North Carolina / travel / United States

City of Oaks, Part Two: 5 Free Things to do in Raleigh

My boyfriend has been traveling more than me lately, and it’s pissing me off. He’s even at a  Phish show right now. Having the time of his life, probably. Meanwhile I’m stuck here with Kitty, too banged up to go in public, accumulating debt from the dentist.

A constant theme of Jon’s travels has been the high price of beer. It made me think about how cheap Raleigh really is compared with other cities. According to this website, the cost of living here is 6.7% below national average.

And you know what’s even cheaper than that? All the free shit that Raleigh has to offer.

5 Free Things to do in Raleigh

Visit the North Carolina Museum of Art

So I don’t know if this is because it was my first time being at the art museum by myself, but I just had, like, a total experience there. I sat down on a nice bench for like 30 minutes. Not doing anything. Just at peace. It was weird, man. And I know it wasn’t the art, either, because I was in the renaissance area and I’ve seen enough of that shit to last a lifetime. Oh, wait…maybe it was the Vicodin the dentist gave me.

Either way, the museum itself has an awesome vibe.


Quiet, peaceful, and well lit but not too bright. Basically, a great place for nursing a hangover.


Looking back, this was definitely the least annoyed I was in any museum that day. The only dumb remark I heard the entire time was a lady looking at a huge Dutch allegory and saying “these artsy people were so weird, look at all this weird stuff in this painting.”  Ha, I guess somebody missed out on Art Appreciation at their local community college. *coughI’manexpertcough*


And, as I’ve mentioned before, the museum is surrounded by a sweet park with statues and art and whatnot.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, and 9 pm on Fridays. The art park is open all the time, and you can ride your bike on the paved portions. Plus, there’s not a sign saying not to ride your scooter on the trail, which is exactly the same as having a sign saying to ride your scooter on the trail.

After a few hours in the art museum you’ll be hungry. You know what my favorite kind of food is? Yeah that’s right, free food.

Get Your Friend to Buy You Lunch


The nice thing about wrecking your scooter, destroying your face, and having to miss work all week is that it makes your friends want to buy you shit. I think it’s their subconscious way of trying to even out how shitty life is sometimes. Either way, it’s nice. And with Beasley’s crazy-ass $7 for a chicken biscuit (one of the least expensive menu items), I’m not complaining. Thanks, Benito!

Stop by the North Carolina Museum of History


It will come as a surprise to many to hear that I’m nerd. I know, shocking right? But it’s true. Despite my intimidating beauty, cool demeanor, and charming ways I am actually a huge nerd with a hard on for historic shit. So obviously I love the history museum.

I love it’s kick ass interactive displays that you have to shove kids out of the way to play with.


I love it’s weird exhibits on cabinet makers,


and politically incorrect slave displays.

Anyone who works with me knows how much I adore propaganda posters, so I was excited to see those, too.


And I love that they’re doing this at the end of the month! Because Gone with the Wind ROCKS.

The History Museum is open from 9 to 5 everyday except Sunday, when it opens at noon. I went on a Saturday and there were only a few kids, mostly in the Girl Scout exhibit, which I skipped because no cookies were provided.

Rush through the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science


Okay, yall, holy shit. The Science museum is, like, so cool. I only went in because I had an hour to kill before meeting a friend for a beer, but I was so excited that I ran around trying to squeeze everything into the hour.


They have fucking whales! Lots of them, too!


They have exhibits that show you what real ecosystems are like, you guys!


The hour passed super quick, punctuated by me trying to get around people who don’t move on escalators. I mean, seriously, what is that? Am I the only one who doesn’t just freeze in place like musical chairs? You’re allowed to move, people. Just don’t wear fucking crocs, and you’ll be alright.


Going to the Science museum cleared up the mystery of why there weren’t any kids at the art or history. They were all here, being little assholes. Screaming, pushing to play with the interactive shit. Which really annoys me. I want to learn too.

And the best part?! You guys are gonna shit yourself.



By the time I found this guy, it was like 5 minutes to closing, but I didn’t give a fuck. Dinosaurs. Are. The. Coolest.


The science museum has the same hours as the history one and is one most likely to be packed with screaming children and their obese, slow moving parents. On a scale of 1-5, I’d recommend having at least 2 beers before entering.

Browse Father & Son Antiques


Continuing the theme of looking at cool shit for free, this place is loaded with funky retro disco dresses, knickknacks, vinyl albums, and amazing furniture I wish I had in my home.

I’ve never actually purchased anything from the store, but it’s a sweet place to kill an hour or so while you’re downtown and your waitress friend just got sat another 4-top while you’re waiting for her.

There you go, cheapskates. Enough free activities here to keep you and your stupid kids occupied for a weekend. Sure, I packed it into an afternoon, but I was alternating coffee and beer-which, as I’m sure you know, gives you superpowers.


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