Skip to content

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Art Museum
“The North Carolina Museum of Art has more than a dozen galleries holding works from around the world and a variety of art types. Originally starting with 139 works from Europe and America, the museum has grown to include African, Egyptian and Jewish works of art while also expanding European and ancient American holdings. With 30 added Rodin sculptures, the NCMA leads the holdings of this artist’s work in the southeastern United States. Other galleries hold everything from Renaissance paintings to contemporary photography. Exhibitions also run at the museum for several months at a time for guests to visit. Outside the museum is the 164-acre Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, recently expanded and featuring monumental public art installations inspired by the natural world and preservation of landscapes, including the Gyre rings, Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky and Askew, as well as several recreational activities, picnic spots, and wooded trails. Tours are given daily if you or a group would like to learn more about the collections. When it’s time for lunch, you can stop by the Iris restaurant located inside the museum, specializing in contemporary American cuisine in a modern setting. (Also open for dinner! Order from items such as the Iris Burger, Seared Scallops with Red Curry Lemongrass Broth, Seafood Burrito and more.) For those interested in researching art periods or artists, the Art Reference Library holds over 40,000 volumes of books and available catalogs and databases. Kids to seniors can enjoy the many programs occurring throughout the year, including classes, concerts, films, camps, and workshops. Before you leave, head by the Museum Store, where items based on the museum’s collections and exhibits are available to purchase, perfect as souvenirs or gifts for family and friends. Admission is free, while some fees are given for specific programs, exhibitions, and large tours. Hours: Tues.-Thurs., 10am-5pm; Fri., 10am-9pm; Sat.-Sun., 10am-5pm; Mon., closed.”
  • 152 locals recommend
Science Museum
“The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the Southeast’s largest natural history museum, complete with its Nature Exploration Center and Nature Research Center, with four floors of exhibits, live animals, gift shops and cafés. Explore on a variety of different self-guided tours through all the different exhibits. In the Nature Exploration Center, you can view more than a dozen exhibits from coastal to prehistoric North Carolina, see a live sloth in the Living Conservatory, engage in hands-on activities in the Discovery Room and experience life as a bug in the Arthropod Zoo. Here, you can also visit the world’s most complete Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur, the “Terror of the South.” Head to the Nature Research Center where you can get a glimpse of a different side of natural science with labs, weather centers and ocean, fossils and space exhibits plus a 10,000-gallon aquarium. Living collections include fish, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians. This museum wing’s centerpiece is the SECU Daily Planet, a 70-foot-diameter globe with a three-story theater for live programming and movies on its giant screen. Snap some great photos of the exterior--one of Raleigh’s most popular spots for Instagram! The museum also includes vast amounts of resources for hands-on learning and research. Educators and workshops are available for schools and other groups. Outreach and e-learning programs are sponsored for all ages. The Brimley Memorial Library is open in the Nature Exploration Center, with the archives of the museum in circulation. Online collections are accessible in the museum’s database. On your trip to Raleigh, N.C., you won’t want to miss out on this incredible, world-class museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Visit the museum in downtown Raleigh and see why it’s one of the top places to visit in Raleigh and the state! Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., noon-5pm. Free general admission. ”
  • 78 locals recommend
Shopping Mall
“Crabtree is a huge mall with tons of big name shopping and dining chains including; Apple, Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Chico's, Coach, Disney Store, H&M, Macy's, The Cheesecake Factory, Kanki, McCormick & Schmicks, P.F. Changs, Panera, Moe's plus so much more. ”
  • 33 locals recommend
Park
