There are several reasons why Raleigh has been called the "Smithsonian of the South": this district contains at least a couple of them. The free-admission North Carolina Museum of Art is one of the premier visual arts museums in the South, featuring a dramatic gallery building, a world-class collection including more than 30 Rodin sculptures, a center for special touring exhibitions and a 164-acre Museum Park.
Located in the middle of West Raleigh is North Carolina State University’s (NCSU's) main campus; this is the state's largest university, known for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. While on main campus, stop by the Gregg Museum of Art & Design, the university's collecting and exhibiting museum with more than 35,000 objects. Also, you're just a short walk from popular shopping destinations like Hillsborough St. and Village District. More attractions in walking distance are Raleigh Little Theatre, one of the nation’s longest-running community theatres (1936), and the long-running Theatre In The Park (Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre). Be sure to enjoy a walk through the attached Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden, featuring 1,200 roses of 60 different varieties and other bulbs, annuals, trees and shrubs.
Bordering the main NCSU campus is historic Pullen Park, originally founded in 1887. Pullen Park is one of North Carolina’s most iconic family attractions, featuring a 1911 Gustave A. Dentzel menagerie carousel, a C.P. Huntington miniature replica train ride, community center, boat rentals, arts center, ball fields, tennis courts, picnic shelters, playground, outdoor café and the long-running Theatre In The Park (Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre).
A short drive down Hillsborough St., past the NCSU main campus, is the state-of-the-art PNC Arena, which welcomes over 1.5 million guests and plays host to more than 150 events each year, including the NCSU Wolfpack men’s basketball games and a number of NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament first and second round games. PNC Arena is also the home of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, winners of the 2006 NHL Stanley Cup Finals. Disney On Ice, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé and other international touring acts bring their biggest shows to PNC arena. Across the parking lot, you'll find Carter-Finley Stadium, home of the NCSU football team.
Adjacent to Carter-Finley Stadium is the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. If you're visiting in mid-Oct., be sure to join the more than one million attendees who visit the North Carolina State Fair, the state’s largest annual event. The 11-day fair features livestock, agricultural, arts and cultural exhibits, an amusement midway and nightly, nationally acclaimed musical performances. During the rest of the year, the fairgrounds host of variety of other events. Most notably, the Raleigh Flea Market, the state’s largest of its kind, sets up shop here every weekend, weather permitting.
A short drive away is the State Farmers Market, Raleigh, considered one of the nation’s best and most modern markets. More than fresh vegetables, it’s a family adventure. Visitors can enjoy 75 acres of indoor and outdoor specialty shops, restaurants and a garden center, with fruits, vegetables, meats and gifts from across the state.