Attractions in the Triangle Area of NC including Raleigh, Wake Forest, and Cary

Sightseer's Paradise

Throughout Raleigh and Wake County, families can partake in educational experiences at world-class museums, immerse themselves in history near the State Capitol Building, admire the flora at N.C. State University’s arboretum, and indulge in local fresh produce at the State Farmers Market. Numerous adventures can be found within a two-hour drive of Raleigh, including Cape Fear at Wilmington, the North Carolina Zoological Park, the Seagrove pottery community and the Wilson Antique Market.


Major Area Attractions and Events

African American Cultural Complex
119 Sunnybrook Road, 27610
(919) 250-9336

This complex houses a unique collection of items created by African Americans who have contributed to the development and improvement of North Carolina. Innovations in business, politics, medicine, sports and the arts are included in the exhibit. The complex is open for tours by appointment only.

Alive After Five
(919) 831-6011

Each summer, the Raleigh Convention and Conference Center and WRAL-FM Mix 101.5 sponsor free concerts downtown. Shows start at 6 p.m. on Thursday evenings, June–September.

ALLTEL Pavilion at Walnut Creek
3801 Rock Quarry Road, 27601
(919) 831-6400

This is Raleigh’s premier outdoor concert facility. More than 3 million people have visited this 77-acre center to hear marquee performers such as the Dave Matthews Band; Carole King; Norah Jones; Earth, Wind & Fire; Chicago; and one of Chapel Hill’s greatest sons, James Taylor.

City Market
Intersection of Blount and Martin Streets

Historic City Market is in the heart of downtown Raleigh in the Moore Square district. City Market is home to art galleries, restaurants, specialty shops and a jazz club. The original cobblestone streets are lit by lamps and filled with 19th-century charm.

From 1914–1957, City Market was a farmers market. Revitalization has included the Police Department’s use of horses and bicycles with their mounted patrol units. Capital Area Preservation runs Historic Trolley Tours linking City Market to other downtown locations. The tour operates on Saturdays, March–December, offering a narrated look at Raleigh’s 200-year history. For ticket and tour information, call (919) 834-4844.

Contemporary Art Museum (CAM)
409 W. Martin St., 27603
(919) 836-0088

Currently renovating its 20,000-square-foot new home in downtown Raleigh, the Contemporary Art Museum is the Triangle’s only museum solely dedicated to presenting the art of our time. A non-collecting museum, CAM serves as a forum where the entire community comes together in a dynamic environment that inspires creativity.

Exploris Museum and IMAX® Theatre
201 E. Hargett St., 27601
(919) 834-4040

Exploris is the nation’s first interactive museum dedicated to global awareness. Located one block north of Moore Square and City Market, Exploris is an interactive learning center for all ages. It’s designed to transport visitors to incredible sights and sounds from around the world. The IMAX® Theatre at Exploris features a 52-foot-high flat screen with a 12,000-watt digital -surround sound system. It seats up to 271 people and makes visitors feel like they’re in the center of the action.

Haywood Hall House and Gardens
211 New Bern Ave., 27601
(919) 832-8357

The oldest residence in Raleigh’s original city limits still located on its original site with family furnishings, this Federal frame house was built by John Haywood, North Carolina’s first elected treasurer, in 1799. The house and gardens are open for tours on Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., from March through December, and by appointment.

Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Drive (I-440 Beltline and Poole Road), 27610
(919) 250-1013

This 27-acre park features a 19th-century farmstead, a cotton museum, a plank kitchen, picnic sites, a fishing pond, an herb garden and a pecan grove. The site offers educational programs, special events, exhibits and passive recreational opportunities. A new exhibit on the history of North Carolina’s textile mill communities will open in spring 2006. The site is open to the public Monday–Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Historic Oakwood

This 19th-century neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes hundreds of homes of various architectural styles. The restored Victorian homes may be toured on foot or by car. Brochures for a self-guided tour are available at the Capital Area Visitor Center. The Candlelight Tour each December allows glimpses of the interior glory of selected homes, while the annual Garden Tour features some of the neighborhood’s best gardens.
Historic Oakwood Cemetery is the resting place of 2,800 Confederate soldiers, five Civil War generals, seven governors and numerous U.S. senators. Established in 1869, it is an excellent example of Victorian landscaping and mortuary art.

Historic Raleigh Trolley Tours
1 Mimosa St., 27604
(919) 834-4844

Step aboard the trolley and travel back in time to see Raleigh’s 200-year history. This narrated tour includes historic sites, government buildings, museums, shops and restaurants. Tours run each Saturday from March through December. Board the trolley on the hour at Mordecai Historic Park from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. or catch a ride at any of its historic stops throughout downtown.

