A year full of major festivals and celebrations lies ahead in Raleigh, N.C.! These events serve an important purpose—they mark history and sense of pride, plus they showcase talent, creativity and culture, delicious foods and beverages (and some surprises, too!).

Make plans now to spend a day or a weekend in the Raleigh area around these trip-worthy events in 2024!

A note: Some of the dates for these events have not yet been announced, but we can generally know what month they fall in (and some major events—concerts, for example—haven't been announced at all yet). We'll update this page as information comes in!

 

January

BLOW UP II: Inflatable Contemporary Artthrough Jan. 27, 2024
At the Gregg Musuem of Art & Design (a beloved hidden gem affiliated with North Carolina State University), BLOW UP II features large-scale inflatable sculptures—conceived by nine artists and art collectives—that are fun, whimsical and sometimes amusing (and always spectacular). 

Tar Heel Troubadours: Kruger Brothers, Jan. 20, 2024
Taking place at the North Carolina Museum of History's intimate, 300-seat venue, the Tar Heel Troubadours music series is a monthly celebration of Americana, roots, bluegrass and traditional music performed by artists from or living and working in North Carolina. Update: The Kruger Brothers concert is sold out. See the rest of the schedule here.

North Carolina Vintage BazaarJan. 20-21, 2024
One of the Tar Heel State's biggest vintage clothing market and thrift convention events, the Vintage Bazaar brings together sellers of all genres, eras and styles of vintage clothing at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

Triangle Restaurant Week, Jan. 22-28, 2024
A week-long celebration of culinary excellence, Triangle Restaurant Week sees some of the area's best restaurants offer up special, three-course menu options at fixed pricing, a great opportunity for residents and visitors alike to return to an old favorite dining spot or discover a new one.

Restaurant

23rd Annual African American Cultural CelebrationJan. 27, 2024
An annual, statewide kickoff to Black History Month at the North Carolina Museum of History, for more than 20 years the African American Cultural Celebration has brought together authors, artists, musicians, filmmakers, scholars and more, all around a central theme to highlight the contributions that African Americans have made to North Carolina’s history and culture. 

 

February

American Aquarium: Roadtrip to RaleighFeb. 1-3, 2024 (update: sold out!)
Raleigh-based alternative country band American Aquarium, known as one of the 21st century’s ultimate road-warrior acts, brings their annual, much-anticipated Road Trip to Raleigh show to downtown Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre for three nights of packed shows in front of a hometown crowd.

American Aquarium

North Carolina Opera presents The Barber of Seville, Feb. 2 and 4, 2024
This 200-year-old story from Italian composer Gioachino Rossini—featuring a plot fraught with bribery, mischievous deception and disguise—is considered to be one of the greatest masterpieces of comedy within music. The North Carolina Opera will also perform The Girl of the Golden West, April 21.

Krispy Kreme Challenge, Feb. 3, 2024
One of America's most unique running events (and toughest eating events!), the Krispy Kreme Challenge requires competitors to run five miles, eat a dozen doughnuts at the halfway point and hit the finish line in under one hour. For the curious, those doughnuts total 2,400 calories and 144 grams of fat—but who's counting! 

Krispy Kreme Challenge

Astronomy DaysFeb. 3-4, 2024
From comet crafts to solar observing, lectures to rocket launches, space enthusiasts of all ages will find something to do at one of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' most popular annual events.

Katt Williams, Feb. 16, 2024
Comedy legend (and Emmy-winning actor) Katt Williams brings his Dark Matter Tour to Raleigh's PNC Arena.

Journey, Feb. 17, 2024 
Following the success of the 2023 Freedom Tour, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Journey—featuring special guest TOTO—bring their catalog of number-one records ("Don't Stop Believin," "Any Way You Want It," "Faithfully" and more) to PNC Arena in February. 

More music coming to PNC Arena: Winter Jam (Feb. 9); Lauren Daigle (Feb. 23); Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin and Pitbull (Feb. 29); Bryan Adams (March 1); Fall Out Boy (March 19); Avenged Sevenfold (March 29); AJR (April 9); NF (May 22); Melanie Martinez (May 31); Kane Brown (June 7); Tim McGraw (June 22) and more.

