What to do in July 2024 in and around Raleigh

The heat is on this month! Enjoy garden strolls after sunset, live music, fireworks galore and art-forward dinners.
by Addie Ladner

It’s Nearly Independence Day! 

There are lots of fireworks shows to consider. The City of Raleigh and ABC11 have teamed up to put on a lively show at Dorothea Dix Park this year. Before the fireworks at 9:30, enjoy food trucks, an Artsplosure-hosted kids’ zone and entertainment by DJ Rickey Smith (5:30 – 10 p.m.; free; 1030 Richardson Drive; dixpark.org). At Brier Creek Commons, enjoy the Star Spangled Block Party with games, music and, after sunset, fireworks. Bring your own lawn chair or blankets (6 p.m.; free; 8181 Brier Creek Parkway; shopbriercreekcommons.com). The Town of Cary will host its Independence Day Celebration at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, with family-friendly performances by the North Carolina Symphony and a light show over the lake (3:30 p.m.; free; 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary; boothamphitheatre.com).

In addition to all the patriotic festivities, read on for more ideas of things to do during this steamy mid-summer month.

Catch an Outdoor Film

Celebrate summer with a family-friendly movie al fresco. This month, the North Carolina Museum of Art is showing Moana (July 12) and Barbie (July 13) and in its outdoor theater (8:30 p.m.; from $10; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org). Cary’s retail complex Fenton is hosting a family-centered series on Wednesday mornings with films like Migration (July 10) and The Secret Life of Pets (July 31) (Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; free; 21 Fenton Main Street, Cary; fentonnc.com). If you’re up for an hour-plus trek, Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre offers an old-school drive-in experience (really — it was built in the 1940s!). Movies are announced the week prior to showing and are always double features (Opens at 7 p.m., movies begin at sunset; from $10; 3336 Raleigh Road, Henderson; raleighroaddrivein.com).

Wind Down at Evening Yoga Flow at Raleigh City Farm

On Tuesdays, stretch (and sweat) it out at Raleigh City Farm among the zinnias, butterflies, fragrant herbs and summer fruit trees. Instructors Renée Balyoz of Maitrī Yoga and Wellness and Will Florence from Yoga Soullective Raleigh will alternate leading this summer yoga series. Bring your mat, water and any props you might want. “The classes are great for students of all levels, or even new to yoga, with modifications offered to meet everyone’s needs. And we are very lucky to enjoy gentle downtown breezes at the farm,” says Balyoz.
Tuesdays | 6 – 7 p.m. $18; 800 N. Blount Street; raleighcityfarm.org

Contemplate: Are We Alone in the Universe?

Should you be considering swapping life on Earth for one out in space, head to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for World UFO Day. In a lecture series in the SECU Daily Planet Theater, Dr. Rachel Smith and Dr. Patrick Treuthardt with the museum’s Astrophysics Research Lab will discuss fact and fiction surrounding UFOs, the potential of life outside of Earth and the mysteries of far-away galaxies.
July 2 | 12 – 2 p.m.Free; 121 W. Jones Street; naturalsciences.org

Dance at Oak City Salsa Social

On the first and third Wednesdays of every month, Oak City Music Collective hosts a fun dance series at Transfer Co. Food Hall. There, you can enjoy a live salsa band, on-the-spot lessons, themed cocktails and vendors to shop from. Admission is free and all skill levels and ages are welcome. Lessons start at 6:30 p.m. and the music begins at 7 p.m.
July 3 & 17 | 6 p.m.; Free; 500 E. Davie Street; oakcitymusic.com

Cheer on the Carolina Mudcats

What’s more all-American than an evening of baseball and fireworks? Over Independence Day weekend, The Carolina Mudcats will take on home-state rivals, the Down East Wood Ducks from Kinston, over three games at Five County Stadium in Zebulon. Try to track down mascot Muddy the Mudcat for a photo op, and stick around for the post-game fireworks show.
July 4 – 6 | 6:30 p.m.; From $13; 1501 NC-39, Zebulon; milb.com/carolina-mudcats

Enjoy an Evening Stroll at the Arboretum

Enjoy a rare chance to meander through the JC Raulston Arboretum at dusk in this unique-to-summer event series. Participants will meet at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center and then enjoy a guided walk with one of the arboretum’s summer interns through the spacious public garden to take in all that’s blooming, including lantana, zinnias, cosmos and a wide range of native perennials. This month, the arboretum is asking folks to vote for their favorite in the trial beds, where various annuals and perennials are planted to test growth, color and overall performance.
July 9 | 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.; Free; 4415 Beryl Road; jcra.ncsu.edu

Celebrate Reading at a Block Party

Book Harvest, a Durham-based organization working to improve literacy in underserved communities, is hosting a Summer Block Party at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Enjoy kids’ activities, entertainment (including beloved local magician Happy Dan the Magic Man!) and the main draw — free books! Have your pick of diverse, educational and fun books for infants and teenagers alike.
July 13 | 1 – 4 p.m. Free; 409 Blackwell Street, Durham; bookharvest.org

