Cary is a pretty, leafy city immediately to the west of the larger metropolis of Raleigh. With a population of around 175,000, it’s a good-sized city with plenty to keep visitors and residents occupied while having a more laid-back vibe than its larger neighbour. With more of a quiet community atmosphere, it’s a more relaxed alternative to the hustle and bustle of Raleigh.
While Cary itself is well worth visiting on its own merit, it’s also ideal for those who want to explore the bigger city but would prefer to stay somewhere a little less crowded. Cary is one of the country’s safest cities, so it’s ideal for families or those less comfortable in more urban areas.
Founded in 1750, Cary has grown steadily over the intervening centuries, with significant expansion in the late 20th century. As such, the city is packed with both rich history and modern attractions. From how to spot the markers of the city’s heritage to the best places to unwind and relax, here are the best things to do in Cary, North Carolina.
- Cary, North Carolina
- 20 Things To Do In Cary, NC
- 1- Browse The Page-Walker Arts & History Centre
- 2- Take A Break In Downtown Cary Park
- 3- Admire Preston Corner Tower Clock
- 4- Appreciate The Fugue Sculpture
- 5- Marvel At The Properties Of Light Sculpture
- 6- Explore Lake Crabtree County Park
- 7- Look Out From Lake Crabtree Observation Tower
- 8- Relax At Crabtree Creek Greenway
- 9- Sample The Wares Of Chatham Hill Winery
- 10- Unwind In Style At Cloer Family Vineyards
- 11- Raise A Glass At Fortnight Brewing Company
- 12- Peek At The Lewis Family Cemetery
- 13- Unwind At Fred G. Bond Metro Park
- 14- Take In A Show At The Koka Booth Amphitheatre
- 15- Walk Around Sri Venkateswara Temple
- 16- Rest Up In Apex Community Park
- 17- Hike Around Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve
- 18- Learn Something New At Maynard-Pearson House
- 19- Test Your Wits At Whole Brain Escape
- 20- Jump Around At DEFY Apex
- 20 Things To Do In Cary, NC
Cary, North Carolina
20 Things To Do In Cary, NC
1- Browse The Page-Walker Arts & History Centre
Housed within an old hotel dating back to the 1800s, the Page-Walker Arts and History Centre celebrates Cary’s historical and cultural heritage.
Along with various displays, exhibitions, and galleries, the centre hosts numerous events, from classes to concerts.
There’s always something to get involved in.
A visit to the Page-Walker Arts and History Centre is the perfect introduction to the city of Cary.
Find it at 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary, NC 27513, United States.
2- Take A Break In Downtown Cary Park
Right at the heart of Cary Town Centre, Downtown Cary Park is a good starting point for exploring the city.
Its most notable feature is a pretty fountain that serves as a popular meeting spot.
The fountain is lovely when illuminated at night, standing out against the dark park.
Stop by 319 S Academy St, Cary, NC 27511, United States.
3- Admire Preston Corner Tower Clock
Preston Corner Tower Clock is a pretty, redbrick clocktower perched at the corner of the intersection between High House Road and Cary Parkway.
It’s a charming example of Cary’s cosy architectural design.
Right at the heart of Cary, keep an eye out for it while driving around the city centre.
Swing by Cary, NC 27513, United States.
4- Appreciate The Fugue Sculpture
Cary’s Fugue Sculpture is a striking installation that resembles a large boulder split in two, with a pathway running between the halves.
It’s on the corner of the intersection between Cary Parkway and Evans Road, making it super convenient to spot as you drive around.
Spot it at Evans Rd Street-Side Trl, Cary, NC 27513, United States.
5- Marvel At The Properties Of Light Sculpture
Installed in 2019 on the greenway between Gatehouse Drive and Tarbert Drive, the Properties of Light Sculpture was commissioned to mark the 40th anniversary of Cary’s first greenway.
Designed by Ethan and Carl Peverall, the 7-foot tall (2.15 metre), 2000lb (907 kg) sculpture is carved from two pieces of granite and sandstone, one perched atop the other.
