Fun Things To Do In Raleigh With Kids Family Friendly Activities
- Christina Rado
Raleigh, nicknamed The City of Oaks, is the capital city of North Carolina.
It is known for its numerous magnificent oak trees, and as the second-largest city in North Carolina, Raleigh has limitless attractions for your whole family to enjoy.
Whatever age your kids may be, Raleigh has something to offer for all ages, whether it be amusement parks, museums, trolley tours, or many other options.
If you want to take your loved ones on the vacation of a lifetime in Raleigh, below is a list of fun things to do in Raleigh with kids.
Annual Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour Dec 10 & 11 2022
- Where: Historic Oakwood District
- Website: HistoricOakwood.org
Get your tickets early for this classic of Raleigh events, the very popular walking tour of the Historic Oakwood Neighborhood for their annual Candlelight Tour.
We absolutely love it. It was in an effort to save the neighborhood from being torn down for new development.
Dozens of Victorian, Queen Anne, and Craftsman architectural style properties open their doors to visitors to see their stunning interior designs and elaborate Christmas decorations, as well as learning more about the history behind each house. This is one way to feel more connected to the Raleigh community and why its so great!
You need at least 4-hours to visit every home. Start with a drink at Pelagic Beer and Wine on North Person St, one of the coolest neighborhood watering holes in Raleigh.
Outdoor Exhibit: Nc State University Animal And Poultry Waste Management Center Processing Facility At Lake Wheeler
- One full registration pass
- Mutually agreed upon outdoor space
- Program, directory, and verbal recognition
- Requirements and additional fees will be determined as demonstrations are planned.
- Electrical power is at the exhibitor’s expense
- An indoor exhibit space will be available at the Raleigh Convention Center
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For Those Who Love Music
The first Friday of each month is a special day in Raleigh, NC. It’s a great way to experience Downtown Raleigh, with live music, great people, and a lot of fun lining the streets of Raleigh. First Friday in Raleigh, NC is a free self-guided tour of downtown’s hot spots, local art galleries, studios, museums, and more!
The events typically run until 9 pm, though the hours may vary between locations.
Many restaurants, retailers, and bars will support First Friday in Raleigh with specials for those participating in the affair. First Friday flags are easy to spot outside participating venues.
Here are the participating venues for First Friday in Downtown Raleigh, NC!
Concerts / Live Music
Live music is by far and away one of the best things to do in Raleigh! You can find it almost anywhere around the city whether it’s at a concert venue, or simply a restaurant turned live music/bar on a weekend.
Raleigh has the most music in N.C. and plays host to a wide variety of artists. You will find mainstream artists like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, or local live music cover bands all playing in the area.
North Carolina Symphony
Morehead Planetarium And Science Center
The Morehead Building houses the GSK Fulldome Theater, as well as the Science Stage, exhibits, and Morehead classrooms. The UNC Visitors Center, Morehead-Cain Foundation and UNC Morehead Observatory are also in the Morehead Building.Morehead’s programs include classes for adults and children, special courses for teachers, summer camps for children, afterschool programs, memberships, public viewings of astronomical events and public lectures.
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Taking A Drive Around The City
The classic driving around and blasting music is something that can be made more interesting, especially in a nice city like Raleigh. You are sure to find some super romantic places in Raleigh just by driving around!
This activity does not include alcohol of course, but the two of you can have rap battles, sing at the top of your lungs, or sing your favorite songs while cruising around the city.
This could be a good activity on the commute to any of the suggestions above.
Visit The City Of Raleigh Museum
Among other spectacular historic structures in Raleigh, The Mordecai House is a unique home worth checking out while you are in the city.
Completed in 1785, The Mordecai House is the oldest surviving building in the entire Raleigh and now a National Historic Landmark.
The house was built separately by Joel Lane and was initially a plantation many years ago before being transformed into a beautiful park and museum.
A fantastic area to explore, Mordecai Square Historical Park has many educational opportunities for its visitors.
The Mordecai House was the exact birthplace of the late President Andrew Johnson. A perfect way to explore this area is joining the Historic Raleigh Trolley Tours, which begins and ends at the Mordecai House.
This is sure one of the best fun things to do in downtown Raleigh as there are also many amazing sights, beautiful to behold.
Address: 1 Mimosa St, Raleigh, NC 27604, USA
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Date Ideas In Raleigh: Romantic Things To Do In Raleigh
All in all, Raleigh has a wide variety of romantic things to do for couples with any interests. Whether it be outdoors or indoors, these date ideas are perfect for any weather occasion, any special occasion, or any time of year.
These dates range from formal to casual, cheap or expensive, and exciting or relaxing. Sometimes, the simplest things bring the most joy to a person.
If you are looking for more romantic things to do in NC, you might also like to check out romantic things to do in Asheville and romantic things to do in Wilmington! As well as Date Ideas in Charlotte of course.
