What to Do in November 2023 In and Around Raleigh

This month invites cozy twilight garden walks, festive performing arts shows and craft fairs for early holiday gifting.
by Addie Ladner

November in Raleigh always feels extra-special when the leaves are golden, the nights are chilly and the excitement of the holiday season is setting in. Spend it savoring things like illuminated moonlight walks at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum or Koka Booth Amphitheater, a wine-paired Dutch meal at NCMA and leisurely strolls through craft fairs at places like Fred Fletcher Park. Whatever you do, try use these local arts and culture offerings as a way to relish a cozy, relaxed month before hitting the hustle button come December.

Enjoy at Feast for the Senses at the NCMA’s Dutch Chef’s Table

Art and cuisine merge at the North Carolina Museum of Art inspired by the exhibition Dutch Art in a Global Age: Masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Hosted in the East Café, the evening begins with a cocktail hour, followed by a private tour of the exhibition by associate curator of European art Michele Frederick. Then it’s time for a Dutch-inspired wine dinner, curated by chef Rich Carter. “Having these culinary opportunities is what I love most about my career,” he says. “The food will honor the development of haute cuisine during that time.” On the menu: Dutch recipes with a contemporary twist, including poffertjes (tiny pancakes from the region) and hutspot (a root vegetable mash) with smoked sausage.
Nov. 2 | 6 p.m.; $150; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

Take a Walk in the Dark

Just beyond the reaches of city lights, these natural areas offer great views of the moon and stars — and stay open late through the fall. Here are five hikes that showcase the night sky in all its fall splendor.

See Raleigh Little Theatre’s Misery

Reality becomes alarming when romance novelist Paul Sheldon wakes up in an unfamiliar home. Diehard fan Annie Wilkes has rescued him from a car accident — but things take a frightening turn when Sheldon realizes he’s being held captive. Based on the gripping novel by Stephen King, this production by Raleigh Little Theatre will have you at the edge of your seat.
Nov. 2 – 5 | Various times; From $29; 301 Pogue Street; raleighlittletheatre.org

Dance it Out with DJ Moeskieno at Haymaker

Round up your best pals for a fun Friday night of dancing at The Haymaker for R&B Fridays with guest DJ Moeskieno, who will be spinning 1990s-inspired house tunes, R&B tracks and Afrobeat. Loosen up before hitting the dance floor with one of their original and inventive craft cocktails, like the Dirty Chai Martini (made with brandy, rum, amaretto and espresso) or the Smoke Show (which combines bourbon, sherry, pineapple, lime and cardamom).
Fridays | 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.; Free to dance; 555 Fayetteville Street, #115; thehaymakerraleigh.com

See New Work by Daniel Kelly

Raleigh artist Daniel Kelly will be presenting a new body of work titled Seeing Things at the old Dr. Pepper warehouse building on S. Dawson Street. The work is inspired by Kelly’s love of architectural spaces, especially in their skeletal form and the stories he sees in them. “When I go by a building either being taken a part or being built, its a scaffolding for imagination. It has the generative moment, where it could be lots of things. There’s lots of potential,” he says. The pieces are done mostly using pencil and graphite which Kelly has been working on for several years now. Some of the pieces stem from his memories as a child being captivated by ruins in Europe when even at a young age, he was taken aback by dilapidated spaces. “I tried to reimagine places I’ve gone before. One of my most visceral memories is walking into this Roman forum, a huge fallen-down vaulted space and I was struck by the proportions of it, how exquisite it was. It is amazingly well done and a pure visceral experience with space. And I was just a kid walking into this big coliseum.” Folks can catch either the opening or closing reception or schedule an appointment on Kelly’s website to see the body of work at a different time this month.  

