20+ Things to do in November in and around Raleigh

From exquisite art to the Raleigh Christmas parade to films downtown, November is full of culture of all stripes.
by Kara Adams and Addie Ladner

See Exquisite Creatures at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Experience the beauty of wildlife at Christopher Marley’s exhibit Exquisite Creatures. Using a collection of reclaimed organisms and elements as his medium — including preserved insects, fish, and birds — Marley showcases the incredible diversity of the natural world and bridges the gap between science and art. Check out his exhibit and corresponding gift store goodies all month long at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
All month; Free for members, $10 for nonmembers; 11 W. Jones Street; naturalsciences.org 

Head to Dix Park for Wings of the City

Enjoy a thought-provoking stroll through The Grove, Harvey Hill, and other parts of Dix Park with downtown as your backdrop for world-renowned Mexican artist Jorge Marín’s traveling exhibition, Wings of the City. This collection of nine bronze sculptures depicts feathered figures mid-flight and posed for takeoff, as well as acrobatic depictions and a set of stand-alone wings framing a view of Raleigh. The art is accompanied by dialogue that includes the Mexican Indigenous language Purépecha.
Ongoing; Free; 1030 Richardson Drive; dixpark.org/wings 

See Southern Living’s Design Showcase House in Pittsoboro

Take a trip to Pittsboro for a tour in Southern Living’s fully inclusive and accessible showcase home built by Paragon Builders. Not only is the home stunning, it’s complete with an elevator and a no-touch water bottle filling station. The elegant Southern-style home is surrounded by nature and is not only the first ever Southern Living Showcase Home in the Triangle, it’s also within the first ever Universally Designed Community in the country. 
All month; $10; 387 Riverstone Drive, Pittsboro; search “Southern Living Showcase” on eventbrite

Get Your Fall Food Fix

From pumpkin spiced lattes and carrot-packed cakes to hearty dinners and autumnal cocktails infused with apple, cinnamon, squash, and more, we love when all things fall hit the menu. Get these items before they’re gone!

Head to Durham to see works from Jackie MacLeod at PS118 Gallery

Join Horse and Buggy Press for the Opening Reception of Magic of Patinas, a collection of works in metals by Jackie MacLeod, a former physician from the United Kingdom who now lives in the Triangle, at PS 118 Gallery in downtown Durham. The solo show will feature MacLeod’s new patina metal paintings and more, and will be accompanied by floral arrangements inspired by select pieces in the exhibit by Vanessa Alberson Smith. 
Nov. 11 | 5-8 p.m.; Free; 118 West Parrish Street, Durham; search events at horseandbuggypress.com

Eat and Talk Art at CAM Connections

“I feel both lucky and privileged to be able to form a relationship with the artists I work with every day,” says Eric Gaard of Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum. “But I thought, how could I create the kind of connection I feel with our artists, for our community?” That’s how CAM Connections was born: one part experiential art, another part dinner, drinks, and good conversation, it’s an opportunity for museum supporters and fans to interact directly with artists and get a private tour of their work. November’s event will be a special one: photographer Mikael Owunna will discuss his new work and host a 30-minute screening of the film Obi Mbu (The Primordial House): An Igbo Creation Myth, which he co-directed with Dr. Marques Redd. It touches on African mythology and the links between myths, the universe, and spirituality. John Upsal, the owner of SPREAD Catering, will serve a curated menu inspired by Owunna’s Nigerian and Swedish heritage. “The first Connections dinner we did was so successful and we can’t wait for this one,” says Gaard. “It’s a different conversation, getting to hear the artists talk about their work in a personal way, a much deeper and free way, over a meal.”
Nov. 14 | 5 p.m.; From $300; 409 W. Martin Street; camraleigh.org

View Works From Local Artists at Hartwell

Charlotte Russell, the gallerist at Charlotte Russell Contemporary, has curated a group exhibition featuring North Carolina artists King Nobuyoshi Godwin, Abie Harris, Mar Hester, Jen Matthews, and Jean Gray Mohs at Hartwell, a newly opened space for creatives in downtown Raleigh. “Showcasing these artists together is a great depiction of how vibrant and diverse our local art scene is,” says Russell. Throughout the month, Russell will host the exhibitors at Hartwell for a chance to hear the artists discuss their work. “This is the first in a series of rotating art exhibits I’ll be hosting at Hartwell and I’m pretty excited for this new space,” Russell says.
All month; Free; 620 W. South Street; charlotterussellcontemporary.com

Enjoy Fall Foliage Right Here in Raleigh

The mountains get a lot of attention this time of year — but Raleigh boasts a few tourist-worthy spaces for leaf-peeping, too. Here are five easy hikes.

