Things to Do in Raleigh, N.C.: November 2021
Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 4pm by visitRaleigh
Festivals, parades and light displays—the Raleigh area is gearing up for the holidays this month! Shopping sprees, ballets, hockey games and more make for perfect weekend adventures, date nights and family gatherings. Have your jackets, scarves and boots ready? Let's dive in!
Through March 31, 2022
Raleigh's beautiful Dorothea Dix Park has welcomed its first international art exhibit (and it's a big one!). Mexican artist Jorge Marín’s traveling exhibition, Wings of the City, features nine larger-than-life bronze sculptures on display throughout the park—some winged and poised to take flight, others delicately balanced in acrobatic poses. The exhibit is free to see, explore and enjoy!
Who doesn't love a good meal for a good deal? Back for an autumn edition while outdoor dining is still a viable (and wonderful) option, Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week kicks off 10 days of celebrating culinary excellence, typically featuring more than 30 restaurants offering $5 and $10 lunch specials along with $20 and $30 dinner options (more details announced shortly).
The first state-supported symphony in the country, the North Carolina Symphony is a full-time, professional orchestra that puts on 175 performances annually (and has dazzled audiences across the Tar Heel State dating all the way back to 1932). They're back to live, in-person performances at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, and Nov. has three good ones lined up!
A two-day festival full of stories to make you think, feel and laugh at the charming Cary Theater (including a children's showcase for the young and young at heart). In-person and virtual attendance options are available.
In this Lanie Robertson theatrical production, one of the greatest jazz singers of all time intimately shares her loves and her losses. Set in a small bar in Philadelphia, 1959, Lady Day recounts the life of Billie Holiday (portrayed by Angela Robinson), and the unraveling of an addicted artist, through the songs that made her famous. More than a dozen moving musical numbers are interlaced with personal stories, both hard and humorous, to recount a riveting portrait of the lady and her music, mere months before her death.
Nov. 5 and 12
Lights, camera, action! Two final outdoor movies of the season are set to be shown on the lawn at downtown Raleigh's Moore Square this month. The Fri. night showings will be The Greatest Showman (2017) on Nov. 5 and Dreamgirls (2006) on Nov. 12. Admission is free, and food and drinks are available for purchase.
Through Jan. 23, 2022
One of the most celebrated artists in turn-of-the-20th-century Paris, Alphonse Mucha created sumptuous posters and advertising—promoting such everyday products as cigarette papers and tea biscuits—that transformed the streets of Paris into open-air art exhibitions. This special exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art celebrates the Mucha Trust collection’s first major U.S. tour in 20 years, featuring a vast array of posters, illustrations, ornamental objects and rarely seen sculptures, photography and self-portraits.
Hosted by Nana's Sweet Treats and Town of Knightdale at Knightdale Station Park, this event will feature a vendor market, friendly soccer matches, food trucks and live music from the band CRUSH.
Nov. 6 and 7
It's all gourds, all the time at the 79th annual N.C. Gourd Arts & Crafts Festival at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. This festival features displays of gourds from around the world, special gourd workshops and vendors of dried gourds, gourd seeds, gourd crafts, gourd art, books, T-shirts and crafting supplies. Great holiday gifts!
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!
Women's: Semifinals, Nov. 5; Final, Nov. 7
Men's: Championship game only, Nov. 14
Two champions will be crowned at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary this month. The Atlantic Coast Conference, perennially one of America's top conferences in the women's soccer world, boasts five of the top 15 teams in the country. Semifinal games will take place Fri., Nov. 5, with the two winners battling for the trophy on Sun., Nov. 7. Tickets will be $10 at the gate for adults, and kids 18 and under get in for free. On the men's side, the championship game will also be played at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sun., Nov. 14.
Play like a kid to support all kids! Join Marbles Kids Museum—one of the state's most visited attractions—for a 21-plus evening event. Come play in the museum, enjoy themed activities and dance the night away with a DJ. Arcade games, a supermarket sweep challenge, human foosball, neon Nerf battles and much more will also take place! Beer and wine will be available for purchase.
