The City of Oaks is the perfect vacation spot for families on a budget. North Carolina’s capital has a variety of attractions sure to keep everyone happy. Raleigh is quickly making a name for itself as one of the South’s hottest dining cities with more than 1,000 restaurants to choose from. In the fall, the city hosts the largest event in the Tar Heel State and boasts of live music and performances in the summer. 

Here are five things to do and see while in Raleigh.

5...North Carolina State Fair
The city named for Sir Walter Raleigh now hosts the largest event in North Carolina. More than 1 million people travel to the city to participate in the North Carolina State fair every year. Magic shows, live music and pumpkin carving are just a few of the exciting activities scheduled for 2013’s week-long fair. Book your tickets to Raleigh to take part in the fun this year from October 17-27.

4...Live music at no cost
Visit Raleigh in the summer for the free, annual, all-day multi-show music event at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek. Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw and the Black Keys are just a few of the performers set to line the stage this summer for the venues paid shows. Also check out the nearby Koka Booth Amphitheater, seating 7,000 people and featuring dynamic performers.

3...Fine dining
With more than 1,000 restaurants, visitors will not go hungry at the one of the South’s prime dining destinations. Try all kinds of cuisine from Asian fusion, to Mediterranean and classic American style restaurants. Try Sullivan’s Steakhouse in downtown Raleigh for the chef’s signature Hong Kong-style Chilean sea bass and Chili Crusted Ribeye.

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2...Sports at all levels
Raleigh is home to several sports teams at all levels, from professional to college-level teams. Check out the North Carolina State Wolfpack football team at the Carter–Finley Stadium. The Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, the Carolina Mudcats play at the 6,500 seat-capacity Five County Stadium. Raleigh is also home to the 2006 Stanley Cup winners, the Carolina Hurricanes.

For an action-packed event, check the Carolina Rollergirls’ website for a complete schedule of games. The all-women’s roller derby league is a non-profit organization which promotes mental and physical strength among women, also helps to support a number of charity organizations.

1...Budget-friendly museums
A trip to Raleigh would not be complete without visiting one of the city’s wide-range of museums of which many offer free admission. Founded in 1902, the North Carolina Museum of History, features a detailed outline of the history of the Old North State. The museum has no admission fee and has plenty of exhibits designed with children in mind.

Also visit the largest natural history museum in the Southeast to learn about the prehistoric wildlife of North Carolina. The NC Museum of History is home to the world’s most complete Thescelosaurus ever found. Children and adults can explore the various exhibits and will come to appreciate some of the state’s greatest natural treasures.