What to Do in January 2024 In and Around Raleigh

Kick off the new year with outdoor hikes, local culture, wine dinners and honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with acts of service.
by Addie Ladner

Happy New Year! There’s something energizing about starting a new year, turning the page on the calendar to start thinking about that we want the next 375 days to look like. It helps that Raleigh brims with ways to kick off 2024, from brisk hikes along the banks of the Eno River to Broadway tours or independent performances to wellness retreats. Also don’t miss the last month to ice skate at THE RINK at Red Hat Amphitheater. No matter how you decide to spend the first month of year, we hope it start the year on just the right tone.

Start 2024 with a First Day Hike at The Eno River

Start the year off on the right foot, literally, with a hike along the banks of the Eno River for the official First Day Hike hosted by the Eno River Association, an annual tradition since 1970. Choose from two guided hikes, one about 2 miles, the other roughly 4.5 miles. Both begin at the Fews Ford Access/Cox Mountain Trailhead at 2:15 p.m., but get there a few minutes early to check in — and stay after for a complimentary cup of hot chocolate. Don’t feel like venturing to Durham? Take advantage of one of the many Raleigh trails — our go-tos include Umstead State Park, Wilkerson Nature Preserve and Lake Crabtree County Park — on your own time, or search “hikes” on waltermagazine.com for more ideas.
Jan. 1 | 2 p.m.; Free; 6095 State Road 1569, Durham; enoriver.org 

Try Out a New To You Restaurant

When debating where to get dinner, it’s easy to default to your normal rotation, but there are so many great spots in Raleigh and the Triangle to explore this year! Someone else’s usual restaurant, bar or coffee shop might be a new discovery for you, whether it’s a neighborhood gem or a bucket-list adventure across town. That’s why we surveyed 10 experts in the hospitality business — chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs — to find out where they go for everything from a quick bite to a cocktail to an extravagant meal. Click here for more than 100 recommendations for great culinary experiences in the Triangle.

Spend the Evening on the Illuminate Artwalk

Downtown will be aglow for one last week of the Illuminate Artwalk. Now in its third year, the event showcases more than 10 locally created and nationally recognized works of art best viewed in the evening. A big draw this year is at Fayetteville Street’s One City Plaza: Talking Heads is an interactive 3D light show by artist Viktor Vicsek of Limelight, a media company in Budapest, made up of two giant black busts. Also on Fayetteville Street is All We Need by local glass artist Nate Sheaffer, which shows the outline of a human head filled with the word “love” in neon letters. Use the interactive map on Downtown Raleigh Alliance’s website to learn more about each installation and map out your self-guided stroll.
Jan. 1 – 5 | Evening; Free; downtown; downtownraleigh.org

Skate at Red Hat Amphitheater’s THE RINK

Don’t miss the annual chance to ice skate downtown at THE RINK, a winter tradition in the Red Hat Amphitheatre. Rent skates or bring your own to glide along in two-hour increments. In addition to fun features like fire pits, themed days and giant igloos for rent (new this year!), THE RINK will offer a chance to give back, says Kerry Painter, director of Raleigh’s Convention and Performing Arts Complex. “Our focus when launching three years ago was to bring our community together after a time of being apart for so long, and now we are excited to work with these nonprofits to help share their missions,” says Painter. Among the recipients: On Jan. 7, bring new and gently used coats for Helping Hand Mission, donate nonperishable food to Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC on Jan. 13, and bring along book donations for Wake Up and Read on Jan. 14.
Jan. 1 – 15 | Various times; From $15; 500 S. McDowell Street; redhatampitheatre.com 

Experience Broadway’s Girl from the North Country

Bob Dylan fans will love Girl From the North Country, a Broadway show that weaves his songs into the plot. Set in the early 1930s in Duluth, Minnesota, during the Great Depression, this musical follows a group of travelers and family members that stay in a struggling boarding house. “Forever Young” “Lay Lady Lay” and “Slow Train Coming” are just a handful of Dylan hits that illustrate this story of hope, family and perseverance.
Jan. 2 – 6 | Various times; From $25; 123 Vivian Street, Durham, dpacnc.com

Check in With Your Garden

It might seem a time to take a break from yard work as you look out at your lifeless garden, but there’s plenty to do this month. We chatted with Greg Paige, the director of horticulture at the JC Raulston Arboretum, about what should be your my list.