 

March

Sheryl Underwood at Raleigh ImprovMarch 1-2, 2024
Multi-faceted entertainer Sheryl Underwood—co-host of "The Talk" on CBS—will provide stand-up comedy fans four rare opportunities to see her perform live at Raleigh Improv.

Carolina Ballet presents The Little MermaidMarch 7-24, 2024
A world-premiere ballet set to the story of Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid (featuring live music, new sets and costumes and a new score from composer Aaron Severini). See the rest of Carolina Ballet's spring season here.

Raleigh Brewing 11th Anniversary PartyMarch 9, 2024
One of the Raleigh area's signature breweries—now with multiple locations—throws their annual birthday bash at the original Neil St. taproom. Cheers to 11 years of good beer!

Art in BloomMarch 13-17, 2024
One of the can't-miss events of the year at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Art in Bloom is a five-day festival of art and flowers. More than 50 floral interpretations inspired by the museum's galleries are created on-site by world-class designers and showcased throughout the museum's West Building. The ticketed event invites participants to attend presentations and workshops, dine at the museum cafe and shop for one-of-a-kind gifts.

visitors inside museum gallery look at display of pink flowers in glass vases

Playthrough Gaming ConventionMarch 16-17, 2024
A two-day gaming extravaganza at the Raleigh Convention Center, Playthrough showcases the latest games offers attendees the chance to battle it out in tournaments, participate in a cosplay showcase, explore an escape room, visit exhibitors, attend main stage panels and enjoy lots of free-to-play options for board, PC, arcade, retro console and virtual reality games.

 

April

Carolina Hurricanes final regular season home gamesApril, 4, 5 and 7
One of the NHL's pre-season favorites (and currently sitting near the top of the standings in the Eastern Conference), the Carolina Hurricanes' final three home games are likely to play a pivotal role in their Stanley Cup quest. They'll battle the Boston Bruins (April 4), the Washington Capitals (April 5) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (April 7) over four nights at PNC Arena.

Tacos 'N TapsApril 6, 2024
This all-you-can-taste beer and tequila festival takes you south of the border for foodie fun—tacos, margaritas, 80-plus beers, mariachi bands and other live music, piñata punching, contests and other surprises await at Koka Booth Amphitheatre.

Dreamville FestivalApril 6-7, 2024
Curated by platinum-selling rapper J. Cole, the 2024 version of Dreamville will be a two-day, multi-stage music festival (and one-of-a-kind celebration of local culture, food and art) at downtown Raleigh's Dorothea Dix Park. The music lineup is yet to be announced, but Nicki Minaj will reportedly be a headlining act (and tickets, by the way, are expected to sell out well in advance).

Dreamville Festival 2022

David SedarisApril 8, 2024
Raleigh native and best-selling author David Sedaris will take to the stage at the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh for a one-night-only event of special readings and recollections following the release of his newest book, "Happy Go Lucky."

Theatre Raleigh presents Tick, Tick...Boom!April 10-21, 2024
This autobiographical rock musical by Jonathan Larson—the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning composer of Rent—is the story of a composer and the sacrifices made to achieve his big break in theater. 

Carolina Mudcats Opening WeekApril 9-14, 2024
Who's ready to root, root, root for the home team? The Carolina Mudcats—affiliate of Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers—will be swinging back into action in April with a new season of minor league baseball in Zebulon, N.C. (where they've called Five County Stadium home for more than 30 years!).

Peak City Pig FestApril 12-13, 2024
Live music, a beer garden, a barbecue competition (sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society) and more make for one of Apex's tastiest events of the year.

Mid-Town Square Spring Festival, expected April 2024
Held at Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary, this free-admission festival features food trucks, local artists, live music and, of course, Bond Brothers' award-winning brews (new releases and special casks included!). Kids and leashed dogs are welcome at the brewery, but heads up—this event will draw a big crowd!

