The Biggest Events and Festivals of Fall in Raleigh, N.C.
Wednesday, September 20, 2023, 12pm by visitRaleigh
It's so long to summer, hello to fall! We'll miss these warm-weather months—baseball games, ice cream days, kayaking trips and such. But we're ready to embrace a new season and the new experiences that come with it in the Raleigh area—cultural festivals, major music events, food and beer gatherings, the return of the performing arts and last (but not least!) the N.C. State Fair!
Save these dates for the biggest and best events this fall in the City of Oaks!
Party in the Peak
Sept. 23 (note: moved indoors due to weather)
A once in lifetime party—Apex, N.C., is celebrating it's 150th anniversary of incorporation!
What to expect: interactive exhibits about the town's past, present and future; local musicians and storytellers taking to the stage; games and activities for children; a food truck zone with trucks serving up special items in commemorative souvenirs; and all-around feel-good time!
Farmers Fall Festival in downtown Cary (canceled due to weather)
Celebrate fall in the heart of downtown Cary! This event celebrates the harvest season when our farmers are bringing in their fall bounty during the first crisp days of fall. There will be live music on the main stage, a kids performance area, fun games, interactive exhibits, local food and craft beer, arts and crafts and a mid-day pie-eating contest (sign us up!).
Festa Italiana Raleigh (canceled due to weather)
Festa Italiana celebrates Italian culture and heritage in the Raleigh area, bringing together an expected 12,000 attendees for the fifth annual event in downtown Raleigh. A full day of Italian food, beer, wine, live music, kids activities and more are on the docket in Raleigh's Glenwood South district!
Sept. 16 through Jan. 7, 2024
The biggest fall exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Dutch Art in a Global Age presents highlights from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with an innovative focus. Arranged thematically, the exhibition explores how international travel and trade transformed Dutch art and society, featuring renowned works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Gerrit Dou, Jacob van Ruisdael, Rachel Ruysch and other celebrated artists.
Tickets to this exhibit are $20 for non-members. Other galleries at the museum remain open with free admission as always.
IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC
It's been a decade now since the world's largest urban bluegrass music festival—plus all the extra fun that comes along with it—first made soundwaves in Raleigh in 2013. The arrival of a toe-tappin', banjo-strummin' week of non-stop bluegrass in downtown Raleigh has been one of the most anticipated times of the year in the City of Oaks ever since. The 11th annual IBMA World of Bluegrass week will be held Sept. 26-30 this year, capped off as always with downtown Raleigh's biggest annual event.
IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC is a Friday and Saturday free street festival that sets up five stages of music, a beer lounge, art market, food trucks and more. The ticketed Main Stage at Red Hat Amphitheater will feature The Del McCoury Band, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, Kruger Brothers play Doc Watson (with special guest Jerry Douglas), The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys featuring Bobby Osborne and more of the genre's biggest stars (tickets are on sale now). As many as 200,000 people have attended the two-day event in years past!
A huge season of live music is still ahead. Here's sampling of the best indoor and outdoor concerts in the Raleigh area this fall:
- Parker McCollum, Sept. 23
- Turnpike Troubadours, Sept. 24
- Lil Yachty, Sept. 25
- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Sept. 27
- Jonas Brohters, Sept. 28
- Teddy Swims, Sept. 29
- Old Dominion, Sept. 30
- Gov't Mule, Sept. 30
- Hozier, Oct. 3
- Paige King Johnson, Oct. 4
- Zac Brown Band, Oct. 5
- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Oct. 7
- Kirk Franklin, Oct. 10
- The Midnight, Oct. 10
- Travis Scott, Oct. 13-14
- Band of Horses, Oct. 15
- Shania Twain, Oct. 18
- Nessa Barrett, Oct. 18
- Luke Bryan, Oct. 26
- Lil Uzi Vert, Nov. 3
- Eagles, Nov. 9
- Rod Wave, Nov. 14
The ninth annual Triangle Oktoberfest at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary is a two-day affair, with plenty of family-friendly activities including live music, storytelling, dancing, the beloved wiener dog races and traditional Bavarian food and fare from Capital Club 16, The Butcher's Market and Annelore's German Bakery—strudels, kuchen, bier pretzels, bratwurst, German chocolate and more!—plus of course both local and traditional German beers on hand.
