10 FREE Things to do in Raleigh NC

With Summer finally here, there are lots of things to do in Raleigh, and in this post I have curated a list of fun things to do in Raleigh that won’t put a strain on your wallet this Summer.

Dorthea Dix Park, Raleigh, NC
  1. Hiking
    • Umstead State Park has many trails, long and short, for anybody interested in hiking there. The best part is that this state park is centrally located to the Raleigh area.
    • Raven Rock State Park is about 45-60 min South of Raleigh. One of the main trails in the park takes you on a hike along the Cape Fear River. There is also a campsite that you can hike into at Raven Rock if that’s what you’re into.
  2. Take a picnic to the park
    • Pack a lunch and head out to one of Raleigh’s many amazing parks, the top 3 being Lake Johnson park, Pullen park, and Laurel Hills park.
    • Lake Johnson park and Lake Wheeler park have kayak paddle board rentals. $15/hour for paddle boards and $7.50/hour for single kayaks.
  3. Art Date
    • This one kinda ties into the picnic in a park idea. Take along some art supplies on your trip to the park and draw or paint what you see around you.
    • Dorthea Dix Park will have sunflowers again this summer, and they think they will be blooming in mid-July. What an awesome painting session would that make, right?!
  4. Morning or Evening Yoga classes at Dix Park
    • They have classes Monday and Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm, and they also have Youth Yoga classes in the mornings some weekends.
  5. NC Museum of Natural Sciences & NC Museum of History
    • These two museums are amazing and they are right across the way from one another. The history museum open at 9AM and the science museum opens at 10AM. They both take some time to walk through if you want to see everything. Being that admission is free to both museums you can always come back another day if you don’t get around to seeing everything. The museums close at 5, and the last time we went, time flew by while we were inside looking at everything. They are also both closed on Mondays.
  6. North Carolina Museum of Art
    • The art museum has a permanent free exhibit and they feature different ticketed events throughout the year that will cost you. They also have a great artsy outdoor area that is free to walk through.
  7. First Fridays in Downtown Raleigh
    • Art galleries have extended hours on the first Friday of each month where they feature rotating exhibits in Downtown Raleigh. Some stores and restaurants even offer discounts and specials on First Friday’s, but if you just want to take in some art and live music this monthly event is perfect.
  8. Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden
    • A beautiful historic garden with many different flower varieties blooming from May until Fall. What a great spot for a Summer-y photoshoot!
  9. The Raleigh Market
    • Saturday and Sunday from 9am-5pm at the NC State Fairgrounds there is a flea market along with a bunch of vendors selling their products, food, and antiques. Parking and admission are free, and it’s pretty cool to just go walk around.
  10. JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State
    • Spend a couple hours walking through the garden on a nice day. NC State has cultivated this garden around plants that are great for landscaping in the piedmont region. Visiting a few times a year is great because they scenery and what’s in bloom is always changing at the Arboretum.
Raleigh, North Carolina
  • BONUS: Historic Yates Mill County Park
    • The oldest running gristmill in Wake county. Restored from the 18th century. The trails located around the mill are easy with beautiful nature scenes.

I hope you go out and explore all the things Raleigh has to offer this summer season. Let me know where you go and how it is!

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