25 Things to do in September in Raleigh and Beyond

Arts, crafts, music and more are on the agenda with a mix of virtual and in-person ways to enjoy the Raleigh area  throughout the month of September.
by Cady Smith, Emily Clemente and Katherine Poole

Banjoist Hank Smith | photograph by Ben McKeon

The Gregg Museum of Art and Design has taken a creative approach to programming this fall. Take part in a virtual or in-person tour of an exhibit, sneak a virtual behind-the-scenes peek in the museum or listen in on a conversation with an artist. Kicking it off is the opening of its first exhibition of Fall 2020, Objects of Intention— Photographs by Stephen Althouse. Althouse is a fine art photographer whose images of well-worn agricultural implements (cloth, tools, machinery), both powerful and startling, provide commentary on the human condition. The museum is open on a reduced schedule, so if you would like to view the exhibit—which runs through January 3, 2021—a reservation for a timed entry is required. Or, tune in on Thursdays for a virtual program like A Conversation about Art, the first of three interviews with museum director Roger Manley on September 3 or “stroll” the galleries on a Virtual Guided Tour of the Gregg with the museum’s education staff on September 17. Think: Thursdays in the Gregg with Roger (and friends) and make art a part of your week. See museum website for schedule of events and to make reservations.

Shop at the Durham Craft Market operates from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday at Durham Central Park for a unique shopping experience where you can purchase crafts and handmade gifts from local vendors and artisans.

The Raleigh Flea Market is open again at the N.C. State Fairgrounds, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 pm. Mask up to peruse the booths for just the refresh you need for your new home office.

September 1 & 8 Stretch and flow with Current Wellness for Flow Yoga on Tuesday evenings from 7-8pm at Moore Square downtown. See their website to sign up and for more details.  

September 1, 15 & 29: Listen to local musicians perform live—virtually—through NCMA’s Offstage Live series in partnership with Come Here North Carolina. The series kicks of Tuesday, September 1 at 8 p.m. with Chatham County Line, then hear Dreamroot on September 15 and S.E. Ward on September 29. Click here to listen.

September 4: Visit First Friday Raleigh’s events and exhibitions downtown hosted by Downtown Raleigh Alliance including a painting exhibition at City Market at 7 p.m. and a live virtual talk with El Pueblo’s Erica Villalon. 

Starting on September 4 and running through the fall, September cover artist Maya Freelon’s exhibit Greater than or Equal to will be installed at CAM. Visit it virtually through our behind the scenes tour. 

September 5-6: Participate in The African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County that will host both virtual & in-person experiences that will “PROMOTE, PRESERVE, EDUCATE, & CELEBRATE.”

September 12: Visit an unoccupied Modernist house in Siler City at a trickle of the normal rate of a house tour with NCModernist from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

September 12: Celebrate Virtual Home Movie Day with A/V Geeks from 1-3 p.m. The film buffs will be digitizing donated home movies pulled from fans’ attics (from 8mm to VHS and everything in between) to showcase Raleigh family memories. Follow along on YouTube and Facebook—maybe you’ll recognize someone!

September 14-16: Be a fly on the wall at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences annual BugFest: A Virtual Infestation! BugFest is going online for a week of buzz-worthy adventures featuring this year’s theme arthropod: the fly (hooray?). Join superfly entomologists from our state and around the world to learn all about the creepy, crawly, oh-so-squishable (but don’t!) world of arthropods: spiders, scorpions, millipedes, crabs, cicadas and, yes, flies. You’ll be itching to take part in the BugFest 2020 Theme Days including: Mosquito Monday, Beneficial Tuesday, Art and Culture Wednesday, Entomophagy Thursday, Prime Crime Friday and BugFest Bugstravaganza Saturday. Budding scientists: bring your curiosity, but please note that fly swatters are expressly forbidden. See website for festival information and program schedule.

