Raleigh's 25 Most Popular Things to Do in 2018, Ranked by You

By Erin Greenawald
Wednesday, Dec 19 2018

While we all have our personal favorite things we did in Raleigh in 2018 (mine is a tie between weekly ice cream trips to the new Two Roosters this summer and exploring The Bittery's reopened cocktail supply shop and soda fountain), the data doesn't lie when it comes to figuring out the most popular spots. We crunched the numbers, punched the computer keys and did some unnecessary stuff with a calculator just to look smart, all in the name of gathering the top 25 spots y'all just couldn't stop loving on this year.

If you've done all these things, revel in the nostalgia (and use this as a reminder to go visit your faves). And if some of these are new to you? Think of this as the perfect start to your 2019 bucket list. 

We'll also be revisiting some of our favorite moments of the year on our Facebook and Instagram feeds, so make sure to follow us there. And if you're just in it for the noms, check out our list of the best new restaurant openings in the Triangle in 2018.

Did we miss your favorite experience of 2018? Email editor@offlinemedia.net and let us know about the top things you did in Raleigh this year!

Taste a Little of Everything at Morgan Street Food Hall at Morgan Street Food Hall & Market
Photo by @raleighraw

1. Taste a Little of Everything at Morgan Street Food Hall

Get ready for all the local eats at the first food hall in downtown Raleigh!

Taste a Little of Everything at Morgan Street Food Hall
$   .  Morgan Street Food Hall & Market   .  Raleigh
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Roll Into Milk Lab in Cary at Milk Lab
Photo by @ash_du_

2. Roll Into Milk Lab in Cary

Enjoy Thai style hand-rolled ice cream with unlimited toppings made right before your eyes at Milk Lab in Cary! Pair your treat with a delicious assortment of boba milk teas made with organic milk.

Roll Into Milk Lab in Cary
$   .  Milk Lab   .  Cary
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Sip in Secret at Raleigh's Hidden Bar at Greenlight
Photo by @greenlightbar

3. Sip in Secret at Raleigh's Hidden Bar

The Green Light nods back to the era of speakeasies and simpler times. It's an oasis for imbibing craft cocktails and beer with a classy and cozy ambiance. Find your way in—but don't tell anyone!

Sip in Secret at Raleigh's Hidden Bar
$$   .  Greenlight   .  Raleigh
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Dine on Eclectic Korean Bites at Seoul 116 at Seoul 116
Photo by @seoul116

4. Dine on Eclectic Korean Bites at Seoul 116

City Market Sushi has a new sister restaurant on N. West Street. Seoul 116 is focused on Korean fare, the menu is filled with fun twists on Korean classics. Don't miss their boozy Capri Suns.

Dine on Eclectic Korean Bites at Seoul 116
$$   .  Seoul 116   .  Raleigh
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[CLOSED] Get Smashed at Smashed Waffles at Smashed Waffles
Photo by @pamelaine923

5. Get Smashed at Smashed Waffles

Two NC bros are bringing crazy smashed waffles to Hillsborough St. The menu is made up of waffle-wiches, candy covered waffles and ice cream waffle-wiches. Sugar coma here we come!

[CLOSED] Get Smashed at Smashed Waffles
$   .  Smashed Waffles   .  Raleigh
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Sip to Skyline Views at Boylan Bridge Brewpub at Boylan Bridge Brewpub
Photo by @ashley_eliza_coaks

6. Sip to Skyline Views at Boylan Bridge Brewpub

Boylan Bridge Brewpub, a local brewery that has one of the most magnificent views of Raleigh.

Sip to Skyline Views at Boylan Bridge Brewpub
$   .  Boylan Bridge Brewpub   .  Raleigh
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Snag a Boozy Slushie at Taco Bell Cantina at Taco Bell Cantina
Photo by @kensellersips

7. Snag a Boozy Slushie at Taco Bell Cantina

You heard us right: A Taco Bell WITH BOOZE is now open on Hillsborough.

