19 Best Places and Things To Do in Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina, is a vibrant and culturally rich destination with a wide range of attractions and activities to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, arts, outdoor adventures, or delicious food, Raleigh has something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina:

1. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences


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Discover the natural world at this fascinating museum, which features interactive exhibits, live animal displays, and an impressive collection of dinosaur fossils. Don’t miss the incredible Nature Research Center, where you can engage in hands-on activities and observe scientists at work.

2. Pullen Park

Image Source: https://raleighnc.gov/parks/pullen-park

Located near downtown Raleigh, Pullen Park is a picturesque and family-friendly destination. Take a leisurely stroll, rent a pedal boat or kayak on the lake, ride the carousel, or enjoy a picnic in the park’s beautiful surroundings.

3. Marbles Kids Museum

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Perfect for families, Marbles Kids Museum offers interactive exhibits and educational activities for children of all ages. Kids can explore a life-sized pirate ship, create art, play in the water area, and engage in imaginative play.

4. William B. Umstead State Park


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Located just outside Raleigh, Umstead Park is a natural oasis with miles of hiking and biking trails, tranquil lakes, and picnic areas. Spend a day immersed in nature, enjoying activities such as fishing, birdwatching, or simply relaxing in the peaceful surroundings.

5. Neuse River Trail

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If you’re a cycling or hiking enthusiast, the Neuse River Trail is a must-visit. This scenic trail stretches for 27.5 miles along the Neuse River, offering beautiful views and a peaceful escape from the city. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride or take a walk amidst nature.

6. Historic Yates Mill County Park

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Discover the charm of Yates Mill, a fully restored 18th-century gristmill surrounded by picturesque trails and scenic views. Take a guided tour to learn about the milling process, explore the exhibits, or enjoy a peaceful walk around the millpond.

7. Mordecai Historic Park

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Step into Raleigh’s past with a visit to Mordecai Historic Park, which preserves and interprets several historic buildings, including the Mordecai House, one of the oldest houses in Raleigh. Take a guided tour to learn about the city’s history and its prominent residents.

8. Dorothea Dix Park

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Enjoy expansive green spaces and sweeping views of the city skyline at Dorothea Dix Park. This former psychiatric hospital campus has been transformed into a public park, offering walking trails, open fields for picnics and events, and a peaceful atmosphere.

9. Lake Johnson Park

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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind at Lake Johnson Park. This serene park offers a tranquil lake surrounded by scenic trails, perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling. Rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the lake or simply relax by the water’s edge.

10. North Carolina Museum of Art

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The NCMA houses a diverse and impressive collection of art spanning thousands of years. Explore the expansive galleries to see works ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to European Renaissance masterpieces, American art, African art, contemporary works, and more. The collection features renowned artists such as Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Auguste Rodin, and Titian, among others.

11. Frankie’s Fun Park

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12. Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden

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The garden is home to a diverse collection of rose varieties, showcasing an array of colors, fragrances, and bloom types. From vibrant reds and pinks to soft pastels and rich yellows, the roses create a stunning visual display and provide a feast for the senses. Take a leisurely stroll along the garden pathways to appreciate the beauty and variety of these enchanting flowers.

13. Shelley Lake Park

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The centerpiece of Shelley Lake Park is a 53-acre lake surrounded by a 2.2-mile paved trail. Take a leisurely walk or jog along the trail while enjoying the tranquil views of the lake and the surrounding natural scenery. The greenway also offers opportunities for cycling, rollerblading, and stroller-friendly walks.

14. WRAL Azalea Garden

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The garden features well-maintained landscapes with lush lawns, well-pruned trees, and carefully designed flower beds. The attention to detail and the artistic arrangement of plants create a visually appealing and harmonious environment. Enjoy the sight of perfectly manicured gardens as you explore the various sections of the WRAL Gardens.

15. Blue Jay Point County Park

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The park features a network of trails and nature walks that wind through forests, wetlands, and along the lake shore. Explore the trails at your own pace, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of nature. The trails are well-marked and vary in difficulty, making them suitable for hikers of all ages and skill levels.

16. Lake Lynn

File:Lake Lynn Raleigh.jpg

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Lynn_(Raleigh,_North_Carolina)

Lake Lynn features several picnic areas equipped with tables, grills, and scenic views. These spots offer a great opportunity to gather with family and friends for a picnic or cookout. Additionally, the park provides covered picnic shelters that can be reserved for larger gatherings or special events.

17. Historic Oak View County Park

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Historic Oak View County Park is home to a variety of farm animals, providing a delightful experience for visitors of all ages. Say hello to cows, goats, chickens, pigs, and other animals that reside in the park’s barns and pens. It’s a wonderful opportunity for children and adults alike to connect with and learn about farm animals.

18. Memorial Bell Tower

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The Memorial Bell Tower is an impressive Gothic-style structure that reaches a height of 115 feet. It features intricate stonework, pointed arches, and beautiful detailing. The tower’s design was inspired by the medieval cathedrals of Europe and serves as a symbol of strength, resilience, and remembrance.

19. Fletcher Park

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Fletcher Park is renowned for its beautifully manicured gardens and lush landscapes. The park features a stunning rose garden that showcases a variety of vibrant rose species and cultivars. Take a leisurely stroll through the garden and admire the colors and fragrances of the blooming roses. The park also offers well-maintained lawns, shade trees, and flowering plants, providing a serene and visually appealing environment.

These are just a few highlights of the best places to visit and things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or gastronomy, Raleigh has plenty to offer, ensuring a memorable visit to this dynamic and welcoming city.