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Summer events happening around Raleigh

Make the most of the warm weather with this list of the best local events and activities happening this summer in Raleigh.

ncvibes fest 2019 group (1)

Get ready for more packed Fayetteville Street festivals this summer.

Photo by RALtoday

Summer’s here and Raleigh is so ready. From live music and Memorial Day celebrations to hiking and festivals, summer is when the 919 comes alive.

Get ready to get outside with this guide featuring 25 summer events — including ideas for the Fourth of July — happening between May and August.

Festivals + music


“Evanescent Bubbles” by Atelier Sisu popped up at a previous Artsplosure.

Photo courtesy of Artsplosure

Ma & Pa Festival, between Hargett and Davie streets | Saturday, May 4 | The second edition of this MAKRS Society festival honors moms and dads with 100+ vendors, self-care activities, and cigar rolling.

Cinco de Mayo, Moore Square | Sunday, May 5 | Shop a local bazaar and enjoy Mexican cuisine from a variety of vendors.

Got to Be NC Festival, NC State Fairgrounds | Friday, May 17-Sunday, May 19 | This festival celebrates NC agriculture like none other with farm-themed activities and all the good food you can imagine.

Artsplosure, downtown Raleigh | Saturday, May 18-Sunday, May 19 | We love this artsy festival for its unique vendors and creative experiences in the heart of our city.

Live After 5, City Plaza | Starts Wednesday, May 29 | This monthly downtown music event will celebrate women in music this year with live performances and food trucks in a Sip n’ Stroll-friendly environment.

Raleigh’s International Food Festival, Fayetteville Street | Saturday, June 1 | More than 50 food trucks representing various cultures and cuisines will flood downtown alongside an international dance party.

Capital City Juneteenth Celebration, downtown Raleigh | Mid-June | Commemorate the end of slavery in the US with a multi-day celebration across Raleigh.

12th Annual Out! Raleigh Pride, downtown Raleigh | Saturday, June 22 | Celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with this family-friendly Pride event featuring local drag performers and vendors.

NC Hops Festival, State Fairgrounds | To be announced | We’ll share more deets as they become available, but get hoppy for the fourth iteration of this beer-centric fest.

A crowd of people and booths celebrating Pride.

Out! Raleigh Pride celebrates diversity with LGBTQ+ businesses and organizations.

City of Raleigh July 4th Celebration, Dorothea Dix Park | Thursday, July 4 | Commemorate Independence Day with fireworks and fun on the Big Field.

Eno Fest, Durham City Park, Durham | Thursday, July 4- Saturday, July 6 | Get earthy to celebrate the Eno River with tons of live music, drinks, crafts, and food to go around.

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival, Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary | Friday, Aug. 2-Saturday, Aug. 3 | Your ticket includes a commemorative glass that gets you all the beer and bourbon samples you could ask for. Plus, sample various smoked meats and biscuits — what’s more Southern than this?

CaribMask, Fayetteville Street | Saturday, Aug. 17 | This lively Caribbean fest inspired by Carnival includes a parade, international food vendors, and more.

Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival, Downtown Cary | Saturday, Aug. 24-Sunday, Aug. 25 | This crafty festival has celebrated creativity since 1977 — attend to meet nearly 300 artists working in various media.

Packapalooza, Hillsborough Street | Saturday, Aug. 24 | Kick off the school year Wolfpack style with live performances and a bustling street festival.

Arts, conventions, shopping, and more fun

A colorful view of trinket vendors.

GalaxyCon Raleigh attracts tens of thousands of fans from all over every year.

Photo by @RaleighPhotos on Instagram

10th Annual Longleaf Film Festival, North Carolina Museum of History | Friday, May 10-Sunday, May 11 | In addition to film screenings, meet filmmakers via panels and connect with other movie lovers

Animazement, Raleigh Convention Center | Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26 | This three-day family-friendly convention celebrates all things anime.

Sunflower field blooming, Dorothea Dix Park | Mid-July | Covering five acres of one of Raleigh’s biggest parks, these sunflowers are planted in mid-May to bloom just at the right time. Write this one down so you know to go before it’s all over your Instagram feed.

Summer Sidewalk Sale, Village District | Friday, July 19-Sunday, July 21 | Vendors will bring their wares to the sidewalk for an outdoorsy twist on typical shopping in the iconic district.

GalaxyCon Raleigh, Raleigh Convention Center | Thursday, July 25-Sunday, July 28 | Show off your cosmic side and meet acclaimed performers and creators.

Kirby Derby, Dorothea Dix Park | Saturday, Aug. 17 | Originating as a small street race on Kirby Street, this year’s event theme is “Games People Play,” encompassing the 2024 Olympics, video games, board games, among others.

Sporting events

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Watch the Courage play this season at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Photo provided by NC Courage/Gustavo Valdez De La Rosa

NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship, WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary | Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26 | Watch the top women’s lacrosse teams face off for the champion trophy.

The Soccer Tournament, WakeMed Soccer Park | Wednesday, June 5-Monday, June 10 | Men’s and women’s soccer teams from across the world will face off in single elimination matches with one team taking it all. With 56 representing, keep an eye on Wrexham (owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney), the US Women, and your hometown NC Courage and NCFC squads.

2024 US Open, Pinehurst Golf Course | Thursday, June 13-Sunday, June 16 | The course will host the US Open for the fourth time in the competition’s 124 years — watch golf’s toughest competitors tee off approximately an hour from downtown.

Sir Walter Miler, Meredith College | Friday, Aug. 2 | American runners converge at this track meet where records are constantly broken and miles are often run in less than five minutes.

Get in on seasonal produce + fruits with our guide to local farmers markets and strawberry picking.

Cool off with local watering holes for swimming and more.

Seasonal essentials

  • Tired of losing your sunglasses in the water? These floating sunglasses provide optimal clarity and comfort for all your summer adventures.
  • Shield yourself from the sun while adding a touch of flair to your outfit with one of our hats.
  • This iceless cooler keeps your drinks cold for 7 hours.
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