What to Do In and Around Raleigh in April 2024

It’s time to get outside! This April, enjoy garden tours, music festivals, plant sales and a renewed energy in town.
by Addie Ladner

photo credit: Bob Karp

It’s springtime! And so exciting to see the first hint of lighter flavors at our farmers markets, some which are now opening for the season. North Hills’ Midtown Farmers Market has all the essentials, plus kids’ activities set up on the lawn (4160 Main at North Hills Street; midtownfarmers.com). The Cary Downtown Farmers Market is another kid-friendly option, with the new playground close by (200 E. Chatham Street, Cary; caryfarmersmarket.com). On the second and fourth Sundays of the month, the Black Farmers Market offers produce and other homemade products (1436 Rock Quarry Road; blackfarmersmkt.com). Of course, there’s the year-round North Carolina State Farmers Market, which is just starting to offer crispy snap peas, delicate lettuces and sweet carrots (1201 Agriculture Street; ncagr.gov).  In addition to getting out to explore these markets, read on for a handful of other things to do this month.

See Woven Strangers at Arts Access Gallery

Nonprofit Arts Access North Carolina is celebrating the opening of its art gallery in downtown Raleigh. Arts Access Gallery will show and sell the work of artists living with disabilities — the only gallery in the region to do so — offering a showcase of its mission to make art accessible to all. For the inaugural exhibition, artist Jean Gray Mohs will present Woven Strangers, a body of work that includes 13 pieces made with materials like acrylic paint, waxed thread and wood. Mohs was diagnosed with a lung disease at 19 years old, and her work celebrates the balance and resilience of living with chronic illness. “This exhibition comes near the five-year anniversary of my double lung transplant and I couldn’t think of a better place to share my work and meaning behind it,” says Mohs. “I cannot wait to see how the space shines the light on and celebrates artists and the community going forward.”
All month | Various times; Free; 444 S. Blount Street, Suite 115B; artsaccessinc.org

Enter to Win a 2 Night Stay at The Umstead Hotel & Spa!

Escape and rejuvenate without traveling far to The Umstead Hotel & Spa, a world-class oasis in the heart of the Triangle with this exclusive giveaway. At the highly-rated luxury hotel surrounded by lush and vibrant gardens; relish fine experiential dining centered on local and seasonal fare, stunning visual art, and breathtaking wellness amenities all at your fingertips. In addition to the 2-night stay, enjoy a four-course dinner for two at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Herons plus access to on-site amenities such as a walk around the woodland pond, complimentary morning coffee and tea in the lobby, live entertainment in the lounge, complimentary bike rentals and entry to the hotel’s seasonal pool and lounge areas. Get the details and enter here.

Sip and Learn at a Rosé Wine Class

Is rosé actually red or white? Is it sweet or dry? Do you serve it at room temperature or cold? (Answers: yes, yes and yes.) At Glenwood South purveyor The Wine Feed, learn all about the style of vino that has become widely popular over the years. Store manager and certified wine educator Kayla Eakin will lead the class and you will leave knowing how to select, store, pair and enjoy rosé after sampling varietals from all over the world.
April 2 | 7:15 – 8:45 p.m.; $40; 602 Glenwood Avenue; thewinefeed.com

photo credit: Juli Leonard

Shop for Spring at the Gardeners of Wake County’s Azalea Sale

At the Gardeners of Wake County’s annual Azalea Sale, you can browse more than 120 varieties of azaleas, including hard-to-find deciduous varieties and a spectrum of colors including orange, pink, white and Wolfpack Red (developed by a professor at North Carolina State University). In addition to azaleas, there will be a selection of gardenias, camellias and rhododendrons. Money raised from the plant sale goes towards supporting students majoring in horticulture sciences at NC State.
April 4 – 13 | 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Free admission; 801 Youth Center Drive; gardenersofwakecounty.weebly.com

