Your Guide to Open Space in Downtown Raleigh
Looking for ways to get outside within city limits? Here’s your guide to outdoor spaces in Downtown Raleigh. Whether you’re looking for a place for kids to run or for a distanced work lunch, there’s a public space to meet a variety of outdoor needs.
- Moore Square
- Nash Square
- Bicentennial Plaza
- Halifax Mall
- Wells Fargo Plaza
- Lichtin Plaza
- FNB Tower Plaza
- Union Station Plaza
- Market and Exchange Plazas
- City Plaza
A Downtown Raleigh must-see, Moore Square has been a popular spot for music, art, and Moore Square Market. This city-block of open green space is great for family picnics and lawn games. Plus, there is free WiFi in the park! Additionally, fitness classes are being offered at the park. See our event calendar for more information here.
While you’re at the park, you have many food options for lunch, including Square Burger which sits in the middle of Moore Square or nearby 42nd & Lawrence for a specialty coffee.
Nash Square offers four acres of grassy area, as well as paved paths that connect to the four corners of the square, providing multiple entry, points to the park. The park is surrounded by some of Raleigh’s oldest oak and magnolia trees that offer shady spots for warmer days. With its many benches, Nash Square is an ideal place for reading a book, getting work done, meditating, or having a socially distanced meet up.
Near Nash Square, you’ll find Whiskey Kitchen, lucettegrace, Parkside, and A Place at the Table, all offering takeout or curbside pickup.
You’ve got history. You’ve got science. You’ve got it all in this plaza nestled between Raleigh’s most prominent museums. Bicentennial Mall began as Halifax Street and was laid out in Raleigh’s original 1792 plan as one of the four streets that divided the city into four quadrants. Following the completion of the North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in the 1990s, the Bicentennial Plaza was given a complete redesign to allow for public gatherings and outdoor meetings.
Nowadays, Bicentennial plaza, with its lush landscaping, offers a quiet space with benches and tables and chairs. Snag a table and enjoy a peaceful start to your day with coffee from The Daily Planet or lunch from Centro or Gringo a Go Go.
Tucked away in the heart of Downtown Raleigh, Halifax Mall sits in between Lane, N Salisbury, Peace, and N Wilmington Streets. Connecting the NC Legislative Building to other government buildings, this civic space, known for public gatherings, encompasses what was once the northern section of Halifax Street in William Christmas’ 1792 plan for the city.
This grassy area is a perfect spot for the outdoor activity seeker with paved paths for bike and scooter riding and running, plus lots of open space for lawn games, picnics, outdoor workouts, and kite flying. When you’re finished playing in the park, head over to Papa Shogun, Bad Daddy’s Burger or Seaboard Cafe to enjoy more fresh air with outdoor seating options, or grab to go for a picnic in the park.
This attractive plaza, located beside the Wells Fargo Capitol Center on Fayetteville Street, was recently renovated to include new seating such as swing benches, modern light posts, and refreshed landscaping. This space is great for working outdoors, lunch meetings, and relaxing on a swing during an afternoon break.
Grab some lunch to-go from one of the many surrounding restaurants like Subway, Benny Capitales, Raleigh Raw, and Happy and Hale. With tables, benches, and swings, there’s no shortage of outdoor seating options.
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts offers a beautiful Downtown Raleigh view up Fayetteville Street as well as gardens incorporating over 175 different kinds of grasses, all native to North Carolina. A new honeybee hive sits in the middle of the Lichtin Plaza garden and is maintained by Apiopolis. With its lush landscaping, Lichtin Plaza, in front of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, offers tables and chairs, benches and an open sitting area for picnics. In the evening, make sure to check out the new Sonarc Lighting Installation which is an art piece made from 1,000 plexiglass tubes and 600 LED lights. These tubes will illuminate the path from the famed Acorn to the entrance of the building.
After your stroll under the lights, you can visit 10 & Terrace, Rye Bar & Southern Kitchen, Fire Wok, and Poole’s, all walking distance from the plaza, for a delectable dinner.
Sitting beside the First National Bank Center, the FNB Tower Plaza is perfect for lunch breaks and taking a rest when out and about in downtown. The space offers tables and chairs for socially distanced meet-ups. Pick up lunch from Happy and Hale beside the plaza or bring sushi from nearby Sono to enjoy dining out at this beautiful new space nestled between two downtown towers.
Located beside the recently renovated Raleigh Union Station, Union Station Plaza has large deep benches where you can enjoy the beautiful views of downtown and take in the sights of the new "Breath of the Gods" art installation by Thomas Sayre.
Grab a coffee or snack from a nearby Heirloom Brewshop, Morgan Street Food Hall, or Weaver Street Market.
Market & Exchange Plazas are pedestrian plazas connecting Fayetteville and Wilmington Streets to the Moore Square Transit Station in Downtown Raleigh. When visiting Exchange Plaza, take a seat on the beautiful stone seating wall. When visiting Market Plaza, enjoy the shade under the crape myrtle trees and glass canopy shelters. Relax in a tucked-away location in the heart of downtown, and enjoy a snack from a nearby business such as Cheeni, The Morning Times, and Carroll’s Kitchen.
This open and breezy plaza is the ideal spot for outdoor lunches and socially distanced meetings. The plaza has lounge chairs with small tables. Stop for a bite to eat at nearby restaurants Jimmy V's Osteria or Plaza Cafe and Deli.