“Established in 1887 and designated as the first public park in N.C., Pullen Park in Raleigh is the fifth oldest amusement park in the U.S. and the 16th oldest in the world. Nestled between downtown Raleigh and the main campus of North Carolina State University, Pullen Park is known for terrific recreational opportunities—especially for kids and families—the park includes an operating carousel built-in 1911, a miniature train you can ride through the park, pedal boats to cruise around Lake Howell, plus tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, an arts center and an innovative performing arts venue, Theatre In The Park (Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre). Free admission; small fee for amusement rides. Hours vary though. ”
  • 36 locals recommend
Asian Restaurant
$$
“Celebrates the diverse food traditions culture of Laos. The owners opened Bida Manda (Sanskrit for "mother and father") as a way to honor their parents. Open for both lunch and dinner, Bida Manda offers a delicious marriage of Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cooking refined by French techniques. Come for the food and stay for the cocktails!”
  • 64 locals recommend
Shopping Plaza
“Go shopping and dining at one of the nicest outdoor shopping areas in the city.”
  • 43 locals recommend
Museum
“There is not a better place for kids in Raleigh. Check out Moore Square, right across the street as well. It has a play area and splash pad in the summer.”
  • 32 locals recommend
Museum
“The perfect stop downtown for the history buff amongst you. Honestly, there are normally some pretty cool traveling exhibits at this museum on a regular basis. ”
  • 32 locals recommend
BBQ Joint
$$
“Great spot for those craving authentic NC BBQ. Very easy to access with Citrix Cycle bikes - there is a station about 1 block away from the restaurant. ”
  • 31 locals recommend
Park
“THE park to visit in Raleigh. It's a forest in the middle of the city with countless trail options. ”
  • 36 locals recommend
Restaurant
$
“Beautiful ambience for drinking beers on tap, enjoying Dim Sum, or perusing the flower shop and books. We recommend a reservation for the Dim Sum! This is located right next to Bida Manda and a fantastic experience.”
  • 39 locals recommend
Food
“More than fresh vegetables, it’s a family adventure. Considered one of the nation’s best and most modern markets, visitors enjoy 75 acres of indoor/outdoor specialty shops, restaurants and garden center, with fruits, vegetables, meats, and gift products from across the state. Free admission. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 5am-6pm; Sun., 8am-6pm.”
  • 42 locals recommend
Entertainment
“Always lots of events going on here! Also home of the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team!”
  • 40 locals recommend
Gastropub
$$
“Great bar food. Central location. Extensive Beer list. Great people watching. Reasonably priced.”
  • 45 locals recommend
Bar
“Macaroni is a MUST! Owned by a James Beard award winning chef! Perfect for dinner or weekend brunch but expect a wait! Does not accept reservations. ”
  • 42 locals recommend
Restaurant
$
“Not your typical fried chicken. Owner just won the highly prestigious National James Beard award in 2019. Highly recommend the chicken and honey.”
  • 35 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Asian Restaurant
“Celebrates the diverse food traditions culture of Laos. The owners opened Bida Manda (Sanskrit for "mother and father") as a way to honor their parents. Open for both lunch and dinner, Bida Manda offers a delicious marriage of Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cooking refined by French techniques. Come for the food and stay for the cocktails!”
  • 64 locals recommend
BBQ Joint
“Great spot for those craving authentic NC BBQ. Very easy to access with Citrix Cycle bikes - there is a station about 1 block away from the restaurant. ”
  • 31 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Beautiful ambience for drinking beers on tap, enjoying Dim Sum, or perusing the flower shop and books. We recommend a reservation for the Dim Sum! This is located right next to Bida Manda and a fantastic experience.”
  • 39 locals recommend
Gastropub
“Great bar food. Central location. Extensive Beer list. Great people watching. Reasonably priced.”
  • 45 locals recommend
Bar
“Macaroni is a MUST! Owned by a James Beard award winning chef! Perfect for dinner or weekend brunch but expect a wait! Does not accept reservations. ”
  • 42 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Not your typical fried chicken. Owner just won the highly prestigious National James Beard award in 2019. Highly recommend the chicken and honey.”
  • 35 locals recommend
Bar
“Well, they were once voted best pizza in NC, so I'd say that's a total win (and YES! Their pizza is increds!!)”
  • 37 locals recommend
Bar
“Guinness world record for # of beers on tap. They also have great food options as well. ”
  • 35 locals recommend

Get to know Raleigh

Explore more on Airbnb