Top 10 Best Things To Do in Cary, NC

Yoana Nin
Yoana Nin
Published on December 1, 2023

Welcome to Cary, North Carolina, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Research Triangle. Well, it is no longer that hidden as throughout the years, Cary became the second largest municipality in Wake County with a population of 176,987 in 2021 while the forecasted population in 2023 is 186,358. This once modest suburb of Raleigh has grown into a vibrant destination that’s rich in culture, arts, and natural beauty with top notch schools, great hospitals, greenways, parks, trails and job opportunities. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Cary, NC offers an array of experiences that cater to every taste. Let’s dive into what makes Cary, NC a must-visit city, from its musical venues to its serene nature preserves.


1. Musical Harmony and Arts in Cary, NC 2. Live Music at The Koka Booth Amphitheatre
3. Cary Arts Center 4. A Glimpse into History and Theatrical Flair
5. Page-Walker Arts and History Center 6. The Cary Theater
7. Festivals: Cary’s Celebratory Tapestry 8. Luxury, Culinary Delights, and Cozy Accommodations
9. Umstead Hotel and Spa 10. The Mayton
11. Culinary Experiences 12. Embracing the Great Outdoors
13. Sports and Recreation 14. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve
15. Urban Excitement and Year-Round Entertainment 16. Fenton Development

Musical Harmony and Arts in Cary, NC

1. Live Music at The Koka Booth Amphitheater

A lively lantern festival at night with a dazzling array of colorful Chinese lanterns suspended above visitors at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, NC.

Imagine an evening under the stars, surrounded by the serene sounds of music and the beauty of Symphony Lake. The Koka Booth Amphitheatre is this and more. Known for hosting an array of artists and events, including the mesmerizing North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival, this venue is a cornerstone of Cary’s cultural scene.

2. Cary Arts Center

The Cary Arts Center in Cary, North Carolina, is a cool place where old meets new in the world of art. It has a big theater that can seat 431 people and is the main place in town for all kinds of art events. They host concerts, art shows, and all sorts of classes.

When you go inside, there’s always something happening. People of all ages are there, taking part in art classes or making their art. It’s a lively place where the community gets together to enjoy and make art.

This center is more than just a building. It’s a place where everyone in town can come to see and do art. It has different areas for different kinds of art, like painting, sculpture, music, or dance. The center also does a lot to celebrate the local culture, with special events that show off what’s unique about Cary.

Every time you visit the Cary Arts Center, you’ll find something new and interesting. It’s not just about looking at art; it’s a place where you can get involved. It’s an important part of Cary, a place where art is appreciated and part of everyday life


A Glimpse into History and Theatrical Flair

3. Page-Walker Arts and History Center

The Page-Walker Arts and History Center in Cary, NC, is a really impressive building that shows how important the town’s history is. It was built in a fancy French style and now has the Cary Heritage Museum inside. People can visit the museum to learn about Cary’s history, from its early days as a small railroad town to its current state as a busy, modern place. The museum has lots of different stories and old objects that tell the story of the town’s past. But it’s not just about history. The center is also a place where people can see art shows and take part in cultural events that highlight the talent in the local area. There are also beautiful gardens around the building where people can relax and enjoy nature. These gardens are great for outdoor events or just a quiet walk. So, the Page-Walker Center is a special place in Cary that brings together its history, art, and culture, making it a popular spot for both locals and visitors

4. The Cary Theater

The Cary Theater, once a quaint movie house, has blossomed into a cultural beacon, seamlessly blending its cinematic roots with a vibrant array of arts. This charming venue now thrives as a haven for indie film aficionados, regularly hosting thought-provoking film festivals that draw a discerning crowd. Its evolution doesn’t stop at movies; the theater has become a lively stage for diverse musical acts and a laughter-filled arena for comedy shows. Embracing both the new and the nostalgic, The Cary Theater stands as a dynamic symbol of community, culture, and the enduring power of art to connect people.

Festivals: Cary’s Celebratory Tapestry

Cary’s Spring Daze, with a vivid display of wildflowers in full bloom, symbolizes the town’s lively festival atmosphere and its celebration of diversity and culture.

Cary’s calendar is dotted with festivals that reflect its diverse community. From the vibrant Spring Daze and Lazy Daze to the cultural celebrations of Diwali and Kwanzaa, there’s always something happening. The North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival, in particular, is a sight to behold, with its stunning light displays and cultural performances.

