35 Fun Date Ideas in Raleigh, NC, for the Perfect Date

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A skyline with modern city buildings next to a path, trees, and a bright blue sky
You and your partner will find many fun things to do on a date in and around Raleigh

Raleigh is North Carolina's vibrant capital city. It's home to beautiful outdoor spaces, interesting museums, top bars and restaurants, and much more!

Notably, couples living in or visiting the city will find an array of fun date ideas in Raleigh, NC, to enjoy. Things to do on a daytime date include biking the Neuse River Greenway Trail, admiring the flowers at Raleigh Rose Garden, and touring the Videri Chocolate Factory.

In the evening, there are many restaurants for a romantic dinner date, plus bars and theaters to visit. You could even take a ghost tour together. If you're looking for memorable date ideas, keep reading for 35 activities for couples in and around Raleigh!

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When visiting Raleigh, book your accommodations and experiences before you go. We've pulled together top suggestions below.

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β˜‚οΈ Top tours and experiences in Raleigh

35 Raleigh, NC, Date Ideas

  1. Fun Things for Couples to do in Raleigh, NC
    1. Hang out at Dorothea Dix Park
    2. Sightsee on a trolley pub tour
    3. Hike through William B. Umstead State Park
    4. Visit the North Carolina Museum of History
    5. Bike along Neuse River Greenway Trail
    6. Explore the Juniper Level Botanic Garden
    7. Go to the North Carolina State Farmers Public Market
    8. Admire artworks at the North Carolina Museum of Art
    9. Wander around the CAM Raleigh
    10. Shop and eat at Morgan Street Food Hall
    11. Learn new things at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
    12. Check out the events at Moore Square
  2. Raleigh, NC, Date Night Ideas
    1. Dare to go on a haunted pub crawl and ghost tour
    2. Play arcade games at Boxcar Bar + Arcade
    3. Grab beers at Standard Beer + Food
    4. Spend some time exploring the Warehouse District
    5. See a show at the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts
    6. Get drinks and dessert at Bittersweet
  3. Romantic Things to Do in Raleigh, NC
    1. Admire the views at Lake Wheeler Park
    2. Wander around JC Raulston Arboretum
    3. Appreciate the floral displays at the Raleigh Rose Garden
    4. Sip wine at Barcelona Wine Bar
    5. Walk through the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park
  4. Raleigh Date Night Restaurants
    1. Plates Neighborhood Kitchen
    2. Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
    3. Herons
    4. Humble Pie
  5. Cute Date Ideas in Raleigh, NC
    1. Get sweet treats at Videri Chocolate Factory
    2. Chat over coffee at Sir Walter Coffee
    3. Have a picnic at Pullen Park
    4. Paint pottery at Klaystation
    5. Stop for ice cream at Two Roosters
  6. Fun Things to Do Near Raleigh, NC, for Couples
    1. Plan a weekend trip to Charlotte
    2. Enjoy a day in Cary
    3. Drive to the Outer Banks for a beach getaway

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Fun Things for Couples to do in Raleigh, NC

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A grassy area next to green trees and a city skyline under a blue sky
Dorothea Dix Park is a nice place to hang out together on a sunny day

Hang out at Dorothea Dix Park

On a nice day, planning a date at Dorothea Dix Park is a fun and laid-back idea. The large urban park has walking trails and areas to sit and talk. Various events are held in the park as well, like outdoor yoga sessions. During the spring and summer, you'll also be able to admire fields of daffodils and sunflowers.

🏨 Stay nearby Dorothea Dix Park

Sightsee on a trolley pub tour

If you're visiting Raleigh together, going on a sightseeing tour is the perfect way to see the city. Even if you and your date live in the area, a sightseeing tour can be a fun way to learn more about your city.

Booking a Raleigh trolley pub tour is one of the most unique sightseeing options available. This two-hour pedal-powered pub crawl will take you to the city's top landmarks and attractions, and you can bring your own drinks to enjoy along the way.

A lake surrounded by fall trees that reflect on the surface
At William B. Umstead State Park, you can hike or bike through scenic surroundings

Hike through William B. Umstead State Park

Outdoor activity enthusiasts will be interested in spending some time together hiking around William B. Umstead State Park. This 5,599-acre park has multiple trails that take you through woodland and past scenic lakes. You can also bike along the trails or go paddleboarding on the water.

Visit the North Carolina Museum of History

Due to the abundance of museums in the city, the Raleigh nickname Smithsonian of the South was created. One of the most famous of these museums is the North Carolina Museum of History.

