Update, Aug. 4: The Dorothea Dix Park sunflower fields are now past peak bloom, but some flowers will remain in good condition for a few more days.


What and where are the sunflowers in Raleigh?

Calling all cyclists, runners, outdoor enthusiasts and Instagram addicts—a pop-up tourist destination of gorgeous sunflowers is coming back to Raleigh, N.C.!

First planted by the City of Raleigh's public utilities department in 2010 along the Neuse River Greenway Trail, a beautiful five-acre batch of sunflowers blooms each year in July. For 2021, they'll once again call Dorothea Dix Park home.

The sunflowers serve a purpose beyond just acting as a fun summer Instagram hot-spot—the City will harvest the sunflowers to create thousands of gallons of biodiesel, which is then processed into fuel to run tractors, trailers and farm equipment. The flowers are also excellent pollinators—the field serves as a massive pollinator habitat for bees and other species.

BONUS: At the North Carolina Museum of Art, another 2.5-acre field of flowers is also ready to bloom. The museum’s 2.5-acre sunflower field, first planted in 2018, is located near the intersection of the Blue Loop and Meadow trails and includes a mix of colorful sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias.

Dorothea Dix Park and the North Carolina Museum of Art are connected by a five-mile bike route which you find more about here. Both locations also have Citrix Cycle bikeshare stations available for short-term rentals.

Photo below from a previous year.


Expected peak bloom time

The field of tall golden flowers began to bloom July 15. The entire field will bloom over the next few days, and will likely stay in viewable condition for approximately two to three weeks (through the end of July).

Photo below taken July 20


There are designated paths to walk between the sunflowers—please use them!

Use the 360° photo below, courtesy of our friends at Beaumonde Arts Agency, to immerse yourself in a scene from a previous year.


About Dorothea Dix Park

Dorothea Dix Park, a 308-acre property acquired by the City of Raleigh in 2015, is the largest city park in the City of Oaks. The site blends historic architecture and rich landscapes on the edge of downtown Raleigh (the closest park entrance is about one mile from the Raleigh Convention Center). Named for Dorothea Lynde Dix, an American activist on behalf of people with mental illness, the site spent 150 years as Dorothea Dix Hospital and more recently has been home to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

In the future, the City of Raleigh has big plans for a transformative public space—it's been named as "the nation's most exciting park project"—and some projects are well underway (the Greg Poole Jr., All Faiths Chapel has just opened to the public!). For now though, massive open fields, tree-lined streets, skyline views and very minimal car traffic make this park an ideal place for all sorts of outdoor activities.


A post shared by Matt Robinson (@raleighskyline) on


Need to know

  • It's summertime—expect the weather to be hot! Sunscreen, bug repellent and a water bottle are always good ideas.
  • Indoor restrooms are available inside the Greg Poole Jr. All Faiths Chapel during these hours: Tues. and Thurs., 6-9pm; Sat., 10am-4pm; Sun., noon-5pm.
  • Plenty of free parking is available (see the map below).
  • Accessibility information about Dix Park can be found here.
  • A Citrix Cylcle bikeshare station at the park provides a good transportation option as well (electric bikes are available!)
  • Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times to visit.
  • You can walk through the sunflower fields on the designated paths.
  • The fields are a mix of dirt, grass and some rocks—please wear closed-toe shoes for your safety.
  • Pets are ok (on a leash, please!).
  • The sunflowers are for everyone—please don't pick them to take home

Dix Park Sunflower Map 2021

Other upcoming events at Dorothea Dix Park


A post shared by Dorothea Dix Park (@dixpark)


Other upcoming events and festivals in Raleigh, N.C.

Have questions? Tweet us at visitRaleigh, and we'll be happy to help. Don't forget to tag your sunflower photos on Instagram with #visitRaleigh so we can see and share!

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

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