Best Attractions & Activities

With all of the things to do and see in a city, deciding how to spend your time can be quite an agonizing decision. 10best has narrowed all of the available attractions in Raleigh to a list of the most appealing and reputable, to aide in your decision making. You can rest easy knowing that any choice you make from our list is sure to please.


This pre-Civil War era farmstead features several restored buildings, including a farmhouse, barn, and carriage house. The site also features the Farm History Center, a cotton museum, 17-acre pecan grove, herb garden, and family cemetery.

Read more about Historic Oak View County Park →

Hillsborough Street

With 8 acres and over 5,000 species and/or cultivars, this nationally acclaimed garden is truly a sight to behold. The site is used as a teaching and research garden as well, and you'll see NCSU students and staff members meticulously maintaining the grounds. Special highlights include the Finley-Nottingham Rose Garden (with over one hundred types of roses), an Arboretum (including buckeyes, heavenly bamboo, magnolias, and boxwoods), and the Klein-Pringle White Garden (a beautiful garden that was heavily influenced by the Sissinghurst in Kent, England). Arboretum tours available free of charge every Sunday at 2pm from March-October.

Read more about JC Raulston Arboretum →

Built in 1840 at a cost of three times the state's annual income, this marvelous example of Greek Revival architecture once housed all of North Carolina's state government. The impressive marble statue of George Washington in the rotunda is a replica of the actual piece that Antonio Canova created in 1820. Guided tours available.

Read more about North Carolina State Capitol →


Raleigh's Theatre in the Park and Aquatic Center are both located in downtown Pullen Park. For over 100 years, this park has offered a wide range of recreational activities for the entire family. Boat rental, picnic areas, and tennis courts are among the many opportunities provided for good, wholesome fun. On a lazy afternoon, the peaceful park also provides a great setting for quick afternoon nap.

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The RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) Center is home to the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. Holding up to 21,000 people, it also serves as the home court for North Carolina State Wolfpack basketball. Other scheduled events include concerts, conferences, trade shows, and circuses. The Arena Club is also located here, with 9000-plus feet of meeting space. Tickets for events may be purchased at Ticketmaster venues throughout the Raleigh-Durham area. For schedules, take a look at For traffic information on event day, tune in to 1630AM RBC Center Traffic Radio.

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Home to North Carolina's governor and family, this 1891 Queen Anne Victorian mansion opens its ground floors to the public during the fall and spring. The 40,000 square-foot house is adorned with fine antiques and exquisite chandeliers. Tours must be arranged well in advance through the Capital Area Visitor Center, at 919-733-3456.

Read more about North Carolina Executive Mansion →

Hillsborough Street

North Carolina's premiere art museum, the NCMA has over 181,000 square feet of exhibit space divided into numerous galleries. The well-known European collection includes works from artists such as Claude Monet, Sandro Botticelli, and Peter Paul Rubens. Several galleries devoted to American artists feature works from such luminaries as Georgia O'Keeffe, Frank Stella, and Jacob Lawrence. Additional galleries present Oceanic, African, and Jewish ceremonial art. A popular restaurant and a museum shop are located on the premises. The museum's 100-acre park is compleet with a walking trail, sculpture installations, and an amphitheater.

Read more about North Carolina Museum of Art →

Via informative displays, artifacts, photographs, flags and more, this beautiful, light-filled museum tells the story of North Carolina's history from Colonial times through the Confederacy to the present day. A replica of the Wright Brothers' plane is among the fascinating exhibits provided. This museum has so much to offer, one could easily spend an entire day viewing the displays. This is truly a great educational experience for children as well as adults!

Read more about North Carolina Museum of History →

Jordan Lake, located southwest of Durham and Chapel Hill, offers more than 13,000 acres of recreational shoreline. The lake boasts nine different recreational areas, including a bald eagle observation platform just off Highway 751 South and another at the Crosswinds Recreational area near Wilsonville on US Highway 64. Camping permitted – call for details.

Read more about Jordan Lake State Recreation Area →