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NC State Capitol

Best Things to Do in Raleigh

Explore the City of Oaks – Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, is a hot bed for history, culture, thrilling college sports, and other big-city fun. Here are some of the best things to do in Raleigh:

Hit up a museum.

For a little Raleigh context, head to the North Carolina Museum of History, nestled in the heart of the Capital District in downtown.

Speaking of capitals, after you’ve discovered the origins of the Tar Heel State, check out the North Carolina State Capitol and see where the bigwigs spend their days. The capitol is a US Historic Landmark, and a must-see for history buffs.

Get cultured.

Nearby, visiting artsy types will surely enjoy spending a few hours at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Best Things to Do in Raleigh

Falls Lake

Opened in 1947, the NCMA features over 40 galleries, the on-site Museum Park, and some dazzling architecture to say the least.

As if that wasn’t enough, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences – which is just steps away from the museum of art – offers an plenty of hands-on attractions and exhibits, sure to please any member of the family.

Be recreational.

If you fancy yourself a golfer, then make plans to hit the greens at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, located just south of the Raleigh metro area.

For a little more active adventure, check out he Neuse River Greenway Trail; a 28-mile asphalt trail running adjacent to the Neuse River from Falls Lake Dam to the Johnston County line, ideal for a quick walk, run, bike ride, or what have you.

Grab a drink & some grub.

Downtown Raleigh isn’t all museums and galleries – for some after-hours fun, check out the host of charming pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes lining Moore Square and Fayetteville Street.

Best Things to Do in Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh After Sundown

In the Glenwood South District, Clockworks comes highly recommended for cocktails, while the Box Car Bar & Arcade is a must for those looking for a ‘hands-on’ good time.

Get outdoors.

Set just a short drive from downtown, William B. Umstead State Park offers an ultra-convenient respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Lace up your hiking boots and explore nearly 6,000 acres of Piedmont wilderness and parkland, or hit the water on Big Lake.

If you’re looking to explore nature but aren’t looking to leave the city, then check out the JC Raulston Arboretum, conveniently nestled on the North Carolina State University campus on the eastside. 

Join the Wolfpack.

College sports are known far and wide for their intense rivalries and passionate fans, and the NC State University Wolfpack is no different.

Football fans would be remiss not seeing the ‘Pack in action at Carter-Finley Stadium, while hoops fans can cheer on the red and white at PNC Arena as they take on ACC rivals. And during the spring, Raleigh cheers on the NC State baseball team at Doak Field.


Best Western Hotels Along the Way:


Best Western Plus Cary Inn - NC State

1722 Walnut Street, Cary NC 27511-5931
Phone: +1 919-481-1200  |  Fax: (919) 467-7535  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Edison Inn

1595 Mechanical Boulevard, Garner NC 27529-2536
Phone: +1 919-662-4890  |  Fax: (919) 662-7660  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Raleigh North-Downtown

2715 Capital Boulevard, Raleigh NC 27604-1509
Phone: +1 919-872-5000  |  Fax: (919) 790-7741  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

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More to See in North Carolina

  • North Carolina State Parks

    North Carolina State Parks

    Canoe your way down the Lumber River, set up a picnic on Hammocks Beach, or climb to the top of Crowders Mountain. Never a dull moment in NC's state parks.

    Hit the Trails ►
  • North Carolina Universities

    North Carolina Universities

    Your visit to North Carolina should include visits to historic and charming cities like Raleigh, Wilmington. Once there explore famous universities like Duke, UNC, and Appalachian State.

    Universities in NC ►
  • Cultural North Carolina

    Cultural North Carolina

    Find hotels near cultural sites like the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Old Baldy Lighthouse, and Biltmore Estate.

    Discover NC! ►
  • North Carolina Sports Teams

    North Carolina Sports Teams

    Across the Tar Heel state choose sporting action from the Panthers to the Hurricanes, or the Blue Devils to the Hammerheads.

    NC Sports Action ►
  • North Carolina Airport Hotels

    North Carolina Airport Hotels

    Find hotels near major AL airports like Charlotte Douglas International Airport and the Raleigh–Durham International Airport.

    Hotels Near NC Airports ►
  • Kid Friendly North Carolina

    Kid Friendly North Carolina

    Explore the Tar Heel State with the whole family. Visit Carowinds amusement park, experience the history of NC, or check out Hammocks Beach along the coast.

    NC Family Adventures ►
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