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Free things to do in Raleigh

We’re ballin’ on a budget here. Keep costs low with these 13 free things to do throughout Raleigh + the 919 for a fun time, free of charge.

A gif of free things to do in Raleigh, including a mural, the NC Museum of Art, a street festival, a movie screening, and kayaks.

There are so many things to do in Raleigh free of charge.

Photos by RALtoday, City of Raleigh, Downtown Raleigh Alliance, and Gabriel Eng-Goetz

The best things in life are free — sometimes because they are literally free. Here are 13 free things to do around Raleigh that don’t require you to spend a dime, both outdoors + inside.


Raleigh’s wide array of year-round street festivals mean live music + window shopping from local vendors. Plus, you can head to Moore Square on First Fridays for a free movie screening.

Rent a kayak for free at Lake Crabtree County Park in Morrisville — just bring a valid ID. You can also register to borrow fully equipped fishing rods throughout Wake County, but you’ll need to bring your own bait. Plus, check out more of Raleigh’s top tier parks and hiking trails.

For a different kind of outdoor experience, head to RDU’s observation deck to see the airport’s 10,000-foot runway in action and listen in to pilot + tower communications. There’s also a playground for the kids and educational signs to learn more about aviation.

Raleigh has no shortage of public art — make a trail of eye-popping murals throughout the city.


Raleigh isn’t called the Smithsonian of the South for nothing. See paleontology up close and personal at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ new Dueling Dinosaurs exhibit, marvel at a Picasso at the NC Museum of Art, and experience some of Raleigh’s history at the Joel Lane Museum House.

Learn more about the chocolate-making process by taking a quick self-guided tour at Videri Chocolate Factory and try some free samples.

The library is for more than just books. From storytimes and free movies to crafty meetups and yoga classes, Wake County Public Libraries offers endless free fun.

Do some good in the community by volunteering around the city at a variety of different nonprofits.

Psst... need more ideas? Our events page is constantly updating with even more free events throughout the 919.

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