See The Sandlot Outside at Raleigh Little Theatre

Raleigh Little Theatre’s Movies in the Garden series returns with the showing of the 1990s kids’ classic The Sandlot, starring Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar and Patrick Renna, in the Stephenson Amphitheatre. This coming-of-age adventure is set in a nostalgic summer of baseball, swimming, friendship and mischief. Get there early to grab a beer from Raleigh Brewing and dinner from local food trucks.
April 4 | 8 p.m.; Pay what you can; 301 Pogue Street; raleighlittletheatre.org

Enjoy Live @ The Lake at NCSU

Kick off outdoor concert season with this free, family-friendly series at Lake Raleigh, hosted by NC State. First up is Charly Lowry, a folksy singer-songwriter originally from Pembroke who belongs to the Lumbee/Tuscarora Tribes. Next is North Carolina-based Latin-fusion singer Laura Gonzqui, whose music incorporates salsa, blues and jazz. There will be food trucks on site for dinner or dessert, and don’t forget your own picnic blankets and chairs.
April 4 & 18 | 6 p.m.;Free; Main Campus Drive; ncstate.edu

Take the Kids to the NC Symphony’s Peter and the Wolf

Offered each season, the North Carolina Symphony’s Young People’s Concert Series sparks the imagination of all ages. This month they’ll showcase Peter and the Wolf, a perennial favorite. “It’s an important piece in the orchestral canon, especially for family programming, because of how the story introduces the instruments of the orchestra,” says Mary Huntley, director of communications at the symphony. Recording artist and actress Yolanda Rabun will serve as the narrator so that children understand how the instruments portray different characters. Before the show, an Instrument Zoo will provide young guests a chance to play real instruments and Marbles Kids Museum will be on-site with a pre-concert activity.
April 6 | 1 p.m.; From $32; 2 E. South Street; ncsymphony.org

photo credit: Samantha Everette

Head to Dreamville Festival

Founded by North Carolina native J. Cole, the hip-hop music and culture festival Dreamville returns for its fourth installation. Hosted at Dorothea Dix Park, more than 20 artists will perform over two days — including headliners hip-hop and pop star SZA, R&B legend Chris Brown, trail-blazing rapper Nicki Minaj and Cole himself. While on the grounds, guests can interact with art installations commissioned by Artsplosure as well as enjoy food from local vendors and booths from community organizations.
April 6 & 7 | Various times; From $300; 1030 Richardson Drive; dreamvillefest.com

Go the Movies with the NC Master Chorale

Do you like singin’ in the rain? Join the North Carolina Master Chorale at The Rialto as it performs a showcase of iconic tracks from feature films. From classics like “Moon River,”“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Get Happy” to tunes from newer movies (see: Toy Story, the Harry Potter series), the 180-person choir will offer toe-tapping tunes in a breadth of genres.
April 6 | 3 & 7:30 p.m.; From $16.32; 1620 Glenwood Avenue; ncmasterchorale.org

Participate in the 2024 World Hat Walk

Don your sharpest fedora, flounciest straw topper or chicest cloche for the 2024 World Hat Walk. Raleigh is the first U.S. city to join 16 other cities around the globe in this tradition, which started in London 10 years ago. “We’re really hoping that it grabs the attention of a lot of hat lovers. It’s a great way to start a conversation with people,” says local milliner Katie Allen. Walkers will meet up outside of the Raleigh Convention Center, then make a loop around downtown.
April 7 | 2 – 3  p.m.; Free; 500 S. Salisbury Street; liftedmillinery.com

photo credit: Samantha Everette

Experience Crowning Glory at CAM Raleigh

The exhibit Crowning Glory showcases the intimate and deeply rooted tradition of braiding hair in Black women’s communities and families. Featuring photographs by Samantha Everette, Crowning Glory started as a project during her 2021 residency at Artspace and evolved into a traveling exhibit. “I didn’t know it would be as loved as it was, I kept getting requests from other galleries,” says Everette. Her photographs showcase a hair sculptor, braiders, creatives and her main subject, a mother. “I wanted it to be multigenerational,” says Everette. For the CAM exhibit, the giant photographs — each up to 15 feet tall by 20 feet wide — will be printed on vinyl and applied directly to the walls. “The work keeps getting bigger and bigger, literally and figuratively,” she says. “This is how I always intended them to be.” In addition to the images, a film recording of the photo shoot by videographer Corey Lamar will be playing. April 12 – Sept. 15 | Various times; Free; 409 W. Martin Street; camraleigh.org

