We’ve all been there: Someone’s trying to give you directions by describing 10 lefts, 20 rights, and a jumble of cardinal directions. Isn’t it easier to just point out a landmark?
That’s exactly what we’re doing. We have 12 of the most recognizable Raleigh landmarks — from the NC State Memorial Belltower to Raleigh’s giant acorn. Not only are these local icons easy to remember, but they’ll get you where you need to go in a jiffy.
Address: 4600 Trinity Rd.
Nearby: PNC Arena, UNC Rex Hospital
Home of Wolfpack football, this 56,000-capacity stadium has hosted large acts like Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd since it opened in 1966.
Address: 410 Glenwood Ave.
Nearby: Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Cortez Seafood and Cocktail
The Creamery was once home to the Pine State Creamery, a dairy farmers’ cooperative. Soon, the historic building will be redeveloped with multi-use developments flanking it.
Dorothea Dix Park
Address: 1030 Richardson Dr.
Nearby: State Farmers Market, NC State’s Centennial Campus
This park has it all: a 35-acre meadow, a dog park, seasonal sunflowers, disc golf, and plenty of history. Events are held year-round in this greenspace.
Address: 721 S. Wilmington St.
Nearby: Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Theatre
This Italianite-style hall was the first building in the US for the higher education of Black women and is now the oldest structure on Shaw University’s campus.
Address: City Plaza, 201 S. Blount St.
Nearby: Raleigh Marriott, Element Gastropub
Standing at 10 feet tall and 1,250 pounds, this copper acorn was commissioned for Raleigh’s bicentennial celebration in 1992 and is now dropped at midnight to ring in the new year, City of Oaks style. Insider scoop: Artist David Benson is also the owner of The Third Place coffeehouse.
Historic Yates Mill County Park
Address: 4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Nearby: Howling Cow Dairy Education Center and Creamery, Lake Wheeler
This park features a restored gristmill from the 18th century and is a native wildlife refuge. While you’re there, hike around the 174 acres of this historic park.
Address: 2011 Hillsborough St.
Nearby: Reynolds Coliseum, Gonza Tacos Y Tequila, Jubala Coffee
This 115-foot monument towers over NC State’s campus. The belltower was recently renovated to include a 55-bell carillon and to restore the Shrine Room honoring NC State alumni killed in WWI.
Mordecai Historic Park
Address: 1 Mimosa St.
Nearby: The Stanbury, Krispy Kreme on Person Street
Mordecai House is the oldest house in Raleigh in its original location. President Andrew Johnson was born here, and the park maintains 5,000 artifacts, like a kitchen straight out of the 19th century.
NC Executive Mansion
Address: 200 N. Blount St.
Nearby: NC Museums of History and Natural Science
Hey, Gov. Roy Cooper. This mansion has housed NC governors since 1891, and free home and garden tours are offered regularly.
NC Museum of Art
Address: 2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Nearby: UNC Rex Hospital, Carter-Finley Stadium
Boasting 5,000 years of history and a 164-acre park, this museum is packed with impressive art. Don’t forget to check out the iconic giant rings in the Museum Park and a hut in the surrounded woods with a camera obscura inside. Did you know? This museum is the first major collection formed by state legislation in 1956.
NC State Capital
Address: 1 E. Edenton St.
Nearby: Wells Fargo building, NC Museum of History
The NC State Capital is currently being outfitted for a new copper roof, but once it reopens, explore nearly 200 years of NC history here. Just outside, check out statues of George Washington, the US presidents hailing from NC, and the capital’s Greek-style architecture.
NC State Fairgrounds
Address: 4285 Trinity Rd.
Nearby: Carter-Finley Stadium, JC Raulston Arboretum
These historic fairgrounds host over 500 events a year, including the NC State Fair in October. While you pass by, don’t miss Dorton Arena and its iconic saddle-shapped roof.
Address: 1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Nearby: Carter-Finley Stadium, NC State Fairgrounds
This arena houses NC State basketball games and Carolina Hurricanes matches — sometimes on the same day. This Raleigh landmark will be receiving funds for arena updates, like updated fan amenities and revamped common areas.
Address: 520 Ashe Ave.
Nearby: Memorial Belltower, Reynolds Coliseum
Pullen Park is the oldest public park in NC and has fun features including pedal boats, a carousel, art classes, and plays hosted by Theatre in the Park. Plus, grab a bite at the cafe and enjoy the greenspace.
Raleigh Convention Center
Address: 500 S. Salisbury St.
Nearby: Red Hat Amphitheater, Sheraton Raleigh
You can recognize the Raleigh Convention Center from its shimmer wall made up of 80,000 aluminum tiles. This 500,000 sqft center welcomes GalaxyCon, graduations, and other events nearly every week of the year, with even more to come soon.
What did we miss? If you know a landmark that’s not on the list, let us know using this survey.