Things to Do in Raleigh, North Carolina in the Fall (COVID EDITION)
If you are looking for things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina this fall season, you’ve come to the right place.
I have lived in North Carolina for over 13 years and in Raleigh for 6 years.
There has to be a reason why I ended up staying this long. One of the reasons is my love for the fall season in this city. The weather is perfect and there are so many fun ways to enjoy it.
My favorite part of autumn in Raleigh has always been the NC State Fair. Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, this has been cancelled. I knew this was going happen, but knowing it has been confirmed really broke my heart into pieces.
When a good friend visited last year, I made her an itinerary of things to do in Raleigh, and this was the main thing that I wanted to show her in North Carolina. She had never been to a state fair before.
Though I miss being elbow to elbow with people while watching the teacup pig race with a turkey leg on one hand and fried Oreos on the other, I have rounded up ways to enjoy this fall season despite the current circumstances.
Covid-19 and Precautions
Plan ahead: Each of the things and events I mention below have their own rules and processes regarding the pandemic. Some require reservations. Make sure to plan ahead, do your own research, and follow the rules.
Practice social distancing: Stay 6 ft. away from people, plain and simple. If you can smell their breath, you are too close. Respect people’s personal space. You don’t know if they are protecting someone at home or if they are carrying anything. Either way, keep your distance from people.
Face covering: Bring and wear a mask or face covering for other people and your own safety.
Wash your hands: Be a decent human being. Keep you and the people around you safe by constantly washing your hands and bring a hand sanitizer
Things to Do in Raleigh, North Carolina in the Fall
1. Go to a Pumpkin Patch
Did you even do fall correctly if you don’t wear a flannel and go to a pumpkin patch? There are a lot of pumpkin patches and farms in North Carolina, and a lot of them are outside of Raleigh.
Lucky for you, Page Farm is located in Raleigh. You can go strawberry and blackberry picking in the springtime. In the fall, you can pick pumpkins, get lost in the corn maze, see farm animals, ride the cow train, and go on a hayride. Classic North Carolina activities.
2. Get Lost in a Haunted Farm
If you like the thrill of being chased by someone with a chainsaw, then maybe you should go to Philip’s Farms. They offer 2 haunted attractions: The Field of Lost Souls and The Rebellion Trail, which you can go to in one visit.
They also have a corn maze, pumpkins, a fall market, concessions, farm animals, and offer wagon rides.
3. Go on a Raleigh Ghost Walk
Seriously, how did I not know about this? I always get excited when I discover new things to do in Raleigh and surrounding cities in North Carolina.
Tobacco Road Tours offers a variety of tours including the Raleigh Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour. This chilling but educational tour takes you to four different Ghost & Paranormal sites in Raleigh including the Raleigh cemetery. If you want to learn about the gruesome things, scandals, and murders that happened in Raleigh, then you on on ahead, babe.
If you want to do this tour while a bit intoxicated, they also have the Raleigh Pub Crawl & Haunted Adventure Tour.
Note that Tobacco Road Tours also offers services in the Durham area.
4. Get Some Fresh Produce at the Farmer’s Market
The Raleigh Farmer’s Market is always a great idea. Locally grown fresh produce, meats, cheese, food, and homemade products by NC farmers and small business owners. There is nothing better than being able to go outside, pick your own fresh produce while supporting local businesses. Also super environmentally friendly!
5. Support Black Owned Businesses
Today there are over 3 million farmers in America. Of those, less than 2% are Black. Land laws, discriminatory banking practices, and other institutionalized practices of racism have impacted a once thriving network of Black farmers. – Black Farmer’s Market Website.
What a better way to support the Black Lives Matter Movement than to put your money where your mouth is.
There are various black owned businesses in the Raleigh area, and the Black Farmer’s Market brings you black owned businesses and black farmers in one place. Here, you can buy a myriad of things including fresh produce, flowers, alcohol, meats, seafood, organic cleaning supplies, and much more.
Click here for the list of vendors at the Black Farmer’s Market.
Click here for a list of Raleigh black owned businesses.
