36 Unique & Fun Things to Do in Raleigh at Night| 2024 (with Photos)

Nataša Obradovic

Nataša Obradovic - Travel Writer

Published: July 25, 2023

Hey there! I'm Natasha, a passionate traveler who has explored the vibrant city of Raleigh extensively. I'm excited to share with you my hand-picked selection of fun activities to enjoy in Raleigh at night, complete with captivating photos to inspire your nighttime adventures.

Raleigh at Night

Raleigh, North Carolina, is a bustling city with plenty of exciting activities to enjoy, even after the sun goes down.

From exploring the city's history through guided tours to taking in a show at the North Carolina Museum of Art, there are so many fun places to visit for free and fun things to do in Raleigh city at night.

Downtown Raleigh is also home to many great eateries, bars, and clubs, making it a perfect destination for a night out on the town.

This article details 36 unique and fun things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the afternoon, evening, and night.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Top Choice Hotel


Our Top Choice Restaurant

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Best Time to Visit

Spring and autumn offer mild weather

Average Temperature

Raleigh has a humid subtropical climate

Transportation Options

Buses, taxis, rideshares, bikes, scooters

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

A must-do activity here is visiting the North Carolina Museum of Art, where you can immerse yourself in an incredible collection of artworks while strolling through beautiful sculpture gardens.

To further enhance your stay in Raleigh, make sure to embark on a leisurely stroll through the charming Pullen Park and indulge in a delightful picnic by the serene lake.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes
  2. Lightweight clothing for warm weather
  3. Sunscreen and sunglasses

What Not to Miss

  1. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
  2. Pullen Park
  3. Historic Oakwood
  4. PNC Arena
  5. William B. Umstead State Park

What to Avoid

  1. Heavy traffic and congested areas
  2. High crime areas or unsafe neighborhoods
  3. Overpriced tourist traps

1. Visit The North Carolina State Capitol

North Carolina State Capitol

The North Carolina State Capitol is an essential stop for anybody interested in the state's history. Raleigh is a great place to learn about the politics of North Carolina.

The capitol building in downtown Raleigh has been beautifully rebuilt to look like it did in the 1840s, and it also houses historical exhibits.

The State Capitol is a fantastic place to witness the political history of the state because visitors may take guided trips to learn more about the history and significance of the structure. The Capitol closes at 5, so this can be an afternoon stop before you head out for the night.

So, if you're considering a vacation to Raleigh, be sure to include a stop at the North Carolina State Capitol on your itinerary.

2. North Carolina Museum Of History

North Carolina Museum Of History

Also closing at 5 pm, the North Carolina (NC) Museum of History is a wonderful place to visit if you want to learn more about North Carolina's history.

This museum offers a comprehensive look at the state's past, from pre-colonial times to the present day.

Exhibits on subjects including early Native American civilizations, the Civil War, and other topics are available for visitors to explore.

This place offers an immersive experience that will take visitors back in time with interactive exhibits and interesting programming.

Be sure to put an excursion to this institution on your agenda if you're in North Carolina.

3. Ghosts And Dark History Tour

Ghosts And Dark History Tour

Consider joining a Ghosts and Dark History Tour if you're seeking a fascinating and exciting way to experience Raleigh, NC.

This trip takes you through Raleigh's spooky side at night, stopping at a number of eerie structures and places with troubling histories.

Your guide will tell creepy tales and folklore about the region as you tour these eerie locations.

Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to take pictures of the places you visit, capturing the eerie ambiance of this unforgettable night tour.

So, if you're up for it, sign up for a Ghosts and Dark History Tour and discover Raleigh's eerie side.

4. JC Raulston Arboretum

JC Raulston Arboretum

For those who enjoy plants and the outdoors, the JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University offers a lovely and tranquil retreat.

Visitors can enjoy this breathtaking arboretum's enormous collection of plants from all over the world because it is open all year long and is free to the general public.

The JC Raulston Arboretum offers a range of events throughout the year, in addition to its natural beauty, such as educational tours.

A trip to the JC Raulston Arboretum is advised while in Raleigh, whether you're an enthusiastic gardener or just like being outside. This attraction closes at 4:30 pm or 5 pm, depending on the day.

5. North Carolina Museum of Art

North Carolina Museum of Art

The North Carolina Museum of Art is among the many places to see in Raleigh, NC.

Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, and Georgia O'Keeffe are just a few of the well-known painters whose works may be found in this cultural institution's outstanding collection of artwork and artifacts from around the globe.

