20+ Things to do in April in and Around Raleigh

This month, embrace North Carolina’s diverse culture with poetry readings, live music, local sports matches, and Earth Day celebrations. 
by Addie Ladner and Kara Adams

Head to J Cole’s Dreamville Music Festival

North Carolina native, rap artist, songwriter, and producer J. Cole is bringing his Dreamville Festival back in-person to Dorothea Dix Park this spring for the second time. He’ll headline this two-day music and cultural festival that will feature music-industry veterans like T-Pain, Ashanti, and Ja Rule, along with newer faces like soulful R&B singer Kehlani and energetic rapper Lil Baby. “We set out to curate something special,” says festival president Adam Roy. “Our Dreamville family has been patiently waiting for the fest’s return.” A portion of the proceeds will be donated to regional charities through the Dreamville Foundation, Cole’s nonprofit, and the festival will feature food from local restaurants as well as work by area artists.
April 2-3; from $250; 1030 Richardson Drive; dreamvillefest.com

See Dan Gottlieb’s Season Five

A unique blend of photography, paint, and texture, Dan Gottlieb’s Season Five series features vivid “recto-verso” images drawn from his experiences of hiking through western forests devastated by wildfires. Until his retirement, Gottlieb was director of planning for the museum park at the North Carolina Museum of Art, credited with transforming its grounds into a cultural destination unto itself. “As a hearing-impaired kid often cocooned in a private world, I’d squint at light, absorbed in the passing blur of the street,” writes Gottlieb in his artist’s statement. “Still today, I find comfort in that place to make my pictures — impressions of light, place, and nature’s grand experiment.”
Now – April 16; Free admission; 1106 ½ Broad Street, Durham; cravenallengallery.com

Do Some Yard Work

Early spring is the time to flex your garden muscles as you plan for summer, plant annuals, and shore up your supplies.  Read exactly what to be doing this month for garden optimization right here.

Head to Thirst4Architecture

Join NCModernist on the rooftop of The Dillon for a Thirst4Architecture social event for folks interested in modern architecture that will feature a book signing with the founding principles of Duda|Paine Architects, the designers of local landmarks including The Dillon, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Morganton, and student centers for Duke, North Carolina State, and North Carolina Central Universities.
April 2 | 12 p.m.; free but registration required; 223 S. West Street; ncmodernist.org 

Jam Out at Live @ The Lake

NC State LIVE and Visit Centennial are bringing back their series of free, bimonthly sunset concerts along Lake Raleigh. Bring the whole family — along with a picnic blanket and lawn chairs — and plan to grab dinner from a selection of on-site food trucks before the opening band. The Collection will perform on on April 7 and The Barefoot Movement performs on April 21.
April 7 & 21 | See website; free admission; 2300 Main Campus Drive; live.arts.ncsu.edu

Hear Words Unspoken for National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, the Town of Garner Performing Arts Center is hosting writers, educators, poets, and speakers for an intimate evening of readings and recitals at Words Unspoken. Some of the performers include William Davis, known as Endlesswill, Arielle Williams, known as Sincerely, Lioness; and Jackie Dove-Miller. The event is in-person with a live-streaming option. The poets have all been working on/ Just what they want to say/ Now we’re happy to share/ The time, place, and day, writes event organizer Celeste Hinnant, a poet herself.
April 7 | 7 p.m.; free; 742 W. Garner Road, Garner; garnernc.gov

Cheer on the Firebirds

Cheer on Raleigh’s professional basketball team as they take on the Central Alabama Jaguars at home in John Chavis Memorial Park’s newly renovated gymnasium. The Firebirds squad play in the East conference of The Basketball League, a growing organization featuring more than 40 competitive teams around the nation.
April 8 | 7 p.m.; $18; 505 Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard; raleighfirebirds.net

See Just Theatre Project’s Enemy of the People

A modern reinterpretation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic 1882 tragedy, Enemy of the People is set in an Oklahoma town in 2016. This play chronicles a journalist’s attempt to blow the whistle on the disastrous results of fracking while his brother, the sheriff, does everything he can to stop him.
April 8 – 24 | See website From $5; 8208 Brownleigh Drive; thejusticetheaterproject.org

Get Inspired with Spiritual Music with African American Roots

Along with guest conductor Roland Carter, the North Carolina Master Chorale will perform a range of works that honor Black spirituality, from classic spirituals like Ride On, Jesus and Steal Away, to Adolphus Hailstork’s Psalm cantata I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes. Carter is the Ruth S. Holmberg Professor Emeritus of American Music at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and leading authority int he performance and preservation of the music of African American traditions and composers.
April 9 | 2 p.m.; tickets are $35 (with discounts for seniors, military, students, and groups); Christ Baptist Church, 400 Newton Road; ncmasterchorale.org

