Update, July 22: The sunflowers at Dorothea Dix Park are well past their peak (hot weather and little rain made for a short but sweet stay this year!). Sunflowers at the North Carolina Museum of Art are just beginning to bloom, however, so head there to check that item off your summer bucket list! 


 

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 back in 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 2022, nearly 200,000 seeds (variety: Clearfield Sunflower) were planted in mid-May, and they'll once again call Dorothea Dix Park home.

This attraction is free to visit, seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset

The sunflowers serve a purpose beyond just acting as a fun summer Instagram hot-spot—the City of Raleigh 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 insects.

Dorothea Dix Park Sunflowers

 

Expected peak bloom time

The field of tall, golden flowers are already nearing full bloom as of July 11. They are expected to be in peak viewing condition over the weekends of July 15-17 and July 22-24, likely staying in viewable condition for approximately two to three weeks (through the end of July). Update, July 22: The sunflowers are now well past their peak due to weather conditions this year.

Food trucks are scheduled to be on site July 22 (5-9pm), July 23 (11am-3pm and 5-9pm) and July 24 (11am-3pm).

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.

 

Accessible viewing

Portions of the park, including the sunflower fields, have uneven paved surfaces surrounding parking lots and will require use of unpaved dirt and grass paths to view the sunflowers up close. 

There will be accessible vehicle viewing for groups and individuals with disabilities and limited mobility to safely drive the sunflower loop. Free tickets required. Tentative dates below:

  • Fri., July 22 from 9-11am;
  • Fri., July 29 from 9-11am; 
  • Contact events@dixpark.org or 919-996-3255 to reserve a spot.

 

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 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

 

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 opened last year, and construction is ready to get underway on the 18-acre Gipson Play Plaza). 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 visitRaleigh (@visitraleigh)

 

Upcoming flower-related workshops

 

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

  • Peak City Pig Fest, July 22-23
  • Cary Downtown Chowdown, July 24
  • 9th Anniversary Block Party at Crank Arm Brewing, July 24
  • GalaxyCon Raleigh, July 28-31
  • The NC International Festival, Aug. 28
  • Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival, Aug. 27-28
  • Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival, Aug. 5-6
  • IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC, Sept. 30-Oct. 1
  • Triangle Oktoberfest, Oct. 1-2
  • North Carolina State Fair, Oct. 13-23
  • Raleigh Christmas Parade, Nov. 19

 

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!

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