Town of Cary's Pimento Cheese FestivalApril 13, 2024
In downtown Cary, food trucks will line the streets to serve their regular menu, along with new dishes featuring a Southern delicacy: pimento cheese! Enjoy live music, grab a drink from local breweries and taste some of the best pimento cheese samples from local restaurants (come hungry!).

14th Annual North Carolina 'Cuegrass FestivalApril 20, 2024
What could be finer than a jam-packed day of drool-worthy barbecue from The Pit, plenty of local brews and toe-tappin' bluegrass music on Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh?

Cuegrass

HozierApril 20, 2024
More than a decade after the release of "Take Me To Church"—and just a few months removed from the release of a new album—Irish musician Hozier stands as one of the world's biggest blues/folk/rock stars. He'll play an early spring concert in Raleigh at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek.

BrewgalooApril 26-27, 2024
N.C.'s largest craft beer festival—featuring 100 breweries, 50 food trucks and drawing 30,000 people—Brewgaloo takes over downtown Raleigh for two days each April. 

Brewgaloo

HerbFesttentatively late April/early May
Those who love to cook will love HerbFest (the longest-running herb festival in the country!). Stroll through downtown Wake Forest's charming White St. and shop organic, non-GMO herbs and vegetables, plus heirloom tomatoes and peppers and beautiful perennials specific to the area.

Spring Daze Arts and Crafts FestivalApril 27, 2024
Featuring more than 170 local artists, Bond Park's Spring Daze Arts and Crafts Festival has showcased art—paintings, jewelry, sculptures and more—plus food vendors, children's activities and all-day live music for more than 30 years now.

Raulston Blooms!April 27, 2024
A beautiful time of year for one of the biggest annual events at JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University, Raulston Blooms! includes an exceptional plant sale, garden talks, demonstrations, food trucks, ice cream and more.

Dueling Dinosaursopening April 2024
An exhibit 67 million years in the making, the Dueling Dinosaurs—thought to be the most complete skeletons ever discovered of a Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex—are among the most important paleontological discoveries of our lifetime. These historic fossils have taken up residency at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, where a new lab is being built to put them on display. Opening in April, this DinoLab will allow the public to watch as scientists work to uncover long-buried secrets within.

 

May

North Carolina Symphony presents Star Wars: Return of the JediMay 2-4, 2024
May the Fourth be with you, indeed! This special event puts one of the most popular films of all time on the big screen, paired in tandem with the North Carolina Symphony performing John Williams’ legendary score live. See more of North Carolina Symphony's upcoming events here.

The Red Clay RamblersMay 3, 2024
Formed more than 50 years ago, The Red Clay Ramblers are among the longest-running string bands from the piedmont of North Carolina. This special anniversary show—part of the PineCone Down Home Concert Series—should make for a magical evening. 

More Down Home Concert Series events: Dan Tyminski Band (Jan. 12); Tony Trischka's EarlJam (Jan. 26); Appalachian Road Show (Feb. 23); Balsam Range (March 1); Don Flemons & Shultz' Dream (March 15); and Bella White (April 5).

Meet in the Street FestivalMay 2024
A day filled with food, fun and entertainment in historic downtown Wake Forest for more than 40 years running, Meet in the Street pulls together all-day live music plus an additional stage of entertainment with dancers, martial arts, magicians and more. 

Fest in the WestMay 2024
Celebrate Cary's rural past at this day filled with food trucks, local breweries, pie-eating contests, kids activities, live music and more. Empty plates, full bellies and a satisfied crowd is a sure thing, plus festival-goers head home with souvenir beer cups!

43rd Annual Apex PeakFestMay 4, 2024
Salem St. in historic downtown Apex comes alive with more than 20,000 visitors during PeakFest, the towns largest annual event, featuring all-day live music, all the arts and crafts you can imagine, entertainment for kids and food vendors that bring their best State Fair-style goodies.

10th Annual Longleaf Film FestivalMay 10-11, 2024
A free-to-attend film festival that highlights the best short- and feature-length documentary and narrative films, the Longleaf Film Festival is held annually at the North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh, where 1,000 attendees enjoy 50-plus films, panels and popcorn.

