NC State is the biggest university in North Carolina, so obviously there’s a lot to do here. The campus itself is surrounded by some amazing restaurants and hole-in-the-wall hangouts, and the college is a short drive from Downtown Raleigh — and the beach and the mountains are just a few hours away!
If you’re a new student or transfer student, you’re going to love NC State. But even if you’ve lived in Raleigh your whole life, you’ll still find something fun to do.
Here’s just a taste of what kind of fun you can have on campus as a commuter student.
Sports, Festivals, and Other University Events
As far as sports go, football and basketball are king at NC State. In fact, people are willing to show up hours early to wait for the best seats in either Carter-Finley Stadium or PNC Arena.
Other popular events on and close to campus include:
- Packapalooza (August): an all-day block party that’s hosted well-known bands like We The Kings (2016) and Spin Doctors (2017)
- North Carolina State Fair (October): an 11-day agriculture exhibition that’s also an excuse to eat unreasonable amounts of deep-fried food (bacon-wrapped grilled cheese sandwiches, anyone?)
- Krispy Kreme Challenge (February): a 5-mile race meets a donut-eating contest, all for a good cause
- Art2Wear (April): the College of Design’s answer to New York Fashion Week
Hanging Out Around Campus
Location is part of the reason why students come here. Downtown Raleigh — and all of its restaurants, museums, art galleries, bars, and clubs — is just 10 minutes from NC State’s Main Campus. In any given month, there are concerts, food truck rodeos, parades, and outdoor movie nights happening just minutes from the university.
The Food Scene is Awesome
If you’re craving sushi, burritos, burgers, stew, pasta, or even something fancier, you’ll find a nice meal somewhere close to campus.
Off-campus restaurants include your run-of-the-mill fast food places like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, local chains like Cookout and Bojangle’s, and one-of-a-kind eateries like Mitch’s Tavern and Amedeo’s.
Of course, there are plenty of other restaurants worth trying throughout Raleigh. Here’s our take on where to eat around the City of Oaks.
Completing the NC State Bucket List
Nowhere else on Earth will you find a college that actually encourages graffiti. NC State’s Free Expression Tunnel is essentially a public canvas that sits right in the middle of Main Campus, and painting it is a rite of passage for students.
Other NC State student traditions include taking a photo of the iconic Belltower, eating Howling Cow ice cream (which is made right on campus!), watching a movie at the Campus Cinema, and wearing red and white to sporting events.
You’ll Love Living Near NC State!
Even if you live off of NC State’s campus and commute to class, you’ll still be able to participate in all the campus life.
Student life here revolves around athletics (especially football and basketball), around outdoor life, around the performing arts, and around North Carolina’s agricultural heritage. State’s culture has a little bit of everything, fitting for such a diverse student body at a large university.
Check out the NC State student commuter guide for even more fun things to do around campus, then experience everything this university has to offer!