Located in Downtown Raleigh, the attraction covers the area's history over the last six centuries and houses 150,000 objects. While exploring, you'll learn about significant events in the state's history as well as what life was like during different periods. The museum is also home to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

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A path with a white fence lining it next to trees and a field on a sunny day
The Neuse River Greenway Trail is scenic in all seasons

Bike along Neuse River Greenway Trail

Another of the best date ideas in Raleigh, NC, for couples that love the outdoors is biking along the Neuse River Greenway Trail.

As you cycle along the 34.5-mile-long trail, you can enjoy the view of the Neuse River and will also bike past forests, rivers, and lakes. With many access points to the trail, you can cycle as much of the route as you want.

Explore the Juniper Level Botanic Garden

The Juniper Botanic Garden is a scenic attraction to explore with your other half. Covering 28 acres, the garden features beautiful flowers, plants, and trees, plus water features and ponds. It's the perfect place to check out on a sunny day, although even in the fall and winter, the garden is worth visiting.

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A table at a market with various types of apples in baskets
There are many vendors selling fresh produce at the NC State Farmers Public Market

Go to the North Carolina State Farmers Public Market

Those planning a daytime date should consider going to the North Carolina State Farmers Public Market. This market is open seven days a week and features vendors selling fresh produce as well as ready-to-eat food.

The attraction is the perfect place to go to get local ingredients to cook with for an at-home dinner date! You can also get flowers, and craft markets are sometimes held.

Admire artworks at the North Carolina Museum of Art

The North Carolina Museum of Art is a great date spot for art lovers or those looking for interesting things to do on a rainy day.

The vast museum has 40 galleries and features a range of pieces, from Ancient Egyptian and African art to more contemporary works. You can also see art by many famous artists, such as Monet and Jean-François Millet.

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A large yellow sign that says "CAM Raleigh" on a wall next to grass and a path
CAM Raleigh is an ideal date spot for couples that like contemporary art

Wander around the CAM Raleigh

CAM Raleigh is another of the Raleigh date spots for art lovers. Even if you aren't the biggest art enthusiast, a trip to the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh has to be on your North Carolina bucket list!

The museum only showcases temporary collections, meaning you can see new pieces every time you visit. Works on display include paintings, photographs, and multimedia art installations.

Shop and eat at Morgan Street Food Hall

Morgan Street Food Hall is one of the most popular attractions in Raleigh and a great place to explore with your date. At the indoor market, you can find numerous food vendors selling ready-to-eat dishes.

Just a few of the types of food to pick up include pizzas, sushi, and South American dishes. You and your date can also enjoy dessert, with sweet options like crepes, rolled ice cream, and macarons available.

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One of many fun date ideas in Raleigh, NC, is visiting the Museum of Natural Sciences
Exploring the Museum of Natural Sciences is one of many fun date ideas in Raleigh, NC

Learn new things at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Another interesting museum to visit together is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. This famous Raleigh landmark features exhibits on various science and natural history topics.

Things to learn about include the dinosaurs, the ecosystems of North Carolina, and marine habitats. There are also temporary exhibits, allowing you to learn new things every time you visit.

Check out the events at Moore Square

Another excellent outdoor space to visit is Moore Square. This four-acre area has places to sit and talk while taking in views of the park and city buildings around it.

You can also play some garden games together, like giant chess, and there's a burger bar serving food and milkshakes. Many events are held here as well, from outdoor movies to a Moore Square history tour.

Raleigh, NC, Date Night Ideas

A city skyline at night next to a park with bare trees under a purple and orange sky
Explore the spooky side of Raleigh after dark with your date on a haunted pub crawl

Dare to go on a haunted pub crawl and ghost tour

Going on a dinner or drinks date is fun, but if you want to do something more unique together, go on a haunted pub crawl. You'll visit the city's most spooky spots, where you'll hear creepy tales and learn about paranormal activity. Between each stop, you can visit top-rated local bars for drinks.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to 222 Fayetteville St

Play arcade games at Boxcar Bar + Arcade

Going to Boxcar Bar + Arcade is definitely one of the best Raleigh date night ideas! This fun spot features a range of retro and modern arcade games. As you play, you can order drinks like cocktails or craft beer, with 24 rotating selections on tap.

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The front of a restaurant with a patio and a sign that says "Yard Beer + Food"
Standard Beer + Food offers 30 beers on tap, plus beer cocktails and other beverages

Grab beers at Standard Beer + Food

Standard Beer + Food is a trendy spot with an outdoor patio that has 30 rotating craft beers on tap. You can also get beer cocktails, signature cocktails, cider, and wine.

