What to do and see in Raleigh, North Carolina: The Best Places and Tips
If you're looking for a getaway that's fun for the whole family and easy on your pocket, look no further than Raleigh. With more than 20 free attractions, this stately and energetic capital city offers an affordable way to enjoy history, culture and the good old outdoors. Spend the day hopping between the three state museums of art, history and natural sciences: all offer free admission. Visitors are free to wander around the grounds of the State Capitol, where they can also observe the legislative process. Stroll past the graves of Civil War generals at a historic cemetery or meander along cobblestone streets of City Market. Shop for the greenest broccoli, reddest apples and tastiest homemade treats around at the State Farmers Market. With over 150 parks, lakes and green ways in Raleigh alone, there is ample opportunity to enjoy golf, biking, swimming, boating and other outdoor adventures.
1. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
4.5 based on 2185 reviews
The Southeast's largest natural history museum features dinosaurs, whale skeletons, live animals, walk-through dioramas, special exhibits, hands-on science education and accessible scientists. IMLS National Medal Finalist, 2014.
Reviewed By fwmaggie_12 - OhioOhio
The kids loved it. 10, 6 & 4 all thought it was great. Free entrance with parking nearby. We then walked to the market for lunch.
2. Pullen Park
4.5 based on 1246 reviews
Richard Stanhope Pullen founded Pullen Park on March 22, 1887. Once farmland, Mr. Pullen donated the land as a gift to the City of Raleigh to be used as parkland. He characterized it as on old cow pasture, red and rocky. He intended this land to be used for the recreation use and pleasure of the inhabitants and the visitors to the City of Raleigh. Through his visions, Pullen Park became the first public park in North Carolina.
Reviewed By VChapman11 - Raleigh, North CarolinaRaleigh, North Carolina
Nice park for All ages
Pullen Park has something for everyone. The have a separate playground for older children and then one for toddlers. This makes it nice so the smaller children have their own space. The sand area is set up the same way, one for older children one for todd
3. North Carolina Museum of Art
4.5 based on 1702 reviews
One of the leading art museums in the American South, the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) recently completed a major, three-year expansion that places it in the front ranks of museums nationwide. The NCMA offers a permanent collection spanning more than 5,000 years, a variety of celebrated exhibitions and public programs, an amphitheater for outdoor performances, and the nation’s largest museum park—164 acres of trails and parkland containing major works of art.
Reviewed By bluemoonsymphony - United StatesUnited States
Free culture and art
Stopped by here on a Friday night and also returned on Saturday afternoon. Free admission which is great. This is a terrific place to walk around and get some culture. Nice art pieces. They had a lot more than I was expecting: modern, old, artifacts, all
4. Marbles Kids Museum
4.5 based on 1065 reviews
Marbles Kids Museum is a hands-on, interactive destination that inspires children to be creative thinkers, active learners and confident individuals in today's world. With five galleries and two outdoor escapes, there is no shortage of activity for kids birth to 12 and their families. The campus also features the Wachovia IMAX Theatre at Marbles Kids Museum. This 267-seat giant-screen experience is the only 3D capable IMAX theatre in North Carolina.
Reviewed By JMH101 - Newtown, PennsylvaniaNewtown, Pennsylvania
Fun with the Grandchildren
We took our 2 young grandsons here for an afternoon of fun and they had such a good time that they didn’t want to leave.Our youngest grandson really enjoyed the mini golf in the game room. Our older grandson’s favorite thing was the hockey rink where he p
5. North Carolina Museum of History
4.5 based on 853 reviews
Explore more than 14,000 years of North Carolina history, from the state's earliest inhabitants through the 20th century. The major exhibition The Story of North Carolina features fascinating artifacts, multimedia presentations, and an interactive format for all ages. Other exhibits highlight the state's military history, sports heroes, decorative arts and more. Monthly programs include children's programs, craft demonstrations and family events. The Museum Shop, featuring North Carolina crafts, and the on-site restaurant Pharaoh's at the Museum are open daily. Admission is free, although some special exhibits require a fee. Free parking is available on weekends in the Jones/Edenton Street lot. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Reviewed By Wade S - Winston Salem, North CarolinaWinston Salem, North Carolina
This museum is one of the best I have been to. The WWI exhibit is awesome. We learned a lot of history about the war. The North Carolina history was great too. Never to old or young to enjoy this museum. The museum is free admission.Wow, that made our day
6. Umstead State Park
4.5 based on 432 reviews
Sandwiched between downtown Raleigh and the airport, this oasis of green features a stand of 300+ year-old hardwood trees, more than 32 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, camp sites and lots more for nature lovers.
Reviewed By Avbrannen - Atenas, Costa RicaAtenas, Costa Rica
A Great Place for a Picnic or a Day's Hike
Umstead State Park is part of the heart of the Triangle area. The Park takes up over 5,000 acres. No matter if your passion is hiking, trail running, mountain biking, or horseback riding, Umstead Park offers an extensive network of hiking and multi-use tr
7. State Farmers Market
4.5 based on 271 reviews
Seven days a week, serious food connoisseurs and regular folks, carefully pick through mounds of gorgeously presented fresh local produce at this popular open market, which is owned by the State of North Carolina.
Reviewed By sgw44 - Wilmington, North CarolinaWilmington, North Carolina
Great produce and fruit, reasonably priced
If you want 'farm to table', this is the place to go. Lots of appealing produce and fruit, all reasonably priced. Most items are from local farms in Johnston or Harnett counties. In the fall though, there is a great selection of apples from western NC mou
8. Neuse River Trail
5 based on 233 reviews
Reviewed By Sightsee_Eat - Worthington, OhioWorthington, Ohio
Great park at the dam
My brother lives on Possum Track, and when I visit from Ohio, we take walks after my long drive, in the neighborhood, sometimes to see the lake and where the old road was. This last time we walked the old road bed up to the top of the dam on the other sid
9. JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University
4.5 based on 329 reviews
Part of the North Carolina State University, this eight-acre garden contains a wide variety of cold hardy temperate zone plants.
Reviewed By BG37 - Atlanta, GeorgiaAtlanta, Georgia
Wonderful opportunity to look, listen, and learn at this NCSU facility! Free to view, classes, tours, and events.
10. Historic Yates Mill County Park
4.5 based on 244 reviews
Yates Mill is the last operating, water-powered gristmill in NC's capital county. The 18th century mill was restored, and the 174-acre park developed, through a partnership among the County of Wake, Yates Mill Associates, and NC State University. The park is open 361 days per year, from 8 am to sunset. The visitor center with its 2,200 square feet of exhibit space is open 8:30 am to 5 pm. The historic mill is open for guided tours Mar-Nov each year for public tours on weekends (fee: $3-5) and also by appointment on weekdays for organized groups.
Reviewed By mcdh4561 - Fredericksburg, VirginiaFredericksburg, Virginia
An old mill and a new museum
This park has acres of water, the old Yates mill, and a fine interpretive center and mini-museum. The interior exhibit of a mill directs your view to the outside, and then you look, there is the historic mill in full view across the millpond. close-up pho