Pullen Park picture
ying/Shutterstock

Key Info

520 Ashe Avenue

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Parks and Gardens, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.6

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Pullen Park, which sits beside North Carolina State University, has a number of superlatives to its name. Not only is it the state's first public park, it's also the fifth-oldest operating amusement park in the U.S. and the 16th-oldest operating amusement park in the world. Today, visitors flock to the park for its cheap amusements — $1 for a carousel ride or a trip out on the paddle boats — as well for its lush beauty. Fans of the Andy Griffith Show also like to seek out the bronze statue of "Andy and Opie." There are also playgrounds, sports fields, tennis courts and an indoor aquatic center.

Recent visitors, particularly families, can't say enough about Pullen Park, though some recommend visiting on the evenings and weekdays when it's less crowded.

You'll find the park just west of downtown Raleigh, bordered by Western Boulevard to the south, Pullen Road to the west, Hillsborough Street to the north and Ashe Avenue to the east, next to North Carolina State University. On the weekends, the best places to park your car are on the Cates Avenue Parking Deck at NC State, which is a 10 minute walk northwest of the park, or the Governor Morehead School, which is a five minute walk southeast of the park. On weekdays, you may also be able to park at the Hunt Drive Soccer Fields, which is about a 10 minute walk southeast of the park. For more information, see the website.

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#1 Neuse River Trail

The Neuse River Trail (also known as the Raleigh Greenway) is a portion of a nearly 28-mile path that stretches from the Falls Lake Dam in Wake Forest, North Carolina, down to the Wake/Johnston county line in Raleigh. The wide path travels along the Neuse River, across wetlands, through woods and is altogether beautiful, according to many a jogger, dog walker and bike rider.

In fact, the Neuse River Trail caused one TripAdvisor user, who hails from Boston, to consider moving to Raleigh: "This trail is a total delight.  … Locals ride their bikes [and] run their miles with their dogs … Not used to be smiled at by a total stranger … Why haven't I moved here?!"

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