While enjoying your drinks together, you can order snacks such as truffle tater tots or tacos. Some larger dishes are also available if you're planning a dinner and drinks date at Standard.

Spend some time exploring the Warehouse District

The Warehouse District is one of the best places to explore together in the evening. This neighborhood covers about six blocks and features numerous restaurants and bars.

There are also nightclubs and live music venues, including the Red Hat Amphitheater, as well as galleries that sometimes stay open later in the evening.

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A stone building with columns next to a path and greenery under a blue sky
You can see a range of shows at the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts

See a show at the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts

Watching a performance at the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts (formerly the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts) is one of the best date night ideas in Raleigh, NC, for couples that enjoy the arts.

The building is a well-known North Carolina landmark and hosts various shows, from ballets to plays and concerts. You can also see the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra at the center's Meymandi Concert Hall.

Get drinks and dessert at Bittersweet

Bittersweet is another excellent place to get drinks in the evening in Raleigh. You can choose from a selection of unique signature cocktails, including many types of coffee cocktails. Fun shots are on the menu, as are decadent desserts like a S'mores sundae and a chocolate bourbon pecan pie.

Romantic Things to Do in Raleigh, NC

A small iron bench on a deck with plants next to a lake and trees
There are many places to sit together and admire the lake views at Lake Wheeler Park

Admire the views at Lake Wheeler Park

Lake Wheeler Park is a highly scenic and romantic place to go with your date. At the park, you can walk around the lake or sit lakeside, chatting or enjoying a picnic as you admire the views.

You can also kayak or canoe on the water. In the fall and winter, stay to watch the beautiful sunset over the lake before the park closes at 6 PM.

Wander around JC Raulston Arboretum

On a nice day, strolling around the JC Raulston Arboretum is the perfect date idea. The 10-acre arboretum features themed gardens, including a romantic rose garden, a tranquil Japanese garden, and a rooftop terrace garden. As you wander around, make sure you stop to take lots of photos.

🏨 Accommodation near JC Raulston Arboretum

A small house-like structure surrounded by greenery and pink and red roses
The Raleigh Rose Garden is a highly romantic place to go for a walk together

Appreciate the floral displays at the Raleigh Rose Garden

Going to the Raleigh Rose Garden is definitely one of the most romantic things to do in Raleigh, North Carolina. Located ten minutes outside of downtown, the garden has 60 rose beds featuring a range of varieties.

Additionally, Raleigh Rose Garden is another great place to take pictures together with scenic backdrops.

Sip wine at Barcelona Wine Bar

Chatting over drinks at Barcelona Wine Bar is a sophisticated and romantic date idea. You and your date can order from an extensive wine list with wines from Europe, the US, and South America. You can also get a wine flight, cocktails, and sharing foods like charcuterie boards.

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An art installation with three rings on the grass next to trees and a blue sky
The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park has unique art installations

Walk through the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park

The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park at the NC Museum of Art is another romantic place to go for a walk or bike ride together. The garden has unique art installations that sit amongst lush grass and trees. There are also many places to stop and chat while admiring the scenic surroundings.

Raleigh Date Night Restaurants

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The exterior of a restaurant with a patio and a "Plates Neighborhood Kitchen" sign
Plates Neighborhood Kitchen has globally-inspired dishes made with local ingredients

Plates Neighborhood Kitchen

Plates Neighborhood Kitchen is one of the best date spots in Raleigh for dinner and drinks. The menu features globally inspired dishes made using fresh local ingredients.

Dishes vary based on the season but include things like black garlic fettuccine, roasted acorn squash, and pan-seared trout. Desserts and dessert cocktails are available to finish your meal, and wine, beer, and cocktails can be ordered with your main course.

🏨 Stay near Plates Neighborhood Kitchen

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern gets its name due to being housed in a beautiful Second Empire-style house. Along with appreciating the architecture, you and your partner will get to enjoy lots of delicious dishes on a dinner date here.

Menu options include pan-roasted scallops, seafood paella, and a winter salad with roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. After dinner, you can get drinks in the Tavern.

🏨 Accommodations close to the Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

Herons

Herons is a contemporary eatery specializing in fine dining dishes, with options like monkfish with black truffle and beet salad with yogurt and pomegranate on the menu.

An indulgent dessert menu and an extensive wine list are also available. This restaurant is located in Cary but is only a ten to 15-minute drive from central Raleigh.

🏨 Accommodation near Herons

Humble Pie

Another popular date night restaurant that's well worth booking a table at is Humble Pie. You and your date can dine in the trendy indoor dining space or sit on the cozy patio when the weather is nice.