Join the best fans in hockey at PNC Arena to cheer on the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. Off to a hot start this season, the Canes are looking to build upon their back-to-back-to-back playoff appearances. In Nov., they'll take on:
It's a great time of year to rediscover some of Raleigh's legendary indoor music venues—and you won't be low on options! Some dates we've marked our calendars for this month:
- Lettuce, Nov. 3
- The Malpass Brothers, Nov. 5
- Ben Folds, Nov. 6
- Café Tacvba, Nov. 7
- Derek Chase, Nov. 7
- Lorraine Jordan and Friends, Nov. 7
- Chevelle, Nov. 9
- Mat Kearney, Nov. 10
- The Breakfast Club, Nov. 12
- Cosmic Charlie, Nov. 13
- Christine D'Clario, Nov. 14
- Sullivan King, Nov. 18
- Genesis, Nov. 19
- Band of Oz, Nov. 20
- Deana Carter, Nov. 20
- Christmas with The Embers, Nov. 24
- Toosii, Nov. 27
Through Jan. 17, 2022
First aired in 2010, Downton Abbey™ was once among the most widely watched television dramas in the world, and one of the many things we loved about it was savoring the gorgeous costumes worn by the British aristocracy of the early 20th century. Coming this fall, you can experience them once again in all their exquisite glory at the North Carolina Museum of History. Dressing the Abbey features 35 costumes worn by the stars of Downton Abbey™ and show the progression of style from 1912 to 1923. The exhibition showcases the turbulence and changes in the late Edwardian era through the 1920s by means of the fashions of the period while evoking fans’ favorite moments from the highly successful six-season run.
Join the Carolina Ballet for innovative variations from their classical ballet repertoire through new ballets from founding artistic director Robert Weiss, principal guest choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Carolina Ballet’s Jenny Palmer. Guest choreographer Mariana Oliveira will stage the company premiere of her critically acclaimed Pagliacci, a story that follows a clown’s tragic descent, exposing the human frailty beneath the artist’s mask.
This ultra-popular event showcases locally made goods and provides a night of entertainment with music, performers, food, drinks and more under the lights at downtown Raleigh's Moore Square.
Save the date for the Downtown Raleigh Tree Lighting Celebration! Arrive early for dinner and socializing in downtown with family and friends, then make your way to Lichtin Plaza at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts to enjoy tasty snacks and beverages from local vendors, holiday music and festive activities before the grand finale of the tree lighting at 8pm.
Nov. 19, 2021-Jan. 9, 2022
A super trip-worthy event for the whole family returns for a sixth! Back after cancelation in 2020 due to COVID-19, the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival brings more than 20 larger-than-life lanterns to Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary. Made up of thousands of LED lights, displays light up the skies and mesmerize visitors on this one-hour walking tour (have your cameras ready for the spectacular Chinese Dragon that sits on Symphony Lake!). Beyond beautiful lanterns, the ticketed festival also welcomes a showcase of Chinese culture—nightly performances featuring martial arts, traditional dance, acrobatics, drum performances and more.
Nov. 19, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022
A new dazzling, drive-through holiday lights experience at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, Magic of Lights features favorite holiday scenes and characters of the season using the latest LED technology and digital animations. Tickets begin at $20 per car.
Fri. and Sat., Nov. 19-Dec. 18
Presented by the same organizers of the Raleigh Night Market, this five-weekend holiday evening market at Moore Square will feature more of the same music, entertainment and artisan vendors (with extra holiday spirit!).
Nov. 20-Dec. 24
Up for a dazzling light show? Illuminated trees, festive light displays and local art installations will delight visitors of all ages at the second ever Nights of Lights Drive-Thru Light Show at Dorothea Dix Park. The 1.3-mile driving route features towering oak trees, open fields and rolling hills—plus views of the Raleigh skyline peaking above the trees—making it a perfect location for this holiday event. This is a ticketed experience, and purchases must be made in advance ($15 per vehicle with up to eight passengers).
