With a new year upon us, many people have resolutions to better themselves or their lives. Many people living in the Raleigh area have not even scratched the surface when it comes to taking advantage of the city’s vibrancy and many resources. Here are a few that you should resolve not to miss in the new year.
- Get outdoors – Though Raleigh is becoming a sprawling metropolis, one of the features that makes it truly unique is the abundance of green spaces in the area. The Capital Area Greenway System in particular was set up to preserve these spaces for the city’s residents and provides ample space for running, walking, and generally enjoying nature. The Neuse River Trail serves a similar purpose for residents located in the North Raleigh region, and a variety of parks such as Pullen Park, Umstead, Lake Raleigh, and Yates Mill Park are also at the disposal of anyone in the area. JC Raulston Arboretum, located near NC State’s campus also provides an immersion into nature with a bit of an educational edge, and Oakwood Cemetery provides both historical and beautiful green spaces in the heart of the capital city.
- Get educated – Being the capital of North Carolina, Raleigh has the privilege of holding a good deal of the state’s early history. The Museum of History, located downtown, features a permanent exhibit about North Carolina as well as frequently rotating exhibits on more specialized topics. The Museum of Natural Sciences, which is right beside the Museum of History, has grown significantly in its offerings in recent years as a result of opening up a new wing in 2012. They even have an app available to help you with planning your self-guided tour so you won’t miss anything important to you. The family fun continues with Marbles Kids Museum in the Moore Square Historic District, where hands-on learning is encouraged. These museums paired with numerous historic sites scattered throughout the city make learning something new every day an easy goal to meet.
- Get cultured – The Triangle area is steeped in culture. From music to art to theatre performances, there’s a little something for everyone. For art lovers, the North Carolina Museum of Art has an exceptional collection regularly on display as well as rotating special collections and a beautiful museum park with frequent events open to the public. The Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, better known as CAM, is easy to access downtown and is not far from Artspace, which contains both galleries and studio space for many local artists. The music scene in Raleigh is extensive. With venues around almost every corner, you’re sure to find a show that you’re interested in featuring nationally renowned artists, local celebs, and even up-and-comers. Some of the best (and most well-known) venues include Duke Energy Center, The Ritz, Lincoln Theatre, Coastal Credit Union Music Park, PNC Arena, and Red Hat Amphitheater. Smaller venues are also available in downtown, such as Slim’s, Kings, and Neptunes. In addition to music, various theatre performances are available. With Theatre in the Park, Raleigh Little Theatre, Burning Coal Theatre, Carolina Ballet, and the NC Symphony, there’s always some way to immerse yourself in another world.
- Get spoiled – Whether you’re in North Raleigh, downtown, or Midtown, there’s plenty of ways to treat yourself. Scattered through Raleigh are plenty of specialty shops for anything you could possibly need (or just want). Some of the best places to shop include Lafayette Village, North Hills, Crabtree Valley Mall, and local stores scattered downtown from City Market to Person Street. After your shopping spree, indulge in gourmet foods at one of Ashley Christensen or Scott Crawford’s restaurants downtown, a moonshine cocktail at Driftwood Southern Kitchen in Lafayette Village, or French bistro classics at Coquette Brasserie in North Hills.
- Get involved – No matter what causes are near and dear to your heart, you can find some group to get involved with in Raleigh. Home to the NC General Assembly and the State Capitol, Raleigh is filled with passionate people trying to make a difference. The LGBT Center of Raleigh, Equality NC, the SPCA, Stop Hunger Now, NC GreenPower, InterAct of Wake County, and Habitat for Humanity of Wake County are just a few of the large organizations always looking for volunteers. With Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops active in the area as well, there’s many ways for the whole family to get involved.
- Get social – There’s always an event going on in Raleigh. Whether it’s First Fridays downtown, where retailers and restaurants have specials and stay open late on the first Friday of every month, or events at the NC Museum of Art’s outdoor amphitheater, there’s no time to be bored in the capital city. North Hills and Lafayette Village both hold events throughout the year such as the Beach Music series and holiday celebrations. Artsplosure, Hopscotch Music Festival, and SPARKcon are just a few of the big ticket events that are held downtown every year and draw great crowds. Take advantage of the city’s amenities and get out and about!
- Get sporty – With NC State nearby, there are numerous sports games that Raleighites are privy to. Between their big ticket sports (such as men’s basketball and football) and other free games offered (like volleyball and women’s basketball), there are plenty of opportunities for sports fans to see a game. The Carolina Hurricanes are also located nearby in PNC Arena, and the Carolina Rollergirls and Raleigh Flyers Ultimate Disc team provide alternative sporting events to attend. From April to September, there’s even stock car races at Wake County Speedway. Want to get involved in something athletic? There are numerous races in the area available throughout the year, including the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Krispy Kreme Challenge, Pi Miler, Run. Dance. Glow. 5K, and City of Oaks Marathon.