Things to do in Raleigh-Durham

Things to Do Outdoors Around Raleigh and Durham

Here are 14 ways to explore the great outdoors throughout the Triangle.

Raleigh and Durham for the History Buff

Love history? You'll love this area, which is stacked with antebellum historic sites that reveal stories and characters of the South.

Things to Do Around Raleigh and Durham

A cross-section of fun, must-see attractions and activities across the Triangle.

Things to Do With Kids Around Raleigh and Durham

From interactive museums to greenways and natural playscapes, here are fun places and things to do with kids around the Triangle.

About Raleigh-Durham

Named for the geographical connection of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, the Triangle region is home to North Carolina’s capital, three prestigious universities, 2 million residents and the Research Triangle Park, which accommodates more than 200 high-tech companies. Founded in 1792 as the capital of North Carolina, Raleigh grew from the purchase of 1,000 acres by settler Joel Lane, who successfully lobbied to create Wake County on his land in 1770. Today, Raleigh’s educated population, high-tech entrepreneurial spirit and southern hospitality welcome visitors to diverse cultural events, museums, historic sites, parks and cuisine options. About 25 miles east of Raleigh, a city once firmly entrenched in the tobacco industry is now celebrated for restoring its tobacco warehouse district into class A office space, entertainment venues and residential units. Durham’s American Tobacco Historic District brims with shoppers, diners and businesses, and is also home to Durham Bulls Athletic Park, where the Durham Bulls — a Tampa Bay Rays affiliate and a member of the Triple-A International League — play baseball. Chapel Hill was named after New Hope Chapel, which stood upon a hill at the crossing of two primary roads, where The Carolina Inn now stands. Created to serve the University of North Carolina, which was established in 1789, Chapel Hill now accommodates 60,000 residents, half of which attend the university.

The Triangle’s Culture

Throughout all four seasons, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding towns like Cary, Apex, Holly Springs and Wake Forest, host festivals and cultural events like Artsplosure, the North Carolina State Fair and the Bull Durham Blues Festival. Get your science fix at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh or the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, and explore an expansive permanent art collection as well as a park that invites visitors to the explore art by foot or bike art at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. Southern barbecue options are plentiful, and Atlantic Coast Conference college sports are alive and well at Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

Essential Experiences

From locomotives to lemurs, you’ll find a diverse range of ways to have fun in the Triangle. Experience Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, a 55-acre complex of public botanical gardens located on the Duke University Campus. While you’re in Durham, leap over to the Duke Lemur Center, home to the world’s largest and most diverse collection of lemurs outside of Madagascar. In Raleigh, walk down Fayetteville Street to the historic North Carolina State Capitol where you can tour the building and grounds. Hop on a Historic Raleigh Trolley, which departs from Mordecai Historic Park March-December, for a more comprehensive view of the city. Be sure to drive by the governor’s Victorian-style Executive Mansion on North Blount Street, which is located on the National Register of Historic Places.

Where to Explore

Discover progressive restaurant concepts in Raleigh’s trendy Glenwood South and Warehouse districts, and enjoy a Durham Bull’s baseball game or live concert in Durham’s American Tobacco Historic District. Contrast the historic campuses of UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University with North Carolina State University’s high-tech Centennial Campus. Shoppers will delight in the offerings at Cameron Village or North Hills in Raleigh, Brightleaf District in Durham and Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Surrounding towns’ downtown districts also offer unique boutiques and dining experiences. The Triangle’s mild climate facilitates outdoor explorations year-round. Hike or bike through one of many parks and greenway systems located throughout the area, such as the American Tobacco Trail, which extends 22 miles in parts of Durham, Cary and Apex along scenic pathways that once supported train trestles.

Latest Raleigh-Durham travel ideas & articles

The Top 10 Instagram-Worthy Photo Spots in Raleigh

Grab your smartphone and head out to these iconic photo spots

Chocolatiers of the Triangle

Where chocolate lovers' of the Raleigh-Durham area can find artisan delights

10 Places to Hike Near Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill

Get some fresh air at one of these local hikes, perfect for all ages.

10 Hot Restaurants in the Triangle to Try Right Now

Innovative chefs join the Triangle's culinary scene with inventive flavors and global cuisine.

An Essential Guide to Business Travel in Raleigh

Where to stay and have fun around town in Raleigh, North Carolina

Romantic Getaways in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill

Opt for back-to-nature, urban and luxurious escapes

Enjoy a Dog-Friendly Day in Raleigh

Dig into art, history, architecture and food with your four-legged friend.

Triangle Wineries to Explore and Enjoy

From Cary to Silk Hope, enjoy a locally grown glass of wine during your visit to the Raleigh-Durham area

The 8 Coolest Places to Explore in the Triangle

From lemurs and bees to steam engines and scientific research centers, these Triangle treasures offer diverse experiences for all interests and ages.

In the Raleigh-Durham Area, a Craft Brewing Explosion

A new wave of Triangle breweries are creating inventive ales and earning national recognition.

8 Places to Find Handmade North Carolina Gifts

Shops Offer Jewelry, Pottery, Art, Books and Foods Crafted in North Carolina