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Our favorite Downtown Raleigh holiday events + Gift Guide finds

Downtown Raleigh is a great place to find one-of-a-kind gifts + fun holiday events while also supporting the local economy.

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a lighted statue of a head at night

Included in Illuminate Art Walk is “Talking Heads” — an interactive art installation that has 4,000 individually controlled lights to express human emotion.

Photo provided by Downtown Raleigh Alliance/

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Fun fact: Downtown Raleigh is made up of over 90% locally-owned stores. Shopping these local shops is not just a great way to uplift the community — it’s also one of the best ways to find one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones.

Plus, Downtown Raleigh has just about every type of retailer you might need for gifting, including:

  • Beer and wine
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Flowers and plants
  • Gourmet foods
  • Home furnishings and antiques
  • Jewelry
  • Music
  • Sports and fitness
  • And more

Here are some of the DTR Gift Guide finds we’re eyeing + the events you’ll see us at this year:

acorn bell ornament from Designed by Joy

Designed for Joy‘s acorn bell ornament is hand-made right here in Raleigh.

Photo provided by Downtown Raleigh Alliance

Downtown Raleigh favorite finds

Holiday Events

Make a day (or evening) of your holiday shopping with these Downtown Raleigh events:

  • The Rink: Take a spin on ice skates through Jan. 15.
  • Illuminate Art Walk: Get stars in your eyes over DTR’s large-scale, interactive, light-based art pieces lining the streets.
  • The Dessertery: For the ultimate dessert experience, indulge in all-you-eat desserts + hot cocoa (yes, you read that right).

Getting Around

Shopping downtown is simple, with over 8,000 parking spaces (free on nights and weekends) within easy walking distance of local shops and curbside access for simple pickups.

Pro tip: There are also plenty of restaurants and locally-owned coffee shops to refuel, snack, and caffeinate — and a fun Sip n’ Stroll alcoholic bev experience to check out.

See the gift guide + plan your holidays.

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