Update, July 31, 2023: The sunflowers at Dorothea Dix Park are now well past their peak bloom and mostly wilted. Mark you calendars for next July for more sunny good times!


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. This year 280,000 seeds 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—approximately 100,000 people visit the fields each year!

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 is expected to be in peak bloom in mid-July, likely staying in viewable condition for approximately two to three weeks (through the end of July) depending on weather. There are designated paths to walk between the sunflowers—please use them!

Food trucks are scheduled to be on site at the following times:

  • Fri., July 14, 5-9pm
  • Sat., July 15, 11am-3pm and 5-9pm (with music and beer from 5-8pm)
  • Fri., July 21, 5-9pm
  • Sat., July 22, 11am-3pm and 5-9pm (with music and beer from 5-8pm)

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


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 visitor hours (Sat., 10am-4pm; Sun., noon-5pm). Portable toilets are also available at the fields.
  • Plenty of free parking is available (see the map below).
  • Accessibility information about Dix Park can be found here.
  • 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!).
  • The sunflowers are for everyone—please don't pick them to take home.
  • Click the map below to view full-size.

Dorothea Dix Park sunflower map


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 two years ago, and construction is 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)


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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