Our Five Faves

Best downtown Raleigh festivals

Posted April 6, 2015
Updated April 7, 2015

Downtown Raleigh hosts a wealth of festivals to meet any taste.

Maybe it's the perfect southern weather. Maybe its the food and craft beer scene that's grown so robust in recent years. Whatever the reason, the Triangle loves a festival, and the season has only just begun.

If you like arts and crafts, food trucks and live music, you can fill your calendar just about every weekend from here to Thanksgiving with some event within an hour's drive. But we chose to focus on the biggest and best right here in the state capital.

These are our Five Fave Festivals in downtown Raleigh:

Artsplosure: The Raleigh Arts Festival is the one that started it all. As others join a crowded calendar, Artsplosure distinguishes itself with ever-higher standards for the visual and performing arts. Be sure to bring your credit card to this one. You are sure to find a one-of-a-kind, must-have gift or home decoration.

Ten years in, World Beer Festival Raleigh has grown so successful that organizers All About Beer Magazine are selling fewer tickets to ease crowding and create a better experience. There is unlimited sampling at two sessions – afternoon and evening, but don't expect sloppy drinkers. Brewer have time to talk to guests and the event includes music, food trucks and games like giant Jenga and Connect Four.

And if you are looking for a celebration of specifically North Carolina beer, Brewgaloo is the place to be on April 25. In its third year, the festival has grown to include local vendors, food and music.

As the reputation of Hopscotch Music Fest grows, visitors from across the country and around the world cash in on wristbands for all-access concerts by up-and-coming bands. The addition of a Design Festival in 2014 expanded this three-day music extravaganza to a forward-thinking, cross-platform arts event. Sure, you can pay big bucks to see headliners. Or you can just wander around and expand your mind.

Sparkcon is a confluence of events, "sparks," around film, music, poetry, dance and other expressions of creativity. We love this one for the mind-bending geekSPARK and ideaSPARK that give an audience to the audacious and the blocks of amazing chalk creations on Fayetteville Street.

Experience the music, dance and crafts of cultures from around the world at the International Focus Festival, a true smorgasbord for the senses. You'll want to go easy on the diet in the days leading up to this one so that you can sample with wide variety of authentic cuisines cooked up in sidewalk cafes.


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