New Years Eve At Glenwood Social Club
Looking to go somewhere with your friends to celebrate the new year that the entry cost doesnt break the bank? Head on over to Glenwood Social Club as theyre bringing you a little piece of NYC to Raleigh! Its a lounge bar featuring hand crafted cocktails, stone oven pizza, live music, and sip on some of the best selected wines or local beers! Dress up and kickback and start the year off right with the ones that made 2021 a good one! Also check out one of their sister bars Milk bar and Dogwood to celebrate this NYE.
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North Carolina Executive Mansion
Jill Lang / Shutterstock
Raleigh is full of historic estates that are fit for a king.
The North Carolina Executive Mansion is one of the most enticing of these tourist attractions.
If you love elaborate real estate, one of the most enjoyable activities in Raleigh is touring the North Carolina Executive Mansion.
This is the place the states governors have called home from 1891 and on.
More than two dozen state leaders have called it home since its founding.
Residing here is a badge of honor, not only for it signifying ones political power but also for its fine Victorian architecture.
Going on a tour of the Executive Mansion puts you near generations of greatness.
If you want to see this mansion, you should start planning today, as tours must be scheduled at least two weeks ahead.
The Executive Mansion has been called the most beautiful governors residence interior in America by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and we hope youll see why.
Address: 200 N Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA
Pit Authentic Bbq Restaurant
Downtown Raleigh loves its barbecue, and they dont do it by half. At the Pit Authentic Barbecue on West Davie Street, only a whole hog roast will do.
Following the North Carolina states traditional method of pit-barbecuing, the Pit serves up pulled pork, racks of ribs in multiple combinations, smoked meatloaf, and blackened salmon. Its not all meat, and there are vegan options of pit-grilled tofu or soy nuggets too along with a staggering fifteen sides and countless salads to choose from.
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Have Breakfast At Tupelo Honey
Make your way just about a mile from downtown Raleigh to Tupelo Honey. This southern restaurant serves up a mean southern breakfast with most of your morning favorites available.
To avoid having to wait, I recommend making a reservation in advance. Then nothing stands between you waking up and their delicious biscuits, chicken and waffles, omelettes, and more!
Urban Air Adventure Park
The new Urban Air Raleigh offers a huge selection of unique attractions that bring a one-of-a-kind experience to thrill seekers of all ages! From trampolines and virtual reality adventures to a Warrior course and flipping bumper cars with an attitude, there is something for everyone! And, dont forget our Sky Rider that lets you soar over the entire park. At Urban Air, we take fun to new heights!
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Biking On Hillsborough Street With Citrix Rental Bikes
These bikes are located up and down Hillsborough Street near North Carolina State University, a perfect way to get around the area and explore the many hip places located around the university.
Cruising around the city on these bikes is perfect for a nice summer day and great to do after that nice cup of coffee in the morning.
This activity is more on the relaxing side, perfect for a fun and casual date. The bikes are two dollars a ride making it affordable for those on a tight budget.
Yates Mill County Park
A visit to Historic Yates Mill County Park has long topped our list of favorite places to go in Raleigh. Its such a serene park and home to one of the citys most photogenic spots.
Yates Mill is also great for soaking up the sound of falling water. The fully restored 1756 gristmill is only five miles south of Downtown Raleigh and offers mill tours every weekend from March to .
You can also take a stroll around the pond to see the mill from all angles!
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Spring Daze Arts And Crafts Festival April 30 2022
- Website: TownOfCary.org
The annual Spring Daze Arts and Crafts Festival is back in the beautiful Bond Park. Its a festival that celebrates an active lifestyle, community connectedness, and the artistry and creativity of our region.
Grab a local brew and wander around browsing the stalls of more than 170 local artists from across North Carolina. Youll find art-paintings, jewelry, sculptures and more.
There are plenty of food vendors, activities for the kids and a stage with local music all day. We have not yet done Spring Daze, but we have done Lazy Daze several times and love it .
Stop At Angus Barn For Dinner
As you arrive into Raleigh, start your vacation out right by treating yourself to one of the best restaurants in Raleigh, the Angus Barn. This Raleigh restaurant is a staple that has been around for years and is constantly rated one of the best steakhouses in the area. Youll be pleasantly surprised by this restaurant, which is housed in a big red barn.
To make your meal a bit more affordable, you can have dinner at the Wild Turkey Bar & Lounge inside. And, if youre visiting around Christmas time, youre in for a treat as they go all out in their decorating. Just make sure to make a reservation in advance as it does book up!
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Stop At The Pit For Authentic Carolina Bbq For Lunch
When visiting the south, youll have to try one of the most popular foods barbecue. The Pit is the best place to get barbecue in downtown Raleigh as it serves authentic whole-hog, pit-cooked BBQ with a wide range of tasty southern side dishes.