Test your Knowledge at Green Monkey’s Let’s Play Trivia

Start the new year by flexing those brain muscles with weekly trivia at quirky gift shop and bar Green Monkey, which recently moved to S. Wilmington Street. Categories range from current events to general knowledge to off-the-wall topics. “We take our trivia seriously but don’t take ourselves seriously. I’m here to make sure everyone has a good time,” says Green Monkey founder and CEO Rusty Sutton. Sutton says the event attracts ages and personalities: “It’s a good mix of a crowd from late 20s to 50s with lots of regulars and visitors.” Take advantage of the night’s bar special, a $6 Jack & Coke.
Wednesdays | 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.; Free to play; 215 S. Wilmington Street; greenmonkeyraleigh.com

See Fleetwood Cover Band Rumors at The Ritz

Grab your top hat and boots and head to The Ritz to hear Fleetwood Mac’s best hits. Tribute band Rumors (named after the band’s popular 1977 album) will cover all the best sing-alongs, from “Dreams” to “Landslide.”
Jan. 5 | 7:30 p.m.; From $35; 2820 Industrial Drive; ritzraleigh.com 

Hear Bluegrass Legend Dan Tyminski at the North Carolina Museum of History

Hey Brother, come hear the man behind that beloved tune — award-winning bluegrass musician Dan Tyminski — at Martin Marietta Center for Performing Arts. North Carolina roots organization PineCone is hosting Tyminski for its Down Home music series. Tyminski played for years with Allison Krauss’ band, Union Station, and has collaborated with musical greats including Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson. Expect to hear tracks from God Fearing Heathen, a record Tyminski released last year, along with tunes from Gospel Jubilators, the Durham-based band that will open the evening. “Dan Tyminski has that iconic voice that sounds both familiar and cutting-edge at the same time,” says David Brower, PineCone’s executive director. “Every time he comes to Raleigh he packs the house. This time we’re thrilled to be able to get him into such an intimate space.”
Jan. 12 | 7:30 p.m.;From $18; 2 E. South Street; pinecone.org 

Head to the Fairgrounds for the Southeast Bass and Fishing Expo

Passionate fishermen and fisherwomen will enjoy this massive exposition at the fairgrounds hosted by Southeast Productions Co. Shop goods from more than 100 national and local companies from rods to reels, boats, apparel and all sorts of gear. Hear from experts in the field (or, on the water) such as Bryan Thrift, a decorated sport fisherman from Shelby famous for his prized bass catches, and TV host and fellow angler Tim Horton.
Jan. 12 – 24 | Various times; From $10; 4285 Trinity Road; bassandsaltwaterfishingexpo.com

Plan a One Tank Road Trip

There’s nothing like a road trip. But when gas prices are high — or, let’s be honest, even if they’re not — it’s ideal to find a transporting experience that doesn’t involve too much… transportation. So we did the math: Here are three excellent getaways you can reach (there and back!) on one tank of gas or full charge of an electric vehicle. From a wine-filled mountain escape to an artsy urban oasis to a beach getaway, rev up and peel out to one of these areas. 

Reset Your Mind and Body at Current Wellness’s Welcoming All Parts of Yourself

Local health and wellness expert Brit Guerin is leading this half-day retreat oriented towards starting the year mindfully and gently, knowing who you are and accepting your whole self. Participate in journaling, gentle yoga and self reflection while nursing your body with warm herbal tea and wholesome snacks.
Jan. 13 | 1 – 5:30 p.m.;From $120; 219 S. East Street; currentwellnessraleigh.com 

Give Back with United Way of the Greater Triangle’s MLK Day of Service

The United Way of the Greater Triangle has been organizing volunteers on MLK Day for 19 years. This year, the organization is mobilizing youth to assemble a variety of kits for those in need, including individuals experiencing homelessness, new parents and children. “We invite the Triangle community to honor Dr. King by making a difference through volunteerism, embodying his vision of unity and empowerment for a brighter future. We embrace his legacy of service by turning a day off into a day on,” says Allyson Cobb, director of community engagement and learning. This volunteer activity is for young people specifically, but adults are needed to help manage the event and pre-registration is required.
Jan. 15 | Various times; Free; 721 N. Raleigh Boulevard; unitedwaytriangle.org

Check Out Downtown’s New Dry Bar

Downtown now has an upscale, zero-proof gathering place, located in the old Garland space on Martin Street. Get to know Umbrella Dry Bar right here or pay them a visit this month to experience elegant spirit-free drinks this month.

