Top Attractions for First-Timers

Historic Sites

Start your visit by exploring Raleigh’s historic downtown. The Capitol building is a must-see, along with the Executive Mansion and the City of Raleigh Museum. Stroll through the Oakwood Historic District to admire its grand 19th century homes. History buffs will also enjoy the Mordecai Historic Park, the Joel Lane Museum House and Stagville State Historic Site.


Raleigh is home to several fascinating museums. The North Carolina Museum of Art houses an impressive collection of works by masters like Rodin and Monet. Kids love the hands-on exhibits at Marbles Kids Museum. Other popular museums include the North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.


Escape the city and enjoy Raleigh’s beautiful parks and gardens. Relax beside the serene fountains of Nash Square or take a stroll through the fragrant North Carolina Botanical Garden. Pullen Park offers amusement rides and a mini train for family fun.

Performing Arts

Raleigh’s performing arts scene is world-class. Catch a Broadway show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or an opera at Meymandi Concert Hall. The North Carolina Symphony performs at Meymandi and outdoors at Koka Booth Amphitheatre during summer.


Like most Southern towns, Raleigh loves its sports teams. Catch an NHL game featuring the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Baseball fans can cheer on the Durham Bulls minor league team at their downtown stadium. College sports are also huge here.


When the sun goes down, Raleigh comes alive. Sip craft cocktails at swanky downtown bars and dance the night away at Glenwood South’s clubs. Catch indie bands at Lincoln Theatre or Kings. For a unique experience, enjoy dinner and a show aboard the Capital City Riverboat.

Food and Drink

No visit to Raleigh is complete without sampling its amazing culinary scene. Downtown is packed with restaurants featuring everything from haute cuisine to down-home Southern cooking. Here are some spots first-timers won’t want to miss:


Start your day right at one of Raleigh’s top breakfast joints. Rise Biscuits and Donuts fries up hot, fluffy biscuits smothered in gravy, while Irregardless Cafe serves creative twists on classics like eggs Benedict. For a sweet beginning, grab a maple bacon donut from Morning Times or a giant cinnamon roll from Boulted Bread.

Southern Favorites

You can’t leave Raleigh without experiencing quintessential Southern fare. Chow down on barbecue, fried chicken and catfish at historic Clyde Cooper’s BBQ. The Pit offers smoked meats by the pound in a hip, industrial setting. Get your chicken-and-waffles fix at fiction Kitchen or Beasley’s Chicken & Honey.

Innovative Eats

Raleigh also boasts plenty of restaurants putting creative spins on Southern ingredients. Death & Taxes serves seasonal New American small plates and craft cocktails in a cool, converted bank building. Humble Pie and Bida Manda offer inspired takes on Neapolitan pizza and Laotian street food, respectively.


Like most Southern cities, Raleigh loves its craft beer. Sip local brews at Trophy Brewing Co., Gizmo Brew Works and Lynnwood Brewing Concern. Many breweries offer tours along with tastings. Bring a designated team and make an afternoon of it!

Wine Bars

Prefer wine over beer? Raleigh’s got you covered. Unwind after a day of sightseeing at Bida Manda’s airy, plant-filled bar Laotian or the cozy Tasting Room. Grab a glass at one of the many restaurants offering inventive wine lists, like Death & Taxes, Second Empire Restaurant and Bacchus Wine Bar.


Shopaholics visiting Raleigh are in luck. The city offers an array of places to shop for clothes, gifts, souvenirs and more.


Downtown Raleigh has several walkable shopping areas. Fayetteville Street is home to department stores like Dillard’s along with Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and other chains. The City Market area offers boutiques selling gifts, home goods and fashion.

Cameron Village

This upscale shopping center features high-end chains like Apple and Williams-Sonoma along with local boutiques. Fashionistas flock to boutiques like Videri Chocolate, Crabtree Valley Mall and North Hills Mall.


Looking for Raleigh souvenirs? Pick up T-shirts, magnets and other locally-themed gifts at downtown’s House of Swank. Deco offers stylish home decor and accessories with a Southern twist. For edible gifts, grab scuppernong wine from Adams Beverages or award-winning chocolates from Escazu Artisan Chocolates.

Pullen Park

This amusement park in downtown Raleigh features kiddie rides, a train, carousel and small roller coaster. Kids can also feed ducks in the pond or play at the splash pad.

Marbles Kids Museum

With hands-on science exhibits and daily programs, this museum is a top spot for family edu-tainment. Kids can also enjoy an IMAX theater and outdoor playground.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

From dinosaur skeletons to live animals, this museum brings science to life for kids through interactive exhibits. Favorite features include the Nature Exploration Center and Fossil Wall.

SkyZone Trampoline Park

Kids of all ages will have a blast bouncing on the interconnected trampolines and playing dodgeball at this indoor park. Grown-ups can get in on the fun too!

Frankie’s Fun Park

This massive entertainment complex has everything from go-karts and mini golf to arcade games and bumper cars. Families could easily spend an entire day here. We hope this gives you some more ideas on things to see, do, eat and enjoy in Raleigh! Let us know if you’d like us to expand on any part of the guide. We’re happy to provide more details to help you plan an amazing trip.

How to Get Around Raleigh

Public Transportation

Raleigh’s bus system, GoRaleigh, offers an affordable way to get around. Purchase passes at stations or via their mobile app. Routes connect downtown with most major attractions and neighborhoods. The free R-Line trolley circulates through downtown.

Taxis and Rideshares

Taxis can be hailed downtown or called for pickup elsewhere. Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft also operate throughout Raleigh. Rates vary but are generally reasonable. This is a good option for bar-hopping or nights out.

Charter Buses

For group travel, consider a charter bus. Our buses can pick up your group from hotels, transport you between venues and attractions, and offer return service late at night. Charter buses provide door-to-door service on your schedule, with plenty of room for luggage and amenities like TVs, WiFi and restrooms. It’s the easiest, most comfortable way for a group to explore Raleigh!

Ready to Get Started?

We hope this guide gets you excited to visit Raleigh! Our knowledgeable staff is ready to help you book charter bus transportation for your group’s Raleigh getaway. Call us at 984-500-0383 to get a personalized quote or learn more about our services. We look forward to helping you explore this charming Southern city in comfort and style!