The Biggest Events in Raleigh, N.C., This Spring
Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 1pm by visitRaleigh
Raleigh, N.C., keeps adding happy occasions to the calendar. Festivals and major 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 this spring!
Exhibition: James Cameron: Challenging the Deep, open through May 7
Explore the deepest oceans and discover shipwrecks at this blockbuster exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Challenging the Deep traces explorer and filmmaker James Cameron's passion for deep-ocean science, technology and exploration using cinema-scale projections, personal artifacts and specimens from his expeditions.
Exhibition: Ruth E. Carter: Afrofuturism in Costume Design, April 1-Aug. 6
Creating pieces for films including "Black Panther," "Malcom X," "Selma" and "Do the Right Thing," Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter has defined generations through her work in film and TV. In this highly anticipated exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art, more than 60 of Carter’s original garments will be on display.
Casks on Fools, April 1
This by-the-glass cask festival at Crank Arm Brewing—celebrating a decade of great beer in 2023—is one of the can't-miss celebration of spring, offering unique cask-conditioned ales from more than 20 Tar Heel State breweries.
Tacos 'N Taps, April 1
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 Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre.
Dreamville Festival, April 1-2
Back for another much-anticipated weekend and curated by platinum-selling rapper and N.C. native, J. Cole, the 2023 version of Dreamville will be a two-day, multi-stage festival at downtown Raleigh's Dorothea Dix Park with a one-of-a-kind celebration of local culture, food and art. A curated selection of music performers will blend together some of today’s biggest national acts with exciting up-and-comers. This year's lineup includes J. Cole himself + Drake, Usher, Burna Boy, Summer Walker, Lil Durk and much more. Tickets are sold out, but you can sign up for the waitlist here as any tickets become available.
Theatre Raleigh presents Jersey Boys, April 5-16
With phenomenal music, memorable characters and great storytelling, Jersey Boys follows the fascinating evolution of four blue-collar kids who became one of the greatest successes in pop music history.
Burning Coal Theatre presents The Cherry Orchard, April 6-23
Directed by Randolph Curtis Brand, The Cherry Orchard is a century-old tale of workers versus landlords and socio-economic divide that has one family caught in the middle (and audiences will laugh and cry as it all comes tumbling down).
Mid-Town Square Spring Festival, April 8
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!
League of Legends LCS Spring Finals, April 8-9
Riot Games' League of Legends—the world's most popular esport and the basis for the Emmy-winning animated television show "Arcane"—will bring their Spring Finals event to Raleigh's PNC Arena for a two-day championship event hosted in front of a big crowd (some tickets are still available!).
Carolina Mudcats Opening Week, April 11-16
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, where they've called Five County Stadium home for more than 30 years.
Mt. Joy, April 14
This indie rock band—having released their third studio album Blood Orange in 2022—will embark on a tour of the same name and be one of the first outdoor concerts of the year at downtown Raleigh's Red Hat Amphitheater.
Peak City Pig Fest, April 14-15
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.
13th Annual North Carolina 'Cuegrass Festival, April 15
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?
N.C. Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival, April 29
This fifth annual event at Lafayette Village gets bigger and better every year. Taste local and regional chocolates and cheeses paired with a variety of wines from across the world (including some local favorites). Sit, sample and listen to live music, shop local vendors and take home a souvenir wine glass at the end of the day.
Brewgaloo, April 21-22
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. The festival, which has free admission on Saturday (so bring plenty of friends!), allows you to purchase either beer samples or full pints from breweries located across the state. The Friday night block party is a ticketed event that allows you unlimited three-ounce samples of limited release brews.
HerbFest, April 28-30 and May 5-7
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 Festival, April 29
Featuring more than 170 local artists, Cary's Spring Daze Arts and Crafts Festival (celebrating their 30th year in 2023) fills the streets with art-paintings, jewelry, sculptures and more—plus food vendors, children's activities and all-day live music.
Raulston Blooms!, April 29
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.
North Carolina Symphony presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, May 4-6
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.
Meet in the Street Festival, May 6
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 West, May 6
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 will head home with souvenir beer cups!
42nd Annual Apex PeakFest, May 6
Salem St. in historic downtown Apex comes alive with more than 20,000 visitors during PeakFest. For 40 years now, the arts and crafts festival has brought families together for a day of fun, food and fellowship. The town of Apex's largest annual event, PeakFest has 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.
Lizzo, May 10
Not her first performance in Raleigh, but certainly her biggest. Lizzo previously sold out shows at Raleigh's The Ritz and Red Hat Amphitheater, but this spring she'll stop at PNC Arena as part of the second leg of her tour named for her recent album, Special.
Longleaf Film Festival, May 12-13
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.
Pitbull, May 12-13
Miami pop rap and reggaeton artist Pitubull—Mr. Worldwide, Mr. 305—will bring his act to Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre for back-to-back nights in May (one of the best places to catch an outdoor show in the Raeigh area, Booth Amphitheatre also has a wonderful weekly jazz series that begins in April).
Carolina Ballet presents Sleeping Beauty, May 18-21
Closing out their 25th anniversary season in spectacular fashion, Carolina Ballet with perform a longtime favorite—where good triumphs over evil—in this production of Sleeping Beauty.
Got to Be NC Festival, May 19-21
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 Festival, May 20-21
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.
NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship, May 26 and 28
The Town of Cary and WakeMed Soccer Park will host the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship for the first time ever.
Animazement, May 26-28
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!
NC Sugar Rush, May 28
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.
The Soccer Tournament, June 1-4
This novel event—a seven on seven, 32-team, World Cup-style, winner-take-all soccer tournament—arrives at Cary's WakeMed Soccer Park in June, bringing with it big stakes (a million dollars on the line) and star power (Clint Dempsey, Heather O'Reilly and the U.S. National Women, Ryan Reynolds' Wrexham Red Dragons and more will be in action!).
Dead & Company, June 1
This supergroup—a modern reincarnation of The Grateful Dead—comes to Raleigh's Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek (the area's largest outdoor music venue) as part of their final tour.
Raleigh's International Food Festival, June 3
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.
Town of Cary's Pimento Cheese Festival, June 10
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!).
Capital City Juneteenth Celebration, June 17
First held at Dorothea Dix Park in 2021 as a celebration and commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States, this event featured speakers, artists, historic interpreters, music and more.
94.7QDR 150 at the Wake County Speedway, June 23
Catch high-energy racing at Wake County Speedway, a 1/4-mile NASCAR Sanctioned short track founded in 1962. This race's theme is sure to be a hit with families—it's Kid's Race Car Ride-a-Long Night!
11th Annual Out! Raleigh Pride, June 24
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.
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