Got to Be NC FestivalMay 17-19, 2024
Putting the best of N.C. food and beverage on display, the Got to Be NC Festival offers tons of eating opportunities, live music, a huge collection of antique tractors, a carnival for children and more activities (plus free parking and admission) at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

Artsplosure - The Raleigh Arts Festivaltentatively May 18-19, 2024
One of the Southeast's premier arts festivals, Artsplosure - The Raleigh Arts Festival attracts more than 80,000 people to downtown Raleigh during the third weekend of May each year. Celebrating fine visual art and live music since 1980, the festival puts more than 180 artists' work—using countless mediums—on display for all to see and enjoy during the free festival.

Queens of the Stone AgeMay 22, 2024
On the heels of the release of their Grammy-nominated album, "In Times New Roman," in 2023, rock group QOTSA brings their The End is Nero Tour to Raleigh's Red Hat Amphitheater.

More music coming to Red Hat Amphitheater: Dustin Lynch (April 19); Brothers Osborne (June 8); Bailey Zimmerman (June 28); O.A.R. (July 6); Tate McRae (Aug. 16); Laney Wilson (Oct. 18) and more to be announced later.

NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse ChampionshipMay 24 and 26, 2024
The Town of Cary and WakeMed Soccer Park will host the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship for the second straight year. 

AnimazementMay 24-26, 2024
Get in on the action at Animazement, a three-day Japanese animation and culture celebration over Memorial Day weekend that draws 15,000 attendees to the Raleigh Convention Center. Cosplay is a huge draw: guests are encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters simply for fun, or to participate in contests showcasing their talents!

Animazement

NC Sugar RushMay 26, 2024
One of the sweetest events of the year, NC Sugar Rush is an all-dessert food truck rodeo held in downtown Raleigh's City Plaza. More than 20 vendors—offering a range of goodies from cotton candy to cupcakes to cherry pies—will be on hand, along with face painters, balloon artists and more to keep the kids entertained.

UNC Health Championship, May 30-June 2, 2024
As part of the Korn Ferry Tour—the playing field where future golf stars compete to earn their PGA Tour cards—the UNC Health Championship will return to the Donald Ross-designed Raleigh Country Club again this year, featuring four days of fan-friendly competition.

 

June

Raleigh's International Food Festival, June 1, 2024
Celebrate Raleigh's diverse community and welcoming spirit by trying food, beer and wine (plus listen to live music and see more entertainment) from around the world. Nearly 20,000 attendees are expected in downtown Raleigh's City Plaza for the event.

The Soccer Tournament, June 5-10, 2024
One of soccer's most electrifying events of 2023 returns bigger and better to WakeMed Soccer Park this summer. This six-day, high-stakes, winner-take-all event puts $1 million on the line (this year for both a men's and women's tournament!).

Raleigh Little Theatre presents Kinky BootsJune 7-23, 2024
Featuring a joyous score by pop icon Cyndi Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein, this six-time Tony Award-winning musical extravaganza reminds audiences that if you change your mind, you can change your whole world. 

Capital City Juneteenth CelebrationJune 15, 2024
First held at Dorothea Dix Park in 2021 as a celebration and commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States, this event features speakers, artists, historic interpreters, music and more.

N.C. Hops FestivalJune 2024
Sip, shop, dine and groove for two days at the N.C. Hops Festival at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. More than 100 local beers, ciders and seltzers will be on hand to sample, and live music, local makers and food trucks will help round out an event worthy of raising a glass to.

12th Annual Out! Raleigh PrideJune 22, 2024
Out! Raleigh Pride is the area's annual, family-friendly street festival that celebrates the LGBT community and its allies. Organized each year by the LGBT Center of Raleigh, the festival's speakers, performers and vendors (and a Kids Zone) bring eight hours of fun and family to downtown Raleigh's Fayetteville Street district.

