20+ Things to Do in Raleigh in August 2022

Close out summer with rooftop jazz, festivals near and far and tomato-forward fare.
by Addie Ladner & Kara Adams

Don’t let the enthusiasm you had for summer a few months ago wither like your sad basil plant might be. August has plenty to offer this month other than back-to-school shopping. Enjoy a festival in Eastern NC celebrating North Carolina seafood, having a virtual evening conversation with East Fork Pottery’s Alex Matisse thanks to the NC Museum of History, see a new play, or pretend to be a tourist in the town of Tar Heels.

Take Advantage of the Summer Passport Program

Don’t miss your chance to check out the Summer Passport Program at North Carolina’s Museum of Art, Museum of History and Museum of Natural Sciences. It’s the last month to get your passport stamped by completing each museum’s respective challenges — all of which are in both English and Spanish — like a three-word “I Spy” puzzle to describe historical artifacts, a scavenger hunt of sculptures on the art museum’s grounds and interactive head-scratchers that will lead you through the displays at the science museum. Children who complete all three challenges will receive a free NC Traveler Patch to commemorate the summer.
All month | Free; see museum addresses.

See Theatre Raleigh’s City of Angels

For the first production in its new performance space, Theatre Raleigh will present City of Angels, a musical comedy that follows a writer on his journey to adapt his detective novel into a screenplay in the 1940s. Based on a Raymond Chandler novel, this play presents the life of the writer, Stine, alongside the adventures of his main character, a private investigator named Stone, on a split stage. Aug. 3 – 14 | See website; From $30; 6638 Old Wake Forest Road; theatreraleigh.com

Don’t Neglect your Garden Just Because It’s Hot

Take it easy in summer’s hottest month — use your freezer to preserve tomatoes and plant a few things the get you through the rest of the season, don’t forget to weed and water, garden columnist Hannah Ross tells readers this month.

Explore Neighboring City Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is home to the University of North Carolina’s Tar Heels — but it is much more than just a college town. Only a short drive from Raleigh, Durham and Carrboro, Chapel Hill has the cozy, close-knit feel of a small town and the vibrant cultural scene of a big city. A stroll through its walkable boulevards with a drink from a local cafe winds past architectural marvels from stately Georgian buildings to ornamented Beaux Arts libraries, under shady trees planted in public plazas and around telephone poles plastered with posters for art shows, musical performances and book readings.  Next time you’re looking for a getaway close to home, consider spending 48 hours in a town with equal opportunities for energetic fun and peaceful relaxation. 

See Theatre in the Park’s The Father

Escape the heat by heading to Pullen Park’s air-conditioned indoor theater for a performance of The Father, an emotionally charged drama by French playwright Florian Zeller. The Tony-nominated play gives a deep look at the physical and emotional impacts of dementia. Directed by Ira David Wood IV, the leading role of Andre is played by Theatre in the Park’s founder and executive director Ira David Wood III. Aug. 5 – 21 | See Website; $28.96; 107 Pullen Road; theatreinthepark.com

Check out RaleighWRLD Festival

Celebrate Raleigh artists, entrepreneurs and the well-being of our city this month at Dorothea Dix Park for the RaleighWRLD Summer Fest, hosted by event production company COLLAB Raleigh. Enjoy an upscale gourmet picnic, local acts on stage and panelists discussing their career journeys. Aug. 6 | 2 – 8 p.m.; From $10, Richardson Drive; raleighwrld.co

Try A New Refreshing Beverage Around Town

It feels like North Carolina summers just keep getting hotter, but there’s nothing better than a cool drink on a steamy day. From a non-alcoholic thirst-quencher to icy, refined cocktails, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most refreshing drinks to enjoy before summer comes to a close.

Shop the Patchwork Market

Head to the Durham Armory to find gifts for your whole family and meet the folks who made what you’re buying. The Patchwork Market brings together local artisans, creatives and finders of found objects for an afternoon of community, with a special emphasis on promoting intentional relationships and mindfulness in consumption. Everything sold at the market is ethically made and independently designed. Aug. 7 | 12-4 p.m.; Free; 212 Foster Street, Durham; thepatchworkmarket.com 

Here Rick Springfield & Men at Work at Red Hat

Red Hat Amphitheater is hosting Australian acts Rick Springfield and Men at Work for their Working Class Dog Tour. Celebrating 40 years of Springfield’s fifth studio album by the same name, it’s a chance to sing along to 1980s hits like “Jessie’s Girl,” “Down Under” and “Who Can It Be Now?” The tour will feature special guest John Waite, playing his 1984 classic “Missing You” and other tracks from his time as lead singer of The Babys and Bad English. Aug. 7 | 7p.m.; From $39; 500 S. McDowell Street; redhatamphitheater.com

Head to Greenville for the South Carolina New Play Festival

Cross the state line to Greenville for The South Carolina New Play Festival. For three days, the city will be taken over by regionally and nationally known playwrights and performers debuting new plays and musicals at the Peace Center (300 Main Street), Greenville Theatre (444 College Street), Warehouse Theatre (37 Augusta Street) and the South Carolina Children’s Theatre (153 Augusta Street). In addition, there will be a closing-night cabaret at Genevieve’s (300 South Main Street) featuring Tony-nominated Broadway stars Jarrod Spector and Kelli Barrett. Aug. 12-14 | See website; Free admission to see plays and readings; from $75 for some ticketed events; southcarolinanewplayfestival.org