Nov. 3 | Opening reception: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Nov. 18 Closing reception 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Free admission; danielkellyiv.com

Run the Schenck Forest Trail Race

The Carl Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest is known for its quiet, scenic trails among the 245-acre pine forest managed by NC State University. The Schenck Forest Trail Race journeys through the woods on a mostly single-track 6.2-mile trail parallel to the shore of Richland Creek, up grassy hills and over bridges. Proceeds from this race will go towards the Raleigh chapter of Haven House Services, which offers support to youth on issues from bullying to poverty to mental health.
Nov. 4 |  8 – 11:30 a.m.; $55; Reedy Creek Road; search “Schenck Forest” on runsignup.com 

Hear Dawn Landes at the North Carolina Museum of History

Tar Heel Troubadours, a music series hosted by the North Carolina Museum of History, is hosting Dawn Landes this month. Landes, who now lives in Chapel Hill, will be celebrating the upcoming 10-year anniversary of her record Bluebird. The indie-folk singer-songwriter has all sorts of music collaborations on her resumé, from hits on shows like Gossip Girl and The Good Wife to working with music icons like Norah Jones and Sufjan Stevens. Tar Heel Troubadours was launched this year to celebrate the many music genres with roots in North Carolina, from bluegrass to Americana.
Nov. 4 | 6:30 – 7 p.m.; From $12; 5 E. Edenton Street; ncmuseumofhistory.org

Don’t forget to give back

November brings with it a host of predictable delights: gathering, feasting and, at last, savoring the crisp air of autumn. It’s also a time set aside from the hustle — a moment to slow down, notice what we’ve been given and offer up thanks. If the spirit of the season nudges your gratitude into action, consider supporting one of these 25 high-impact local nonprofits. They represent just a few of the many worthy organizations in our area whose important work deserves our recognition. From caretaking to conservation, advocacy to athletics, your financial contributions are critical to their continued work helping our neighbors who need it most.

Take the Kids to the Fall Arts Fair at Fletcher Park

Hosted by the Raleigh Parks & Recreation department, this autumn craft and culture festival at Fred Fletcher Park is an opportunity to knock out some of your holiday shopping while entertaining the kids. Enjoy art demonstrations, poems-on-demand from The Poetry Fox and folk tunes by Wayne Schindler, along with fare from Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck and Paris Delight Bakery & Creperie Food Truck. Creative duo Little Red Birds, made up of Dave Devlin and artist Amanda Wilson, will be there with their simultaneous music and painting show in the afternoon. Find work for sale from artisans including Melissa Hill, who paints still-life watercolors; Steve Karloski, who makes ceramic vessels and wildlife figures; and Denise Mosco, who crafts her Humble Hands Jewelry from beads and metal.
Nov. 4 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.;Free admission; 820 Clay Street; raleighnc.gov/arts

See Funny Girl at DPAC

The musical that launched Barbra Streisand’s award-winning career is coming to the Durham Performing Arts Center. Funny Girl is the true story of comedian, actress and singer Fanny Brice’s rise to stardom — a love letter to theater and a reminder that beauty lives within.
Nov. 7 – 12 | Various times; From $30; 123 Vivian Street, Durham; dpac.com 

Experience Moonlight in the Garden at the JC Raulston Arboretum

Experience the JC Raulston Arboretum at twilight, illuminated by artful light displays. Meander through the garden’s 7 acres, including an interactive exhibit in the Japanese Garden and bold, moving colors in the Xeric and Scree Gardens. “It’s a chance for us to share what a magical place the Arboretum can be at night,” says  director Mark Weathington. Enjoy music from bands like blues-jazz group Tea Cup Gin or soulful trio Peridot Sun. Kids and grownups alike will enjoy roasting marshmallows and drinking apple cider by the fire pits (included in ticket price), and a host of food trucks including Gussy’s Greek Street Food, Belgian Waffle Crafters and Hollywood Taco Shop will be on-site. Proceeds from the event benefit this free, public sanctuary with one of the largest and most diverse varieties of native botanicals in the South.
Nov. 9 – 11, 16 – 18 | 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.; From $20; 4415 Beryl Road; jcra.ncsu.edu

