The Top Things To See And Do In Raleigh, North Carolina

Jed Johnson

A wide variety of top-notch attractions is just what’s expected from one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. The state capital of North Carolina, Raleigh is a thriving university town with cultural, historic, and scenic offerings. Find out what to explore on your visit to Raleigh below.

Raleigh skyline

1. North Carolina Museum of History


Cataloguing the history of North Carolina from prehistory to the modern day, the North Carolina Museum of History has many permanent and special exhibitions for visitors of all ages. Most notably, it is the location of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, which has memorabilia from North Carolina’s roots in NASCAR, Arnold Palmer’s golf bag, and other pieces from Michael Jordan on permanent display. Make sure to see the outdoor exhibit History of the Harvest, located prominently along Bicentennial Plaza.

2. Raleigh Denim Workshop

Raleigh Denim Workshop

There aren’t many places in the U.S. where you can find American-made denim products, but Raleigh is one of those places where you can. Since 2007, the Raleigh Denim Workshop has allowed people to see how their jeans are actually sewn and manufactured. Additionally, the company sells their wares on-site at The Curatory, which offers chocolate, stationary, and other clothes in addition to their high-quality denim clothing. With products featured in GQ and Esquire, this relative newcomer to Downtown Raleigh is a definite must-see attraction.

Raleigh Denim Workshop, 319 W Martin St Raleigh, NC, USA, +1 919 917-8969

3. Pullen Park

Amusement Park, Park

Pullen Park
© -ted/Flickr
Located just to the west of Downtown Raleigh, Pullen Park has many of the city’s cultural attractions, as well as the majority of its green space. With year-round productions at Theatre in the Park, art classes at the Pullen Arts Center, and a large Aquatic Center, the park is busy during all four seasons. Be sure not to miss the antique hand-carved Pullen Park Carousel, where generations of Raleigh residents have enjoyed riding giraffes, ostriches, and ponies.

4. Videri Chocolate Factory


Videri Chocolate Factory

Another Raleigh establishment that shows the evolution of a product from raw materials to purchase ready, visitors to Videri Chocolate Factory can see organic cocoa beans transform into ready-to-eat chocolate bars. Using organic, fair-trade ingredients, this chocolaterie allows people to see every part of the chocolate-making process, from roasting to tempering and everything in between. There is no better way to enjoy chocolate, from pink-peppercorn to dark chocolate with sea salt, than to see it being made, purchasing the homemade bar, and dining on Videri’s outdoor patio.

Videri Chocolate Factory, 327 W Davie St Raleigh, NC, USA, +1 919 755-5053

5. North Carolina State Capitol Building


North Carolina State Capitol
© Jim Bowen/Flickr
A Greek Revival landmark completed in 1840, the North Carolina State Capitol Building is one of the centerpieces of Downtown Raleigh. Though no longer the seat of the state legislature of North Carolina, the landmark offers guided tours of now retired legislative chambers, with antique furniture still intact, along with the rest of the ornate structure. Tour the beautiful gardens surrounding the Capitol Building, as well as the stunning rotunda at the center.

6. City of Raleigh Museum

Museum, Store

City of Raleigh Museum

Originally a downtown hardware store in 1874 and the city’s first ‘skyscraper’, the City of Raleigh Museum is a comparatively new museum documenting the history and expansion of Raleigh from a tiny village to the very urban and cosmopolitan city it is today. With exhibits such as Latta’s Living Legacy, which chronicles the history of a former slave who founded one of Raleigh schools, and museum-run walking tours of Raleigh’s historic center, this little museum has a lot to offer a newcomer to Raleigh.

City of Raleigh Museum, 220 Fayetteville St #100 Raleigh, NC, USA, +1 919 996-2220

7. Deco Raleigh

Deco Raleigh

Featuring handmade goods and artwork from artisans in and near the Raleigh area, Deco Raleigh sells everything from jewelry to original paintings to pottery. Featuring over 60 artists and new works regularly, Deco Raleigh is one of the quirkiest and most unique stores you’ll find anywhere. Pick up White Whale cocktail mixers made in next-door Durham, North Carolina, or purchase a beautiful Zen Succulent terrarium in this Downtown Raleigh favorite.

Deco Raleigh, 19 W Hargett St Raleigh, NC, USA, +1 919 828-5484

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