More Oktoberfest events in the Raleigh area: Oktoberfest at Bearded Bee Brewing Company (Sept. 23); Oktoberfest at Bombshell Beer Company (Sept. 23); Oktoberfest at Fortnight Brewing Copmany (Sept. 23); Oktoberfest at Lafayette Village (Sept. 30); Peaktoberfest at Southern Peak Brewery (Sept. 30); Oktoberfest at Heyday Brewing (Sept. 30); Oktrophyfest at Trophy Brewing Maywood (Oct. 14); and Oktoberfest at Clouds Brewing (Oct. 28).
Celebrate Fuquay-Varina Festival
A celebration of all things Fuquay-Varina (a fast-growing town just outside of Raleigh with beer, barbecue, shopping and more), Celebrate Fuquay-Varina provides live music, craft beer, food trucks, BMX show, art vendors, kids games and more for a day full of family fun.
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 from local favorite The Main Event (fun for the entire family!).
A festival for autumn lovers at Dorothea Dix Park, Falling for Local will feature live music, local makers and vendors, craft beer, food trucks, games for kids, hay rides, free pumpkins and more for what's expected to be a big crowd on hand.
North Carolina Theatre presents Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Featuring Elena Ricardo as Carole King, this musical—winner of two Tony and Grammy awards—tells the story of one of America's most talented and successful songwriters (and dazzles audiences with more than two dozen pop classics including "You've Got a Friend").
2023 N.C. State Fair
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 2023 version of the N.C. State Fair marks the 155th year of the event!
Carolina Ballet presents Frankenstein
What better way to get in the spirit of the spooky season than an evening of chills and thrills? Carolina Ballet artist director Zalman Raffael's hauntingly theatrical and seductively beautiful interpretation of Mary Shelly's story takes center stage this Halloween season!
See some of golf's best at the SAS Championship, a PGA Tour Champions 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.
Hum Sub Diwali
Diwali is the most widely-celebrated religious and cultural event in India, and marks the victory of good over evil, light over dark and the beginning of the New Year. Each year the free-admission Hum Sub Diwali 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!
Fresh off of five straight appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes return to PNC Arena in October for a new year with high expectations. They'll open up a new season schedule with a home game against Ottawa and will play an additional nine home games during the months of October and November (be there and be loud!).
- vs. Ottawa, Oct. 11
- vs. Seattle, Oct. 26
- vs. San Jose, Oct. 27
- vs. Buffalo, Nov. 7
- vs. Philadelphia, Nov. 15
- vs. Pittsburgh, Nov. 18
- vs. Edmonton, Nov. 22
- vs. Tampa Bay, Nov. 24
- vs. Columbus, Nov. 26
- vs. New York Islanders, Nov. 30
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.
North Carolina Wine Festival
For more than 20 years the North Carolina Wine Festival has delivered local wineries, artisans, music, food and fun. This year's ticketed event—held at Koka Booth Amphitheatre—will provide more than 30 Tar Heel State wineries to sample from, plus have live music on hand from local favorite group Chairmen of the Board.
Day of the Dead 5k
A day for reflection and honoring the memories of loved ones, the Day of the Dead 5k—hosted by Centro and raising money for the Boys & Girls Club—expects hundreds of attendees to participate in the run, bike rides, altar offerings and live music.
Nov. 17 through Jan. 14, 2024
The beloved North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival, now a holiday tradition for many Raleigh area residents and visitors alike, will return to Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre in November. This is the eighth year the event will light up the amphitheater for the holiday season—look forward to more than 20 new glowing displays, each including thousands of LED lights, plus nightly performances on the main stage and food and beverages on hand. Don't miss it!
Musicians, dancers, artists, storytellers and authors from N.C.'s eight state-recognized tribes will gather at the North Carolina Museum of History for this popular family event. 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.
Nov. 18 through Jan. 15, 2024
This downtown Raleigh holiday activity was a smashing success over the last two years and is back and better than ever for another year of action! Come enjoy the thrill of ice skating in a winter wonderland at Red Hat Amphitheater, where THE RINK features a natural ice skating rink with stunning views of the downtown Raleigh skyline, plus offers cozy fire pits, holiday decor, selfie stations, a snack bar and more.
Note that this is a ticketed event that includes skate rental, and it is recommended to purchase tickets in advance (tickets are for specific day and are limited).
A Raleigh tradition for more than 75 years, the Raleigh Christmas Parade is the largest parade of its kind between Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The parade—filled with marching bands, dancers, 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.
A 200-foot-long, 21-foot-tall dragon has invaded Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C. Yes, the North Carolina Chinese Lantern... View More