photo credit: Trey Thomas

Hear Peter Lamb and the Wolves with Sidecar Social Club at The Rialto

Head to Five Points for an evening of jazz galore. Four-piece jazz fusion band Peter Lamb and the Wolves will grace the stage at The Rialto this month with special guest Sidecar Social Club, a musical group with speakeasy and cabaret vibes. Before the show, the Enloe High School jazz band will be performing outside. “Having grown up in Five Points, The Rialto has always been my favorite theater and place to see movies. I saw Pulp Fiction and Rocky Horror Picture Show and Clerks there, films that very much affected my upbringing and taste in art and music. In fact, The Wolves and I will perform several tunes from the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction — it is, after all, the best soundtrack ever,” says frontman Peter Lamb.
April 12 | 8 p.m. From $25; 1620 Glenwood Avenue; therialto.com

at the North Carolina Museum of Art

If you love old films and all things Italian, this screening at the North Carolina Museum of Art is for you. Cinema Paradiso follows the life of a young local in the Sicilian town of Giancaldo who from a young age discovers the magic of movies, while navigating love, loss, growth and war.
April 13 | 2 – 5 p.m.;From $5; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

See Theatre in the Park’s Into the Woods

Kids aren’t the only ones who get to enjoy fairy tales. See Theatre in the Park’s production of Into The Woods, a twisted mishmash of classic stories incorporating characters like Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (and the Beanstalk), Rapunzel and Cinderella. “Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine created a timeless tale which immediately became a beloved musical, worldwide,” says director Nancy Rich, who’s been a fan of the musical since it debuted in the 1980s. “And as I grow older, I feel like I’ve gained a deeper understanding of this piece.”
Starting April 18 | Various times; From $33; 107 Pullen Road; theatreinthepark.com

Welcome the Dueling Dinosaurs to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Celebrate the long-anticipated reveal of Raleigh’s newest and largest residents — fossils of a tyrannosaur and Triceratops — at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. To kick off the momentous exhibition, the museum is hosting a prehistoric-themed soirée at the new state-of-the-art SECU DinoLab. At the gala, experience an exclusive preview of the dinosaur pair, themed spirits and hors d’oeuvres (that will surely be a hit with carnivores and omnivores alike), dancing, music and science fun. April 19 | 6:30 – 10 p.m.; From $200; 11 W. Jones Street; naturalsciences.org

Celebrate Earth Day in Raleigh!

Celebrate and help our little patch of earth this Earth Day. Enjoy Raleigh Earth Day 2024 at Dorothea Dix Park, a free event with games, music, environmentally conscious vendors, and a movie at Flowers Field to cap it off (April 19; 5 – 10 p.m; 1030 Richardson Drive; dixpark.org). Or head to Moore Square for the all-day Earth Day Extravaganza hosted by The Great Raleigh Cleanup and RALToday. It kicks off with a 2-mile fun run and walk to Raleigh City Farm and back, then continues with yoga in Moore Square, a community clean-up, an eco-market and film screening of WALL-E.
April 19 – 21 | Various times (April 21; 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Moore Square; raleighcleanup.org/earthday)