Hear the Eagles for the Last Time at PNC

Since 1971, the Eagles have been one of the most iconic rock bands in the world, with multiple Grammys  and countless classic hits like “Hotel California,” “Desperado” and “Already Gone.” This month brings the band to PNC arena for its farewell tour with Steely Dan, another iconic American rock band.
Nov. 9 | 7:30 p.m; From $365; 1400 Edwards Mill Road; pncarena.com

See Artisan Cristian Massaro in Action at Quintessentials

Enjoy an authentic Italian experience with Hillsborough-based homewares brand VIETRI and retailer Quintessentials at a stop on VIETRI’s Artisan Event tour. Italian painter and sculptor Cristian Massaro will be on hand painting pieces, demonstrating molding practices and discussing holiday traditions. It’s an opportunity to get to know one of the makers behind the popular dishware line. Light refreshments included.
Nov. 10 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Free; 4209 Lassiter Mill Road #119; shopquintessentials.com

See Moon Taxi with The Stews at Lincoln Theatre

Nashville-based rock band Moon Taxi will be performing with The Stews, an Auburn-based rock band. Both bands have new albums — Moon Taxi’s sixth one, Set Yourself Free, and The Stews’
debut, What Was. Catch them at Lincoln Theatre’s Outdoor Stage.
Nov. 11 | 6 – 10 p.m; From $35; 126 E. Cabarrus Street; lincolntheatre.com

See Potters Mark Hewitt and Ben Owen III in Action at The Umstead

It’s a clash of the clay titans! Ben Owen III and Mark Hewitt will be throwing pots, not punches, at the state’s first-ever Pottery Throwdown at The Umstead Hotel & Spa at the 25th anniversary of the North Carolina Pottery Center’s fundraiser, which will also feature live and silent auctions. The Center is a cornerstone of NC’s pottery community. With a gallery of contemporary works and exhibits that detail the craft’s history, it’s dedicated to “sharing North Carolina’s clay stories, past and present.” That work has historically been supported with grants and charitable gifts raised annually. Now, the Center aims to build an endowment. With a funder promising to match every dollar raised up to $400,000 a year for the next five years, the Center hopes to kick off the effort on Nov. 12, with the goal of an endowment of $4,000,000 or more. — Liza Roberts
Nov. 12 | 2 – 5 p.m.; From $125; 100 Woodland Pond Drive, Cary; ncpcgala.org 

Shop the Humble Hearts Bazaar

Shop for a good cause at the Humble Heart Bazaar, a decades-old storied tradition at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church. Tens of thousands of dollars are raised at the event with 100% of the net proceeds going directly back into the local community in the form of grants. In 2022, that looked like $61,500 distributed to 23 local organizations supporting women and children. The traditional shopping extrvagazna consists of a Marketplace, Bake Sale, Seated Lunch, Corporate Lunch, Greenery Sale, and Silent Auction.
Nov. 14 & 15 | 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Nov. 14); 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Nov. 15); Free to attend (lunch purchase options available) 2209 Fairview Road; more details here.

Head to Mulino for its Annual Turkey Ball Fundraiser

Help provide a Thanksgiving meal to a family in need at Mulino’s annual Turkey Ball. Proceeds from the event are used to purchase turkeys that get delivered to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres like arancini bites, carved meats, fresh pasta, live music, dancing and a cocktail with your ticket. There will also be opportunities to donate additional funds or sponsor a family for the holiday.
Nov. 16 | 6 – 9 p.m.; From $45; 309 N. Dawson Street; mulinoraleigh.com 

Take the Kids to a Real-Life Land of Sweets, THE DESSERTERY

Have your pick of endless confections, including a hot cocoa bar (with more than 100 toppings available!), chocolates, pastries and ice cream, in the seasonal dessert café at the Martin Marietta Center for Performing Arts’ Kennedy Theatre. Make a plan for your sweets-filled field trip to coincide with a holiday show or check the calendar for live entertainment on select nights.
Nov. 17 – Dec. 23  | Mon. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; From $28; 2 E. South Street; martinmariettacenter.com

