Roll call! Who's ready for beer festivals, outdoor concerts and food truck rodeos? We've got big plans this spring in Raleigh, N.C.! To jump-start these warm-weather months we've put together this list of 30 items for your spring 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. Eat at Bida Manda (named N.C.'s best restaurant by Business Insider), then hop next door to the brand-new Brewery Bhavana (open as of early spring)—a brewery, dim sum restaurant, book and flower shop rolled into one incredible gathering space.
2. Stroll through JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University, a free, nationally-acclaimed garden with tons of fun spots to explore.
3. Explore downtown Cary! Grab a snack at Ashworth Drugs (hot dogs, a soda fountain and milkshakes!), then head to Bond Brothers Beer Company (one of the America's best new breweries, according to BeerAdvocate). From there, it's just a few steps to one of the area's most exciting new family-owned restaurants—Pizzeria Faulisi, serving wood-fired pizzas and more.
4. Gear up for a huge season of concerts—scoop up your tickets for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (4/15) or The Chainsmokers (5/14) at PNC Arena, or take in Bastille (5/12) or The xx (5/14) at Red Hat Amphitheater. See themostnc.com for a full music calendar!
5. Take a trip to The Hideout, Lonerider Brewing Company's West Texas-themed brewery and taproom headed up by passionate mind Sumit Vohra (meet Sumit in the video below). Get your Raleigh Beer Trail Passport stamped, then make your way to other breweries to start earning your prizes (please drink responsibly and have a designated driver on hand).
6. Visit the North Carolina Museum of History's new exhibit, North Carolina and World War I, commemorating the centennial of the U.S.'s entry into World War I with a focus on N.C.'s role.
8. See the city on two wheels—sign up for a fully-narrated Segway tour with Triangle Glides to get a fun perspective on the City of Oaks.
9. Rent a boat at Lake Crabtree County Park! Beginning in early May, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and more can be rented by the hour (starting at $5/hr). As you work your way around the lake, keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles, which are known to have nested in the area.
10. Take in a ballgame! The Carolina Mudcats, Class-A Advanced affiliate of MLB's Milwaukee Brewers, play their home opener April 13 at Five County Stadium. You'll find $1 hot dogs on Wednesdays, $2 draft beers on Thursdays and Friday night fireworks all season long.
11. Discover your new favorite spots for local beers and craft cocktails at these rooftop, hidden and underground bars in Raleigh (including the world record-holding bar for most beers on draft and a spot that's been called "one of the best secret bars in the world!").
12. Take a hike through N.C.'s most visited state park, William B. Umstead State Park. With more than 20 miles of hiking trails and 13 miles of trails for use by bicyclists and horseback riders, there's plenty to explore throughout this park spanning more than 5,000 acres.
14. Explore more than 30,000 square feet of fresh vegetables, produce, flowers and specialty goods at the State Farmers Market Raleigh (open seven days a week—strawberry season is mid-April to mid-June!), plus swing by the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market to shop for seasonal goods and prepared foods from local restaurants (Wednesdays, 10am-2pm).
16. Book a stay at N.C.'s first AC Hotel—the brand-new AC Hotel Raleigh North Hills, slated to open early this spring (don't miss the rooftop bar!).
17. Take a bite out of Raleigh's two oldest restaurants. Mecca Restaurant (opened in 1930) serves Southern staples in a diner-like setting (the Glorified Jumbo Hamburger is a local go-to), and Clyde Cooper's BBQ (open since 1938) offers Carolina-style (whole hog cooked at low temperatures) plates of barbecue and top-notch hospitality.
19. Giddy-up for another round of Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeos (5/7 and 6/11)! A half-mile of food trucks (lobster rolls, BBQ sandwiches, ice cream sundaes and way more) invade downtown Raleigh.
20. Cheer on the N.C. Courage! The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team, playing their inaugural season in Cary at WakeMed Soccer Park, plays their home opener against Portland on Sat., April 22.
21. Reach new heights at Triangle Rock Club in Morrisville with climbing walls that reach 55-feet—the tallest in the surrounding five states.
22. Pay a visit to Shorty's Famous Hot Dogs, open since 1916 (101 years!) in downtown Wake Forest. Grab a hot dog or burger, then jump right next door to White Street Brewing, where you should try the Kölsch—a World Beer Cup Gold Award winner.
24. Spend an evening exploring Lafayette Village, a European-style village in North Raleigh offering locally-owned gourmet restaurants (with lots of patio dining spots!) and upscale shopping.
25. Don't miss out on Art in Bloom (3/30-4/2), the festival of flowers at North Carolina Museum of Art featuring more than 50 floral interpretations of the museum's permanent collection. Plus, take in a concert at the museum's Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Theater, an incredible outdoor venue that will host Mipso (5/6), Kaleo (6/13), Jason Isbell (6/18) and more this season.
26. Check out the newly-expanded Martin Luther King Memorial Jr. Gardens, the first public park dedicated solely to Dr. King and the civil rights movement.
27. Save the date for Brewgaloo (4/21-22), N.C.'s largest craft beer festival. The two-day event brings in more than 90 breweries from across the state (including lots of Raleigh area breweries), plus more than 50 food trucks, DJs and local vendors.
30. Get lost in the Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden, where more than 1,200 roses of 60 different varieties decorate the grounds (blooming typically begins in late May).
Header photo: Garrett Poulos; Lake Crabtree photo: Chris Adamczyk