Its exhibits are truly one of the finest cultural institutions in the whole state.

The museum closes at 5 pm, meaning it is a great afternoon stop before an evening of fun in Raleigh.

Additionally, admission to the permanent collection is free, making it an affordable and accessible outing for all. 

6. Carolina Gourmet Food Tours

Carolina Gourmet Food Tours

Consider joining The Carolina Gourmet Food Tours if you're searching for a unique and delectable experience in Raleigh.

This trip is a great way to try the regional food and find new North Carolina dining spots that you'll enjoy.

You embark on a culinary odyssey while on the tour, visiting some of the greatest eateries in the area.

The Carolina Gourmet Food Tours is certain to be a highlight of your trip to Raleigh thanks to its expert guides and meticulously planned schedule.

To enjoy some of the best cuisines the city has to offer, reserve your space today.

7. The Mordecai House

Mordecai House

In North Carolina, the Mordecai House is a recognized national historic landmark.

As Raleigh's oldest residence, it provides tourists with a special window into the area's history and culture.

This late 1700s mansion has been kept and refurbished to highlight its original architecture and design.

Visitors can join tours to discover the history of the city and the lovely gardens that surround the home. The grounds' opening hours are from dawn till dusk, so you can enjoy a quiet evening in the gardens in Raleigh.

The Mordecai House is unquestionably interesting and educational. Take a trip down there to learn about its history in real time.

8. Marbles Kids Museum

Marbles Kids Museum

The Marbles Kids Museum, a non-profit organization with a location in downtown Raleigh, is devoted to inspiring and educating children via engaging exhibitions.

The museum provides interactive opportunities for kids to learn and have fun while putting a focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).

There are numerous activities in Raleigh for kids of all ages to enjoy, including a huge marble run and a kid-sized grocery shop.

This place is an excellent destination for families visiting Raleigh who are looking for an engaging and educational experience for their children.

This attraction closes at 3 pm or 4 pm, depending on the day. Then, you can take the kids home and get ready for a night on the town.

9. Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) of Raleigh

Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) of Raleigh

The Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) of Raleigh serves as a focal point for cultural activities and exhibitions of contemporary art in Raleigh, NC.

At CAM, there are frequently changing exhibits of artwork created by regional and international artists in a range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, and more.

CAM provides a range of educational programs and workshops for individuals of all ages and backgrounds as part of its objective to encourage creativity and introduce people to contemporary art.

A trip to the CAM is essential if you want to take in Raleigh's thriving contemporary art scene. Closing at 5 pm, this attraction will get you ready for an evening dinner and drinks.

10. Take a Trip to Lake Johnson

Lake Johnson

Lake Johnson is a beautiful natural oasis located in the heart of Raleigh, NC.

A leisurely bike ride or stroll around the lake allows visitors to soak in the beautiful scenery. Families can enjoy the numerous playgrounds and picnic spaces.

There are chances to rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards for individuals who enjoy water sports.

For those seeking to get away from the bustle of the city and spend some quiet time in nature, Lake Johnson is the ideal place.

11. Videri Chocolate Factory

Videri Chocolate Factory

The Videri Chocolate Factory in Raleigh, NC is a popular destination for chocolate lovers.

Five days a week, this factory offers tours of the manufacturing procedure so that customers may learn how the chocolate is manufactured and sample some of their delectable products.

In addition to the factory, there is a retail shop and cafe where guests can buy chocolates and sip coffee or hot chocolate.

This chocolate factory is a great mid-day activity for anyone exploring Raleigh because it is open from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm - allowing visitors to buy chocolate treats for their late-night tour in Raleigh, NC.

12. Pope House Museum

Pope House Museum

Pope House Museum is a historic home that belonged to a prominent African American family and is now a museum open for free to visitors.

It provides a window into the African American history of the city and is situated on Wilmington St. in Raleigh, NC.

The museum chronicles Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope's life and times, as well as his family's involvement in civil rights advocacy and education.

You can go through the rooms and exhibits that have been conserved, find out about their lives, and get a feel for what it was like to live in Raleigh at that time.

13. North Carolina Executive Mansion

North Carolina Executive Mansion

The North Carolina Executive Mansion is a historic landmark in Raleigh, NC. It serves as the governor of North Carolina's official house.

It was constructed in 1891 and is occasionally available for public guided trips. The mansion has lovely gardens, stunning architecture, and a long history.