Snag a Boozy Slushie at Taco Bell Cantina
$   .  Taco Bell Cantina   .  Raleigh
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Get Craft Cocktails and Coffee at Fig at Fig
Photo by @figraleigh

8. Get Craft Cocktails and Coffee at Fig

Fig is serving up coffee, craft cocktails, and tapas in Raleigh's Oakwood neighborhood. Come for the food and libations, stay for the massive patio and rustic-modern vibe!

Get Craft Cocktails and Coffee at Fig
$   .  Fig   .  Raleigh
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Soak Up Downtown Views on The Dillon Sky Terrace at The Dillon
Photo by @offlineraleighdurham

9. Soak Up Downtown Views on The Dillon Sky Terrace

Not only can you get some of the best views of DTR from The Dillon's gorgeous rooftop park, it's also BYOB, making it a great date. It won't be open to the public forever, so enjoy it while you can!

Soak Up Downtown Views on The Dillon Sky Terrace
Free   .  The Dillon   .  Raleigh
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Savor the Rainbow at NY Bagel Cafe & Deli at New York Bagel Cafe & Deli
Photo by @nc.bagel

10. Savor the Rainbow at NY Bagel Cafe & Deli

New York Bagel Café & Deli in downtown Raleigh is ready to fuel your hustle with fresh baked bagels, delicious sandwiches and house-made salads. Don't forget to try their coffee and fruit smoothies!

Savor the Rainbow at NY Bagel Cafe & Deli
$   .  New York Bagel Cafe & Deli   .  Raleigh
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Check Out First Friday at Downtown Raleigh
Photo by @vaeraleigh

11. Check Out First Friday

Experience art in all of its forms during First Friday in downtown Raleigh. From fire dancers to fine art, First Friday promises to impress and entertain.

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Check Out First Friday
Free   .  Downtown Raleigh   .  Raleigh
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Snag a Pie at The Pizza Times at The Pizza Times
Photo by @raleighpizzatimes

12. Snag a Pie at The Pizza Times

From lunch to late night, satisfy your cravings at The Pizza Times, a walk-up window dishin' out full pies and by the slice. This new edition comes from DTR faves The Raleigh Times and Morning Times.

Snag a Pie at The Pizza Times
$   .  The Pizza Times   .  Raleigh
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Cool Down at Vida Dulce at Vida Dulce
Photo by @foodieteee

13. Cool Down at Vida Dulce

Who's ready to live la Vida Dulce? Now open in Cary just in time for summer, Vida Dulce is serving up traditional Mexican paletas, aguas frescas, ice cream and more. Time to satisfy that sweet tooth!

Cool Down at Vida Dulce
$   .  Vida Dulce   .  Cary
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Cheers at the Beer Garden at Raleigh Beer Garden
Photo by @elleclarity

14. Cheers at the Beer Garden

Kick back with a pint in hand at the world-renowned Raleigh Beer Garden.

Cheers at the Beer Garden
$   .  Raleigh Beer Garden   .  Raleigh
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Do the Time Warp at Rialto's Rocky Horror at The Rialto Theatre
Photo by @eyannagruver

15. Do the Time Warp at Rialto's Rocky Horror

If you're not easily spooked and like a little underwear running to accompany an evening at the theater, head to the Rialto for one of our fave cult classics.

Monthly
Do the Time Warp at Rialto's Rocky Horror
$6.50   .  The Rialto Theatre   .  Raleigh
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Eat Fresh Latin American Fare at Bartaco at bartaco North Hills
Photo by @visitnorthhills

16. Eat Fresh Latin American Fare at Bartaco

This popular chain for fresh Latin American cuisine and juicy cocktails has landed in North Hills!

Eat Fresh Latin American Fare at Bartaco
$   .  bartaco North Hills   .  Raleigh
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Drink Up Wine & Art at Vita Vite North Hills  at Vita Vite Midtown
Photo by @foodieteee

17. Drink Up Wine & Art at Vita Vite North Hills

Get ready to clink glasses in Midtown—Vita Vite has opened a second location of their swanky wine bar in North Hills!