September 18: WINnovation! WALTER’s annual summit for women leadership has gone virtual this year. Sign up here and join us for a day of workshops, networking and inspiring talks by local female leaders! This year’s panel includes female leaders Mavis Gragg, Judith Cone, Kristie Nystedt, and Shana Tucker.

September 18-20, 25-27: Get growing at Juniper Level Botanic Garden, a 28-acre campus brimming with over 30,000 varieties of plants from native perennials to rare and exotic flora for their open garden days. The nursery is only open eight weekends a year to the public for its Open Nursery and Garden Days, so take advantage of the opportunity for two weekends in September (18-20, 25-27) to marvel at the grounds and make a purchase for your own garden. There will be health and safety protocols in place, including social distancing measures for checkout. See website for hours; free; 9421 Sauls Road; jlbg.org

September 19: Slip on that kitschy kilt, green striped tube socks, orange fright wig or flip flops and give your neighbors something to talk about on your morning run or walk. The nOg Run Club is taking all of their fall races virtual on September 19. Register to participate in the St. Paddy’s 4 Miler, The World’s Largest Flip Flop 1K Walk and/or the Oktoberfest 4 Miler whenever and wherever it fits your schedule to raise money for the many charities the run club supports including: Neighbor 2 Neighbor, Read and Feed, Passage Home and Healing Transitions.

September 24: Designed for Joy—a retail store that employs vulnerable women as they build valuable life skills—will host a Virtual Evening of Giving to support their mission.

September 26: Creativity, community, cuisine? Color us happy. En plein-air: Sweet Peas Urban Gardens and the Well Fed Community Garden invite you to make Art in the Garden. In this ongoing monthly series, participants gather at the Well Fed Community Garden for a guided watercolor class with artist leadership coach Annelies M. Gentile. Gentile guides you through basic painting techniques and the creative process as it relates to everyday life and stress-reduction. Painting is followed by a farm-to-table vegan lunch. No experience is needed and painting kits are provided (or bring your own supplies). Proper safety measures, including hand-sanitizing stations and social distancing, will be maintained as well. Creativity, community, cuisine? Color us happy. 10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.; $48; 1321 Athens Dr.; wellfedgarden.org

September 30-October 3: Pickin’ and grinnin’: The IBMA World of Bluegrass Festival is coming to a screen near you. Here’s the foggy mountain breakdown: The virtual event will feature all components of the in-person event, including the Business Conference, the Bluegrass Music Awards, the Bluegrass Ramble and Bluegrass Live! Tap your toes to live-streamed and on-demand sessions and performances during IBMA Bluegrass Live!—the festival portion of the week (October 2-3)—with a mix of remote performances beamed in from around the country and sessions recorded right here in Raleigh. “We’ve got some great partners around the city who helped set up secret shows at some iconic spots around downtown,” says David Brower, Executive Director of PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music. To wit: The Steep Canyon Rangers perform on the rooftop of the Dillon; Chatham County Line play at Union Station and the Chatham Rabbits and Hank, Pattie & The Current jam in front of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Also of note: Shout & Shine: A Celebration of Diversity in Bluegrass showcases the voices of underrepresented and marginalized musicians and performers. Old Crow Medicine Show (with a nod to James Taylor) puts it best: Headed down south to the land of the pines/And I’m thumbin’ my way into North Caroline (in our minds, of course). For a full schedule of events, visit ibma.org


And why not...

Shop at Demetrius Hunter’s new Black Farmer’s Hub grocery store on 1409 Cross Street.

Pour through the sounds and words of David Menconi’s new book, Step It Up and Go

Take a peak at what it’s like to be the N&O’s longstanding restaurant critic. 

Mix one of Lily Balance of William & Company’s cocktails at home. 

Fire up your grill and make Humble Pie’s Tandoori Lamb Chops or head there yourself.

Visit one of these lesser-known small Eastern NC towns or take a road trip to one of these larger-than-life NC sites.

Listen to one of these episodes of the NC Food & Beverage Podcast.

Stop at one of these spots for a picnic and spread out at Dix Park or NCMA.