6. Go to Drive-in and Outdoor Movies
With the pandemic happening, things to do in Raleigh and in North Carolina in general had changed a bit. With the movie theatres still only at 30 percent capacity in North Carolina, drive-in and outdoor are great choices to see your favorite movies.
There is a myriad of drive-in movies outside of Raleigh, but the one that is in town is by Compass Rose Brewery. They have a Friday Blockbuster Movie Night on October 9 for FREE.
7. Practice Your Sun Salutations During Outdoor Yoga
It is the perfect weather right now to go out, get some fresh air, and stretch your body. You have probably been cooped up in the house, just in your head all the time (or at least I have been).
Moving your body and going outside can really help reset the mind and improve your mental health. There are various yoga and breweries offering outdoor yoga classes during this fall season.
Here are some places:
- Plank n’ Drank Yoga at Clouds Brewing
- Outdoor Yoga at Compass Rose Brewery
- Yoga in the Park at Dorothea Dix Park Williams Field
- CorePower Yoga
8. “Attend” the 2020 NC Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival “Express” Social (October 10)
Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate? I’m sold. This year has been an absolute hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck. Treat yourself. You deserve it for sure. Instead of the typical festival where you go from stall to stall to get samples, in response to the pandemic, they are offering wine, cheese, and chocolate boxes for sale.
There are different dates to pick up the boxes, but on October 10th, there will be outdoor live music.
Click here for more information about the 2020 NC Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival Express Social
Pickup for Party Boxes will be:
- October 6th: 11am-7pm
- October 7th: 11am-7pm
- October 8th: 11am-8pm
- October 9th: 11am-8pm
- October 10th: FESTIVAL “Social” 12pm-7pm
9. Celebrate Oktoberfest by Supporting Your Local Breweries
One of the best things about fall is all the Oktoberfest celebrations. I know Octoberfest is usually celebrated in September, but you can still celebrate while staying safe the rest of the autumnal season. Lots of breweries are doing drive thru sales. Here are breweries with Oktoberfest events in Raleigh.
- Gizmo Brew Works
- PourWorks Beer and Wine Shop
- Compass Rose Brewery
10. Get Some Fresh Air and See the Fall Foliage
Fall season in North Carolina is beautiful. The leaves changing colors always happens so quickly each year. October hits and the leaves turn orange in a blink. The best place to witness the leaves change colors is up in the mountains, particularly in western area.
But don’t worry, you do not have to go that far to see fall foliage. If the pandemic has taught is anything, it is to be able to appreciate what is in front of us and where we are.
Check out the following trails for some scenic autumnal views:
- William B. Umstead State Park Sals Branch Trail
- Lake Lynn Trail
- North Carolina Museum of Art Park and Reedy Creek Greenway Trail
- Lake Johnson
- Yates Mill Park High Ridge and Mill Pond Trails
11. Eat All The Pumpkin and Fall Themed Foods
I’m going to be honest; I always go back and forth about how I feel about Raleigh. However, if there is one thing I will never complain about, it is the food that we have in this city.
Even all the grocery stores come up with the craziest most extra pumpkin and fall themed foods, from pumpkin twinkies to pumpkin burritos. You can never have too much pumpkin, right?
Here are a couple of foods and places to check out:
12. Get Cozy and Stay In (The Safest Choice of Them All)
Honestly, this is probably what I will be doing the majority of the time. I am still trying to find a good balance between staying in enough to stay safe and going outside, so I do not lose my social skills.
It is also probably one of the cheapest choices unless you are like me and order an embarrassing amount of take out. That is okay though. You are an adult. You do you.
If you go the cooking at home route, I have a no fail hearty soup recipe here that you should definitely try.
While I do encourage people to go outside (safely), staying in is still the best choice especially while a pandemic is happening.
We are lucky and privileged enough to have the technology to do a plethora of things remotely. We can attend virtual events, check on loved ones, shop, learn through online courses, follow workouts, cheer for our favorite sport teams, and be activists without leaving the couch.
Is fall not the best time of the year in the east coast? What are your favorite things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina? Let me know in the comments below!