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North Carolina itinerary: Raleigh reveals rich culture and history


In Raleigh, groups can explore the heritage and history behind North Carolina’s capital city.

“I love helping people plan their group visits to Raleigh,” said Julie Brackenbury, director of services at Visit Raleigh. “Raleigh has rich culture and history, wonderful attractions and entertainment and many hotels and restaurants who get what matters to visiting groups.”

Visit Raleigh provided this two-day sample itinerary.

Day One
Start at the Raleigh Visitor Information Center, where groups can learn about tours and current events as well as pick up maps and brochures.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, North CarolinaPhoto: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, N.C.

Then, stroll up to the North Carolina Museum of History with exhibits devoted to the Civil War, sports heroes and folk life. Across the pedestrian plaza is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the largest museum of its kind in the Southeast.

Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant. Cross the street from the museums to tour the North Carolina State Capitol, and learn about the history and legends associated with the symbolic building. A short walk down Fayetteville Street takes groups to the City of Raleigh Museum, housed in an 1874 building that was the city’s first “skyscraper,” and features exhibits that focus solely on the history of Raleigh.

End the afternoon with a tour of one of downtown’s historic homes, such as the North Carolina Executive Mansion, completed in 1891. Other options include the 18th-century Joel Lane Museum House, immediately west of downtown; Haywood Hall, just to the east of the Capitol; Mordecai Historic Park, north of downtown or take a self-guided walking or driving tour of the Victorian-era Historic Oakwood district and neighborhood.

North Carolina State Capitol, Raleigh, North CarolinaPhoto: Visit Raleigh

North Carolina State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C.

For a variety of top-notch dinner options, take the R-LINE downtown circulator bus over to the Glenwood South district of downtown Raleigh. Check the home schedules for the area’s professional sports teams to see if the Carolina Hurricanes (NHL hockey), Carolina Mudcats (Single-A baseball) or North Carolina FC (men’s soccer) are in town.

Day Two
Begin by driving to the State Farmers Market, where groups will find 75 acres of indoor and outdoor specialty shops offering fresh fruits and vegetables, plus irresistible homemade baked goods, sauces, wines and crafts. Before strolling around the market, start the day off with a fresh, home-cooked breakfast at the State Farmer’s Market Restaurant.

North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North CarolinaPhoto: Visit Raleigh

North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, N.C.

Drive west to the North Carolina Museum of Art, with works by American artists as well as collections of African, Oceanic and New World art, Egyptian, Greek and Roman galleries and 20th-century art. Be sure to explore the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park.

Drive to downtown Raleigh and have lunch in Moore Square District. After lunch, browse the shops of City Market. Tour Artspace, where artists work in open-to-the-public studios.

Treat groups to an elegant evening with dinner followed by a performance at the world-class Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

Visit Raleigh


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