Practice Yoga Inside the NCMA

It’s one thing to do yoga outside with the sound of the wind and birds — it’s something else to do it within view of incredible Impressionist, contemporary, or Italian works inside the galleries of the North Carolina Museum of Art. Experience just that during a vinyasa-style class suitable for all skill levels led by local instructors Andrea Rice, Angela Griffin, and Angie Funderbunk. Bring a yoga mat and dress comfortably.
Nov. 3 | 6 – 7 p.m.; Ages 16 and up. $14; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

Catch a Movie in Moore Square

Enjoy a crisp fall evening under the stars right in downtown’s Moore Square for the last outdoor movie showing of the season, The Greatest Showman. Sing along with stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya to hits like “This is Me” and “Tightrope.” Come early for on-theme pre-show entertainment, including a stilt walker from Imagine Circus, a juggler, and carnival games. Square Burger will be open and there will be popcorn, beer, and wine on site for purchase.
Nov. 5 \ 6-9 p.m.; Free; 200 S. Blount Street; downtownraleigh.org

Hear Ben Folds in Actual Person Live for Real

North Carolina native, singer, songwriter, producer, and pianist Ben Folds is touring the United States for the first time since the pandemic, after finding himself stuck in Australia since February 2020, when international travel shut down. Hear songs from his albums So There and Songs for Silverman in both solo piano and orchestral renditions at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in what he’s calling his “In Actual Person Live For Real Tour.”
Nov. 6 \ 8p.m.; From $29.50; 2 E. South Street; dukeenergycenterraleigh.com

Shop at the Handmade Hanukkah Market

Celebrate Hanukkah early by supporting Jewish artisans at Temple Beth Or’s annual Handmade Market, which will offer goods for sale ranging from pastries to woodwork, pottery, and jewelry. Vendors will include Daniel Art and Yarn, which will be selling crocheted kippahs and purses, as well as pressed flower bookmarks, note cards, and gift sets from Susan’s Garden Flower Art and Prints.
Nov. 14 10 a.m.- 3p.m.; Free; 5315 Creedmoor Road; tboraleigh.org

Enjoy Outdoor Dining

With a Raleigh fall in full swing, it’s time to head back outside in North Carolina. We’ve rounded up 30 bars and restaurants that offer customers an atmospheric outdoor dining experience that’s tasty, relaxing , and socially distanced. From patios, to rooftops, to courtyards, put these restaurants on your radar for cool, breezy dining.

Hear Beethoven’s Opera, Fidelio

Experience Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, as sung by members of the North Carolina Opera. The score recounts the true story of Leonore, a woman who disguised herself as a man to free her husband from prison during the French Revolution. Led by Conductor Arthur Fagen, this performance will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire two-and-a-half hour runtime.
Nov. 14 | 2 p.m. From $21; 2 E. South Street; ncopera.org

Celebrate 10 Years of Mandolin

Five Points true farm-to-table restaurant Mandolin, owned by Chef Sean Fowler celebrates 10 years of being in business this month! There’s many ways to celebrate. Fowler will host a special anniversary dinner on November 14, is offering two special wine boxes, and a special “Greatest Hits” menu showcasing the restaurant’s fan-favorite dishes from over the years. Think things like, Oysters Mandolin, Chicken Pot Pie, Lamb Bolognese and much more. Visit mandolinraleigh.com for more details.