Hear History @ High Noon with Subpar Parks

This month’s North Carolina Museum of History’s History @ High Noon series will feature illustrator and graphic designer Amber Share. Known for her Subpar Parks series of images, which pair one-star reviews of National Parks with retro illustrations, Share will be discussing our state’s wondrous natural landmarks.
April 13 | 12 p.m.; free; virtual; ncmuseumofhistory.org

Enjoy a Laugh-Filled Evening with David Sedaris

Bestselling author and comedian David Sedaris, who grew up in Raleigh, is hitting the road for a tour featuring readings from his newest and most personal collection, Calypso. The evening at Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium will include stories from his new book, an audience Q&A session, and a book signing.
April 13 | 7:30 p.m.; from $55; 2 E. South Street; dukeenergycenterraleigh.com

See a Spring Show

This month Immerse yourself in the rich Triangle performing arts scene with these picks for classical music, theater, dance, and more. Whether you want to catch a big broadway show at DPAC, see debut works from Raleigh’s own Carolina Ballet, NC Symphony, or the Opera, or bring the kids the Raleigh Little Theatre, our cultural institutions offer something for everyone.

Hear Shovels & Rope in Saxapahaw

Folk-meets-rock husband-and-wife duo Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope will be at the Haw River Ballroom performing old favorites alongside new tracks from their latest album, Manticore. Recorded in isolation, the album features songs like “Collateral Damage” and “The Show” that attempt to tackle the complexities of the past few years. Jeremie Albino will be joining the band on tour to perform songs from Past Dawn, his latest EP.
April 15 | 8 p.m.; From $25; 1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road, Graham; hawriverballroom.com

Enjoy Some Barbecue and Music

It’s back! The Pit’s popular ’Cuegrass Festival of barbecue, bluegrass, and local beers is expanding to Fayetteville Street this year, with two stages, a large beer tend to relax in the shade (plus canned beer stations around the event), and of course, great Southern fare. Local musicians like Hank & Pattie, Old Habits, Jeanne Jolly, and Big Daddy Love will grace the main stage, and proceed will benefit SafeChild and BackPack Buddies.
April 16 | 12 – 6 p.m. ; Free entry; Fayetteville Street; cuegrass.com

See Modern Floral in Downtown Cary

Self-taught professional artist Shalimar is showcasing a 2022 Spring Collection at her downtown Cary studio and gallery, including modern style floral landscape paintings and beautiful bouquets. The event will feature free food from local vendors, drinks, and live music by Ari Pappalardo.
April 16; 5:30; free; 121 E. Chatham Street, Suite B, Cary; artbyshalimar.com

Test your Outlander Fact vs. Fiction

Ever wonder what it would really be like to be Jamie and Claire Fraser of the historical fiction-meets-fantasy series Outlander? Then you will love this virtual roundtable discussion hosted by the North Carolina Archives. Explore documents and historic sites connected to Season 6 of the series, which is set in 18th-century North Carolina, with archivist Alison Thurman, records management analyst Josh Hager, historian Lindy Cummings of Tryon Palace, and Alamance Battleground site manager Jeremiah Degennao.
April 19 | 7 p.m.; free but registration required; virtual; archives.ncdcr.gov

Celebrate National Record Store Day

Each year, lines form at record stores across the country for the annual “drop” of new releases and pressings exclusive to National Record Store Day — an event with Raleigh roots. This Drop Day, support local businesses by visiting one of Raleigh’s seven independent record stores so you don’t miss out on your chance to nab exclusive releases such as a double vinyl edition of Bella Donna by Stevie Nicks, Childish Gambino’s 2014 EP Kauai (on vinyl for the first time ever in three surprise color pressings), a 4-LP set of The Doors’ L.A. Woman, or an exclusive 7” of the lakes from Taylor Swift, 2022’s Global Ambassador for Record Store Day. 
April 23; free; locations vary; recordstoreday.com

Walk/Run/Bike for Umstead Park

This Earth Day-timed festival includes a 4-mile walk/run or 4-, 7- or 12-mile bike tour on Umstead State Park trails for runners, walkers, bikers, babies in strollers, and pets on leashes. Participants are serenaded along the route by supporters and musicians and greeted at the finish with great snacks and acoustic music from the stage. In a field adjacent to Umstead, enjoy children’s activities, wildlife and park educational exhibits, a silent auction, music, and food trucks. All funds raised benefit Umstead State Park. 
April 23 | 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; from $15 to for walk/run or biking event, free for other activities; 6000 Reedy Creek Road; umsteadcoalition.org

Run in Your Skivvies

No need for jogging gear — Note in the Pocket’s annual Socks & Undie 5K Rundie is a pants-optional event to raise funds for their mission: to clothe children in dignity and love. While most folks do choose to wear their workout gear, a few stalwarts run in their underpants to bring awareness to the lack of basic clothing items for our area’s most vulnerable children. Register to run the race in person or virtually, and let the children participate too in the Kids Fun Run.
April 23; 9:30-11:30am | $15 for kids, $35 for adults; Downtown Raleigh; noteinthepocket.org

