Being low on cash doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun and enriching experience in Downtown Raleigh. Downtown Raleigh is home to a variety of popular museums and hosts tons of free festivals throughout the year. History buffs, science buffs and art fiends alike will find plenty of attractions and events to suit their tastes without any admission fees.

These free Downtown Raleigh attractions provide extensive opportunities for education and entertainment all year-long.

City of Raleigh Museum

If you want to learn more about the City of Raleigh, your first stop should be the City of Raleigh Museum. Here you will find 200 years of artifacts, images, and multimedia exhibits about Raleigh’s history. Currently, it is also hosting an exhibit titled “You Really Stuck It To Me Today”: The Political Cartoons of Dwane Powell.” This educational and entertaining exhibit will be on display through 2019.

North Carolina History Museum

History buffs that want to learn more about the history of North Carolina as a whole will certainly want to pay a visit to the North Carolina History Museum. Here you will find exhibits such as The Story of North Carolina, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame as well as traveling exhibits. Currently, it is hosting the Shape of Fashion – a look at the history of women’s clothing. It will be on display until May 6, 2018.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

In Downtown Raleigh, it’s pretty straightforward to find the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Just look for the giant globe on Jones Street! It’s packed with interactive experiences and living collections, such as reptiles and fish. It also hosts events such as Bugfest, a popular event featuring many six-legged creatures!

North Carolina State Capitol

Taking a stroll around the North Carolina State Capitol is an education in itself. This beautiful building is a stunning example of Greek Revival architecture. It was completed in 1840. On the grounds, you will find statues of U.S. presidents that hail from North Carolina. Tours of the interior of the building can be arranged by calling 919-807-7950 or 866-724-8687.

Free Special Events & Festivals

Downtown Raleigh hosts many fun, FREE, and educational festivals throughout the year. A few to look out for include Artsplosure, a celebration of all kinds of arts, the African American Cultural Festival and Caribmask, a Caribbean Carnival. These festivals are free to attend and often include live performances and educational activities.

Though all of these fantastic attractions are free, we encourage you to donate and purchase items from local vendors. These free museums and festivals are essential to making Downtown Raleigh a great place to live, and we want to keep it that way!

So what are some of your favorite attractions 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