Historic Tours of Raleigh
301 N. Blount St., 27601
(919) 829-4988

This group conducts walking tours of downtown on Sundays at 2 p.m. Advance reservations are required. The tour begins at the State Capitol and covers historic and government buildings as well as area museums. Step-On Guide Service for businesses and vans is also available.

J.C. Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road, 27606
(919) 515-3132


The J.C. Raulston Arboretum is a nationally acclaimed garden with the most diverse collection of cold hardy temperate zone plants in the southeastern United States. Operated by the Department of Horticultural Science at N.C. State University, this 8-acre garden is a working research and teaching garden that focuses on the evaluation, selection and display of plant materials from around the world. The Arboretum’s collections include over 5,000 cultivars from more than 50 countries, a 450-foot perennial border, a white garden, a Japanese garden and more.

Joel Lane House
728 W. Hargett St., 27603
(919) 833-3431

Col. Joel Lane’s house, built in 1760, is the oldest dwelling in Raleigh. In 1792, members of the North Carolina legislature voted to purchase 1,000 acres of Lane’s land for the new capital. Visitors may tour the house and authentic Colonial Revival gardens Tuesday through Saturday from March through mid-December, and by appointment in January and February. Call for hours.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens
Corner of Rock Quarry Road and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
(919) 834-6264


The first public park in America developed in honor of the civil rights hero features a life-sized bronze statue nestled among a variety of native plants. The King Memorial Wall includes 2,500 bricks inscribed with the names of the facility’s supporters. The park will be expanded to 4 acres and will include a new memorial honoring local civil rights and education pioneers, as well as an interactive memorial depicting significant dates and occurrences in the freedom movement.

Mordecai Historic Park
1 Mimosa St., 27604
(919) 834-4844

The Mordecai House was once the seat of one of the largest plantations in Wake County. This historic park, near downtown, features Mordecai House, President Andrew Johnson’s birthplace, St. Mark’s Chapel, the Badger-Iredell Law Office, an 1842 kitchen with a garden, and a gift shop. Hourly tours of the main house are conducted Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Movies By Moonlight
101 Wilkinson Ave., Cary 27513
(919) 462-2025

Come see your favorite movie on Thursday nights June–August. The Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park shows an array of new releases and family movies. Movies start at dusk and are an affordable way to spend time with family and friends.

North Carolina Executive Mansion
200 N. Blount St., 27601
(919) 807-7950


This fine Victorian home, built with native North Carolina materials, has been the residence of the North Carolina governor since 1891. Its impressive gardens, exhibiting local horticulture, are also open for tours. During spring and summer, tours of the home and the gardens are available with seven-day advance scheduling. Call Capital Area Visitor Services at (919) 807-7948 to sign up.

North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road, 27607
(919) 839-6262

This premier museum houses works that represent more than 5,000 years of artistic heritage, from ancient Egypt to the present. Its collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings is internationally recognized. The museum offers changing exhibitions, lectures, workshops, films, family festivals and performing arts events in the landmark Museum Park, an outdoor concert and movie facility. Housed within the museum are a gift shop and café. Throughout the year, the museum also hosts events specifically geared toward its younger visitors.

North Carolina Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St., Raleigh 27601
(919) 807-7900

Visit the North Carolina Museum of History to explore the state’s past and learn about its people. See a variety of exhibits, including the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Special programs feature craft demonstrations, music concerts, family events and more. Admission is free. The museum is open Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m–5 p.m., and Sunday noon–5 p.m. The Museum Shop is open daily.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St., 27601
(919) 733-7450

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has four floors of walk-through environments that include four great whales, the world’s only Acrocanthosaurus (a.k.a. Terror of the South) and some live animals, thanks to a cutting-edge exhibit technique. All the exhibits capture the essence of North Carolina’s diverse geography, geology, plants and animals. Other highlights are the Discovery Room for children, special kids’ programs, the Museum Store and an impressive collection of dinosaur skeletons. General admission is free; there is a cover charge for special exhibits.

North Carolina State Capitol
Capitol Square
(919) 733-4994


Built between 1833 and 1840, this National Historic Landmark is one of the finest and best-preserved examples of a major civic building in the Greek Revival style. The capitol originally housed the governor’s office, cabinet offices, legislative chambers and the state library.

North Carolina State Legislative Building
Corner of Jones and Salisbury Streets
(919) 733-7928

This building is home to the North Carolina General Assembly and offers a firsthand look at the lawmaking process when the legislature is in session.

North Carolina State University Solar Center
Corner of Western Boulevard and Gorman Street
(919) 515-5666

This research facility seeks to stabilize energy costs for consumers, stimulate local economies, reduce dependence on foreign fuels and mitigate the environmental impacts associated with fossil fuels. Adjacent to the research annex is the Solar House at N.C. State University, one of the most visible and visited solar buildings in the nation.