The North Carolina Executive Mansion is undoubtedly worth visiting if you're curious to learn more about North Carolina's past or value distinctive architectural styles.

14. Raleigh Little Theatre

Raleigh Little Theatre

Raleigh Little Theatre has been in operation since 1936. It is known for hosting a variety of theatrical events, such as musical comedies and dramas.

In addition to its main stage productions, this theater offers an educational program that offers classes and workshops for children and adults.

The theater features a lovely outdoor amphitheater that is used for summer shows, and it is situated in a stunning park setting.

This theater is worth stopping by, whether you enjoy the theatrical arts or are just seeking a good time.

15. Boxcar Bar + Arcade

Boxcar Bar + Arcade

This place is a popular spot in Raleigh, NC, that features an impressive collection of arcade games, craft beers, and an outdoor seating area.

Since the place opens by 4:00 pm, it's the perfect place to hang out with friends in the evening.

You don't have to hope for fun—it's a guarantee—with a huge selection of games that range from old-school classics to the newest releases.

Therefore, this hangout area is the ideal place to go if you want to have fun and remember your youth.

16. Yates Mill County Park

Yates Mill County Park

Yates Mill County Park in Raleigh is a fantastic site to see the wonders of agriculture and nature.

When taking a tour of the mill, visitors may observe how maize is ground using vintage mill machinery.

Every year in October, the park conducts the mill tour once each week. Children under five can enter for free.

Yates Mill County Park is a terrific place to go if you're searching for a fun family vacation or an educational adventure. This park has everything for everyone to enjoy, from hiking trails to wildlife observation towers.

17. City of Raleigh Museum

Raleigh Museum

The City of Raleigh Museum is a small but fascinating museum located in the heart of Raleigh. The museum is committed to preserving the history of Raleigh and its inhabitants.

Various topics, such as the city's founding, its participation in the Civil War, and its development into a contemporary metropolis, are covered in the displays that visitors can examine.

Additionally, the museum provides both adults and children with educational programs and tours. Closing at 4 pm, this is a great stop for families with kids before a lovely evening dinner.

It is a fantastic place to go if you want to learn more about Raleigh's history because admission is free.

18. The North Carolina Museum Of Natural Sciences

North Carolina Museum Of Natural Sciences

The popular North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh is the largest natural science and cultural museum in the US, attracting several visitors annually.

The museum hosts a number of unique events, such as Astronomy Days, where guests may interact with researchers and find out more about astronomy.

Furthermore, every Thursday night, guests can engage in exciting activities like quiz contests and interactions with scientists.

Visitors can experience the wonders of the natural world and discover many species and their habitats thanks to more than 20 permanent exhibitions.

## 19. Have Fun in Pullen Park

Pullen Park

If you are traveling with kids, Pullen Park in Raleigh is a park you should check out.

A carousel, a miniature railway, and a Ferris wheel are just a few of the entertaining attractions at this vintage amusement park, which has been operating for more than 100 years.

In the sweltering summer months, you can cool down at the aquatic center there as well. North Pullen Park is the fifth oldest still-operating public park in the US and is open year-round.

You might visit a neighboring restaurant to savor some delectable food and beverages after an eventful day at the park.

20. Explore Mordecai Historic Park

Mordecai Historic Park

Mordecai Historic Park in Raleigh is a beautiful park to explore for history enthusiasts.

The park is home to the historic Mordecai House, the oldest house in Raleigh, and also contains the location of the birthplace of Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States.

Informative tours are available to guests who wish to learn about the building's past and the residents who once resided there.

The park is a wonderful place for a family day because it also has lovely flowers, a playground, and picnic spots.

21. NC Museum of Natural Sciences

NC Museum of Natural Sciences

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is at Jones St. It offers free admission and special programs throughout the year.

The NC Museum is open six days a week. The hours of operation for this museum are Monday through Saturday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday, 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Stop by on your way to Morgan Street Food Hall, located on Morgan St. With dozens of vendors and food options, you can grab a quick bite or sit down for a full meal.

22. The Raleigh Times

Raleigh Times

The Raleigh Times is a popular pub and eatery located in Raleigh. A Raleigh newspaper once called this historical structure home, hence the name.

The eatery offers a large drink menu with specialty beers and drinks as well as American pub fare with a southern touch.

There are numerous indoor and outdoor seating options in a relaxed and welcoming environment.

Before or after taking in everything that Raleigh has to offer, This American pub is a terrific place to stop for a meal or a drink.