Laugh Out Loud at Open Mic at Goodnights

If you believe laughter is good for the soul, consider a new year’s resolution to add humor to your life. One place to start is Open Mic nights on select Wednesdays each month at Village District joint Goodnights Comedy Club. Seasoned comedians and newcomers alike are encouraged to come, sign up at the bar inside of The Factory between 5:30 and 7 p.m., and wait to see if their name is drawn to perform their bit.
Jan. 16, 23, 30 | 8 p.m.; Free; 401 Woodburn Road; goodnightscomedy.com

Experience The Magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein with the North Carolina Symphony

Oh what a beautiful… evening! Musical theater buffs will enjoy The Magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein, with vocals and instrumentation highlighting scores from favorites like Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and more.
Jan. 19 & 20 | 8 p.m.; From $32; 2 E. South Street; ncsymphony.org 

Enjoy Culture and Wine at NCMA’s Art Inside the Bottle

The North Carolina Museum of Art, wine school Vitis House and Catering Works have teamed up for a series centered around visual art and vino to satisfy the senses. Ángel González López, research curator of the Ancient American collection at the NCMA, will select six pieces from the museum’s permanent collection, then Vitis House owner Doreen Colondres and Catering Works executive chef Rick Sloan will curate wine and food pairings to go with each piece. Colondres has enjoyed the process of selecting wine for this experience and says that wine, like art, is another expression of creativity and passion. “A portrait may reflect elegance and power and I find a wine that matches these descriptors,” she says. “A painting with water or an ocean-blue color inspires me to pair a wine with salinity that was made on the Mediterranean coast.”
Jan. 19 | 7 – 9 p.m.; $150; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

See Burning Coal’s Hymn

A play based on a book by Lolita Chakrabarti, Hymn follows a deep and unexpected bond between two men who meet and discover that they’re brothers at their father’s funeral. Realizing they have similar professional aspirations and a shared love of music, they foster a long-overdue connection. “I saw the original production of Hymn in London two years ago. It was a delight, but somehow also managed to deal with issues of sorrow and loss,” says Jerome Davis, Burning Coal’s artistic director. The two-person play examines what it looks like to be a sibling, son, spouse and father. As the two grow closer, they learn to support one another, highlighting the value of male friendship. “In this world, there will always be loss. The question is, how do we deal with it?” says Davis. “In this beautiful play, we see how two middle-aged men find comfort, humor and ultimately home in the face of a stranger.”
Jan. 25 – 28 | Various times; From $20; 224 Polk Street; burningcoal.org

Celebrate the African American Cultural Celebration at the NC Museum of History

Kick off the statewide celebration of Black History Month at the North Carolina Museum of History’s African American Cultural Celebration. “North Carolina has a rich African-American heritage and history, and it is an honor to play even a small role in ensuring that these traditions are not lost,” says Michelle Carr, curator of special programs at the museum. Carr says the museum is especially excited about this year’s theme, Our North Carolina Expressed through the Arts. The theme will be interpreted with a lineup of performances and presentations that highlight North Carolina’s artistic legacy and showcase contemporary and emerging talent. “From the spiritual sounds of a gospel choir to a discussion of the use of AI in online gaming design to an upbeat performance in honor of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, there is truly something for everyone,” says Carr. There are a number of events to look forward to: The North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers will share African folktales and NC stories, chef and entrepreneur Julius West will be serving shrimp and grits, Elizabeth City State University music professor Douglas Jackson will give a presentation on legendary jazz drummer Max Roach, and families can enjoy hands-on crafts and demonstrations.
Jan. 27 | 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Free; 5 E. Edenton Street; ncmuseumofhistory.org  

Check out Chatham County Line’s New Sound

The longtime Raleigh bluegrass band’s forthcoming album Hiyo incorporates electronic sounds and guest musicians to broaden their genre and is out at the end of this month. Expect a portfolio of soft and punchy melodies — everlasting tunes that feel fresh, and a slight departure from its bluegrass roots.

Experience the Renowned What the Day Owes to the Night at NC State

For one night only at North Carolina State University’s Steward Theatre, Compagnie Hervé KOUBI — a world-renowned French dance company — will perform What The Day Owes To The Night. This fluid, powerful piece has choreography combining martial arts, capoeira, urban and acrobatic contemporary dance, set to Sufi sounds recorded by The Kronos Quartet, traditional music by Hamza El Din from Egypt and excerpts from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Passions. The troupe was formed by French-Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi in 2010 and is composed of 14 street performers and contemporary dancers from Algeria, Morocco and the Mediterranean basin. It began this latest North American tour in Denver, Colorado, with stops in New York, Texas and Washington, among others. “I saw Compagnie Hervé KOUBI perform in New York City several years ago and was completely captivated by their ability to marry strength with vulnerability,” says Liza Wade Green, NC State LIVE associate director. “Since then, I’ve been eager to bring them to Raleigh, and I’m thrilled we’ll offer the company’s debut appearance in North Carolina.” Audience members can make reservations for a three-course prix fixe Mediterranean-themed dinner at the campus restaurant 1887 Bistro before the performance for an additional price.
Jan. 27 | 7:30 p.m. From $35; Stewart Theatre, 2610 Cates Avenue; live.arts.ncsu.edu

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