Scarves and gloves ready? Dreaming of hot chocolate? Fingers crossed for a good snow? We've got big plans this winter in Raleigh, N.C.! To jump-start your new year, we've put together this list of 30 items for your winter bucket list, perfect for planning a trip to Raleigh with friends and family. Need more inspiration? Follow us on Instagram or give us a shout on Twitter—we're here to help!
1. See Rolling Sculpture: Art Deco Cars from the 1930s and 40s at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Bold shapes, handcrafted details and luxurious finishes define the 14 cars and three motorcycles, some designed more than 80 years ago, on display through Jan. 15 in the North Carolina Museum of Art's East Building. The exhibit is open on weekends, so make a trip out of it before they're gone!
3. Lace up your skates at Ice Raleigh (through 1/29), a 45' x 90' natural ice outdoor skating rink in the city's center.
5. Ring in 2017 by riding the Ferris wheel at First Night Raleigh (12/31).
More than 35 venues will host nearly 100 performances as Raleigh rings in the new year with an annual tradition—First Night Raleigh. The ticketed event gets you access to tons of live music, ballroom dancing, comedy shows, art displays and the can't-miss 90-foot-tall Fantastical First Night Ferris Wheel on downtown Raleigh's Fayetteville St.
6. Join the Redvolution and cheer on the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
The NHL's Carolina Hurricanes (or just the 'Canes as they're called locally) should be in the thick of the playoff hunt all season long. They've been spectacular at home this year, too, so scoop up some tickets to catch the action in person. Check out the Hurricanes Homegrown Series to find out about some of the best chances to pair hockey with local food, music and beer at the arena!
7. Cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate at Videri Chocolate Factory.
8. Take on a favorite annual Raleigh tradition—the Krispy Kreme Challenge (five miles, 12 donuts, one hour!).
9. Eat late-night tacos at Virgil's Original Taqueria (until 2am daily!).
This mural from artist Luke Buchanan, completed in spring of 2016 on the outside of a building that is expected to house a future pizza joint from James Beard Award-winning Ashley Christensen, instantly became one of the most popular photo spots in the Raleigh area. And the message rings true—all are welcome here.
12. Experience a Winter Wonderland at Bond Park (1/28-29).
Ever wish you knew exactly when (or if!) it was going to snow? We can tell you! Winter Wonderland at Bond Park in Cary will create an amazing sledding hill out of man-made snow. Sign up in advance for a one-hour session. Snow tubes are provided!
13. Spend a weekend in Cary at The Umstead Hotel and Spa (number 26 on Conde Nast's list of the world's 50 best hotels) or The Mayton Inn (Cary's first boutique hotel, a 44-room Georgian-style property).
15. Spend a day (or two) shopping, dining and exploring North Hills.
Discover an eclectic mix of 130-plus local shops, restaurants, bars and hotels in this outdoor shopping haven. Known for it's upscale finds, and also friendly for the entire family, you'll find it easy to spend a day browsing the racks of designer clothes at Gena Chandler or Vermillion, browsing book-stacks at legendary local spot Quail Ridge Books & Music and picking out monogrammed stationary at Paperbuzz. After (or in between) shopping stops, grab some food and a handcrafted brew at local favorites like The Cowfish at North Hills, Vivace or Yard House.
17. Take a day to reach new heights at Triangle Rock Club (with 100 climbing lanes and walls towering to 55 feet!).
18. Plan a weekend around the African American Cultural Celebration (1/28) at the North Carolina Museum of History.
This statewide kickoff to Black History Month, with a "The Shoulders We Stand On" theme this year, will feature 75 musicians, storytellers, dancers, historians, authors and more to celebrate black history through music, dance, art and food.
19. Catch 15,000 LED lights at the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival (through 1/15).
20. Visit Raleigh area breweries, earn rewards! Download your Raleigh Beer Trail Passport here.
21. Discover a new restaurant or revisit an old favorite during Triangle Restaurant Week (1/23-29).
22. Explore North Carolina State University's James B. Hunt Jr. Library.
Opened in 2013, the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus is truly a gem. It's been called the "library of the future," named the 14th most beautiful library in the world and one of the 10 most amazing U.S. college libraries (among many other accolades). At 221,000-square-feet, Hunt serves as the main library for engineering, textile and other science program students and faculty. It's open to the public, too. Individuals can take self-guided tours or walk-in tours at scheduled times.
23. Lay eyes on 48 photographs from legendary American photographer Ansel Adams at the upcoming exhibit "Ansel Adams: Masterworks" (2/4-5/7) at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
24. Have a laugh at Goodnight's Comedy Club, a comedy powerhouse serving up hilarious acts in Raleigh for more than 30 years.
25. Experience a meal at an Ashley Christensen restaurant.
Fresh off the release of her first cookbook (which the The New York Times raved about), Ashley Christensen was recently named a Breakthrough Rock Star Chef by Rolling Stone, had her flagship restaurant Poole's Diner named one of America's Best 38 Restaurants by Eater and saw Food & Wine Magazine declare the chicken and waffles at Beasley's Chicken + Honey one of the best chicken dishes in the country.
28. Take a tour of the North Carolina State Capitol.
The North Carolina State Capitol building, completed in 1840 (the original Capitol was built on the same grounds in 1976 but burned down in 1831) is one of the finest and best-preserved examples of a major civic building in the Greek Revival style of architecture and is a National Historic Landmark. Self-guided tours can be taken Mon.-Fri., 9am-5pm, with guided tours happening each Sat. at 11am and 2pm—you'll learn about the history of the building as well as the story of how Raleigh came to be the state's capital. Don't miss the statue of George Washington in the rotunda!
29. Eat, drink and shop on the main streets of these Raleigh, N.C., area towns.
Photos: Ferris wheel via First Night Raleigh; Marbles Kids Museum via Ted Richardson; Hunt Library via North Carolina State University