Taste Testers Wanted

A full spring continues in Raleigh, N.C.! And with May comes longer days, more sunshine, more time to spend with friends and more ways to dive into the passionate, energized culture of our capital city.

And speaking of passion, if there's one thing that Raleigh knows how to rally around, it's a food truck rodeo. The Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo (5/1) brings together more than 50 local food trucks, spanning nearly a half-mile and 11 blocks in the center of the city. With everything from dumplings to cupcakes, lobster rolls to Belgian waffles, chances are you'll find something that hits the spot (plus looks great on your Instagram account!). There's no admission to the event—just read these tips and show up ready to have a good time.

Food on the mind now? The Got To Be NC Festival (5/20-22) is a perfect down-home, chow-down event that is exactly as it sounds—a foodie-filled weekend at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, lined with independent N.C. food vendors. A carnival, barbecue cook-off, fireworks show, bluegrass music and more round out a can't-miss event.

May also brings the return of weekly farmers markets in the Raleigh area. You can pick up local goodies (and in some cases, full meals from local restaurants) and catch live music while checking out the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market (each Wed. through 9/28), the Midtown Famers Market (each Sat. through 11/5), the Holly Springs Farmers Market (each Sat. through 10/15), the Apex Farmers Market (each Sat. through 10/15) and also the State Farmers Market, Raleigh (daily, year-round). 

If food is more of an afterthought for you when paired with a craft beer, you'll want to check out the Raleigh Beer Trail—visit Raleigh area breweries and get rewarded for it! There's a lot of taste testing to be done, with 22 (and counting) area breweries serving up unique brews. Just print your Passport, visit up to 15 breweries to have it stamped and we'll send your prize(s). 

The Most Live Music 

Music fans, rejoice! Outdoor concert season is officially here, kick-started when the Beyhive gathers in Raleigh at Carter-Finley Stadium (North Carolina State University) for a Beyoncé show (5/3) that has a ton of buzz around it. Other major outdoor shows in May include Kenny Chesney (5/21) at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek and Willie Nelson and Family (5/22) at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. The beautiful Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Theater in the Museum Park (North Carolina Art Museum) isn't wasting any time, either—thousands of fans with blankets and coolers on hand will fill the venue to see Snarky Puppy (5/1) and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros (5/27). A local favorite—Midtown Beach Music Series—is underway at North Hills (each Thurs. through 8/11), and Midtown Bluegrass Series returns with a free afternoon of live acoustic music, barbecue and craft beer at Midtown Park (5/15).

Hip hop fans will want to catch these shows, rocking indoor venues: Capital City Music Festival (Feat. Maze) at PNC Arena (5/6), plus Flatbush Zombies (5/14) and Curren$y (5/18) at Lincoln Theatre.

Fun Ways to Get Outside

Artsplosure - The Raleigh Arts Festival (5/20-22) has big plans in downtown Raleigh for the 37th annual event. More than 170 artists and craftspeople will have their work on display along Fayetteville St. and in Moore Square, along with performance stages for jazz, blues and roots-inspired musicians playing free shows.

Ready for Memorial Day weekend? The WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest (5/27-30) takes over Fleming Loop Park, offering a truly-unique, family-oriented and free weekend of events, highlighted by 35 hot air balloons filling the skies of Fuquay-Varina each day and evening. Local musicians will take stage, field games will be in offered for children, and dozens of food vendors will be on hand serving N.C. State Fair-inspired eats.

How about an outdoor movie? Movies by Moonlight: Rio 2 (5/13) plays at Koka Booth Amphitheatre and is free for children 12 and under (and just $5 for adults). 

The largest public event in Apex, the 36th Annual Peakfest (5/7), sees historic downtown Apex come alive during a full day of fun, food, live music and all types of artists to keep the entire family entertained. 

The Front Porch Art Walk puts artists front and center on porches and front yards along the tree-lined streets of downtown Raleigh. Passionate mind and Raleigh artist Linda Dallas gave us her guide to the event

More May Picks

Out! Raleigh 2016 (5/7) is a family-friendly festival celebrating the LGBT community and inclusiveness in downtown Raleigh with music and food all day long.

Carolina Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream (5/12-15) sees the Shakespeare romantic comedy come to life at Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts.

The Carolina RailHawks take to the pitch to face off against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (5/7) and Miami FC (5/14) at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

Over on the baseball diamond, the Carolina Mudcats have a full home schedule in May. They'll face the Potomac Nationals (5/10-12), the Lynchburg Hellcats (5/13-16), the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (5/24-26) and the Frederick Keys (5/27-30), all at Five County Stadium in Zebulon. 

Celebrate local craft beer at Brüeprint Brewing Company's Second Anniversary Party (5/14) with small batch releases, food trucks a dunk tank and more. 

Wrestling's biggest superstars grapple at WWE Live! at PNC Arena (5/14).

And anime fans descend on Raleigh for a weekend packed full of events, guest panels, vendors, video gaming, autograph sessions and more at the annual anime convention Animazement (5/27-29).

Click here to see all events in Raleigh, N.C.