The piece is carved with several geometric designs.
Go to 1291 Tarbert Dr, Cary, NC 27511, United States.
6- Explore Lake Crabtree County Park
Lake Crabtree County Park has over 16 miles (26 km) of hiking and biking trails north of the city centre.
Winding through the woods and around the large lake, the trails provide a great opportunity to get out into the beauty of nature without straying too far from the main town.
Along with the trails, the park contains various amenities like boat ramps and fishing piers for safe access to the lake and children’s play areas, making this a great family-friendly outing.
Head over to 1400 Aviation Pkwy, Morrisville, NC 27560, United States.
7- Look Out From Lake Crabtree Observation Tower
Perched on the northern bank of Lake Crabtree, this little observation tower provides terrific views across the lake and nearby park.
The four-story tall tower peaks above the treeline and looks directly over the lake’s main piers and beach.
Find it at Morrisville, NC 27560, United States.
8- Relax At Crabtree Creek Greenway
Crabtree Creek Greenway is a more convenient alternative if you don’t want to go all the way around Crabtree Lake to the county park.
It has fewer amenities than the main park but is closer to local restaurants and businesses.
Several sports fields provide ample space for games. Meanwhile, trails leading through the trees and towards the lake give a scenic escape from the city.
Go to Morrisville, NC 27560, United States.
9- Sample The Wares Of Chatham Hill Winery
Sampling regional products is a key part of visiting any locale.
You can indulge in some excellent local beverages at Chatham Hill Winery and learn about their production.
Visitors can tour the winery and then enjoy a guided tasting session of wines created right there.
If you’d rather enjoy a drink, the tasting room has plenty of seating, including a lovely patio.
Frequent live music evenings add to the refined ambience.
Head to 8245 Chapel Hill Rd, Cary, NC 27513, United States.
10- Unwind In Style At Cloer Family Vineyards
Venture just a little outside the city centre to enjoy wine where it’s grown.
The Cloer Family Vineyards is to the west of Cary, with four varieties of grape grown over the 5-acre property.
Guests can tour the vineyards and the winery, getting up close to the entire process of creating the various wines you can sample in the tasting room.
Venture out to 8624 Castleberry Rd, Apex, NC 27523, United States.
11- Raise A Glass At Fortnight Brewing Company
If wine isn’t your thing, you may be interested in trying the beers available at Fortnight Brewing Company.
Established by a pair of Englishmen who wanted a taste of home, Fortnight has all the charm of a traditional British pub with an extensive range of beers across various styles.
While the brewery doesn’t serve food, a curated selection of food trucks roll up and dish out tasty meals.
With a different truck on hand each night, it is worth planning the day of your visit around which street food you prefer.
The brewery is at 1006 SW Maynard Rd, Cary, NC 27511, United States.
12- Peek At The Lewis Family Cemetery
Tucked away in the trees of a leafy south Cary suburb, Lewis Family Cemetery is a morbidly charming slice of the city’s history.
A tiny cemetery, it’s just a few headstones in various states of decay around a central plinth.
The weathered iron fence surrounding it adds to the cemetery’s gothic atmosphere.
Dating back to the 19th century, the Lewis Family Cemetery may be small, but it is a significant nod to Cary’s heritage.
The crumbling headstones bear the names and histories of residents from before the city had spread this far out, having been mostly farmland at the time.
Wander over to 1399-1301 Lake Pine Dr, Cary, NC 27511, United States.
13- Unwind At Fred G. Bond Metro Park
In the heart of the city centre, Fred G. Bond Metro Park provides plenty of space and amenities to enjoy being out in the fresh air, without having to venture out to the reserves and country parks surrounding the town.
Take advantage of the various sports fields, stroll the trails through the trees, or relax on the lakeside lawn.
The lake itself is popular with paddle boarders and kayakers. You can rent boats and equipment from the Bond Park Boathouse.
A small amphitheatre nestled in the woods hosts eclectic shows and entertainment.
