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It’s hard to believe another year is coming to a close, but before we celebrate the start of a new one, we still have the holidays to enjoy! Here are a few great activities to experience this holiday season around the triangle:

Tree Lighting Celebration: The best way to start the month, and of course the holidays, is at the annual Tree Lighting Celebration at City Plaza in downtown Raleigh on December 2nd. The Celebration begins at 4:00 pm and includes a gingerbread house competition, food, activities, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, with the tree lighting taking place at 7:00 pm. And as this takes place in the heart of downtown, there are plenty of incredible restaurants nearby, such as Garland, Death and Taxes, Capital Club 16, and more. Make your reservations in advance, as it is sure to be a busy night.

A Christmas Carol: Every Raleigh native has seen A Christmas Carol performed by Ira David Wood III at least once, and there is a reason why. In it’s 43rd year, it is one of the best productions of the story and perfect for all ages. The show runs from December 6th to 10th, details and tickets can be found here.

Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour: If you are looking for a small town holiday evening, be sure to stop by the Historic Oakwood Neighborhood on December 9th and 10th for the 46th annual candlelight tour. Enjoy the beautiful Victorian architecture of these historical homes from the mid 1800’s to early 1900’s as docents provide you with the rich history of each house. This event is always wonderful because you can take the tour at your own pace as you journey on a walk through the past. Details available here.

Kwanzaa Celebration: December 29th brings with it the 23rd annual Kwanzaa Celebration to the Cary Arts Center. This year’s theme of “Peace, Love, and Respect…For Everybody” includes performances by The African American Dance Ensemble, ethnic food, a vendor market, and more in this celebration of African American heritage. There will also be the traditional procession of the elders and Harambee Circle at this complimentary event. Doors open at 11:00 am, details can be found here.

Chinese Lantern Festival: One of our favorite newer additions to the holidays is the Chinese Lantern Festival at Kokabooth Amphitheater in Cary. These larger than life lanterns light up night, with the highlight being the 21 foot tall dragon floating over the lake. Tickets are available here.

For more events taking place this December, visit our friends at VisitRaleigh or speak with our Concierge at 919-447-4030.

The holidays are looming as we approach November, which means the beginning of holiday events. Here is a list of how we plan to spend the season:

Umstead Uncorked: Our monthly wine tasting is a bit earlier this month, set for November 8th. We are traveling through time at this uncorked, and exploring the difference a year can make. Sample the same wine side by side, with the only difference being the year they were produced, and see if you can tell the impact a year can make. Learn more about how rain, temperatures, and other elementals determine the direction the wine will take. Tickets available at 919-447-4050, more information available here.

Moonlight in the Garden: the local J.C.Raulston Arboretum boasts beautiful botanicals, but what we really love is the chance to see the gardens at night with their Moonlight in the Garden event. Available Thursday through Saturday, November 9th - 11th and 16th to 18th, there will be food trucks, live music, and fire pits to stay warm by, but the real treat is walking through the maze of flowers lit up by luminaries and colored lights. More information and ticket details can be found here.

Carolina Artisan Craft Market: jumpstart your holiday shopping at the Carolina Artisan Craft Market on November 10th through 12th. This market includes over 100 different artisans and goods made from glass, ceramic, wood, metals, leather, in addition to handmade furniture, clothing, and jewelry. There will also be art demonstrations and live music throughout, details are available here.

Annual Christmas Parade: though it isn’t quite December yet, Jolly ol’ Saint Nick is heading into town on November 18th with the annual Christmas Parade in downtown Raleigh. Beginning at 9:40 am on Hillsborough street, they will be touring through the town concluding at Lenior street by the Duke Progress Energy Center. More information on parking and routes can be found here.

Christmas Tree Lighting: if you miss the parade, or don’t want to worry about sitting in the traffic, then stop by North Hills for their annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony also on November 18th. A great event for the kids, this event has snow slopes, trackless train rides, bounce castles and a vendor village. Activities begin at 3:30, with Santa’s arrival at 6:00 pm bringing in the tree lighting. There are plenty of great restaurants near by, but we advise making reservations in advance, more information available here.

The Chinese Lantern Festival: Another one of our favorites is the annual Chinese Lantern Festival, kicking off on November 24th. We love to go when all our family is in town, the perfect way to finish Thanksgiving weekend. These larger than life Chinese lanterns are lit with thousands of LED lights and displayed throughout the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary. From gigantic swans to the dragon lit on Symphony lake, there is tons to see, but this year the festival will also include performances such as traditional Chinese dances, foot juggling, and vase juggling. Details can be found here.

For more events, speak to our friends at VisitRaleigh or our own Concierge team at 919-447-4030.



Usually we focus on our adult travelers and ways they can enjoy the hotel, spa, restaurant, and surrounding areas. But The Umstead and the Triangle in general, can be a great place to bring your kids too! So if you are planning on bringing your children along on your next business trip or planning a family vacation, here are a few great ways they can enjoy their stay with us:

Seasonal outdoor pool: our seasonal outdoor pool is a great place to splash around and soak up the sun. In the cooler months, we always heat the pool to 81 degrees, keeping everyone comfortable for all their swimming activities.

The Umstead State Park: within walking distance sits The Umstead State Park, a great place for hiking, biking, an outdoor picnic, and more. The park holds events regularly, including bird watching, night hikes, and canoeing.

Complimentary Bike Rentals: not only do we offer complimentary bike rentals for adults, but for kids too! And every Saturday join us on a complimentary bike tour, where we explore neighboring SAS campus to view the outdoor artwork, The Umstead’s culinary farm, and other sustainable efforts such as the SAS Solar Farm. Tours begin at 10:15 and are first come first serve for rentals, but feel free to bring along your own bike and enjoy the ride.

The Umstead Concierge Team: rainy day taken over your vacation? Pop down to the Concierge and rent a movie from our DVD library, or borrow a gaming console and play your favorite games! They are also a great resource to recommend activities in the area.

Marbles Kids Museum: Speaking of activities in the area, one worth visiting is the Marbles Kids Museum. Filled with hands on learning opportunities and exhibits designed for children, this is the perfect place to take the family. Recommended for children ages 10 and under, they also have events geared towards older kids. More information can be found by visiting their website here.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences: The #1 most visited location in the state is none other than the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. They have interactive exhibits and dioramas, the only real Acrocanthosaurus skeleton on display in the world, and a dry butterfly rainforest complete with living sloth! And the best part is it is complimentary to visit and enjoy for everyone. Visit their website here for details.

There are plenty of other activities to choose from in the area, with outdoor fun parks, festivals, and historical tours, you can never be bored in Raleigh!

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