23. Umstead State Park

Umstead State Park

Umstead State Park is a great place to experience nature in Raleigh, NC.

It has several miles of road designated as hiking, biking, camping, and horseback riding routes.

The park's serene setting, sandwiched between two creeks and encircled by an old-growth forest, is ideal for a leisurely day out with loved ones or friends.

Pack a picnic and have lunch outside in one of the many picnic shelters that are available.

Additionally, visitors can take part in ranger-led programs to learn about the history, flora, and animals of the park.

24. Lynnwood Brewing Concern

Lynnwood Brewing Concern

Lynnwood Brewing Concern is a popular brewery in Raleigh, NC. Their brewpub is the ideal place for beer enthusiasts and offers a distinctive atmosphere to unwind with a drink.

The brewery offers a wide selection of delectable beverages, and its outdoor patio area is perfect for sipping a refreshing drink on a warm day.

Visitors can also bring their own snacks or eat delicious food from the outside food truck.

Being open every day, Lynnwood Brewing Concern is a great place to unwind after work or to catch up with friends on the weekends.

25. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve is an essential destination for nature lovers in Raleigh.

The preserve is home to an array of wildlife and plant species, including the rare Carolina Hemlock.

Visitors can explore the preserve's hiking trails and boardwalks, which offer stunning views of the surrounding bluffs, forests, and creeks.

Nature programs and guided hikes are also available, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn about the unique ecosystem of the preserve.

26. Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

The Raleigh countryside is best viewed from Juniper Level Botanic Garden. There are magnificent plants and animals on 28 acres of this garden.

The grounds are open for visitors to meander through and take in the tranquility.

After your journey, stop by a charming restaurant in Raleigh to savor some delectable fare.

Poole's Diner, Beasley's Chicken and Honey, and The Pit BBQ are a few of the places that are well-liked. Raleigh has a fantastic culinary culture, so be sure to arrive hungry.

27. The Haymaker


The Haymaker is a popular pub and lounge in Raleigh, NC, that is perfect for a night out with pals or a date night.

The lounge serves a wide selection of craft beers and creative cocktails.

It is open from 5:00 p.m. until midnight on Thursday through Saturday.

The Haymaker's outdoor seating area, where customers may take in the lovely North Carolina weather while sipping their drinks, is one of its best features.

The Haymaker offers both a calm and energetic environment, so there is something for everyone.

28. Day Trip to Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill

North Carolina's Orange and Durham counties share the lovely community of Chapel Hill, which is ideal for day trips.

Visitors can explore the nearby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, which is one of the oldest public universities in the US.

Walk down Franklin Street to find a variety of stores, boutiques, and eateries.

A trip to Chapel Hill would be incomplete without visiting the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center to learn about the stars and planets.

29. The Amaze Room Escapes

Amaze Room Escapes

The Amaze Room Escapes in Raleigh is an exciting activity for all age groups.

This unique experience is closed until 3:00 pm but offers a great opportunity for pals, and coworkers to work together to solve puzzles and escape-themed rooms.

Working against the clock to escape before time runs out is an option for participants.

The Amaze Room Escapes is the ideal setting for developing relationships among pals and family or as a team.

This attraction is a must-visit for anyone searching for a good time with a challenge because it offers a range of themes, including one centered on Sherlock Holmes.

30. Brier Creek Park and Community Center

Brier Creek Park and Community Center

The beautiful Brier Creek Park and Community Center is a public park and recreational center located in Raleigh, NC.

There are numerous sports fields, a playground, picnic areas, walking paths, and a dog park in the park.

The community center has a gym, a fitness area, a game room, conference rooms, and a number of classes and programs for people of all ages.

Families and individuals can have fun and stay active thereby participating in outdoor activities.

31. Stop by The FOUNDATION Bar


FOUNDATION is a place for those who love to enjoy their drinks in a cozy outdoor setting.

It is located on Martin St in Raleigh NC, and offers a warm atmosphere where visitors can relax and have a great time.

The bar offers a wide selection of alcoholic drinks and beer, ensuring that there is something for everyone.

Whether you want to catch up with pals or have a night out with colleagues, this is the perfect destination.

They are open from 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm on Wednesday through Friday, 2:00 pm -11:00 pm on Saturday, 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm on Sunday, and closed on Monday and Tuesday.

32. The Glass Jug Beer Lab in the Raleigh-Durham Area

Glass Jug Beer Lab in the Raleigh-Durham Area

Beer lovers in the Raleigh-Durham area should stop by The Glass Jug.

