While Raleigh is one of the biggest cities in North Carolina and the state capitol, it isn’t considered a major tourist destination. But, Raleigh has a lot of fun and unusual destinations that you can’t find anywhere else in the state. A hub for tech, healthcare, arts and culture, Raleigh prides itself on its cultural diversity.
If you’re thinking of visiting the City of Oaks, there’s no shortage of activities and places to check out. But, some are more catered to tourists and out-of-towners than others. Our list will focus on locally-owned, classic staples that really show the character of Raleigh. Here are 6 fun and unusual things to do in Raleigh.
CHECK OUT ALL THE FREE MUSEUMS
If you’re traveling on a budget, Raleigh has a lot of low-cost and free attractions. If you enjoy art, history, science or just appreciate a good museum experience, check out one of the many free museums around the city. The NC Museum of Art, History and Natural Sciences, as well as the City of Raleigh museum are all free to the public.
The NC Museum of Art also has a spacious outdoor sculpture garden complete with plenty of open green space and walking trails. The art museum’s outdoor amphitheater also hosts a wide variety of concerts, movie nights and theatrical productions.
The NC Museum of Natural History, Natural Sciences and the City of Raleigh museums are conveniently located in the heart of downtown Raleigh. The museums are within walking distance from some of Raleigh’s best local restaurants and bars.
ENJOY A HEMP-INFUSED DRINK AT THE BURNT POT
The Burnt Pot is Raleigh’s first private cannabis bar and lounge. Recently opened in North Raleigh, The Burnt Pot is a hemp-lovers dream. They offer a wide selection of CBD, delta-8 THC and compliant delta-9 THC drinks and baked goods. The best part is, all of their creations are made with nano-emulsified extract.
Nano-emulsified cannabis products are water-soluble and kick in much faster than traditional edibles. So, you can sip on a delta-8 infused drink and start to feel the effects within just a few minutes. Hang out inside the lounge and play some Mario Kart, or chill outside on their patio.
Their dispensary, Modern Apotheca is right next door and has a wide selection of delta-8, delta-9 and CBD options if you need more hemp products.
TAKE A HIKE
Raleigh and its surrounding areas are home to countless parks and nature preserves. If you’re visiting Raleigh and want to spend time in the great outdoors, consider some of these options:
- William B. Umstead State Park: accessible from I-40 and US 70, Umstead has over 5,000 acres of hiking trails, bike trails, camping and picnic areas. They also offer boat rentals and equestrian activities.
- Durant Nature Preserve: With over 200 acres of hiking trails, bird and butterfly gardens, lakes and picnic areas, Durant Nature Preserve is the perfect spot for a family outing. Its hiking trails are filled with wildflowers, native hardwoods, wetlands and lakes. You can also rent one of their beautiful pavilions for events and picnics.
- Lake Johnson: One of Raleigh’s many beautiful city parks, Lake Johnson is surrounded by over three miles of unpaved and paved nature trails, with a serene view of the lake. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Raleigh and NC State.
FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK
Raleigh has long been known for its thriving arts scene. If you’re looking to explore Raleigh’s many galleries and art shops, head downtown for First Friday. All of downtown’s galleries and shops open up to showcase new artists, exhibitions and performances.
Popular art galleries like Artspace, City Market Artist Collective and 311 Gallery have open houses complete with free drinks and opportunities to network with local artists and makers. Many downtown restaurants also have extra sidewalk seating for outdoor dining. Head downtown to explore on the first Friday of every month.
THE CITY OF FESTIVALS
If you love music and arts festivals, Raleigh is the place for you. During the warmer months, Raleigh hosts a wide variety of large events. Artsplosure Arts Festival, Dreamville Music Festival, IBMA World of Bluegrass and Hopscotch Music Festival are just a few annual events hosted in the City of Oaks.
Most of Raleigh’s festivals take place in the spring or fall months, and are located right in downtown or the surrounding area for easy access to restaurants, bars and other attractions. Dreamville Fest takes place in beautiful Dix Park. Parking for many of these events may be limited, so consider using Uber or Lyft, or carpool for easier parking.
Whatever you enjoy doing, Raleigh will have something fun for you to do! If you’re in town and need some delta-8 and CBD products delivered, check out Modern Apotheca or stop by The Burnt Pot for a refreshing delta-8 or CBD drink.