Drink Up Wine & Art at Vita Vite North Hills
$   .  Vita Vite Midtown   .  Raleigh
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Thrill Your Taste Buds at Mulino Italian Kitchen & Bar at Mulino Italian Kitchen & Bar
Photo by @naturallyfashionable

18. Thrill Your Taste Buds at Mulino Italian Kitchen & Bar

At Mulino you will find freshly prepared Italian plates and wines selected to complement each.

Thrill Your Taste Buds at Mulino Italian Kitchen & Bar
$$$   .  Mulino Italian Kitchen & Bar   .  Raleigh
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Catch a Flick and Grab a Bite at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Raleigh
Photo by @drafthouse

19. Catch a Flick and Grab a Bite at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh

The Alamo Drafthouse is serious about offering the best films, food and drinks all in one seat! Now the team that started it all in Austin, Texas is bringing the popular cinema experience to Raleigh!

Catch a Flick and Grab a Bite at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh
$   .  Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Raleigh   .  Raleigh
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Explore the Beauty of Jordan Lake at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
Photo by @terry_shore_photographer_usa

20. Explore the Beauty of Jordan Lake

Jordan Lake is the perfect day trip. Just minutes outside of the main Triangle area, this natural space provides stunning views and activities for all, from camping to swimming to fishing and more.

Explore the Beauty of Jordan Lake
Free   .  Jordan Lake State Recreation Area   .  Apex
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Get Outdoors and Explore the Neuse River Trail at Neuse River Trail
Photo by @Chana Lynn via Offline

21. Get Outdoors and Explore the Neuse River Trail

The Neuse River Trail is a 27.5 mile adventure course that will never leave you bored!

Get Outdoors and Explore the Neuse River Trail
Free   .  Neuse River Trail   .  Raleigh
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Shop Pop-Up Raleigh at Trophy on Maywood
Photo by @Raleigh What's Up

22. Shop Pop-Up Raleigh +769 fire icon

Formerly Pop-Up Sunday, Pop-Up Raleigh is DTR's original monthly vintage market. Now it's coming at you bigger and better than ever before on Saturdays at Trophy Brewing on Maywood.

Monthly
Shop Pop-Up Raleigh
Free   .  Trophy on Maywood   .  Raleigh
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Embark on a Tour of Downtown Raleigh's Best Murals at Downtown Raleigh
Photo by @raleighmuralsproject

23. Embark on a Tour of Downtown Raleigh's Best Murals

Take a self-guided tour of Raleigh's best and most vibrant murals and behold the beauty and wonder of these large scale works of public art and the awesome creative energy they share with the city.

Embark on a Tour of Downtown Raleigh's Best Murals
Free   .  Downtown Raleigh   .  Raleigh
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Savor Tasty Coffee & Mini Donuts at Sola at Sola Coffee Cafe
Photo by @spoon_uncw

24. Savor Tasty Coffee & Mini Donuts at Sola

Get a dozen of their hot mini donuts. The donuts are rolled in cinnamon and sugar and are served in a coffee filter. Don't feel that bad if you eat the whole dozen by yourself, the donuts are mini.

Savor Tasty Coffee & Mini Donuts at Sola
$   .  Sola Coffee Cafe   .  Raleigh
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Sip Coffee & Cocktails at Hummingbird at Hummingbird
Photo by @hummingbirdral

25. Sip Coffee & Cocktails at Hummingbird

Hummingbird, a new cafe, bar and event space has opened at Loading Dock Raleigh. Enjoy coffee in the morning, cocktails in the evenings and a seasonally rotating menu that will make your mouth water.

Sip Coffee & Cocktails at Hummingbird
$   .  Hummingbird   .  Raleigh
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Erin is the Editor-in-Chief at Offline Media, a constant tea drinker, a lover of street art, and a creative (always) in training.
Raleigh's 25 Most Popular Things to Do in 2018, Ranked by You
Raleigh's 25 Most Popular Things to Do in 2018, Ranked by You