Unique and award-winning restaurants, four-star hotels, concert amphitheaters, theater and opera companies, museums sports, a nationally recognized symphony, vibrant festivals, beautiful golf courses and greenways, and all the history you can take in. Raleigh has an astonishing list of no-fee activities and attractions so your time in the capital doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out www.visitraleigh.com/40freethings.
The big fall event? The N.C. State Fair – still the state’s largest event – is Oct. 15-25 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds (www.ncstatefair.org).
Arts events and celebrations abound in Raleigh. Check out the latest offerings at www.visitraleigh.com, or peruse local exhibits at www.ncartmuseum.org. Also check out the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences (http://naturalsciences.org).
It’s back to the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater when “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” comes to town Nov. 27-Dec. 23. Finish the year’s holiday entertainment at Memorial Auditorium Dec. 18-27 with the awe-inspiring grace and grandeur of Carolina Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” Go to www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com for details on both performances.
And remember that Raleigh is a great place to literally end 2015 and welcome the new year: First Night Raleigh (www.firstnightraleigh.com) is a major downtown event encompassing about 20 blocks of indoor and outdoor fun. Find complete schedules, cost information, a map, rules and more on the website later this year.
If you’re thirsty
▪ C. Grace is a cocktail-driven bar that evokes memories of classic jazz clubs where the lights are low, the jazz is hot, the drinks are strong and the nights full of merriment. Details: www.cgracebar.com.
▪ Trophy Brewing & Pizza Co. is a three-barrel nano-brewery with unique and creative beers like Peanut Butter & Banana and Coffee & Chocolate. Their beer is always tasty. Details: www.trophybrewing.com.
If you’re hungry
▪ Bida Manda Laotian Restaurant & Bar is one of the few true Laotian restaurants in the U.S. Its crispy pork belly soup, caramelized ginger pork ribs and beef larb are menu staples that have opened the palate of many local and visiting diners. Details: www.bidamanda.com.
▪ Joule Coffee, a shop owned by Raleigh’s big culinary name, Ashley Christensen, and located in the up-and-coming North Person Street district, offers a highly rated brunch serving up sweet potato hotcakes. Details: http://bit.ly/1fvEGeN.
▪ Capital Club 16 is a traditional American restaurant with European influences that offers scratch-made meals inspired by classic dishes. Details: www.capitalclub16.com.