Visitors can unwind in the taproom or on the patio while sipping on a range of beverages thanks to the great selection of craft beers available on tap.

The Glass Jug frequently hosts educational workshops, so it is a fantastic place to learn about creating beers.

The Glass Jug is absolutely worth checking out, whether you're an experienced beer connoisseur or just looking for a fun night out.

33. Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

 Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern are two restaurants in the same place and offer an exceptional dining experience.

There are two distinct dining rooms in this ancient 19th-century estate, each with a special atmosphere.

The tavern offers a more relaxed eating experience, while the eatery serves modern American cuisine with a Southern flair.

Second Empire is a well-liked venue for special occasions and romantic evenings out thanks to its exquisite decor and excellent service.

34. Bittersweet Cocktail Bar

Bittersweet Cocktail Bar

Bittersweet is a cocktail bar located in Raleigh that offers a wide selection of beverages, including beers and the perfect wine to pair with its delicious menu.

Guests can choose from a variety of cocktails or taste some of the best wines in the area.

The cozy atmosphere makes it a great spot to catch up with folks or have a romantic evening.

Whether you're a beer connoisseur or a wine enthusiast, Bittersweet has something for everyone.

Bittersweet is open from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Sunday through Thursday, 2:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Friday and Saturday, and closed on Mondays.

35. New Hope Valley Railway

New Hope Valley Railway

New Hope Valley Railway is a historic railway in Bonsall, North Carolina. When you go to this historic railway, you have the opportunity to board a historic train and learn about the local railroad's history.

From April through December, the railroad is open on the weekends, and tickets can be ordered online. The historic train offers scenic rides through the picturesque New Hope Valley area to passengers.

Along with regular programs, seasonal excursions, and steam engine festivals are held along the railroad.

36. Whiskey Kitchen

Whiskey Kitchen

Whiskey Kitchen is a famous eatery and pub located in Raleigh, NC.

It offers a wide selection of whiskey choices, specialty cocktails, and food with a Southern influence.

There is a homey, rustic vibe that is pleasant and inviting. The patio offers outside seating, and live music is frequently performed there on the weekends.

It's the ideal location for an evening of romance or a night out with pals.

FAQs About Fun Things to Do in Raleigh at Night

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about fun things to do in Raleigh, NC, at night.

Does Raleigh have good nightlife?

Yes. Raleigh, NC, has an excellent nightlife with plenty of fun activities to do with friends and family. You will find a bar and dining establishment offering a wide variety of beer, drinks, and great food. The city also hosts many programs, including live music, making Raleigh, NC, a great place to see and enjoy at night, whether you want to go with your kids or not. Note that some places in Raleigh close before 6:00 PM, while others stay open after 6:00 PM, providing a night of fun.

Where do people go out in Raleigh?

In Raleigh, NC, people go out to various locations where they can do fun things. Some popular spots include the Videri Chocolate Factory for a fine dining experience, Boxcar Bar + Arcade for arcade games, and Morgan Street Food Hall for amazing food and beer. For those looking for outdoor activities, Lake Johnson is a great place to visit, while the NC Museum of Natural Sciences is perfect for those seeking an educational and interactive experience in Raleigh, NC. Some of the main attractions host events, sometimes for free, that start around 6:00 PM and others continue even after 7:00 PM.

What is the most famous street in Raleigh?

Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh is the most famous street in Raleigh, NC. While there are other famous streets in Raleigh, such as Hargett St, Edenton St, Davie St, and Blount St, Fayetteville Street is the most well-known. Visitors can find many fun things to do in the streets of Raleigh, NC, including shopping, dining, and exploring the city's heritage.

What is Raleigh most known for?

Raleigh, NC, is mostly known for its several free museums, such as the NC Museum of Art and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Additionally, Raleigh is often referred to as the City of Oaks due to its abundance of oaks, which can be seen throughout the parks and neighborhoods of the city.

Summing Up: 36 Fun Place to Visit and Fun Things to Do in Raleigh, North Carolina, at Night

There is an abundance of exciting fun things to enjoy in Raleigh, North Carolina at night. You can explore the city's rich history through a guided tour at the Mordecai House, visit parks, or check out the local bars.

Additionally, with so many fun places to visit in Raleigh city for free, you won't have to break the bank to have a great time during the day and at night.

So, if you're planning a trip to Raleigh, be sure to check out top attractions, like the Pope House Museum and the Marbles Kids Museum, then head into the streets for an awesome nightlife scene.