Sample Spirits at Whiskey Kitchen’s Whiskey Series

Downtown’s Southern kitchen and neighborhood bar, Whiskey Kitchen, is hosting their second How To: The Cocktail Series. For this three-part cocktail series, guests are able to create their own Manhattan made with George Dickel Tennessee Whisky, with the help of Whiskey Kitchen’s bartenders. Cocktail enthusiasts can enjoy a chance to relax and learn in a fun atmosphere. At the third and final class, attendees will receive an in depth lesson on the Manhattan cocktail and a Q&A with Whiskey Kitchen Master of Spirits, Johnny Berry, and George Dickel Tennessee Whisky representative, Justin Hampton. Small plates, along with three cocktails will be provided to ticket holders. In the past the eatery has served things such as cheese and charcuterie boards, fried chicken skewers, biscuits and crispy broccoli. Guests will walkaway with their own cocktail tool kit, and likely some new fellow whiskey loving friends.
April 23 | 6 p.m.; From $50; 201 West Martin Street; whiskey.kitchen

Join WALTER and Kristy Woodson Harvey for an Exclusive Book Launch Event

Over a summer-themed supper and drinks, best-selling author Kristy Woodson Harvey will share stories from her forthcoming book A Happier Life which explores the power of family, the bonds of friendship and the boundless nature of love.  Set in the waterfront town of Beaufort, Raleigh-locals will especially love this one and we’ve got her insider guide to the idyllic historic town here. Your ticket includes a signed bookplate, preordered copy of the book, a custom tote bag,  cocktail hour plus a lovely dinner and unlimited wine. Snag a ticket now before they sell out
April 24 | 6 – 9 p.m.; From $30; 150 Fayetteville Street; ticketmetriangle.com

Head West for a Weekend of MerleFest

Named after the late, legendary bluegrass musician Eddie Merle Watson, MerleFest is a four-day celebration of music predominately inspired by the Appalachian mountains. This year, the lineup includes notable acts like Donna the Buffalo, Chatham Rabbits, Chatham County Line, Molly Tuttle and the Golden Highway, Earls of Lancaster, Sierra Hall and Nickel Creek. Beyond the music, peruse vendors, enjoy nature walks and, if you have young ones with you, swing by the craft tables at the Little Pickers Family Area.
April 25 – 28 | Various times From $80; 1328 S. Collegiate Drive, Wilkesboro; merlefest.org

Support Note in the Pocket at the Socks & Indie 5K Rundie

Help nonprofit Note in the Pocket fulfill its mission of providing clothing to families and children experiencing homelessness and poverty by participating in its annual Socks & Undie 5K Rundie, a race that raises funds for these essentials. Since 2013 the organization has clothed more than 54,000 individuals in Wake County — this year the hope is to clothe another 11,500. “The Rundie provides a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness for the issue of clothing insecurity while celebrating the power and love of our community,” says Note in the Pocket director Dallas Bonavita. In addition to the race, there will be a Finish Line Festival with food trucks, bounce houses, face painting and donation stations for gently used clothing.
April 27 | 9:30 a.m.; From $35; 4730 Hargrove Road; noteinthepocket.org

Walk the Oakwood Garden Tour

Enjoy a walking tour of Historic Oakwood’s gardens at the milestone 35th annual Oakwood Garden Tour. With established oaks and crepe myrtles lining the streets and gardens brimming with native flowers, perennials and herbs, this is a lovely way to spend a weekend outdoors. With your ticket, enjoy a cup of iced tea and light snacks, or opt into the Fascinator-Making Experience for the chance to make a pollinator-themed headband to wear on the tour. 
April 27 & 28 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.$25; 418 N. Person Street; historicoakwood.org

Head to Raulston Blooms at the Arboretum

Spend the day at the JC Raulston Arboretum celebrating all things flora at its annual Raulston Blooms festival. Serious home gardeners will enjoy the plant sale and talks with local experts (like Brie Arthur’s session on “Creating Creative Containers”) while little ones will enjoy themed activities like a family scavenger hunt. Also be sure to check out the impressive handmade structures in the Birdhouse Competition, a draw every year. Food trucks like Empanadas RD and MunchiLove will be selling lunch. April 29 | 10 – 3 p.m.; From $5; 4415 Beryl Road; jcra.ncsu.edu  

This article originally appeared in the April 2024 issue of WALTER magazine.