For dinner, you can enjoy sharing plates like tuna tartare, crispy Brussels sprouts, and burrata with yuzu and olive oil. Ordering a signature or classic cocktail to accompany your meal is also a must at Humble Pie!

Cute Date Ideas in Raleigh, NC

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A red brick building with a large green and yellow sign that says "Chocolate"
You can treat your date to handmade chocolates at the Videri Chocolate Factory

Get sweet treats at Videri Chocolate Factory

If you and your partner have a sweet tooth, going to Videri Chocolate Factory is one of the Raleigh things to do that has to be on your date ideas list! You can take a tour of the chocolate factory to learn how the chocolates are made and try some samples.

After the tour, you can then treat your date to a box of chocolates or other products. There's also a cafe serving sundaes, milkshakes, and affogato.

Chat over coffee at Sir Walter Coffee

There's no shortage of coffee shops in Raleigh to visit for a cute coffee date, with Sir Walter Coffee being a popular spot to check it.

The trendy cafe offers a variety of caffeinated drinks, from caffe lattes and cappuccinos to Vietnamese iced coffee and a toasted marshmallow cold brew. You can also get smoothies, tea drinks, matcha lattes, and even tea cocktails.

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A lake with a paddle boat on it surrounded by green trees
Pullen Park is the ideal place for a lakeside picnic

Have a picnic at Pullen Park

Having a picnic at Pullen Park is one of the cute and fun things to do in Raleigh, NC, for couples on a sunny day. This scenic park covers just under 65 acres and features walking paths and lots of grassy areas to sit down and eat. There's also a lake walk around, and you could even take pedal boats out on the water after you've had your picnic!

Paint pottery at Klaystation

Taking your partner to Klaystation is a cute and laid-back idea for a daytime or early evening date. At the pottery workshop, you can pick a piece to paint with your own unique design.

Pottery on offer includes bowls, cups, and small sculptures. If you want to learn how to make pottery, Klaystation also holds pottery-throwing classes.

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The front of a shop with a turquoise sign that says "Two Roosters Ice Cream"
You can treat your date to delicious ice cream at Two Roosters

Stop for ice cream at Two Roosters

Whether you just want a treat or are looking for a place to get dessert after a dinner date, taking your partner to Two Roosters is always a good idea!

The small ice cream chain has a few locations in Raleigh and serves tasty flavors such as coffee bourbon, cookies & cream, and blackberry hibiscus. Specials are also frequently on offer, like a range of flavors inspired by movies!

Fun Things to Do Near Raleigh, NC, for Couples

A city skyline next to smaller buildings, grass, and roads under a blue sky
Charlotte is a fun destination for a romantic weekend getaway from Raleigh

Plan a weekend trip to Charlotte

Despite there being many fun things to do in Raleigh for couples, sometimes going on a trip is an exciting date idea! One of the best places to go for an overnight or weekend trip is Charlotte, North Carolina. You can reach the city in just under three hours when driving from Raleigh.

Once you arrive, you'll find many romantic things to do in Charlotte, like wandering through the McGill Rose Garden or unwinding at the Ballantyne Hotel's spa. You could also book a Charlotte tour or excursion if you want to do something more unique.

🏨 Stay near Charlotte

Enjoy a day in Cary

Cary is another North Carolina city that sits next to Raleigh. Visiting this small city is one of many great day trips from Raleigh to enjoy with your date. You can get to Cary in around 30 minutes when driving from Raleigh.

You can also take public transport or even cycle, which will take about an hour one way. Fun things to do in Cary include visiting local breweries, going to the Cary Arts Center, and walking through Fred G. Bond Metro Park.

🏨 Accommodation near Cary

The ocean next to a sandy beach and small houses under a blue sky
The Outer Banks is a relaxing coastal destination for a romantic trip

Drive to the Outer Banks for a beach getaway

If you and your partner want a relaxing seaside break, plan a trip to the Outer Banks. This coastal area is approximately three and a half hours from Raleigh and has beautiful beaches and unique attractions.

During your romantic beach getaway, you'll also get to try lots of great restaurants and Outer Banks breweries. You could even join an Outer Banks excursion, like going on a maritime forest kayak tour.

In Conclusion

There's no shortage of fun and romantic things to do in Raleigh for couples! Whether you want to plan the perfect dinner date, do something unique together during the day, or organize a couples getaway, this date activities list should have given you an idea of all the things to do together in and around Raleigh.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell FORMER WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

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