Things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina in one day!


Hi guys! Hope you all are having great start to the summer! I wanted to share with you this week how I would spend time exploring Raleigh, North Carolina if I only had one day. I thought this might be hard because I’ve been exploring this city for over ten years now. Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard at all to come up with an itinerary. What I love about this post is, it would work for a family looking for a day of fun, a couple exploring together, or even just a solo trip! So, without further delay, let’s go explore Raleigh, North Carolina…

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

As most of you already know, Raleigh is the capitol of the state of North Carolina and is also the second most populous city after Charlotte. That makes the list of options finding things to do quite large, however, if you only have a few days or just even one day, here’s what I would do. First, visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. I have been here more times than I can count and I always learn something new and have never been disappointed! From dinosaurs to butterflies to my favorite, completely intact whale skeletons suspended from a very high ceiling (very impressive, gets me awestruck every time), you’ll be sure to find something that excites your senses! We just recently went and got to meet (pet) some animals…a baby alligator, a sea turtle, and even a snake (I opted out on petting that one, yuck.)

Travel Tip: Admission is free and if you plan a trip on the weekend, so is parking!! Also, make sure to click on the link I’ve provided to plan out your visit making the most out of your time…you wouldn’t want to miss out on petting a baby alligator, would you? 😉

**You might be ready for lunch after your morning of exploring and if you didn’t pack one, check out the link at the end of this post for some incredible options sure to please any of my foodie friends!**

Pullen Park

Next, let’s go to a place that will have your inner child screaming, “YES, let’s come out and play!!!” Seriously guys, my husband and I found Pullen Park  just this spring and it was an instant favorite of ours! We just had to come back with our kids, haha! Paddle boating on a lake, an indoor carousel that could compete with any that I’ve seen in the world and in movies, and a mini train that even adults can ride complete with train conductor, in full uniform, of course! Yes, please! You could easily spend hours here with your family, take romantic walks in the park having a beautiful backdrop for conversation, or even just finding some shade to read a book or relax a bit.

Travel Tip: If you plan on paddle boating, plan to visit on the weekends. The boats were unavailable for us to rent when we went on weekdays. However, hoping this isn’t the case for the summer months!

North Carolina Museum of Art

I’ve saved my favorite place for last and strategically listed it here because not only do I feel it should be explored just before closing time, it is only just a short drive from Pullen Park. North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA)  is my favorite place to explore in Raleigh because I get inspired to be near amazing artists and their creations! I adore learning about artists…their background, what inspires them, etc. I am such a visual learner, but also enjoy to actually see first hand the art I’m learning about. It literally makes me happy! I am not an art aficionado, if something doesn’t stick with me or stand out, I use google, just like most, to find out more on a particular artist or piece. You’ll usually find me in the impressionism section, or for this particular museum, you’ll also find me hanging outside in their beautiful courtyard area along with an impressive collection of Rodin sculptures. I also really enjoy their collection of modern art pieces, which for me, is hit or miss. Either I love modern art or I am very confused by it, haha! Anyone else?

Travel Tip: Plan extra time to explore their Museum Park, a beautiful outdoor setting that has amazing and unique art with an over 160 acre backdrop. Bring your bike, plan a picnic, or just wander about for a bit! It’s really something to see and experience for sure! 

Well, there you have it! My complete guide to a wander-filled day in Raleigh, NC. Oh, and just like I promised, here is a foodie guide to help satisfy those tummy rumbles too…Top 5 Places to Eat in Raleigh, North Carolina! Here’s another bonus recommendation if you’re in the mood for some yummy dumplings or noodles, try Chef David Mao’s Noodle Bar on 1900 Hillsborough St. The dumplings were exceptional; I’ll definitely be back for more! To get more free guides like this one, just click on the notify me by email box below and don’t forget to comment with any questions or suggestions that you might have! I absolutely love hearing from you all!

Happy exploring, friends!

1 Comment

  1. Joscelyn says:

    These are truly all the highlights of Raleigh! LOVE the NC Museum of Art and Pullen park was the kids’ favorite park in NC! The farmer’s market was another place I enjoyed visiting on the weekends. Definitely a great city to explore for the day 😉

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