An assault course leading through the trees provides a challenge for anyone willing to give it a try.
Go over to 319 S Academy St, Cary, NC 27511, United States.
14- Take In A Show At The Koka Booth Amphitheatre
Perched on the north bank of Symphony Lake, the Koka Booth Amphitheatre is a stunning outdoor entertainment venue.
Hosting various shows from concerts to film screenings and arts festivals, it’s always worth checking out their upcoming events for something that might interest you.
Just south of the city centre and with ample parking, the Koka Booth Amphitheatre is convenient to get to, whether you have a car or not.
There are several onsite cafes and various restaurants just a short walk away.
The amphitheatre is at 8003 Regency Pkwy, Cary, NC 27518, United States.
15- Walk Around Sri Venkateswara Temple
In the heart of Cary city centre, Sri Venkateswara is a beautiful Hindu temple comprised of a complex of ornate white towers and shrines.
The intricacy of the temple’s design makes this a place worth visiting, even for non-Hindus.
The temple staff are welcoming to all, happy to guide visitors through the cleansing ritual required to enter.
There is a dress code, but appropriate coverings can be provided onsite.
Once inside, guests are free to explore, so long as they remain respectful and don’t take photographs.
You’ll find the temple at 121 Balaji Pl, Cary, NC 27513, United States.
16- Rest Up In Apex Community Park
Wrapping around Apex Lake, Apex Community Park has plenty of space and amenities for everyone to get out and enjoy the fresh air.
The lake covers 50 acres (20 ha), so it is a popular spot for boating water sports like kayaking and sailboarding, or you could set up a spot on the public fishing pier instead.
A walking trail leads through the woods, which wrap around the lake, making for a wonderfully scenic stroll through the trees overlooking the water.
There’s also a children’s playground in the park’s northwest corner if the route around the lake isn’t enough to tire the kids out.
Go to 1808 Lake Pine Dr, Cary, NC 27511, United States.
17- Hike Around Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve
With over 3 miles (5 km) of walking trails winding through over 140 acres of woodland, Hemlocks Bluffs Nature Preserve is ideal for getting out in the fresh air.
It’s located just to the south of the town centre, so it’s super easy to get to.
You can enjoy the atmosphere of escaping into the wilds without having to leave the city limits. Following the well-maintained trails will lead you through of rare local tree and plant species. You’ll have plenty of birds and other wildlife to keep an eye out for too.
Start your adventure at 2616 Kildaire Farm Rd, Cary, NC 27518, United States.
18- Learn Something New At Maynard-Pearson House
Built around 1890, the pretty Maynard-Pearson House is now home to the Apex Historical Society.
A historical society dedicated to preserving and extolling the history of the local area’s development, its members are always keen to offer fascinating insights into the town’s heritage.
Visitors can enjoy a free guided tour of Maynard Pearson House on request.
It’s the perfect way to learn about 19th-century life.
Head to 1101 Olive Chapel Rd, Apex, NC 27502, United States.
19- Test Your Wits At Whole Brain Escape
Escape rooms are a popular attraction and for good reason, as they bring a gang together in a fun environment, like trying to puzzle out the solution to breaking out of a locked room.
Whole Brain Escape offers several themed rooms for you to choose from.
Although the escape rooms are designed for teens and adults, players as young as 8 can join in.
It is a great bonding experience for any family or group and the perfect fun activity for filling a spare day or afternoon.
Find it at 410 Upchurch St, Apex, NC 27502, United States.
20- Jump Around At DEFY Apex
If you’re looking for some alternative thrills, head over to DEFY. Part trampoline park, part parkour paradise, DEFY is like the ultimate soft-play area for grown-ups.
With a wide array of games and facilities, there’s sure to be something for everyone to get their adrenaline pumping.
Bounce, swing, and fly around the various obstacles, activities, and foam pits. Pick up some new skills or have fun messing about to your heart’s content.
Have fun at 1275 Haddon Hall Dr, Apex, NC 27502, United States.
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