Out! Raleigh

 

July

City of Raleigh July 4th Celebration at Dix ParkJuly 4, 2024
Pack a picnic and head to Dorothea Dix Park to enjoy music and field games before settling in for Raleigh's biggest annual fireworks display.

The Town of Cary Presents: Independence Day Celebrationexpected to take place July 4, 2024
Relax under the pines at Koka Booth Amphitheatre for the Town of Cary Independence Day Celebration. Music from the Cary Town Band, plus a patriotic performance by the North Carolina Symphony, precede fireworks over beautiful Symphony Lake to cap the evening. 

GalaxyCon RaleighJuly 25-28, 2024
A four-day festival for fans of pop culture, superheroes, science fiction, anime and more, GalaxyCon Raleigh will be back and bigger than ever at the Raleigh Convention Center in July. Featuring celebrity guests, comic book creators, artists, cosplayers and other industry guests, GalaxyCon Raleigh is expected to bring an incredible 30,000 attendees together in downtown Raleigh to see and be seen, to meet celebrities, go head-to-head in video games and have a blast participating in all things geek!

Supercon

 

August

Sir Walter MilerAug. 2, 2024
One of America's best (and fastest) track events, the Sir Walter Miler, is a free-admission event featuring an elite field of men and women runners and allows fans onto the track at Meredith College to scream and cheer as athletes look to set some of the fastest mile times of the year in the U.S. 

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival, Aug. 2-3, 2024
Beer sipping, bourbon tasting, music listening and barbecue eating at Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre—what's not to love?

CaribMask CarnivalAugust 2024
A festival to promote diversity, equality and create a deeper appreciation for Afro-Caribbean culture in the Raleigh area, CaribMask is expected to return for an 11th annual event in downtown Raleigh in 2024. In previous years, a parade of bands, flag ceremony, live music and tons of food and drinks have kept a joyful crowd of more than 15,000 people plenty happy.

Packapaloozatentatively Aug. 24, 2024
This annual, all-day block party and street festival, drawing more than 80,000 attendees, caps off North Carolina State University's Wolfpack Welcome Week at the start of another academic year. The free and open-to-the-public event features more than 300 vendor booths lining Hillsborough St., along with food, games, arts and crafts, visual and performing arts and more. Music will take center stage to close out the evening.

Packapalooza

Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts FestivalAug. 24-25, 2024
For more than 40 years, the Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival has put local artists and craftsmakers in the spotlight. Today, the Cary festival has grown to two days, features more than 300 artists from 16 states, has multiple stages of live music, a beer garden and plenty of food trucks to keep everyone happy.

15th Annual African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake Countylate August/early September
An annual celebration of African American culture expressed through art, music, food and community, this two-day downtown Raleigh festival showcases local, national and international artists, performers, food vendors and area business owners.

 

September

Hopscotch Music FestivalSept. 5-7, 2024
The 14th annual Hopscotch Music Festival—time and time again named as one of America's can't-miss independent music events—will once again be back and ready to jam in the center of the City of Oaks in 2024. Last year a total of 120 performers played across 10 downtown Raleigh venues, with headlining acts that included Pavement, Japanese Breakfast, Margo Price, Denzel Curry and a whole lot more.

Hopscotch City Plaza

Hootie & the BlowfishSept, 13, 2024
Nearly 30 years after the release of their first studio album ("Cracked Rear View" remains among the best-selling albums in music history), Darius Rucker's Hootie & the Blowfish bring their feel-good tunes to Raleigh's Coastal Credit Union Music Park as part of their first tour since 2019.

More music coming to Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek: NEEDTOBREATHE (April 26); Foo Fighters (May 7); Hank Williams Jr. (May 17); Niall Horan (June 7); Red Hot Chili Peppers (June 26); Alanis Morisette (June 27); Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire (Aug. 12) plus more to be announced.

BugFestSeptember 2024
Experience more than 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities at BugFest, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' annual event that lets you interact with entomologists and other scientists while learning about the fascinating world of bugs. 

Asia FestSeptember 2024
Presented by Asian Focus at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, the 8th annual Asia Fest will be a celebration of Asian cultures with live stage performances, games for the kids, global street food vendors and much more (including the Raleigh area's only dragon boat race!).

