Raleigh, N.C., Holiday Events

Holidays provide the perfect opportunity to come together with friends and family in Raleigh, N.C.—for an extended weekend in the summer or weeks at a time during the winter months. The destination delivers with family-friendly events, major festivals and annual celebrations throughout the calendar year that have become tradition for many.

Outdoor Easter egg hunts in the spring and spooky Halloween haunted houses and horror movie screenings in the fall are always popular. In the summer, patriotic Fourth of July celebrations draw thousands to the area.

The winter months are referred to as the most magical time of the year for good reason—community celebrations, light displays and performing arts productions capture the holiday spirit in a uniquely vibrant way. The Raleigh Christmas Parade, a tradition for more than 70 years, is the largest Christmas parade between Atlanta and Washington, D.C., drawing nearly 60,000 visitors to the streets of downtown Raleigh to see marching bands, dancers, classic cars, super heroes and Santa Claus; A Christmas Carol, a beloved musical comedy presented by Theatre In The Park and the brainchild of local passionate mind Ira David Wood III, has wowed more than a million guests in its 40-plus years in the production; and First Night Raleigh rings in each New Year by filling the city center with big crowds enjoying sleigh rides, a Ferris wheel, heaps of live music and an epic grand finale that sees a giant copper acorn drop from the sky as the clock strikes midnight.

Elsewhere, tree lightings and light displays, ballet and symphony performances, an outdoor ice skating rink and a Kwanzaa celebration in the Town of Cary offer ways to get involved in the holidays for everyone.

Learn all about the top holiday events in the Raleigh area below, including:

  • Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Wearin' 'O the Green Festival
  • Freedom Balloon Fest in Fuquay-Varina
  • Raleigh 4th of July Fireworks Display and Independence Day celebrations in Raleigh's surrounding towns
  • Raleigh Christmas Parade
  • A Christmas Carol, presented by Theatre In The Park
  • The Nutcracker, presented by Carolina Ballet
  • Cary's Annual Kwanzaa Celebration
  • First Night Raleigh
  • plus way more!