Learn All About Rosemary at the JC Raulston Arboretum

There’s no time like around the holidays to learn a new kitchen trick. At the JC Raulston Arboretum this month, director Mark Weathington is teaching folks how to grow and cook with rosemary, an herb that’s easy to care for and great for elevating those fall stews and roasts.
Nov. 17 | 3-3:45 p.m.; Free; 4415 Beryl Road; search events at jcra.ncsu.edu

See Carolina Ballet’s Unique Departures

Carolina Ballet is presenting classical ballet repertoire through new ballets from founding artistic director Robert Weiss, principal guest choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett, and Carolina Ballet’s ballerina and choreographer Jenny Palmer for the premiere of Unique Departures. Guest choreographer Mariana Oliveira will stage the company’s premiere of her critically acclaimed Pagliacci. Originally created for Milwaukee Ballet, Pagliacci follows a clown’s tragic descent, exposing the human frailty beneath the artist’s mask.
Nov. 18 – 21; From $27.15; 2 E South Street; carolinaballet.com

Catch Downtown Raleigh’s official Tree Lighting

Join Triangle Pop-Up and Downtown Raleigh Alliance on South Street and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts for Downtown Raleigh’s official Tree Lighting and holiday pop-up market. There will be a highly curated selection of accessories, clothing, home goods, custom gifts, and more by local artists & makers. Enjoy the festive tree lighting, live music, food, drinks, holiday activities, and plenty of local shopping in downtown Raleigh!
Nov. 19 | 6- 9 p.m.; 2 E. South Street Raleigh; trianglepopup.com/events/dtr-tree-lighting-popup-market

Head to the Chinese Lantern Festival

Toward the end of the month, Koka Booth Amphitheatre will be illuminated by majestic lanterns hand-made by Chinese artists. “It will be a true celebration when we gather to enjoy this event once again,” said William Lewis, Town of Cary cultural arts manager. “The wondrous beauty and strong cultural elements of the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival make a magnificent tradition.” The celebration lasts seven weeks and can be experienced a few different ways, including through a Twilight ticket to watch the lanterns come to life as the sky darkens, or through the VIP (or “Very Important Panda”) tour, which dives deeper into the history of lantern festivals in China and the village where these are made.
Nov. 19 – Jan. 2022; $25; 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary; boothamphitheatre.com

Watch the Raleigh Christmas Parade

Presented by Shop Local Raleigh, the always-early Raleigh Christmas Parade is back this year for in-person viewing. Join the festivities and witness super-sized balloons, marching bands, twirlers, themed floats, and Santa Claus himself make their way down Hillsborough Street for this mile-long holiday celebration. The parade will also be live-streamed on ABC-11.
Nov. 20 \ 9:30 p.m.; Free; begins on Hillsborough Street; shoplocalraleigh.org

Hear from Artist Damian Stamer

On November 20, the NCMA, along with Charlotte’s SOCO Gallery, will present a book talk with artist Damian Stamer. The painter, who is originally from North Durham County and maintains a studio there, will discuss his newly released monograph, Damian Stamer: Unseen, which highlights his work from the last decade. The event is free but pre-registration is required.
Nov. 20; 3 – 5 p.m.; Free; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org.

Take the Family for Holiday Tunes From the Symphony

Join the North Carolina Symphony and conductor Michelle Di Russo for an hour-long holiday performance as part of their Young People’s Concert Series. It will feature music from winter favorites such as The Polar Express and Babes in Toyland — plus other seasonal sing-alongs.
Nov. 26 | 1 & 4 p.m.;$27; 2 E. South Street; ncsymphony.org

Experience WRAL Nights of Lights 

Nights of Lights at Dix Park returns this year with even more lights and options to experience the park transformed with twinkling bulbs and cheerful artistic displays. Round up your family to drive through the mile-long route accompanied by merry music, or get an early look at the show by signing up for their 5K run and fun walk on November 20 or Bike Night on November 21.
Nov. 26 – Dec. 24 | 6:30 p.m.; $35; 1251 Goode Street; dorotheadixpark.org

Shop at the Christmas Carousel Holiday Gift Market

Shop from more than 250 exhibitors at the Jim Graham Building at the N.C. State Fairgrounds, selling a range of products including Dandelions In December’s botanical jewelry, Garden Metal Art, and holiday-themed foods, gifts, and decorations. Make sure to check Santa’s schedule and snag a picture before you leave! 
Nov. 26- 28; $9; 1025 Blue Ridge Rd; christmascarousel.com