Help Alice Gerrard’s Celebrate her 90th Birthday

Bluegrass lovers know all the lyrics to songs like “West Virginia My Home” and “Goodbyes” by folk musician Alice Gerrard. Originally from Seattle, the Grammy-nominated artist has had a long career in the roots music scene, particularly in her adopted home of North Carolina. For Gerrard’s 90th birthday, PineCone is hosting the legendary musician at the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts, accompanied by experienced local and regional musicians like pedal steel player Rebecca Branson Jones, mandolinist Reed Stutz and fiddle player Tatiana Hargreaves.
July 13 | 7:30 p.m.; From $25; 2 E. South Street; pinecone.org

Enjoy Comedy at The Cookout

Presented by Triangle Comedy Sketch, enjoy comedy and culture at TR Studio. Showing for three nights only, The Cookout is a celebration of Black creativityand community produced by pro wrestler and entertainer Roni Nicole, who will host other Black stand-up comedians.
July 13 – 15 | 8 p.m.; from $16; 3027 Barrow Drive; theatreraleigh.com

Check out CAM’s Sunday Dinner Series

The African American Art Collectors Guild and 21C Durham have teamed up with CAM Raleigh to produce an intimate dinner series. On July 14, artist Jermaine Powell will dine with 12 guests over food and conversation. Included in the ticket price is a signed print by Powell and a three-course meal from Counting House. In an open conversation, Powell will discuss his process, career and upcoming projects. “This is an opportunity for creative minds to enjoy a blend of culinary delight and stimulating conversation,” says Tahlia L. Cummings, a member of the African American Art Collectors Guild. “We’ll be exploring new perspectives and artistic insights, all while honoring the tradition of Sunday supper.”
July 14 | 6 – 8 p.m; $95; 111 Corcoran Street, Durham; camraleigh.org

Jam Out to O.A.R. at Red Hat

Longtime rock group O.A.R. is on the road for their summer tour. The quartet — made up of Chris Culos on drums, Richard On on guitar, vocalist Marc Roberge, bassist Benj Gershman and Jerry DePizzo on saxophone and guitar — will play some of its most popular feel-good tracks like “Hey Girl” and “I Feel Home.” Opening the show is the upbeat pop group Fitz and the Tantrums (from $44; 500 S. McDowell Street; redhatamphitheater.com). July 16 | 6:30 p.m. Beforehand, check out rooftop bar 10th & Terrace, which is offering a summer cocktail menu inspired by shows at Red Hat. For this show, that’s “I Feel Home,” a blend of Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon, lime juice, maple syrup, St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram and bitters (from $13; 616 S. Salisbury Street; 10thandterrace.com)

Shop The Village District’s Sidewalk Sale

For three days, participating shops in The Village District will host one big sidewalk sale, with retailers offering specials on select merchandise for an outdoor shopping extravaganza. Participating retailers include clothing boutique Fab’rik, running shop Fleet Feet Raleigh, outfitter Great Outdoor Provision Co., stationery shop If It’s Paper and many others. After working up an appetite from all the shopping, stop into one of the nearby locally owned eateries for a bite or cup of tea.
July 19 – 21 | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Free admission; 2068 Clark Avenue; shopvillagedistrict.com

Make Recycled Art with the Scrap Exchange at the Gregg

Draw inspiration from three bodies of work on view at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design, BABENGA — The Sacred Forest, Material Messages: The Tales Textiles Tell and Selections from the Collections, which each include work made from repurposed materials. In partnership with the Durham-based artsy thrift store The Scrap Exchange, make your own piece of art from recycled materials in the museum’s pollinator garden. This event is limited to 15 attendees, so go ahead and register!
July 25 | 5 – 7 p.m.; Free; 1903 Hillsborough Street; gregg.arts.ncsu.edu

See Raleigh Little Theatre’s Our Town

Raleigh Little Theatre’s 2024 Teens on Stage and Teens Backstage summer program presents its grand finale, Our Town. Set in an idyllic, fictional New Hampshire town, the plot follows its citizens as they navigate their everyday life in the early 1900s. This 21st-century adaptation based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play consists of three acts — “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage” and “Death and Eternity”— incorporating culture and language from the present day.
July 25 – Aug. 4 | Various times; From $16; 301 Pogue Street; raleighlittletheatre.org 

Hear Tune Swingers at Fred Fletcher Park

The City of Raleigh’s summer concert series returns to Fred Fletcher Park and Pullen Park. Bring a picnic and a blanket to enjoy local music and singing groups most Sunday evenings. On July 28, jazz and swing group Tune Swingers Orchestra will be featured. The series will run through September, alternating between parks.
July 28 | 6 – 8 p.m; Free; 820 Clay Street; raleighnc.gov  

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