Posted in: Arts Posted on: Jun 4th, 2015

Arts and Culture in Raleigh

Photo Credit: Dinosaur by Jeff Kubina | CC-BY-2.0

Experiencing local arts and culture is one of the most exciting things about moving to a new city or town. To help you get started, we’ve built a brief guide to entertainment venues for those living in Raleigh, NC. Read on to learn about local museums, theatres, and more!


The city of Raleigh is home to a number of museums, and these museums cover a large range of topics. From art, to history, to science, no stone is left unturned in the city’s robust museum scene.

Opened in 1956, the North Carolina Museum of Art was the first major museum in the country to be formed by state legislation and funding. The museum features over 40 galleries and houses works that date back over 5,000 years. While contemporary and traveling exhibits require an entrance fee, the museum’s permanent collection can be viewed by anyone free of charge.

Another noteworthy museum in Raleigh is the North Carolina Museum of History. Like the local art museum, this Smithsonian affiliate is also open to the public free of charge. The museum’s six permanent exhibits include The Story of North Carolina, History in Every Direction, History of the Harvest, A Call to Arms, David Marshall “Carbine” Williams, and The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to these permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts several rotating attractions throughout the year.

For kids and kids-at-heart, perhaps the most exciting museum in the city is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. With over four floors dedicated to nature, biology, paleontology, and more, this museum is the largest of its kind in the entire Southeast. Visitors have a plethora of exhibits to explore, including the Terror of the South exhibit, which features the fossilized remains of a carnivorous dinosaur in a three story glass-enclosed dome.

Music Venues

The two primary music venues in Raleigh are the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre and the Red Hat Amphitheatre. The Walnut Creek Amphitheatre is an outdoor venue that specializes in large concerts. With just under 7,000 seats and room for roughly 13,000 on the lawn, Walnut Creek can accommodate approximately 20,000 people. Much smaller by comparison, Red Hat Amphitheatre can accommodate about 6,000 guests, with 1,800 fixed seats, 2,700 moveable seats, and room for 1,000 on the lawn. Both facilities are operated by Live Nation.

Performing Arts

In addition to its live music venues, Raleigh also has several performance arts centers for fans of other forms of live entertainment. The Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts hosts the Fletcher Opera Theatre, the Kennedy Theatre, and the Meymandi Concert Hall. Raleigh’s performance art attractions are not limited to this venue, however. Theatre performances can also be witnessed at the Raleigh Little Theatre, Long View Center, Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre, and Stewart and Thomspon Theatres. The North Carolina Symphony and the Carolina Ballet should be mentioned, as well.