choose from depending on who you are traveling with and what your interests are! I really enjoyed the history and science museums.
A few of the museums are even located within walking distance of the North Carolina State Capital.
Raleigh is known as the “City of the Oaks” and for good reason as many of the city streets are lined with oak trees!
Cool Things to Do in Raleigh North Carolina: Hiking
There are tons and tons of amazing places to hike in and around Raleigh! I absolutely love hiking and most of these places are kid friendly. I went multiple times with my friend and her two young girls.
William B Umstead State Park
This is the perfect spot for all your outdoor fun! Hiking, swimming and fishing to name only a few. The views in this park are incredible and I enjoyed hiking when I went there. Only 20 minutes from Downtown Raleigh, it’s the closest of the three hikes I’m sharing with you.
Eno River State Park
There are options for hiking, picnicking, fishing, camping and exploring at Eno River. The hiking here was super fun and peaceful as some parts of the hikes are right by the river. This is the farthest spot from Downtown Raleigh that I mention as it’s about 40 minutes away. However, if you have the opportunity/time/a car I highly recommend this state park. It is by far my favourite hiking location that I’ve been to while visiting Raleigh.
Lake Benson offers fishing, picnicking, boat rentals, playgrounds and hiking also. The lake offers a pretty view and there are lots of trees and greenery everywhere. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Downtown Raleigh but worth it for all the adventure you can have there!
I absolutely love visiting Raleigh! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and were able to travel a bit through it if you aren’t able to travel there right now. Make sure to pin this post if you ever plan a trip to Raleigh North Carolina.
Bobbie Blue says
Hi Catherine! I’ve never been to Raleigh, but it looks like a beautiful place to visit! Thanks for the great tips.
Denise Macuk says
That Old Mill park looks so cute! Hope to visit some day!
It’s super fun!! I hope you get to go!!
Raleigh looks lovely! I love a destination with options for everyone, and this one seems to have them. You had me at hiking, but it’s great to also have history and nice places que grab a bite.
Thanks Coni! It has lots to offer, I love it there!!
Wow thanks for all these tips! So helpful to know about things like this when traveling to New places!
I agree! And thanks so much for reading 🙂
Great tips thanks for sharing
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
So many varied things to do in Raleigh! I know you pitched Historic Oak View County Park as a place that would be great for kids, but it also sounds really cool to me.
It’s great for non kids too 😀 I can approve haha!
That mac and cheese looks so tempting!
Oh it was so good!! Mac and cheese is one of my favs 🙂
What a peaceful place! I’d love to tour around and look at the old buildings and take some of those walking trails. It looks so relaxing!
Thanks Sarah! I always love visiting these places when I go 🙂 You’d love it there!!
Amazing tips! Saving this for later. I really want to visit Raleigh!!
Oh thank you!! Glad you liked it! I def recommend Raleigh, so amazing!!
Looks like there’s lots of delicious food and drink in Raleigh, especially those yummy looking martinis. The historic country parks sound fun, I love a place with a bit of history and I really would want to do some of those walks and hikes
Thanks so much for your comment! There def is alot to do in Raleigh, I always love visiting!
It looks like there’s plenty to do in Raleigh. I would love to go hiking around North Carolina!
Raleigh is amazing! I am really missing NC lately 🙁
I would love to go on a nature walk here, it looks really pretty! Thanks for sharing these great tips.
It’s gorgeous!! And thanks for checking them out 🙂
Ummi | Ummi Goes Where? says
Love the food recommendations. The parks look fun too. Would love to feed the goats and hike one of the trails..
It’s all so much fun haha!
Portia Jones says
Oh my gosh, this is such a comprehensive guide and your photos are so gorgeous. I’m definitely pinning this for future travel inspiration.
Ahhhh thank you so much! That means alot 🙂
I visited Raleigh a couple years back and was pleasantly surprised by the town. It is vibrant, with great food and art. I love this post and how detailed it is. Brought back so many nice memories from my time there!
Awwww thank you!!! I have nice memories from Raleigh too 🙂 Glad you liked my post!