14 best things to do this spring in Raleigh
The spring is the best time to explore the Triangle's natural beauty or hang out at a festival — before the summer's humidity strikes with its full might.
Driving the news: Spring officially kicks off on March 20.
- Read below for a snapshot of what's happening around town.
Festivals and events
💐 Art in Bloom (March 18-19): Tour the North Carolina Museum of Art while floral artists display elaborate flower sculptures that take inspiration from the museum's collection.
☁️ Dreamville Festival (April 1-2): J. Cole's annual music festival returns to Dix Park for the third time. The lineup features some heavy hitters, including Drake, Usher, Summer Walker, Sean Paul and Ari Lennox.
🪕 The N.C. Cuegrass Festival (April 15): Raleigh's Fayetteville Street will be packed with two of the state's greatest creations: barbecue and bluegrass.
🌲 Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival (May 4-7): One of the Triangle region's biggest and earthiest music festivals. The Pittsboro-based event will host acts including Donna the Buffalo, Vieux Farka Touré, Chairmen of the Board and Marty Stuart.
🎨 Artsplosure (May 20-21): Raleigh's signature arts festival hasn't released details yet — but it attracts large crowds annually for its live music and arts installations.
🥁 Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival (June 3): Bimbé, one of Durham's longest-running events, is a celebration of African American culture and history at Durham's Rock Quarry Park.
Let's ditch the heat lamps, and fully embrace outdoor eating. Here are a few of our go-to restaurants for outdoor eating.
- Stanbury: A low-key neighborhood haunt, with no reservations and an oft-changing menu of delicious small plates.
- Guglhupf: The cafe's patio is one of the hottest tickets around for a weekend brunch and transforms into a delightfully cozy biergarten at night. It remains one of the few places to find German pastries and cuisine.
- Mayton Inn: The downtown boutique hotel's restaurant Peck & Plume spills out onto a spacious terrace. It serves excellent cocktails and a great view of the future Downtown Cary Park.
In Chapel Hill/Carrboro:
- Weaver Street Market: The organic grocery store's front lawn has essentially become Carrboro's main plaza, where neighbors mingle and occasionally do yoga or hula hoop. It's a great place to grab lunch and people watch.
Go deeper: Check out 10 more great places to eat outdoors
Smell the roses
The Triangle region is chock-full of amazing gardens, featuring both beautiful local flowers and imports from around the world.
Where to go:
- Raleigh Rose Garden: Located with the Raleigh Little Theatre Campus, the Raleigh Rose Garden is a gem within the Raleigh parks system. Roses typically start blooming around Mother's Day.
- Sarah P. Duke Gardens: Perhaps the most beautiful part of Duke's campus and a perennial favorite spot for photographers, Duke Gardens offers a rich collection of native plants as well as a section for plants from Asia.
- North Carolina Botanical Garden: A part of UNC-Chapel Hill, the N.C. Botanical Garden was founded to conserve the state's unique botanical features. Different sections of the more than 1,100 acres of gardens simulate distinct regions within the state, like the Sandhills or the Coastal Plain.
- JC Raulston Arboretum: Located south of N.C. State's Centennial Campus, Raulston Arboretum is a living laboratory for the university, with more than 6,000 species of plants within the arboretum.
For more spring ideas, check out some previous guides we have written, including:
- Our favorite trails in the Triangle.
- What to do on a weekend trip to Wilmington.
- Take it to the mountains, with our five must-visit mountain towns within four hours of Raleigh.
- Or try one of the area's best new restaurants.
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