Playspace
410 Glenwood Ave., 27603
(located on Tucker Street in back of the
Creamery Building)
(919) 832-1212

This interactive play museum is designed for children ages 7 and under and their adult caregivers. Playspace features a pretend bank, grocery store, hospital and café; a puppet theatre; a computer lab; an art room; and an infant area.

Pullen Park
520 Ashe Ave., 27606
(919) 831-6468

Pullen Park is the “Central Park” of Raleigh. Take a ride on the fully restored 1911 Dentzel carousel, circle Pullen Park in a bright red train, enjoy the water in either kiddie boats or adult paddleboats, or see a play at the Theatre in the Park. This 68-acre city park also includes a large public aquatic center and an arts and crafts center.

Raleigh City Museum
Briggs Building
220 Fayetteville St. Mall, 27601
(919) 832-3775

This museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of the capital city. Using lectures, exhibits and audiovisuals, the museum covers important events such as Raleigh’s move towards Civil Rights, the struggle of Women’s Suffrage and even the creation of the Raleigh flag. Admission is free.

Silver Lake Waterpark
5300 Tryon Road, 27606
(919) 851-1683

Whether you choose the wet or dry attractions, come prepared for a day of fun! Take a dip in the cool waters from a spring-fed lake, conquer “The Beast” waterslide or test your driving skills on the bumper boats. Land lovers have their choice of volleyball, pedal boats, horseshoes and even a relaxing white sand beach.

State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St., 27603
(919) 733-7417

For seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables and plants, this market is the place to go. The 75-acre market sells over 300 different items, including preserves, baked goods, pork products and seafood. The market site includes restaurants and a garden center. Special events are planned throughout the year.

Summer Concert Series
(919) 890-3285

Free concerts, sponsored by the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Arts Department, are held throughout Wake County during the summer. For locations and concert schedules, visit the Parks and Recreation Web site.

WRAL Azalea Gardens
2619 Western Blvd., 27606
(919) 821-8555

Five acres of landscaped gardens surround the WRAL-TV studio, featuring 45 varieties of azaleas as well as dogwoods, rhododendrons and hydrangeas. The garden is open year-round from dawn until dusk. Admission is free and open to the public for self-guided tours.

North Carolina Museum of Life and Science
433 Murray Ave.
Durham 27704 (919) 220-5429

This interactive museum offers exhibits dealing with Carolina wildlife, geology and aerospace, and much more! Its tropical Magic Wings Butterfly House and Bayer CropScience Insectarium will delight and intrigue visitors of all ages.

North Carolina Pottery Center
250 East Ave.
Seagrove 27341
(336) 873-8430

Seagrove, a small area located 80 miles from Raleigh, boasts a 200-year-old tradition of pottery. The Pottery Center promotes the heritage of pottery-making in North Carolina through education, preservation and documentation. Almost 100 potteries are available for exploration.

North Carolina Railroad Museum
and New Hope Valley Railway

Old U.S. 1
Bonsal 27562
(919) 362-5416

Open for self-guided tours, the museum traces the history of railroading in North Carolina. May–November, visitors can take an 8-mile, round-trip train ride in open cars from Bonsal to New Hill.

North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury St.
Spencer 28159 (704) 636-2889

This museum is located on the site of what was once Southern Railway Company’s largest steam locomotive repair facility. Spencer Shops and the town of Spencer were both named for Samuel Spencer, the first president of Southern Railway. The site contains an authentic train depot, antique automobiles and a 37-stall roundhouse with 25 locomotives and other exhibit areas. The museum offers seasonal train rides, guided tours and special events throughout the year.

North Carolina Wineries (North Carolina Grape Council)
2 W. Edenton St., 27601
(919) 733-7136

The first commercial winery established in North Carolina, Meddoc Vineyard, led the country’s wine production in 1835. After more than a century, North Carolina is rebuilding its grape industry. Today, North Carolina ranks 10th nationally in grape production and 12th for wine production and is home to 45 wineries. Many are close to the Triangle, including Chatham Hill in Morrisville and the wineries along the Haw River Wine Trail. Visit www.ncwine.org for a listing of wineries.


Greater Raleigh
Chamber of Commerce
800 S. Salisbury St., 27601
(919) 664-7000

The Chamber provides relocation information on weekdays from 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB)
421 Fayetteville St. Mall, Suite 1505, 27601
(919) 834-5900
(800) 849-8499

The CVB provides visitor and tourism information and is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

North Carolina Division of Travel and Tourism
430 N. Hillsborough St., 27603
(919) 733-8372
(800) 847-4862

The travel and tourism division provides brochures from areas throughout the state and is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.