La Fiesta del PuebloSeptember 2024
A tradition for 30 years now, La Fiesta del Pueblo, a Hispanic cultural event held in the Fayetteville Street district of downtown Raleigh, draws nearly 20,000 attendees each year and showcases music, art, dance performances, educational booths, children's activities and food from different regions of Latin America, all in celebration of the diversity of Latin-American culture.

IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNCSept. 27-28, 2024
The arrival of a toe-tappin', banjo-strummin' week of non-stop week of bluegrass in downtown Raleigh has been one of the most anticipated times of the year for more than a decade now. The International Bluegrass Music Association brings their business conference, along with the world's most talented bluegrass musicians, to Raleigh during this week, which is ultimately capped off with a two-day festival that sets up five stages of free music, a dance tent, tons of art vendors and more.

Wide Open Bluegrass 2019

 

October

Falling for LocalOct. 5, 2024
A festival for autumn lovers at Dorothea Dix Park, Falling for Local features live music, local makers, craft beer, food trucks, games for kids, hay rides, free pumpkins and more.

96th Annual Wendell Harvest FestivalOctober 2024
A tradition dating back to 1927, the Wendell Harvest Festival features a parade, more than 100 craft vendors, a beer garden, games for kids and adults and live music (fun for the entire family!).  

Triangle OktoberfestOctober 2024
The Raleigh area's biggest Oktoberfest celebration, Triangle Oktoberfest at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary provides plenty of family-friendly activities including live music, storytelling, dancing and traditional Bavarian food and fare (plus local and authentic German beers on hand).

SAS ChampionshipOct. 11-13, 2024
See some of golf's best at the SAS Championship, a PGA Tour Championships event. Held annually at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, the event is widely recognized as one of the most important events of the year, and also features a Pro-Am event, the ever-popular Food Truck Friday and a 5k Saturday race for the whole community to get involved.

N.C. State FairOct. 17-27, 2024
The largest annual event in the state, the N.C. State Fair draws one million visitors through the gates each October. Eleven days of high-flying rides, deep-fried foods, live music, stunt shows and other entertainment (including nightly fireworks) has been a can't-miss event for generations of families—the 2024 version of the N.C. State Fair marks the 156th year of the event!

N.C. State Fair

Hum Sub DiwaliOctober 2024
Always drawing a big crowd, Cary's Diwali celebration includes music, dance, theater performances, a handicraft bazaar, Indian food vendors, sponsor booths, an exhibition of Indian art and culture, activities for children, demonstrations and so much more at Koka Booth Amphitheatre!

USA Today Wine and Food Experience, tentatively Oct. 26, 2024
Taste, sip and savor great flavors for an afternoon at Dorothea Dix Park, where some of the Raleigh area's most acclaimed chefs, mixologists and sommeliers will gather for mingling, sampling, music, demonstrations and more. 

HollyFest, October 2024
This annual, family-friendly event held at the beautiful Jefferson L. Sugg Farm at Bass Lake celebrates the town of Holly Springs, featuring local artists, businesses, food vendors, children’s activities and local entertainment.

 

November

The International FestivalNovember 2024
Celebrate holidays around the world at the N.C. International Festival, a three-day, comprehensive platform for local communities and artists to present their culture at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. More than 30 ethnic groups participate to present a variety of arts, cuisine, dance, textile design and cultural expression from across the globe. 

Moonlight in the Garden, Nov. 7-16, 2024
A magical lighting exhibition that's suited for the entire family, Moonlight in the Garden at JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University is a once-per-year opportunity to see the nationally acclaimed gardens artfully illuminated by colorful lights. Each evening of the ticketed event is paired with live music, food trucks, hot apple cider, fire pits and marshmallows to roast!

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival-Cary, November 2024 through January 2025
Perhaps the most-attended holiday event in the Raleigh area for nearly a decade now, the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival puts hundreds of larger-than-life lanterns on display at Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre, creating an incredible, colorful adventure for you to walk through during the holiday season. In all, the lanterns and more than 15,000 LED lights make up 40 distinct displays, including a 200-foot-long, 21-foot-tall mythical creature that sits on Symphony Lake.