Experience the Chinese Lantern Festival at Koka Booth

More than 40 artisan-made light sculptures of dragons, birds and stars, plus interactive tunnels and displays, will be at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre during the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival. Take advantage of the Twilight Experience, a chance to tour the displays before the festival opens, or opt for a VIP experience to learn about the history of Chinese lanterns and the process of making them. Flexible-date tickets and sensory-friendly options are all available.
Nov. 17 –  Jan. 14 | Various times; From $30; 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary; boothamphitheatre.com

Celebrate Art in All its Forms at Artspace’s Art Bash Fundraiser

Calling all art collectors and supporters! Iconic art from all over the state will converge at this fundraiser at Artspace. The evening will be broken into three parts: an art show with work available for purchase, a live art auction, and music while guests enjoy beverages and dessert. Notable creatives like painter Beverly McIver and installation artist Maya Freelon will have work in the auction. Arts advocate and author Liza Roberts and Linda Shropshire Eudy, founder of Ella West Gallery, will be co-chairing the evening. “Our annual fall fundraiser is back by popular demand, with new twists that reflect Artspace’s recent growth and transition into a bold, bright future. Join us for this reimagined celebration of NC artists and the art that shapes our state’s rich cultural fabric.” says Artspace president Carly Jones.
Nov. 18 | 6 – 11 p.m.; $150; 201 E. Davie Street; artspacenc.org

Learn About Corn Grinding at Yates Mill County Park

Step back in time during a 30-minute tour of Historic Yates Mill County Park’s 18th-century grist mill, the last operating one in the county. Hear the splash of water on the waterwheel and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tickets are available in the mill yard on the day of the tour or online, and bags of fresh ground corn will be available to purchase. Take advantage of the trails surrounding Yates Millpond before or after the demonstration to stretch your legs and take in the fall foliage.
Nov. 18 & 19 | Various times; From $5; 4620 Lake Wheeler Road; wake.gov 

Celebrate Seagrove Potters

The Celebration of Seagrove Potters 16th Annual Festival showcases the work of almost 50 potters in the Pottery Capital of the USA. Twenty potters will exhibit and sell new work at the Luck’s Cannery, a ticketed event. Those wishing early entry on Saturday morning can buy $25 per person ticket, and enter at 8 am. Visitors can also visit almost 30 potters on a self-guided studio tour during the same time; studio tours are free, and maps provided at Luck’s Cannery. In addition to browsing and buying the work on exhibition at Luck’s Cannery, visitors can also see live pottery demonstrations. A collaborative auction—where two Seagrove Potters team up to create a piece that merges their distinctive styles—will also be open for bidding through Sunday afternoon.
$8 admission, various locations; discoverseagrove.com

Listen to the Sounds of Holidays at Hogwarts

You will want to use your time-turner to relive this two-hour concert by the North Carolina Symphony at Meymandi Concert Hall, featuring scores from the iconic Harry Potter films by composer John Williams. Concert goers of all ages are encouraged to don their best wizard wear and enter the costume contest to win points for their house.
Nov. 22 – 25 | Various times; From $30; 2 E. South Street; ncsymphony.org 

Host a Well-Seasoned Thanksgiving

Preeti Waas warn born in India, but she married into a family of “potato lovers” who love their traditions. In the early days of her marriage with husband John, she says, “I remember cheerfully broaching the idea of a tandoori turkey, and the horrified looks I got from the family!” So instead, she’s slowly honed a menu that’s full of Thanksgiving staples, just slightly tweaked with warm spices and Indian ingredients. The Waas family regularly hosts dozens of people for Thanksgiving, so she has a few prep tips, too. Read on for Preeti Waas’ tips and Thanksgiving recipes.

Cheer on Your Favorite Team at the UNC vs. NC State Game

It’ll be a sea of blue and red as rivals University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University battle it out at Carter-Finley stadium. Whether you’re team Tar Heel or Wolfpack, take advantage of one of the last football games of the season. Reserve a tailgate spot to make a day of it. Nov. 25; Time TBD; From $106; 4600 Trinity Road; gopack.com

This originally appeared in the November 2023 issue of WALTER magazine.