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

UAB Films

Date: Thursdays & Saturdays
Location: Witherspoon Student Center
Cost: Free 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.

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First Fridays

Date: Every first Friday of the month @ 6pm-9pm
Location: 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.

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Raleigh State Farmers’ Market

Date: Mondays-Saturdays @ 5am-6pm, Sundays @ 8am-6pm
Location: 1201 Agriculture Street, Raleigh
Cost: Free

Nope, this isn’t the campus farmers’ market. This is the state of North Carolina farmers’ market — you know, 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.

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March 2017 Events

St. Patrick’s Day Block Party

Date: March 18th @ 2pm-9pm
Location: Milk Bar in Downtown Raleigh
Cost: Free

Milk Bar is throwing its first-ever block party and you’re invited! Come out Saturday for food trucks, beer tents, games, local vendors, and live music. Milk Bar’s event will benefit the Circle Takes the Square Foundation, so feel free to donate art supplies, music equipment, or athletic equipment.

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April 2017 Events

Last Day of Classes (LDOC)

Date: April 28th
Location: NC State
Cost: Free

Say goodbye to the year in style! Last year’s LDOC party, “Wolfstock,” brought the year to a close with food trucks, games, prizes, and an awesome concert featuring Dan + Shay and Boyce Avenue.

May 2017 Events

Spring Commencement

Date: May 13th @ 8:30am
Location: PNC Arena
Cost: Free

You did it! Now all that’s left is to put on your cap and gown, take tons of graduation pictures with your friends, and turn your tassel. This year’s ceremony includes a concert by The Amalgam Brass Ensemble at 8:30 to start off the festivities. (Here’s some advice about what actually happens after you graduate.)

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July 2017 Events

The ‘Works!

Date: July 4th @ 12pm-11pm
Location: Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh
Cost: Free

Celebrate Independence Day just like the locals — with food, street performers, hot dog and ice cream eating contests, and a spectacular fireworks show! It’s an all-day event, but the fireworks start around 9:30 over the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

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August 2017 Events

Wolfpack Welcome Week

Date: TBD — We’ll let you know when!
Location: NC State
Cost: Free

Take a break from the stress of moving in and stock up on free t-shirts, sunglasses, cups, and food. Wolfpack Welcome Week is an NC State student tradition that you don’t want to miss! It always starts a few days before the first day of class and ends with Packapalooza.

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Packapalooza

Date: August 19th @ 2pm-10pm
Location: Hillsborough Street
Cost: Free

Speaking of Packapalooza, you don’t want to miss this all-day block party, either. You can stock up on more free NC State stuff, catch performances by local bands and student organizations, and kick off the semester with a headlining act that’s sure to impress. Last year’s Packapalooza headliner was We The Kings! (Want a peek at past Packapaloozas? Read highlights of Packapalooza 2015 here or watch the Belltower light up red at Packapalooza 2016.)

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October 2017 Events

North Carolina State Fair

Date: October 12th-22nd
Location: North Carolina State Fairgrounds
Cost: $10 at the entrance*

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! Here’s a recap of the 2016 State Fair and how to get the most out of your trip.

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December 2017 Events

First Night Raleigh

Date: December 31st @ 2pm-12am
Location: 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.

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January 2018 Events

Ice Raleigh

Date: TBD — We’ll let you know when!
Location: City Plaza in Downtown Raleigh
Cost: $10 includes skate rental*

Who doesn’t love ice skating outdoors? While it doesn’t get cold enough here for ponds to freeze over, the Ice Raleigh outdoor ice skating rink is the next best thing during our “mild” winter weather.

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Winter Welcome Week

Date: TBD — We’ll let you know when!
Location: 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.

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February 2018 Events

Krispy Kreme Challenge

Date: TBD — We’ll let you know when!
Location: 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.

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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.