Chinese Lantern Festival 2022

80th Annual Raleigh Christmas Parade, Nov. 23, 2024
Celebrating 80 years in 2024, the Raleigh Christmas Parade is the largest parade of its kind between Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The parade—filled with marching bands, dancers, giant balloons, super heroes and more—marches through downtown Raleigh for two hours along a 1.4-mile route that draws a crowd of 60,000 spectators.

American Indian Heritage Celebration, November, 2024
Musicians, dancers, artists, storytellers and authors from N.C.'s eight state-recognized tribes will gather for this popular family event at the North Carolina Museum of History. For all ages, the celebration is a firsthand opportunity to learn about the state’s American Indian culture, past and present. Activities include craft demonstrations, hands-on activities, games, foods and much more.

The Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration at North Hills, November 2024
The annual lighting of a 41-foot-tall Christmas tree, a visit from Santa Claus, trackless train rides for kids, live music and plenty of vendors on hand make this celebration an equally great event for families and a fun date idea. 

THE RINK presented by UNC HealthNovember 2024 through January 2025
Enjoy the thrill of ice skating in a wintry village created in the heart of downtown Raleigh! THE RINK features a natural ice skating rink with stunning views of the Raleigh skyline, cozy lounging stations with heat warmers and fire pits, a snack bar, games, photo opportunities and more.

More skating rink fun: Fenton and Downtown Cary Park have both hosted skating rinks for the holidays in previous years and are expected to again in 2024.

THE RINK presented by UNC Health

Holiday Express at Pullen Parklate November/early December
This year-round favorite destination for families gets dressed up for the holiday season, festively decorated with thousands of lights. The major attractions? A rideable, miniature train that meanders through and around the park plus a carousel that keeps kids of all ages happy for hours. 

 

December

NCAA Women's and Men's Division I Soccer ChampionshipsDec. 6 and 9, 2024; Dec. 13 and 16, 2024
Two champions will be crowned at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary to close out the college soccer season. These NCAA College Cup events feature the semifinals and final matchups played in front of as many as 10,000 fans!

Raleigh Little Theatre presents CinderellaDecember 2024
Celebrating its 40th year at Raleigh Little Theatre in 2024, the musical comedy Cinderella is a holiday sugarplum for the whole family. Just the right mixture of comedy and romance, plus a visually stunning set and costumes, make this fairy tale a favorite holiday tradition in Raleigh.

Downtown Raleigh Illuminate Art Walk, December 2024
Downtown Raleigh comes to light with Illuminate, a self-guided, light-based art walk. This free, five-week activation transforms public spaces with a large-scale interactive installation, light-based sculptures and projection art. 

Miracle® at The HaymakerDecember 2024
Now a holiday staple for bar-goers in downtown Raleigh, Miracle®—an over-the-top, festive pop-up experience with holiday fun and limited-time cocktails—takes over The Haymaker each December.

Wendell WonderlandDecember 2024
A perfect chance to experience historic downtown Wendell lit up for the holidays, with a visit from Santa Claus, trolley rides through town, lighting of the town tree, live music, hot chocolate, food trucks, a craft market and more. The Lake Myra Christmas light show—one of the East Coast's most dazzling displays—will also be in full swing, featuring more than 400,000 lights—and it's all free!

Boylan Heights ArtWalkDecember 2024
For 31 years and counting, the Boylan Heights Art Walk has featured more than a hundred artists and craftspeople selling a wide range of glasswork, jewelry, woodwork, clay work and ceramics, photography and prints, multimedia, painting and other art from the neighborhood’s porches, yards and sidewalks (in of the area's prettiest neighborhoods!).

State Capitol Tree Lighting CeremonyDecember 2024
With luminaries lighting the Capitol grounds and local choral groups filling the air with seasonal songs, the lighting of the tree at the North Carolina State Capitol building is a sign for many that the holiday season is officially here. After the lighting of the tree, stick around to tour the inside of the Capitol, covered in wreaths and draped in garland.