Try the skillet cornbread, pimento cheese balls, fried green tomatoes, mac & cheese, hush puppies, collard greens, and more! Not to mention, youll have the opportunity to learn the difference between the eastern-style NC barbecue sauce and the western-style NC barbecue sauce.
Where To Stay In Raleigh For Sightseeing
Raleigh’s main tourist attractions, including Historic Oakwood, the State Capitol, and most of the museums, are located downtown. For first-time visitors, this is the best place to stay. Luxury and mid-range hotels are generally found near the convention center, and the prices drop as you head out towards Interstate 440. Sports fans may want to stay to the west by PNC Arena, near North Carolina State Museum. Below are some highly rated hotels in good locations:
- A great-value option just two miles to the south is the Red Roof PLUS+. This hotel has recently been renovated and offers pet-friendly rooms.
- Just over ten minutes to the northwest of downtown is the Candlewood Suites. A good choice for families, this hotel has a variety of suites, all with kitchens.
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Downtown Raleigh Tree Lighting Celebration
- Where: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
A great way to kick-off the holiday season is the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Downtown Raleigh at the Duke Energy Center.
The tree will be surrounded by the Triangle Pop-Up holiday market and a stage with live performances. You can do some Christmas shopping, have photos with Santa, and dance to a few Christmas tunes.
Check your local municipality for their annual tree lighting celebration as well. North Hills and Cary have popular ones.
A Drink At The Green Light
Located in downtown Raleigh, The Green Light is a spectacular bar voted by Architectural Digest to be one of the countrys best speakeasies.
The Green Light is a minibar within the Architect Bar, hidden up a narrow set of stairs behind a bookcase.
The bar offers some of the best cocktails in the city, and its interior is quite quirky, with the walls covered in reclaimed wood reflecting the attributes of the 1922 building that houses it.
The Green Light is a cool place to have a drink with its comforting bar-like atmosphere complemented with great music, dim lights, refined collection of craft beers, and superb cocktails.
Address: 108 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601
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Stroll Through Historic Oakwood
Historic Oakwood sits on the east side of downtown Raleigh and is home to the largest intact 19th century residential neighborhood in North Carolina. This makes it the perfect place to take a walk and admire the beautiful architecture.
To see the best of Historic Oakwood, you can take a self-guided walking tour. It will guide you down the beautiful tree-lined streets and give you the history of the homes and insight into the prominent residents who once occupied them.
Explore William B Umstead State Park
If you are looking for a place to have a fun outdoor time, then you should add a visit to William B. Umstead State Park to your list of things to do in Raleigh.
Covering about 6,000 acres of land space, William B Umstead State Park is an outdoor fun area nestled between Raleigh, Durham, Cary, and Durham, in the state of North Carolina.
The park is located in an easy to find destination and showcases the beautiful gifts of nature of Raleigh and North Carolina in general.
This Parks outstanding features are neatly connected trails suitable for hiking, biking, strolling, and horseback riding.
The park also boasts camping, boat rentals, designated picnic areas, and various educational programs.
Visit the William B Umstead State Park to behold the lakes beautiful views and have some quiet time in the various nature-filled serene environment.
Address:8801 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617
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Alamo Draft House Cinema Raleigh
This unique experience is perfect for a relaxing night out with your partner. Ranging from new films to classic films, there is also a selection of cocktails and food served seat-side.
Whether you like classic films or newer films, this is a good location to go to for a romantic movie night. The plus is that alcohol and food are available with a good movie. This movie theater is located in East Raleigh, and is a great place for a good night.
The Pits Cuegrass Festival April 16 2022
Image by The Pitt BBQ
- Where: Fayetteville St and Hargett St, 12pm-6pm
- Website: CueGrass.com
When you hear the words North Carolina, what do you think of? Barbecue and Bluegrass of course!
The annual Cuegrass festival hosted by The Pit Authentic BBQ in the Warehouse District is a celebration of those two things with two stages of bluegrass music and Eastern Carolina style BBQ. And beer! We cant forget North Carolinas great brews. You can get that too.
They are also partnering with Marbles Kids Museum to bring a Kids Zone with extra games, inflatables, and activities.
- Website: ShopRaleigh.org/brewgaloo
Beer lovers will know that it wasnt that long ago that they were reveling on Fayetteville St filled to the brim with good quality local brew. Why should we have to wait a year for that kind of fun?
Brewgaloo is back in its usual April position with a fun two-day event. Thanks to COVID it was on just six months ago on the tail end of summer in September. Time to kick-off the season with a frothy head from one of the many Raleigh breweries plus taste beer from around North Carolina at the 2nd biggest beer fest in the USA and one of the best downtown Raleigh events!
The Friday Night Block Party features all-you-can-sample 3 oz pours. Tickets are $45 online in advance or $55 on the day of the event.
The Saturday Street Festival is FREE to enter, and drinks are available for purchase in 3 oz samples or by the pint . Drink tickets will be sold in bundles of 15 or 25.
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