Meteor Shower at Dix Park

Grab your comfiest blanket and folding chairs to spread out under the stars at the Big Field at Dorothea Dix Park. Morehead Planetarium & Science Center staff and volunteers from the Raleigh Astronomy Club will set up telescopes so guests can view the Perseid Meteor Shower away from city lights. Aug. 12 | 9-11 p.m.; Free; 1010 Blair Drive; dixpark.org

See Nomadland at NCMA

Based on the book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, the film of the same name follows Frances McDormand as Fern, a woman embarking through the American West in her van after losing everything in the Great Recession. This is a limited chance to see the Academy Award winner for Best Picture back on the big screen. Aug. 13 | 8:30 p.m.; $9.65; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

Feast on Tomatoes at Mandolin

Relish the edible stars of the summer in all forms at Mandolin’s annual Tomato Dinner. The four-course meal showcases the wide variety of tomatoes grown on the bistro’s North Raleigh farm. Start with a Sungold tart topped with whipped mozzarella and herbs, then cleanse the palate with a tomato hibiscus sorbet. As an entrée, dive into grilled quail with rice, stewed German Johnsons and okra. Round the meal out with a Cherokee Purple sponge cake and spiced rum ice cream for dessert. “There are so many signs summer is upon us — trips to the beach, fire flies — but few are as sweet or indel ible as ripe tomatoes picked fresh off the vine,” says Mandolin owner Sean Fowler.
Aug. 15 | 7 p.m.; From $89; 2519 Fairview Road; mandolinraleigh.com

Head to Clayton for MAGiCon

A magician never reveals his secrets — except, perhaps, at MAGiCon. Head to The Clayton Center for a weekend festival of enchantment and sorcery presented by Clayton’s local magic store, The Mystic Tower. Check out the free family shows and classes for all levels, or enjoy paid attractions including the Saturday Big Stage Show featuring Vegas performers Alain Nu and Luna Shimada, and Friday night showcases featuring Mystic Tower’s own magicians. Aug. 19-21 | See website; Free ticketed events from $50; 111 E. Second Street, Clayton; themystictower.com

Enjoy A Secret Garden Soiree

Head to Fred Fletcher Park for a rhythm and blues experience at The Secret Garden Soiree. Sip bubbly from a champagne wall, groove to live local R&B acts and a DJ, and savor local BBQ or a number of other dishes from various food trucks near the verdant park. Aug. 20 | 12p.m. -8p.m.; From $20; 820 Clay Street; search “Secret Garden Soiree” on eventbrite.com

See Kevin Hart at PNC

See actor and comedian Kevin Hart at PNC arena for Reality Check, his first in-person tour in more than four years. Hart has produced an Emmy nominated Netflix series, authored best-selling books and starred in a number of films, including Fatherhood and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. But, as Hart says in his tour announcement, he still loves stand-up: “There is nothing better than making people laugh. I can feel the energy in the venues like caffeine pumping through my veins.” Aug. 20 | 7p.m.; From $49.50; 1400 Edwards Mill Road; pncarena.com

Sweat it Out with Dance Gumbo

Break a sweat this month while enjoying the North Carolina Museum of Art’s sweeping views at its Dance Gumbo series. The session incorporates a mixture of pop, Zumba, Latin and hip-hop dance moves for aerobic exercise, all on the Museum Park’s Ellipse lawn. This month’s class is led by actor and dance fitness instructor Byron Jennings. Aug. 21 | 5.p.m.; Free; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

Here Jazz on the Roof at The Durham

Head to the Durham Hotel for jazz music and cocktails on the rooftop. Al Strong, a two-time Grammy-nominated artist, will host fellow local jazz musicians for some improvisational tunes. Get there early to grab a seat with a view while you explore chef Sean Ingram’s menu of delicacies like beef carpaccio and oysters. Wash it down with creative cocktails like the Sippin’ Jimmy, a tropical concoction of mezcal, toasted coconut, white peach and pineapple.
Aug. 25 | 7:30 p.m.; Free admission; 315 E. Chapel Hill Street, Durham; thedurham.com/roof

Talk History over a Cocktail with East Fork’s Alex Matisse

Asheville potter Alex Matisse, known for his earthy, Southern folk-inspired mugs, will be speaking with the North Carolina Museum of History for its virtual evening sessions, History and High Balls. Matisse will talk about his family history (he’s the great-grandson of the artist Henri Matisse), his years as an apprentice to potter Mark Hewitt and the success of his pottery company, East Fork. Aug. 25 | 7 p.m.; Free; virtual, https://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/

See the Carolina Ballet’s Choreographers Spotlight Series

Kicking off the company’s milestone 25th season, Carolina Ballet will visit the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr. Theater at the North Carolina Museum of Art for an interactive ballet experience. It begins with a master class with artistic director Zalman Raffael as well as talks from choreographers Ja’Malik, Heather Maloy and Sokvannara Sar before their new ballets are debuted. A former member of North Carolina Dance Theatre who’s now based in Wisconsin, Ja’Malik says: “I’m so excited to return to North Carolina for this wonderful opportunity to create my first work for Carolina Ballet.” Aug. 26 | 5.45 p.m.; $15; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

Taste NC Seafood at Wild Caught

Celebrate our state’s roots in music, seafood, produce and other long-standing maritime traditions at the Wild Caught festival in eastern North Carolina. Enjoy a complimentary fish-forward lunch on Saturday at 1 p.m. (donations are welcome), regional art, discussions about ocean conservation and musical acts like fiddle player Marsha Harris. Bring your own beverage, chair and enthusiasm for the Atlantic and its many waterways. Aug. 26 & 27 | See website; Free admission; Gloucester Community Center, 476 Pigott Road, Gloucester; unknowntongues.com/wildcaught