State Capitol Tree Lighting 2017

Theatre In The Park presents A Christmas CarolDecember 2024
This iconic theater production, having wowed more than a million guests since its inception, celebrated its 50th year of holiday laughs in 2023, closing out a half-century of performances for Theatre In The Park executive director Ira David Wood III as Scrooge. Moving forward, Wood III will hand over the keys to his son, Ira David Wood IV, to carry on the tradition of this beloved musical comedy that many consider to be the ultimate Raleigh holiday event.

The Justice Theater Project presents Black Nativity in Concert, December 2024
This gospel music experience, a production of The Justice Theater Project, takes the audience on a journey back to the Bethlehem of Mary and Joseph, resplendent in African costumes and uplifting songs of worship. With a joyous inspirational score, Black Nativity is a legendary family show that shares this unforgettable story of the Nativity through compelling gospel music and the beautiful poetry of Langston Hughes.

53rd Annual Oakwood Candlelight TourDecember 2024
Historic Oakwood, a community of homes, many of which are dated to the mid-1800s to early 1900s, has its own small town feel. Elegantly decorated for the holidays, you can step inside about a dozen private homes, staffed with docents who tell the rich history of this Century Victorian neighborhood.

North Carolina Master Chorale presents Joy of the SeasonDecember 2024
The North Carolina Master Chorale, hailed by critics as the area's premier choral ensemble and the recipient of a Raleigh Medal of Arts award, has performed choral masterworks with orchestra since 1942. Joy of the Season celebrates its 24th anniversary this year, a Raleigh holiday tradition that fills Meymandi Concert Hall with nearly 200 voices, guest choirs, a brass ensemble, Meymandi's pipe organ and the Master Chorale’s newly established Youth Choir.

Carolina Ballet presents The NutcrackerDecember 2024
Filled with grace and grandeur, Carolina Ballet's holiday classic is a can't-miss tradition for locals, visitors, families and friends. After 25 years, artistic director Zalman Raffael unveiled an updated version of this production in 2022, featuring new choreography, sets, costumes and more that continue to dazzle audiences.

First Night RaleighDec. 31, 2024
First Night Raleigh, a downtown Raleigh New Year's Eve celebration for more than 25 years, is an all-day event with more than 100 performances (music, dance, theater, comedy and more) across 35 venues. Tons of kids' activities, a 90-foot-tall Ferris wheel and a countdown to midnight (where, yes, a giant acorn drops from the sky as the clock strikes 12) and celebratory fireworks highlight a full day of festivities.

First Night Raleigh

 

Photo credits: Header photo, Julian Bajsel; Krispy Kreme Challenge, North Carolina State University; Dreamville, Garrett Poulos; 'Cuegrass, Empire Eats; Brewgaloo, Garrett Poulos; Animazement, animazementphotos; Out! Raleigh, Michael Robson; GalaxyCon Raleigh, Fisticuffs Photography; Packapalooza, North Carolina State University; Hopscotch, Michael Robson; World of Bluegrass, Michael Robson; N.C. State Fair, Justin Kase Conder; Chinese Lantern Festival, Michael Robson; State Capitol Tree Lighting, Michael Robson; First Night Raleigh, Sandra Davidson

Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts . Menconi's next book,... View More

Raleigh, N.C., keeps adding happy occasions to the calendar. Festivals and major events serve an important purpose—they... View More

Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts . Menconi's next book,... View More

Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts . Menconi's next book,... View More

Hello, May! A busy spring continues in the Raleigh area this month—longer days and lots of sunshine mean it's time to... View More

Tried-and-true recipe for a great time: a dash of warm weather, a heap of live music and plenty of good friends. With a... View More

Weekends are meant to be brunched on! Time spent with family and friends over stacks of blueberry pancakes or the perfect eggs... View More

Two of the best-preserved fossils of the two most iconic dinosaurs are taking up permanent residency in Raleigh as part of an... View More