Luxury, Culinary Delights, and Cozy Accommodations

5. Umstead Hotel and Spa

Imagine a place where the stresses of everyday life simply melt away, and you’re enveloped in a cocoon of luxury and natural beauty. That’s the Umstead Hotel and Spa for you. It’s like stepping into a different world, one where the air seems fresher, the scenery more lush, and every moment feels special. Picture yourself unwinding in an outdoor soaking tub, the forest around you whispering tranquility, as you gaze at the sky changing colors at sunset. Or imagine tucking into a meal at Herons, where every bite is a delightful surprise, blending local ingredients with culinary artistry. The afternoon tea here isn’t just a drink; it’s an experience, made even more magical with the gentle strumming of a harp in the background. The spa? Oh, it’s a haven where each treatment feels like a personalized journey to relaxation and rejuvenation. At Umstead Hotel and Spa, it’s not just about the luxurious settings and the top-notch amenities; it’s about how you feel while you’re here – pampered, cared for, and completely at ease.

6. The Mayton

In downtown Cary, NC, The Mayton is a beautiful blend of old-style elegance and modern comfort. This boutique hotel, designed in a classic Georgian style, offers both the charm of the past and the conveniences of today. Its location is ideal for those looking to explore Cary’s rich culture, with easy access to local restaurants, unique shops, and enjoyable activities. The Mayton is more than just a hotel; it’s a starting point for an exciting journey in the heart of Cary, NC. Every stay at The Mayton is an opportunity to discover new things and create memorable moments

7. Culinary Experiences

Cary, NC’s eclectic culinary landscape reflects its vibrant community, with European tastes prominently offered at La Farm Bakery.

Cary’s culinary scene is as diverse as its community. From the European flavors at La Farm Bakery to the seasonal delights at Hank’s Downtown Dive and the unique offerings at Big Dom’s Bagel Shop, there’s a taste for every palate. And let’s not forget Andia’s Ice Cream, where the flavors are as imaginative as they are delicious.

Embracing the Great Outdoors

8. Sports and Recreation

A soccer goalkeeper in mid-action at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC, exemplifying the dynamic sports scene in the city, with facilities that host thrilling soccer games and other sporting events.

Cary, NC is a haven for sports enthusiasts. The WakeMed Soccer Park pulsates with the energy of thrilling soccer matches, drawing fans who revel in the excitement and community spirit. Just a short distance away, the new Downtown Cary Park offers a peaceful retreat, with its artistic installations and lush botanical garden inviting visitors to unwind and connect with nature. This juxtaposition of vibrant sporting events and tranquil green spaces reflects the diverse character of Cary, making it a charming destination for both action-seekers and peace-lovers alike.

9. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

Wooden boardwalk meandering through dense green foliage at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary, North Carolina.
Discover the tranquility of Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary, NC, where the serene trails and educational experiences at the Stevens Nature Center await.

Nature lovers will find solace in the Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. Tucked away from the noise of the city, this place offers a quiet retreat into nature. It’s especially great for those who enjoy observing wildlife or are keen on photography. The trails here are well-kept and take you through a mix of landscapes – think dense woods and open fields. It’s a real treat for birdwatchers; there’s a wide variety of birds to spot. And for those interested in plants, the preserve is home to some unique species, including the ancient hemlock trees that the place is named after.

At the center of the preserve is the Stevens Nature Center. This is where you can really dive into learning about the area’s ecology and conservation. The center is packed with interactive displays and offers a bunch of educational programs, making it a fantastic stop for families or anyone looking to learn more about nature and its preservation. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful walk, a bit of an educational experience, or just some time away in nature, Hemlock Bluffs has something for everyone, regardless of age.

Urban Excitement and Year-Round Entertainment

10. Fenton Development

Fenton Development in Cary, NC, is a bustling urban hub that brings together a diverse mix of dining, shopping, and entertainment options in a vibrant, mixed-use space. With its wide array of eateries ranging from cozy cafes to gourmet restaurants, alongside trendy boutiques and high-end retail stores, Fenton caters to a variety of tastes and preferences. The development comes alive with its regular live music events, featuring local and regional talents that add a lively atmosphere to the area. A standout feature is the chic rooftop bar, offering stunning panoramic views and a perfect spot for evening relaxation or social gatherings. In winter, Fenton transforms into a festive wonderland with its popular ice-skating rink, attracting families and visitors of all ages. These offerings, combined with various year-round events and activities, make Fenton not just a shopping and dining destination, but a dynamic community space where culture, entertainment, and a sense of community intertwine, making it Cary’s answer to urban excitement.


