20+ Things to Do in July In and Around Raleigh

This month, turn up the heat at outdoor movies, live music, and food festivals — or stay cool indoors with silent films and art openings.
by Kara Adams and Addie Ladner

Head to the Durham Summer Wine & Food Festival

Calling all gastronomes! Spend four days eating and drinking your way through the Bull City at the Durham Summer Wine & Food Festival, a cultural celebration of the area’s diverse cuisine offerings, great music, and craft beverage makers. One ticket gets you discounted meals at participating venues like The Honeysuckle at Lakewood, Durham Food Hall, and Bull City Burger and Brewery, plus access to live entertainment. “As the RDU restaurant and live-music venue communities begin to heal and come back from the pandemic, it’s a great opportunity to bring together folks to celebrate Independence Day weekend,” says Parag Bhandari of UG Strategies, the creative agency behind Durham Summer. “We hope it will launch what will be a return of the Triangle’s culinary, music, small businesses, and independent arts.” July 1 – 4 | See website; in-person; day pass starting at $50; various locations; durhamsummer.com

See Elissa Farrow-Savos’s Work at Gallery C

“My women show their scars and wear them proudly — because after all, they make a good story, if nothing else,” says Elissa Farrow-Savos of her mixed-media sculptures. This month, Gallery C will host the Virginia artist for an exhibit of her pensive, mysterious figures in various forms made from clay, natural elements, and found objects. “There are common themes, such as physical, emotional, and spiritual burdens, connections lost and found, love and anger, dignity and strength,” says Farrow-Savos. “Meanwhile, they keep company with rusty chains, weathered wood, decaying bones, abandoned objects, and scraps of fabric — the debris of life, lived.” All month | See website; In-person; make an appointment or call ahead to visit; 540 N Blount Street; galleryc.net

Try a New Cocktail

From light and bubbly to smooth and fruity, these boozy recipes are perfect to enjoy on the patio or by the pool for an impromptu cocktail hour. 

Watch Silent Films at the Gregg

Cool off inside while enjoying free silent film screenings as a part of the Tribute to Silent Films program that celebrates people of color, women, and the rich history of motion pictures. The Black Sanderson Gallery inside North Carolina State University’s Gregg Museum will show 18 black-and-white films over the course of the summer, highlighting cinematic themes of the early 20th century such as the emergence of new art forms and the dawn of documentary film. The films range from a few minutes long to over an hour. Unlike today’s blockbusters that rely on animation, eye-popping colors, and catchy scores to transport the viewers — these silent films inspire a different kind of focus. All month | See website; in-person; free; 1903 Hillsborough Street; see website for showings; gregg.arts.ncsu.edu

See Ippy Patterson’s Looking Out / Looking In

Horse and Buggy Press is hosting Hillsborough fine artist Ippy Patterson at its downtown studio space, PS118 Gallery, for an exhibit titled Looking Out / Looking In. Known for her detailed pen and ink work, the exhibit will feature drawings, prints, and books that showcase her botanical studies of form and color, fantasy explorations, gestural figure drawings, and studies of trees. Lisa Joyner of Fireside Farm will be selling mixed bouquets at the gallery to complement Patterson’s illustrations. All Month | See website; In-person; free; 118 W Parrish Street, Durham; horseandbuggypress.com

Skip the Screen at the History Museum

Join the North Carolina History Museums in an adventure across the state filled with educational activities and fun for the whole family! Print out a Time Travel Ticket and complete treasure hunts at as many locations as you can for opportunities to win souvenirs and museum store discounts. Participating museums: Mountain Gateway Museum (Old Fort), Museum of the Albemarle (Elizabeth City), Museum of the Cape Fear (Fayetteville), North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh), Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum (Hatteras), North Carolina Maritime Museum (Beaufort), and North Carolina Maritime Museum (Southport). All Month | See website; in-person; free; 5 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh; ncmuseumofhistory.org/skip-the-screen

Head to Festival for the Eno

The 42nd Annual EnoFest in Durham is back for 2021, complete with food booths, environmental exhibits, live music, and artisan vendors. The Independence Day celebration supports the Eno River Association in their conservation efforts for the Eno River basin. Volunteers are also needed and receive free admission to the festivities. July 3 – 4 | See website for times; in-person; tickets from $18; West Point on the Eno – Durham City Park, 5101 N Roxboro Road, Durham; enofest.org

Celebrate Independence Day

Check out one of the patriotic events happening around the Triangle for the birthday of the United States, including fireworks shows, food festivals, parades, and baseball games. There’s something for everyone in the family to do this 4th of July in Raleigh!

