It’s the weekend, you want to have some fun in Downtown Raleigh, but your bank account says otherwise. No worries, there are usually plenty of free activities to be found in Downtown Raleigh.

In Raleigh, y’all means all – rich, poor and everything in between. Everyone deserves to have a great time. Check out these 100% FREE Downtown Raleigh activities:

First Friday

There are so many talented artists in Downtown Raleigh and First Friday is an amazing opportunity for you to experience their work. The event takes place on the first Friday of every month. During First Friday, Downtown Raleigh art galleries and boutiques stay open late. Stroll the city streets and check out some amazing art. Some galleries even offer free wine and beer for you to sip while you browse.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival

Don your favorite green shirt and head to Downtown Raleigh for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival! This free event typically occurs on the closest Saturday to St. Patrick’s Day. As luck would have it, St. Patrick’s Day actually falls on Saturday, March 17th in 2018! Enjoy a parade, Irish music, dancers and more!

Out! Raleigh

Out! Raleigh is an inclusive, family-oriented festival that includes live entertainment, local vendors, and a KidsZone. It typically takes place in May over in City Plaza. Though it is a free event, it also serves as a fundraiser for the LGBT Center of Raleigh, so please donate if you can.


Artsplosure is another FREE event that takes place in May. As the name indicates, it is a celebration of the arts. It includes live performances, an art market, and plenty of activities for the kids.

PNC Downtown Raleigh Movie Series

During the summer, City Plaza transforms into a huge outdoor community movie theater for the PNC Downtown Raleigh Movie Series! Enjoy a comedy or a drama under the stars during a warm summer night free of charge.

African American Cultural Festival

The African American Cultural Festival is a free event that typically occurs in September. It is a celebration of African American culture and includes art, music, and food.


SparkCon is a can’t-miss Downtown Raleigh event featuring artists of all types. Chalk art lines the streets along with live performances by musicians, acrobats, dancers, and more. SparkCon typically takes place the second week in September. Admission is FREE!

Monthly Special Events + Festivals

Other free events in Downtown Raleigh include Caribmask, a Caribbean Carnival, and Winterfest. This is just a short list of free activities in Downtown Raleigh. Keep an eye on the Downtown Raleigh events calendar for free performances, festivals, and activities. You don’t have to have a lot of money to have a good time in Downtown Raleigh!

So what are some of your favorite free activities and events in Downtown Raleigh? Please be sure to hit us up on Twitter @919BlogNC or visit our Facebook page at and let us know! We would love to hear from ya.

This post was created in collaboration with the Downtown Raleigh Blog editorial team and 919 Blog contributor Amy Howard for exclusive digital publication via TBN