Raleigh is the state capitol of North Carolina. The most popular tourist attractions in Raleigh are the many museums in the city. This is a vibrant and bustling city with a great arts scene. Friends can enjoy the great shopping boutiques and markets. More than 150 parks in the area mean visitors can enjoy an abundance of outdoor activities in and around the capitol city.
10. Lake Johnson Park
There are over 300 acres of park here and miles of paved greenway trails. Great for gentle hikes or recreational bike rides around the beautiful lake. For nature lovers there’s plenty of fantastic scenery and romantic views to enjoy. Opportunities to rent a boat and free rental of a rod and reel are available at the park office. Fishing is permitted only from the boardwalk and boats. Picnic shelters with grills are also available to hire upon request. The office is open from dawn until dusk and closed on Mondays from October to March.
9. PNC arena
Home of both the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team and the NC state University Wolfpack men’s basketball team, the arena is a major sports venue in Raleigh. The perfect place for sports fans to see some high quality games. It also hosts concert tours and family shows, boasting having held over 1,500 events for the whole family. Four levels of seating provide nearly 20,000 seats for visitors. Premium seating options, suites and boxes are also on offer. Ticket prices vary and it is best to check the website and book in advance.
8. Duke Energy Centre for performing arts
The main venue for performing arts the centre contains the Raleigh Memorial auditorium, the Meymandi Concert Hall, AJ Fletcher Opera Theatre, Kennedy Theatre and Lichtin Plaza. Many companies put on shows here. The memorial auditorium is the oldest and most historic venue in the centre and has hosted a wide range of artists and performances including Broadway blockbusters such as Les Miserables and Disney’s the Lion King. The smaller Fletcher opera theatre offers a more intimate experience for Opera and dance with only 600 seats. Located in downtown Raleigh on South Street.
7. North Carolina Museum of History
Discover the regional, state and local history at the Museum of History. Visitors are encouraged to reflect on their own place in history whilst learning about the past. Current exhibits include ‘The story of North Carolina’, ‘The birth of Funk’ and the ‘Call to arms’ to name but a few. Traveling exhibits are hosted here at times, today the Carolina Mountains: photography exhibit can be viewed. The museum is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and noon until 5pm on Sundays. Admission to the main exhibits is free however donations are appreciated.
A non-profit visual arts centre where visitors can experience and share artist’s creative processes. Here artists can collaborate and the public visitors can interact with artists whilst they are working. Exhibitions are on show throughout the year. Art classes and workshops are on offer for both adults and kids, prices and times vary. The first Friday of every month Artpace is open to the public from 6pm to 10pm for the first Friday gallery walk. It is free to attend and gives visitors a tour of the studios and galleries during the evening.
5. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
The largest and oldest established natural sciences centre in the Southeast. There are four parts to the campus, however the main building houses the Nature Exploration Centre. The Nature Research Centre on Jones Street, the Prairie Ridge Ecostation in the northwest and the Museum of Forestry in Whitville. The main building has many permanent exhibits, natural treasures and coastal North Carolina, and the discovery room where the exhibits can be explored hands-on. Admission is free, although donations are appreciated. Opening hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and noon to 5pm on Sundays.
4. North Carolina State Capitol Building
One of the most popular places to visit in Raleigh the state capitol building is steeped in history. Built in 1840 the historic architecture of the classical Greek facade and the interior dome are highlights for visitors. Opening hours for tourists are Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm and closed on Sundays. Self-guided tours are available Monday to Friday and on Saturdays guided tours are on offer from 11am to 2pm. Admission is free but donations are welcomed. Regular events enable visitors to book tickets for tours beyond regular access.
3. State Farmers market
This market is one of four regional farmer’s markets across the state to serve for local farmers both large and small. There’s the large farmers building where fresh fruit, vegetables and plants can be found. The widest variety in the area. Then there is the Market Shoppes inside a climate controlled building where meats, cheeses, baked goods can be purchased. There are also speciality shops selling gifts, lotions candles and more. When shoppers are hungry they can grab a bite at the Market Grill, Seafood restaurant or the state farmers market restaurant. Opening times are Monday to Saturday 5am to 6pm and 8am to 6pm on Sundays.
2. Marbles kid’s museum
A fun and cool place to take the family Marbles kids is designed for children 10 and under. There are themed exhibits, IMAX education and features, daily programs and summer camps. It is advised to allow at least to two hours to explore the museum. Exhibits explore five core initiatives, Create and Innovate, Be Healthy, Be Active, build your brain, Connect and Communicate and Grow up Green. Opening hours are 9am to 5pm on Mondays and 9am to 5pm Tuesdays to Saturdays. Admission starts from $5 for adults.
1. North Carolina Museum of Art
Displaying many examples of European and American art the collection also includes Egyptian funerary art, ancient Greek and Roman pieces and African and ancient American art. A treat for visitors is the Jewish ceremonial art which is one of the two permanent exhibits in any American museum. The Park consists of 164 acres containing sculptures that integrate into the natural landscape. Admission to the exhibits and park is free however payment may be required for special exhibitions and performances. The museum opening hours are 10am – 5pm, closed on Mondays and late opening until 9pm on Fridays.
So whether it’s a weekend city break or a longer vacation, Raleigh will not disappoint. All visitors will find plenty of things to do in Raleigh and with many of the main tourist attractions being free, it is an affordable place to visit. It is best to book any music or sports tickets in advance before your visit to avoid disappointment.