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Tourist Attractions in Raleigh and Durham
 Photo courtesy of Camden
Photo courtesy of Camden
Drew Swinford
Tuesday, Mar. 12, 2024

Planning to visit Raleigh? Or, are you currently living in Raleigh and wondering where to take your family when they visit? Wonder no more! I’ve got you covered with a list of fun things you can do with your visitors, or just for you and your friends on a fun day out!

Keep reading for some best-kept secrets. I'm including a bunch of things that people don’t know about, even after living here for several years. There is something for everybody on this list!

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

Visit Duke Gardens/Raleigh Rose Garden/WRAL Azalea Garden

Let me get straight to it, I LOVE these gardens. There are others in the Triangle, but these are my favorites. They are perfect places to take a calm and relaxing walk. You’ll be mesmerized by the gorgeous variety of flowers and other lush plants.

While all the gardens are free to view, you have to pay for parking at Duke Gardens, a short distance from Camden Durham, and it’s well worth every penny. WRAL kindly has had the garden open to the public since 1959. It’s also a popular wedding venue for people throughout the state.

The Rose Garden is operated by the City of Raleigh and is free for visitors as well. It is right next to the Raleigh Little Theater, so check for a play you’d like to see while you're in the neighborhood!

Meet Up at the Museums

As the state’s capital, it’s unsurprising that there are several fascinating museums here. Residents of Camden Carolinian have a short drive to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and the NC Museum of History, both in downtown Raleigh. They have spectacular exhibits all year long, there is always something new to see!

The NC Museum of Art, just a short drive from, and in between, both Camden Asbury Village and Camden Manor Park, is an outdoor museum you walk through and part of the greenway system.

When my nieces and nephews visited a couple of years ago, I brought them to Marbles Kids Museum, and they still talk about it today.

The City of Raleigh Museum is the spot for you if you want to learn the history of your new city.

Just a short walk from there is CAM Raleigh; a contemporary art museum is in the Warehouse District of downtown Raleigh.

Tour the University Campuses

What may be the biggest reason people visit the Triangle is to tour a college they’re looking to potentially attend. North Carolina State University (called NCSU or State) in Raleigh, Duke University (called Duke) in Durham, and the University of North Carolina (called UNC or Carolina) are the biggest colleges in the area, but there are several smaller ones as well.

Duke and UNC have stunning campuses and are places I have visited many times while living in Raleigh. All three have a rich sporting culture, especially basketball, and the campuses are an attraction sure to delight the NCAA March Madness tournament fans in your life.

Experience the Breweries

The Brewer’s Association lists North Carolina as having the ten most breweries of any state in the country in 2022, so it’s no surprise that we have a strong brewery culture here.

USA Today ranked Bond Brothers in Cary as #1 on their Best New Brewery list in 2017 and always has the best food trucks.

Trophy Brewing has several locations with one of them having some of the best pizza in the state.

Lynwood Brewing Concern is my place to visit in the entire Triangle and has some of the best outdoor seating around with a jovial beer garden vibe; look for their second location within walking distance of Camden Crest.

Brewery Bhavana was on Bon Appétit Magazine’s Best New Restaurants of 2017 list coming in at #10. They’ve got a wide array of brews to choose from and delicious dim sum.

Hi-Wire Brewing in Durham has good beer, games, outdoor seating, and an artfully designed interior.

An honorable mention in this category is Raleigh Beer Garden (not a brewery); a remarkably fun and well-designed spot that has holds the Guinness world-record the widest selection of beers on tap. They have a huge selection of Carolina beer.

Photo by Erik Scheel via Pexels

Photo by Erik Scheel via Pexels

Grab a healthy bite at North Carolina State Farmers Market

While there are several farmers markets in the Triangle, the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, a ten minute drive from Camden Asbury Village, is the best and the biggest! Farmers come from all over North Carolina to sell their goods.

Aside from fruits and vegetables, you can also get plants, freshly baked bread, local products of all types including crafts, meats, cheeses, wines, freshly caught fish from the coast, and more!

There are also restaurants on site that use these products to create delectable dishes. The State Farmers Market Restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in town and serves up classic southern fare.

The NC Seafood Restaurant will make you some of the best fried or broiled seafood plates you’ve ever had. Every time my parents come to visit, my mom wants to visit the market and my dad wants to go to NC Seafood. Add this to your list, this whole location is a crowd-pleaser.

Raleigh, not traditionally seen as a tourist destination, is becoming a popular place to live. Even though rapid growth is happening, there are still plenty of old-school Raleigh places to visit.

If you’re looking for more places to visit in Raleigh and Durham that include shopping, restaurants, and more, take a look at my previous blog post Raleigh-Durham Essential Hotspots!

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