Cary, NC is a city that beautifully blends the charm of a small town with the vibrancy of a bustling city. From its rich cultural heritage to its lush green spaces and dynamic culinary scene, Cary is a city that offers something special for everyone. Whether you’re here for a day or planning a longer stay, Cary is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.

So pack your bags, bring your curiosity, and come explore the wonders of Cary, North Carolina. There’s an adventure waiting around every corner!

Top 10 Best Things To Do in Cary, NC- FINAL THOUGHTS

Cary, NC, is a thriving community with a wealth of activities that cater to all interests and ages, making it a great place to visit or relocate to. From someone who has experienced the shift from a larger city to Cary, I can share that embracing this vibrant town has been truly enjoyable. Cary’s unique charm and the broader Triangle area offer an affordable yet rich lifestyle option, especially for those moving from more costly areas.

Here’s a rundown of the top 10 experiences that Cary has to offer:

  1. Koka Booth Amphitheatre: Whether it’s enjoying a concert under the stars or marveling at the Chinese Lantern Festival, this venue epitomizes Cary’s cultural offerings.
  2. Cary Arts Center: A hub for arts and culture, providing a space for performances, exhibitions, and classes.
  3. Page-Walker Arts and History Center: Explore Cary’s history through exhibits and cultural events in this historic setting.
  4. The Cary Theater: Offers a mix of independent films, live music, and community theater.
  5. Umstead Hotel and Spa: A luxurious getaway with top-notch spa services and fine dining amidst serene nature.
  6. The Mayton: Experience the blend of historic charm and modern luxury at this boutique hotel.
  7. Culinary Scene: Cary’s diverse dining options reflect its cultural richness, from European bakeries to modern American eateries.
  8. WakeMed Soccer Park: A premier sports venue offering thrilling soccer action and other sports events.
  9. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve: Enjoy the tranquility of nature and educational programs at this beautiful preserve.
  10. Fenton Development: The latest addition to Cary’s landscape, featuring a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants, and entertainment.

For those considering a move or a visit, Cary offers a dynamic lifestyle with easy access to the Triangle area’s amenities. If you’re thinking about purchasing a home here, our website’s advanced, hyper-local search features allow you to find your perfect spot by ZIP code or school district. We also offer exclusive resources to help you get settled, only available to our clients.

Feel free to reach out directly if you need assistance with relocating or if you have any questions about living in Cary, NC.
Don’t forget to explore additional neighborhood information on our site, including details about nearby Apex, Durham, and Raleigh.

Cary, NC, not only provides a great living environment but also fosters a strong sense of community and a vibrant local culture. Share this guide with friends and family who might be interested in what Cary has to offer, and consider this charming town for your next big move or as a fun travel destination!


  1. What can I expect at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, NC?

The Koka Booth Amphitheatre is a premier cultural venue in Cary, NC known for its picturesque setting by Symphony Lake and an array of events. It hosts various artists and events, including the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival, offering evenings filled with music, lantern displays, and a serene atmosphere under the stars.

2. What makes the Cary Arts Center unique?

The Cary Arts Center is a fusion of history and contemporary art, housed in a building with origins in the 1870s. It features a 431-seat theater and hosts diverse artistic events, from concerts to gallery exhibitions. The center is a hub for artists and learners, offering studio programs and being a place where community and creativity converge.

3. What kind of experiences does the Page-Walker Arts and History Center offer?

The Page-Walker Arts and History Center in Cary, NC is an architectural marvel that showcases the town’s heritage through the Cary Heritage Museum. It’s a venue for arts and cultural events, surrounded by serene gardens. The center blends historical insights with a thriving artistic scene, offering both educational and artistic experiences.

4. Can you tell me about the culinary and accommodation options in Cary, NC?

Cary, NC offers a diverse culinary scene, with options like La Farm Bakery’s European flavors and Andia’s Ice Cream’s imaginative offerings. Accommodation-wise, the Umstead Hotel and Spa provides luxury with natural beauty, while The Mayton combines historical elegance with modern comfort in the heart of downtown Cary.

5. What outdoor and recreational activities are available in Cary, NC?

Cary, NC is a haven for sports enthusiasts with facilities like the WakeMed Soccer Park. Nature lovers can explore Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve for tranquil trails and wildlife observation. The new Downtown Cary Park offers a peaceful retreat with artistic installations. Additionally, Fenton Development provides urban excitement with dining, shopping, and entertainment, including a seasonal ice-skating rink.

For a deeper understanding of Cary’s real estate nuances, consider exploring the article above. If you would like to talk to a Realtor®, please contact us. We are here to help and answer any questions. 

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