See Carolina Ballet’s Spring Tidings

Carolina Ballet’s premiere of Spring Tidings of Bach, Chaminade and Glass brings nine different Bach musical selections to life by combining the vocal performances of the Four Voices String Quartet with the talents of 12 collaborative dancers. The show is rounded out by dances set to Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No.1 by artistic director Zalman Raffael, as well as new work by Adriana Pierce set to a score by composer Cécile Chaminade. The show will also be live-streamed on Friday,
April 21 – 24; from $27.15; 2 E. South Street; carolinaballet.com

Celebrate ”Bearthday” at Raleigh City Farm

Celebrate Earth Day and wish Raleigh City Farm a happy 11th birthday at the same time. “After canceling the event in 2020 and pivoting to a take-home version last year, we’re thrilled to gather in person to celebrate our dear Mother Earth, the nonprofit’s resilience, and our community’s health and well-being,” says Lisa Grele Barrie, the farm’s executive director. Nosh on a fresh meal prepared by State of Beer with brews from Trophy Brewing Company and produce sourced from the farm itself as you enjoy live music, artists, family-friendly activities, and take-home produce and fresh blooms from their farm stand.
April 23 | 10 a.m.; free admission but preorder recommended for meals, 800 N. Blount Street; raleighcityfarm.org

Watch the Courage vs. Spirit

Cheer on our championship-winning women’s soccer team, the North Carolina Courage, as they wrap up the 2022 preseason with the Challenge Cup. The competition concludes with a home game at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, when the team will take on the Washington Spirit in the last match of the cup.
April 23 | 1 p.m.;From $20; 201 Soccer Park Drive, Cary; nccourage.com 

Celebrate Earth Day at NCMA with Family Day

On Earth Day Family Day, the North Carolina Museum of Art will offer a plethora of nature-oriented activities. Visitors will get free admission and a tour of the special exhibition Fault Lines: Art and the Environment, and the day will also include arts and crafts activities that celebrate North Carolina’s ecosystem as well as a meet-and-greet with artists and environmentalists whose work benefits preservation efforts. Be sure to check out the Environmental Fair to learn more about local environmental advocacy groups. 
April 23 | 10 a.m – 2 p.m.; free; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

Join our Book Club with Kristy Woodson Harvey  

Join WALTER as we host Kristy Woodson Harvey at City Club Raleigh for a reading and Q&A over a three-course dinner and refreshments. Harvey is the New York Times bestselling author of Under the Southern Sky and The Peachtree Bluff series, and her latest novel is called The Wedding Veil. This historical-contemporary story is set at the Biltmore, and it’s about Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt, a present-day family, and the famous, missing Vanderbilt veil.
April 28 | 6 p.m.; from $75; 150 Fayetteville Street; waltermagazine.com/bookclub.

See NC Theatre’s Ring of Fire 

Watch this interpretation of the beautiful and heartbreaking life of country music artist Johnny Cash unfold through song and dance at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater. NC Theatre’s production of Ring of Fire will be directed by Randy Redd, a member of the original Broadway cast. Lifelong Cash fans can expect to hear his hits like “Jackson,” “I Walk the Line,” “Jailhouse,” and, of course, the play’s namesake. 
April 29 & 30; from $55; 2 E. South Street; nctheatre.com

Celebrate Literature at the Beyond the Book Children’s Book & Arts Festival

Bring your little bookworms in their favorite fantastical costume to Moore Square for a day of imagination, creativity, and storytelling from bookstore Read with Me and Paper & Stars Studio, a Raleigh-based community events company. Titled Chapter 1: Once Upon A Time, the festival will include read-alouds, crafts galore, writing workshops, and interactive performances from Paperhand Puppet Intervention, the Poetry Fox, and One Tribe. “The main stage will be filled with our mesmerizing big acts and nearby we’ll have an area for intimate story times, including with author and illustrator Dan Santat,” says Read with Me owner Christine Brenner. Vendors will offer fairy tale-inspired treats, and a portion of proceeds will benefit Read and Feed.
April 30 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; free admission; 226 E. Martin Street; paperandstarsstudio.com 

** Postponed Experience Van Gogh

A traveling exhibit that has sold out across the States is finally coming to the City of Oaks. Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience uses projections, light, and sound to showcase the life and work of Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh. Open to all ages, the show features two-story, 360-degree projections of some of the Dutch artist’s iconic pieces, including Bedroom in Arles and Starry Night Over the Rhône. In addition to viewing Van Gogh’s art in a new way, guests learn about his history and personal life. Part of the draw of the show is the location, which is revealed just before the event kicks off (past locations have included an old baseball field in Arlington, Virginia, and the historic Strand Theatre in Boston). “We’ve used gorgeous spaces — old theaters, warehouses,” says Mario Iacampo, CEO of Exhibition Hub, which produces the show. “We turn these spaces into one giant canvas to interpret Van Gogh’s art and his life.” 
Now – June 12 | From $45; see website for location; vangoghexpo.com/raleigh