Travel Travel Tips USA

Weekend Ideas: Free Things To Do In Raleigh

If you’re looking for something to do with friends and family in Raleigh and don’t want to spend a ton of money, there are a few things you can do to keep you entertained and your wallet happy!

William Peace University (Peace College)

Stop by William Peace University (formerly known as Peace College) and take a leisurely walk admiring its landscape and buildings. This campus has a rich history that began in 1857. It was named after William Peace, a Raleigh businessman and church elder, who pledged $10,000 to establish the Peace Institute. During the Civil War, Peace’s Main building was used as a military hospital for the Confederate government.


Main building is also rumored to be haunted! After the war it was then used as the headquarters for the Freedmen’s Bureau, which helped former slaves, establish new lives. In 1940 it became an all-women’s school and in 2011 was voted to change to a co-ed college along with a new name (William Peace University).


North Carolina Museums

Raleigh has many museums to explore; you could even spend most of the day just browsing through one. The North Carolina Museum of Art doesn’t just hold hundreds of brilliant works of art, but it also has a park complete with trails and even art! There is a designated picnic area too if you want to enjoy a relaxing picnic lunch after viewing the museum. I have a blog post about it here. You can also take advantage of the free tours given at the museum.


Visit the North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences both located in downtown Raleigh so you can museum hop for a day! All three of these museums are free to visit (special exhibits have an admission cost).


Pullen Park

Pullen Park sits on 66 acres of land complete with a carousel, a working C.P. Huntington miniature train that is a replica of the original, boats, aquatic center, playgrounds and much more! The carousel, boats and train rides are not free. The tickets cost about $1.00 per person for each ride, which is still quite a bargain when on a budget.

Pope House Museum

Take a free guided tour of the Pope House Museum. Many are familiar with Mordecai House but probably have missed this other historical site in downtown Raleigh. Built in 1901, this was the home of Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope who was the only African American man to run for mayor during the Jim Crow Era. Tours are held by appointment only and on Saturdays.

That was just a snippet of what you can do in historic Raleigh. Now get out there and explore!

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