5 Essential Experiences in Raleigh, NC


When you travel to any city, it’s not enough to visit a few tourist attractions — you should take time to truly see what makes the place unique. Raleigh, North Carolina, has a lot to offer, no matter what your interests are. Here are a few essential experiences in Raleigh you won’t want to miss out on.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Image via Flickr by Giselle Leung

A natural sciences museum is always a go-to destination for families, but adults will enjoy it, too. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the oldest museum in the state, and it is impossible to miss when you drive by, thanks to the huge globe marking the corner of the building. Inside, you can explore the state’s natural treasures, find out what makes the coast region special, study locally-mined gemstones, and explore the deep sea. The museum also houses collections of live reptiles and amphibians, butterflies, and fish. Featured exhibitions change periodically; “Mazes and Brain Games” is on hand for most of 2018.

Historic City Market

Shop till you drop at Raleigh’s Historic City Market. Built in 1914, the market was soon filled with merchants selling fresh produce, seafood, poultry, flowers, baked goods, and more. It closed down in 1957, but was reopened in 1990 and now hosts dozens of tenants. These include art boutiques and collectibles shops, restaurants, and cafes. The second floor is filled with professional office suites. Enjoy a wide variety of food including sushi, Italian, pub grub, and fine dining.

Raleigh Beer Garden

Where can you go to find over 350 different beers on tap? Raleigh Beer Garden offers the world’s largest draft beer selection. The number of beers they sell is so enormous that they don’t even print a paper menu; an updated list is available on their website. Along with the brews, they have a selection of delicious food including appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and pizza.

Videri Chocolate Factory

Chocolate lovers shouldn’t miss the Videri Chocolate Factory. This family-owned manufacturer uses only the finest cocoa beans, which are also organic and free-trade whenever possible. The chocolate is created from start to finish, from roasting to tempering, right on-site. They welcome visitors to tour the factory floor to witness the magical process. In the retail store, you can purchase a variety of chocolate bars, candies, gift baskets, and drinks. Take a break at the coffee bar, or bring your treats outside to relax on the outdoor patio.

Historic Yates Mill County Park

Don’t leave the Raleigh area without soaking in some history and nature. At the Yates Mill County Park, you can see the last water-powered grist mill in Wake County. Take a tour of the mill, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The 174-acre park has many lovely trails for walking through the woods as well.

Staying in Raleigh

You have many choices when booking a hotel in Raleigh. Accommodations range from budget options to more-luxurious suites. Take some time to check out the hotels near the attractions that interest you most. Wherever you stay, there are also plenty of dining options from fast food to fine dining.