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.
The largest Christmas parade between Atlanta and Washington, D.C., will march through downtown Raleigh for more than two hours, drawing nearly 60,000 visitors to the streets to see marching bands, dancers, classic cars, superheroes and Santa Claus. Bring the whole family (including pets!) plus some chairs—there's great street-side viewing everywhere on the 1.4-mile route.
The annual lighting of a 41-foot-tall Christmas tree, a visit from Santa Claus, trackless train rides for kids, live music and plenty of vendors on hand make this celebration an equally great event for families and a fun date idea in North Hills. Arrive a tad early to join in on the Holiday Sip & Shop to knock out some shopping at local retailers like Peter Millar, Quail Ridge Books, Scout & Molly's plus more while enjoying complimentary hot chocolate and cider.
A Thanksgiving tradition for so many, a number of family-friendly races are held in the Raleigh area late in the month, including:
- 23rd Annual Apex Turkey Trot 5k, Nov. 20
- Trophy Turkey Trot 10k, Nov. 25
- The FS Series Skinny Turkey 5k, 10k and Half Marathon, Nov. 25
- Inside Out Sports 8k, Nov. 25
Ready for a laugh-out-loud good time? Big name performers are lined up at two of the area's best comedy clubs!
- Michael Blaustein, Nov. 2
- Christina P, Nov. 4
- Hannah Berner, Nov. 5-7
- Dan Soder, Nov. 11-13
- Mick Foley, Nov. 14
- Jason Mewes, Nov. 18-20
At Raleigh Improv:
Through March 20, 2022
This stunning, ticketed exhibit by artist Christopher Marley at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is a vibrant exploration of art, nature and human need to connect with the outside world. Exquisite Creatures is a collection of 350 stunning three-dimensional displays of rare (and real) reclaimed organisms (vertebrates that died of natural causes while in the care of individuals or institutions).
Nov. 24-Dec. 31
This spectacular, drive-in style light show, featuring more than 400,000 total lights synced to holiday music, was created by the Williams family of Wendell, who painstakingly design and assemble the glowing (and growing) event each year. Visitors park (or stand) and watch the show—which typically runs between 30 and 45 minutes depending on the year—from the viewing area in front of the display. Admission is free, and donations are accepted. Join in on the fun seven days a week from Nov. 27 through the end of the year at 10 S. Cypress St. in Wendell.
At the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the Champions Of Magic team present incredible illusions using supercars, an impossible escape from Houdini’s water tank, a mind-blowing prediction that has to be seen to be believed and a finale beyond explanation. Featuring high production original magic that’s family friendly and you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
Taking place outside of the Cary Arts Center, there will be treats, fun for kids and holiday music to enjoy as the menorah is lit on the third night of Hanukkah.
Looking ahead: December events in Raleigh, N.C.
- Lighting of Wake Forest, Dec. 3
- Boylan Heights ArtWalk, Dec. 5
- Fuquay-Varina Christmas Parade, Dec. 5
- North Carolina Master Chorale presents Joy of the Season, Dec. 7
- Happy Hollydays Christmas Parade, Dec. 11
- Justice Theatre Project presents Black Nativity in Concert, Dec. 11-12
- Theatre In The Park presents A Christmas Carol, Dec. 9-12
- NCAA Men's College Cup, Dec. 10 and 12
- 50th Annual Oakwood Candlelight Tour, Dec. 11-12
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Dec. 15
- Carolina Ballet presents The Nutcracker, Dec. 17-24
- WRAL First Night Raleigh 2022, Dec. 31
Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts. Menconi's latest book,... View More
A 200-foot-long, 21-foot-tall dragon has invaded Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C. Yes, after a year away due to COVID-19,... View More