Raleigh, NC is a city full of fun things to do. While some events in Raleigh are similar to what you might find in other cities, a few are very specific to the area and can't be found anywhere else. Whether you're just looking for something to entertain you on a weekend evening or want to participate in the culture of the area, you'll find something fun to do when living in Raleigh.
First Friday Walk
The First Friday concept isn't unique to Raleigh. You'll find similar events, taking place on the first Friday of the month, in cities and small towns across the country. However, Raleigh's version puts a unique spin on the idea. It's meant to be a self-guided walking tour of various galleries, museums, and other local businesses that lasts from 6pm until 9pm. Galleries stay open later than their usual hours while local restaurants and cafes tend to offer dinner and drink specials. While you can walk from place to place on First Friday, the downtown area now also offers other means of eco-friendly transportation, including the free R-line, which is a hybrid electric bus service that travels in a loop around the city.
From July until October, you can cheer on the Carolina Rollergirls during their home bouts. The first flat track women's roller derby team in the area, the Rollergirls got started in 2004. They compete against other teams in the league and against themselves during their matches. Bouts are often doubleheaders and are held once a month during the season. The team also has occasional open practices, so that fans can experience the fun of participating in roller derby for themselves.
The State Fair
The North Carolina State Fair is kind of a big deal. It's been held almost every year since 1853, and has been at its current location since 1928. The annual event takes place over the course of nearly two weeks in October. Highlights of it include a fireworks display at the end of every evening, a craft beer and wine festival, and a number of grandstand shows, including a demolition derby and a tractor pull. There are also a number of competitions and contests during the fair, including livestock competitions, horse shows, and cooking contests.
The state fairgrounds aren't only used for the annual fair. In early December, they are the site of the Scandinavian Christmas Fair. The holiday fair celebrates the Christmas traditions of Scandinavian countries. A number of musical acts performing Scandinavian folk music perform during the festival, and a Julmarknad sells traditional Scandinavian food, such as pea soup, and salmon and meatballs. A highlight of the celebration is the St. Lucia procession, which takes place in the late afternoon. The festival concludes with a traditional plundering of a Christmas tree, during which people dance around the tree, then remove its decorations.
Another holiday tradition in Raleigh is the Christmas Parade, which is sponsored by WRAL. The parade typically takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving, and is rebroadcast on the WRAL TV station on Christmas morning.