Downtown Raleigh skyline

Bored? Go to These Events at NC State or Downtown Raleigh

One thing you’ve gotta love about living in Raleigh: There’s always something to do! If you love hanging out at the trendiest art galleries, watching the best movies (for free!), attending concerts with the biggest bands on the radio, and keeping up with adrenaline-pumping sports, you won’t want to miss these events happening this year at NC State University, just a stone’s throw from campus, and right down the road in Downtown Raleigh.

Recurring Events

strawberry-1542444_640Raleigh State Farmers’ Market

When: Mondays-Saturdays @ 5am-6pm, Sundays @ 8am-6pm
Where: 1201 Agriculture Street, Raleigh
Cost: Free admission

Nope, this isn’t the campus farmers’ market. This is the state of North Carolina farmers’ market — the one off Lake Wheeler Road by Centennial Campus. This place is awesome. You can find just about any fruit or veggie that’s in season plus local honey, pastries and cheese in the Market Shoppes, and cool sculptures from the Market Imports. GET THE DETAILS

bonding-1985863_640Trivia Nights Near NC State

When: Tuesdays-Thursdays
Where: Pick a bar from the list below
Cost: Free admission

If you can’t get enough of trivia, there are plenty of places near campus where you can put your knowledge to the test (and win some cool prizes, too). Pick a local bar from the list below to find some fun trivia nights near NC State University. (Get some practice in with NC State-themed quizzes here!)


berries-1022839_640Campus Farmers’ Market

When: Every Wednesday @ 11am-3pm
Where: The Brickyard
Cost: Free admission

This is the campus farmers’ market! On Wednesday afternoons, you’ll be able to buy all kinds of goodies right on campus, including German pastries, handmade jewelry and soaps, local honey, and fruits and veggies. GET THE DETAILS

popcorn-1776006_640UAB Films Series

When: Thursdays, some Fridays, and Saturdays
Where: Witherspoon Student Center
Cost: Free (includes movie & popcorn)

Grab some friends, get some popcorn, and find a seat. The Campus Cinema plays plenty of great movies from new releases to ’90s classics. Just a few recent picks include Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, Doctor Strange, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Monsters University. GET THE DETAILS

fayetteville streetFirst Fridays

When: First Friday of each month @ 6pm-9pm
Where: Downtown Raleigh
Cost: Free

If you’ve been dying to explore Downtown Raleigh but haven’t had the chance (or cash) to do so, you’re going to love First Fridays! Take a self-guided tour of the coolest art galleries, check out Raleigh’s iconic museums, and stop by some of the local businesses downtown; a lot of them stay open late for First Fridays. GET THE DETAILS

Annual Events

fireworks-102971_640First Night Raleigh

When: December 31st-January 1st
Where: Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh
Cost: Passes are $14 + tax on the day of

The Big Apple drops a glass ball for New Year’s, but the City of Oaks drops a giant acorn (yep, the same one that’s in Moore Square Park). Raleigh’s New Year’s Eve celebration kicks off with tons of daytime activities, offers an early drop for the early-to-bed folks, and shoots off plenty of fireworks at midnight to ring in the new year. GET THE DETAILS

snowflakes on black backgroundWinter Welcome Week

When: January, first week of Spring semester
Where: NC State
Cost: Free

Winter Welcome Week is back! In 2015, the first-ever Winter Welcome Week had a lot of great stuff: a commuter student welcome party, movies at the campus cinema, and even a ski trip to Virginia. This year’s Winter Welcome Week is going to be even better. GET THE DETAILS

Krispy Kreme in RaleighKrispy Kreme Challenge

When: February
Where: NC State & Downtown Raleigh
Cost: $20-$40 depending on signup date

Raleigh locals have looked forward to the Krispy Kreme Challenge since its inception in 2004. The challenge: Race (in costume) from the Belltower to the Krispy Kreme at Peace Street and Person Street, scarf down a dozen donuts, and race all the way back without puking, all for a good cause. The Krispy Kreme Challenge is not only a student tradition, it’s a charity race that supports the North Carolina Children’s Hospital. GET THE DETAILS

fireworks-102971_640Raleigh’s 4th of July Fireworks

When: July 4th
WhereState Fairgrounds and PNC Arena

For the first time since 2012, Raleigh’s 4th of July fireworks show will not be held downtown. Instead, they’ll be in NC State’s backyard. (In fact, the fireworks will actually shoot off from the Varsity Lot.)

While details are scant right now, the festivities are set to start around 6 PM (or at least that’s when PNC Arena will open for free parking), but the actual fireworks display won’t start until about 9:30. GET THE DETAILS

Wolfpack Welcome Week

When: August, first week of Fall semester
Where: NC State

What a way to kick off the new school year! This is the time to stock up on free t-shirts and sunglasses, learn the school chants during Convocation, sign up for a new club, try a new sport during RecFest, and catch an awesome concert during Packapalooza.

We can’t get enough of Wolfpack Welcome Week, especially Packapalooza. Here are highlights from the event and a list of free things you can findGET THE DETAILS

pumpkins and gourds at nc state fair agricultural exhibitNorth Carolina State Fair

When: October
Where: North Carolina State Fairgrounds
Cost: About $10 for admission

Nothing says North Carolina quite like the State Fair. Fried foods, carnival rides, street performers, hundreds of local vendors, local bands, and contests and exhibits of all kinds are just some of the things you don’t want to miss!

We love the State Fair, so we’ve written about it several times already. Here’s a recap of the 2016 State Fair and how to get the most out of your tripGET THE DETAILS

NC State's Belltower lit red with fireworks shooting off behind it.Red & White Week (Homecoming)

When: October
Where: NC State
Cost: Free

NC State’s annual homecoming takes the cake every year. Leading up to the homecoming football game are dozens of exciting events, including a concert by a well-known headliner (2CHAINZ and T-Pain have performed in the past), a huge parade down Hillsborough Street, and “Wear Red, Get Fed” fun in the Brickyard. GET THE DETAILS

NCSU-UNC-footballNC State vs. UNC Football Game

When: November
WhereCarter-Finley Stadium or Kenan Memorial Stadium
CostFree for students at home games

Whether it’s at home or in Chapel Hill, the last football game of the season is against UNC. Though UNC claims we’re not their rivals, this heated rivalry game is one of the most anticipated football games in the whole Triangle. Get ready to sing “Red & White” and chant “go to class, Carolina” more times than you care to count.

rsz_christmas-2597093_1280Downtown Raleigh Tree Lighting

When: December
Where: Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh
Cost: Free admission

The tree lighting is a great way to kick off the holidays in Downtown Raleigh. Come out over the weekend for live music, pet costume contests, sledding (no snow required), and, of course, the tree lighting. GET THE DETAILS

Want Something Else to Do?

If you’re bored of Raleigh, there are plenty of attractions close by. Read about free things to do here.