Hear Molly Tuttle

In 2017, acclaimed guitarist, banjo player, and songwriter Molly Tuttle was the first woman to receive the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year award. After performing around the world following the release of her debut album in 2019, Tuttle, like many others, found herself sheltering in place during the pandemic. To fill the time, she revisited favorite songs from nostalgic classics like The Rolling Stones’ Shes a Rainbow to new favorites such as Harry Styles’ Sunflower, Vol. 6, compiling them on her newest album, …but i’d rather be with you. At this in-person performance at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium’s Meymandi Concert Hall, she’ll perform tracks from this delightfully familiar record, along with other original tunes. July 9 | 7:30 p.m; in-person or virtual; from $42; 2 E South Street; pinecone.org 

Stretch Out at A Yoga Class

From views of the city at Dix Park to the grounds of NCMA, Raleigh offers all sorts of great locals to stretch out. Head here for a list of outdoor yoga classes happening around the Triangle this summer.

Watch Pirates of the Caribbean at Dix Park

Ahoy, matey! Bring the family out to Dorothea Dix Park for a starry-night showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Don your swarthiest pirate garb (best-dressed wins a prize!) to enjoy food trucks and the downtown Raleigh skyline as you sprawl out at the picturesque Flowers Field. Bring your own blanket or low lawn chairs and feel free to pack a picnic with a cooler full of your favorite beer, wine, and snacks. July 10 | 7 p.m – 10 p.m; in-person; free but reservations required; Flowers Field, 2105 Umstead Drive, Raleigh; dixpark.org

Check out a New Local Food Subscription

From produce and seafood to bread and wine, consider these local seasonal CSA boxes and grocery delivery programs to spice up your home cooking. 

Shop at the Black Flea Market

#BlackDollarNC and Queen Hustle Entertainment, two organizations committed to supporting Black businesses and promoting generational wealth, will host the Black Flea Market at Raleigh’s Union Station this month as a way to support local Black artisans and entrepreneurs. Shop from more than 30 vendors, including Woke Living Coffee, Natural Green Leo, The Shea Shack, Melanin Nation, and many others selling all manner of items like lotions, jewelry, edible gifts, handcrafted bags, and more. July 11 & 25 | 1 p.m. – 5 p.m; in-person; free admission; Raleigh Union Station, 510 W Martin Street; blackfleamarketnc.com 

Attend the Brunch Moore Market

Shop from over 60 local vendors while sampling food trucks, coffee, mimosas, and beer from Red White & Bubbly, then spread out on the sunny lawn of Moore Square for entertainment from Imagine Circus at Brunch Moore Square, an event hosted by Raleigh Night Market. Can’t make this one? They’re on the second Sunday of each month, and the Moore Square Farmer’s Market is ongoing on Sundays. “To me, there is no better way to spend a Sunday Funday than shopping local businesses outdoors with friends,” says Lauryn Stroud of Raleigh Night Market. “Stop by to sip and shop or bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic. Well-behaved pups are welcome!” July 11 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m; in-person; free admission; Moore Square, 200 S Blount Street; brunchmooremarket.com

Have Some Family Fun with the Opera

Introduce your children to one of the oldest forms of entertainment with age-appropriate live vocal performances by North Carolina Opera artists. Arts and crafts opportunities for kids ages 5 to 12 include making your own opera masks and posters to get young ones into the theatrical spirit. Snacks and drinks will be provided, and each family will get to take a little piece of the opera home with them through a special book about Mozart’s The Magic Flute. “Educational programs are vital for keeping children engaged and learning during the summer months, and Family Fun with the Opera provides enrichment for children and their families,” says Jim Hansen, PNC regional president for Eastern Carolinas. “PNC is grateful that NCO and local arts organizations continue to prioritize educational programs during a year when children need them most.” July 11 | 2 p.m; in-person; free; Knightdale Station Park, 810 N First Avenue, Knightdale; ncopera.org/family-fun-with-the-opera/

