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Dreamville Festival: What To Do in Downtown Raleigh

The third annual Dreamville Festival, hosted by rapper and NC-native J. Cole, is coming to Raleigh April 1st and 2nd. Thousands of fans from across the country will flock to the historic Dorothea Dix Park to watch their favorite musical artists perform live less than 2 miles away from the heart of NC’s capital city: Downtown Raleigh.  

Downtown is a convenient and central location for Dreamville attendees to spend their time away from festival grounds. It’s a vibrant center of activity home to a thriving creative culture and small business community.

Dreamville Festival describes itself as a “one-of-a-kind celebration of local culture, food, and art.” So in the spirit of Dreamville’s love for all things local, we put together this guide of unique, locally-owned businesses and attractions for festival-goers visiting Downtown Raleigh.

“Dancing Queen” – Baby Tate

Order a drink (or two) at one of these fun downtown bars & nightlife concepts. Learn how you can enjoy alcoholic beverages while walking around the city in the Sip N' Stroll Downtown social district

The Architect Bar and Social House

House of Art

Johnson Street Yacht Club

Junction West

Neptunes Parlour

The Pour House Music Hall & Record Shop

Ruby Deluxe

Slim’s Downtown Distillery 

William & Company

Zenith Raleigh


“Drip” - City Girls

Grab any last-minute clothing, shoes, or accessories for your festival fit to make sure you’re looking fresh. Find more shopping in Downtown Raleigh.

Black Friday Market

Edge of Urge

Father and Son Antiques

Munjo Munjo

One of One Boutique


Social Status 

Unlikely Professionals

Unorthodox Vintage


“Up Late” – Ari Lennox 

End your long day with a much-needed meal at one of these Downtown Raleigh eateries serving food late into the evening. Need some fuel before the day starts? Check out our list of restaurants serving breakfast.


El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant

Gringo A Go Go

Hibernian Irish Pub & Restaurant

MoJoe’s Burger Joint 

Morgan Street Food Hall

The Pizza Times

Tin Roof 

The London Bridge Pub 

The Station at Person Street

Vic's Italian Cafe & Pizzeria

Woody’s at City Market 

Benny Capitale's Pizza 


“Photograph” - J. Cole

Here’s some picture-worthy public art in Downtown Raleigh, tag us on Instagram to be featured! 

8-bit to 5G

All Are Welcome


Parks for the People

SECU Daily Planet

The Mount Rapmore of the 2010s  


“Dopamine” - Bas

Stay entertained and have fun during your downtime exploring the city. 


Boxcar Bar and Arcade 

The Burrow

CAM Raleigh 

Epic Axe

Hunky Dory

Lump Gallery 

NERD Escape Room

Original Selfie Museum

Side Quest Game Lounge and Bar


“The Ride” - Drake 

Transportation options to-and-from the festival and ways to get around Downtown Raleigh. 

Dreamville Parties in Downtown Raleigh

Hops on Wax Vol. 2 State of Beer

Friday, March 31

State of Beer is kicking off Dreamville weekend with an open deck hosted by Oak City Soul from 6-11pm, followed by a DJ set to get you through the evening. While you vibe out to some local DJs, dig through some vinyl record crates.

Dreamville Festival Pop-up Bar ⎻ House of Art

Friday, March 31 & Saturday, April 1

House of Art is a non-traditional pop-up bar at a historic house across from Moore Square in the heart of downtown Raleigh. They showcase local artists of various talents, which can be experienced through the decor, drinks, music, and events.

Gold Mouf Garage: Dreamville Day Party Pop-UpRaleigh Union Station

Friday, March 31

Dreamville artist Gold Mouf is hosting a pop-up day party at Raleigh Union Station featuring live music and shopping from vendors including Downtown Raleigh retailer One of One Lab Boutique

Up With Olu & ZiZi: Dreamville Mindfulness Session ⎻ Dose Yoga Studio & Smoothie Bar

Friday, March 31

“Up With Olu & ZiZi” is back at it again for year 2! Join this mindfulness session to ground you pre-festival with vibes by DJ Dark Knight. The event is free with RSVP but space is limited.

J.Reid & Maison de LaFlare Showroom Dreamville Weekend ⎻ Rolley 

Friday, March 31

J.Reid & Maison de LaFlare present a new showroom during Dreamville Weekend. Including new collection pieces and complimentary champagne. 

Neptunesville ⎻ Neptunes Parlour

Sunday, April 2

Wrap-up Dreamville Weekend with a comedy show featuring a lineup of some of the hottest comics Raleigh has to offer: Lauren Polli, Chris Rivoli, Aaron Ransom, and Helen Wildy.