Sing-Along at The Beatles vs. Elvis

Come Together for a night that is certain to get you All Shook Up. Tribute group Abbey Road and Elvis impersonator Scot Bruce square off in a battle of the rock ‘n roll greats in this live showdown at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater. The Beatles and Elvis have been in a tight race for most popular artist for decades now, and it’s time to finally settle the debate on the stage. Choose your side and rep them with pride during this rare opportunity to see the two musical acts “together” since their first and only meeting in 1965. July 11 | 7 p.m; in-person; tickets starting at $35; A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater, 2 E South Street; dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/

Travel like Scott Crawford

Local celebrity chef Scott Crawford tries not to travel like a typical tourist. Instead, he gets to know locals, takes back roads, and scores indigenous, exotic foods by visiting local markets. With summer in full swing and travel to exotic places slowly becoming an option again, take his lead for trips that immerse and transport you into other cultures and cuisines. Here are 10 tips from chef Scott Crawford on how to travel like a foodie.

See The Collective Bus on Tour

Alternative rock outfit The Collective Bus will be making their return to live performances at the Pour House Music Hall, playing a vibrant and electric setlist including their hit songs Don’t Stop and Fold it Back. The band will be joined by opener Ben Youngblood, playing his unique mix of indie rock anthems and psychedelic rhythms. July 11 | 7:30 p.m; in-person; $8-$40; 224 S Blount St, Raleigh; tickets here 

Cool Off On One of These Hikes Along the Water

Between Falls Lake, Jordan Lake, the Eno River and other natural pools around town, you don’t have to go far to enjoy the water. Here, we’ve got a list of hikes with swimming spots to check out this month.

Head to Tribute to Legends Weekend

The Troubadours Tribute Show brings James Taylor and Carole King to life through stunning likeness and mastery of vocals in a Friday night double-header. The weekend continues with IN GRATITUDE: A Tribute to Earth Wind and Fire, a 13-piece ensemble performance that spans the beloved band’s greatest hits along with Motown, soul and more. July 16 – 17 | 8 p.m; in-person; from $29.50; 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary; boothamphitheatre.com

Support Local Shops on Record Store Day

Join one of Raleigh’s seven participating music shops, including Nice Price Books & Records, The Record Krate, and Sound Off Records & Hi-Fi for the second Record Store Day Drop of the year. The day, meant to support independent record stores, will feature releases of special vinyl and CDs, along with exclusive promotional products including colorful new pressings of favorite albums by the likes of Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and Aretha Franklin. What better time to join the record revival than with a limited-edition item from a local, independent record store? July 17 | See website; in-person; free; recordstoreday.com/home

Get Crafty at Sculpture Park-a-Palooza

Bring the whole family to the grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art for their Sculpture Park-a-Palooza. As a group, you will work together to create large-scale, mixed-media temporary sculptures from found materials inspired by the art on public display and elsewhere. “Whether you’ve visited our park many times or are preparing for your first visit, this class will let you encounter our art collection from a new perspective,” says manager of family programs Courtney Klemens. This event is ideal for families with kids ages 5 to 11. July 17 | 10 a.m; in-person; $10 for members, $13 for nonmembers; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

Eat Your Fill at the Southeast Crab Feast

Come hungry to Lake Wheeler Park for the annual Southeast Crab Feast, supporting local fishermen and serving up fresh all-you-can-eat blue crabs, and a fish and chips basket with every ticket. Complete with music, a family-friendly environment, and outdoor fun, it’s no surprise these tickets sell out fast. July 17 | 1 p.m. – 4 p.m; in-person, $10 for kids, from $25 for adults; 6404 Lake Wheeler Road; southeastcrabfeast.com 

Take the Kids to the Book Harvest Block Party

In honor of the 10th anniversary of Book Harvest, the nonprofit is hosting a community block party to celebrate and encourage reading for children. The first 800 attendees receive a LocoPop, and every child will leave with a bag of age-appropriate books with diverse characters to take home to enjoy. The event will also feature an African dance class, special guest appearances from Wool-E-Bull, the Poetry Fox, and Stormy, as well as a contactless drive-through option to pick up a bag of books for your child from the comfort of your car. July 17 | 1 p.m. – 4 p.m; in-person; free; 318 Blackwell Street, Durham; bookharvest.org/block-party

See Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats at Red Hat

Red Hat Amphitheater is back in action this summer with live concerts in a range of genres. Among the shows they’ve got on the docket is the group Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats with The Marcus King Band & Tré Burt. Liven up your Wednesday and make an evening of it: grab a bite beforehand from nearby Poole’side Pies to-go, A Place at The Table, or Capital City Club before an evening of Americana meets soul tunes. July 21 | 6:30 p.m; In-person; from $55; 500 South McDowell Street; redhatamphitheater.com 

Make a Meal from these Cookbooks with North Carolina ties

Read through our list of cookbooks by food writers and chefs from North Carolina with great recipes to share and pick one to follow along with this summer! Try your hand at a Southern classic from Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook, or learn how to make North Carolina Fish and Shellfish like a pro with Debbie Moose. These tried-and-true recipes are sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Rock Out with Dave Matthews Band

Dave Matthews Band will kick off its 2021 summer tour at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, marking their return to live music. The rock band is partnering with The Nature Conservancy in a pledge to plant a million trees throughout their tour, offering fans an option to donate an additional $2 with a ticket purchase to plant a tree of their own. After over a year without performances, Matthews is sure to have So Much to Say to fans in this long-awaited concert for a good cause. July 23 | 7:30 p.m; in-person; tickets starting at $45; 3801 Rock Quarry Road; davematthewsband.com/tours 

See As You Like It

See Raleigh Little Theatre’s adoption of the William Shakespeare classic As You Like It directed by Meredyth Pederson Cooper. Presented by RLT’s Teens of Stage and Backstage members, this adaptation is a natural fit for RLT’s dreamy, woodsy amphitheater. July 23 – 31 | 7 p.m; in-person; $5 for kids, $15 for adults; 301 Pogue Street; raleighlittletheatre.org

Listen to WALTER’s North Carolina Road Trip Playlist

Cruising around North Carolina this summer? Stream this playlist of songs by artists from North Carolina to keep your motor going from the Outer Banks to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Stream Songs for a New World

Songs for a New World is an innovative work of musical theatre that combines elements of pop, blues, gospel, and jazz to create an abstract story that follows four unique characters as they face difficult choices and rites of passage. Producing artistic director Eric Woodall says the show is about how to “find your voice and chart your own path,” and is enhanced through powerful displays of vocals. The North Carolina Theatre recommends this show for ages 13 and up due to adult language. July 27 – August 1 |  7:30 p.m; in-person and on-demand; in-person from $32, virtual from $25; One East South Street; nctheatre.com/

Spend a Day at Chavis Memorial Park

Chavis Memorial Park is now open after years of construction and preservation. Read the story of how one neighborhood led the charge to revitalize a park built for Raleigh’s Black families — then and go visit it yourself.

Head to Pullen Park for Switzerland

A thriller by Joanna Murray-Smith, Switzerland follows a crime author as her murder stories suddenly become reality when a mysterious foreign visitor arrives at her home and disturbs her otherwise peaceful life. Theatre in the Park’s highly anticipated return to live performances in Pullen Park guarantees there will be nothing neutral about your feelings for this play as the suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat. July 30 – 31 | 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m; in-person; from $19; 107 Pullen Road; theatreinthepark.com

Try a Caviar and Champagne Tasting

Treat yourself to a sampling of the finest bubblies from top champagne houses such as Piper-Heidsieck alongside decadent caviar from Petrossian Caviar and Cinco Jotas Jamón’s select cuts of “the most exclusive ham in the world.” The event will be hosted on the grounds of the renowned Fearrington Village by beverage director Paula de Pano, an expert in crafting luxurious pairings and creating an unforgettable experience. July 31 | 6 – 8:30 p.m; in-person; $450; 2000 Fearrington Village Center, Pittsboro; fearrington.com 

Head to the Mountains to Ride North Carolina’s First Alpine Coaster

Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in Banner Elk opened just last year in 2020, boasting speeds of up to 27 mph with rider-controlled brakes. The coaster opens daily at 10 a.m. and runs for seven minutes at a time, rain or shine, until sundown. Be sure to check out their souvenir shop afterward to support local artists and craftsmen. In-person; tickets are $16/adult, $13/youth, and $5/children; 3265 Tynecastle Highway, Banner Elk; wildernessrunalpinecoaster.com/