Unique and award-winning restaurants, four-star hotels, concert amphitheaters, theater and opera companies, museums sports, a nationally recognized symphony, vibrant festivals, beautiful golf courses and greenways, and all the history you can take in. Raleigh has an astonishing list of no-fee activities and attractions so your time in the capital doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out

The big fall event? The N.C. State Fair – still the state’s largest event – is Oct. 16-26 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds (

The arts take center stage every October with greater Raleigh’s annual 31 Days of Art (, a celebration designed to nurture and indulge a love of art with daily performances, exhibits and gallery shows in many artistic disciplines at a variety of venues.

As Halloween approaches, the A. J. Fletcher Opera Theater at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts ( presents “Dracula” Oct. 9-26 in which choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s “Dracula” and choreographer Robert Weiss’ “The Masque of the Red Death” are set to commissioned scores. Also, join up with Tobacco Road Tours ( for the Raleigh Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour on Fridays and Saturdays.

“Small Treasures: Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and Their Contemporaries” will be on exhibit at the N.C. Museum of Art ( Oct.12 through Jan. 4. “The World’s Largest Dinosaurs” takes center stage at the N. C. Museum of Natural Sciences ( Oct. 11 through April 12.

Take the Historic Church Walk on Oct. 11 ( to view the beautiful, architecturally significant interiors of eight historic churches, all within walking distance downtown.

It’s back to the A. J. Fletcher Opera Theater when “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” comes to town Nov. 28-Dec. 24 ( Finish the year’s holiday entertainment at Memorial Auditorium Dec. 19-28 with the awe-inspiring grace and grandeur of Carolina Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” (

And remember that Raleigh is a great place to literally end 2014 and welcome the new year: First Night Raleigh ( is a major downtown event encompassing about 20 blocks of indoor and outdoor fun. Find complete schedules, cost information, a map, rules and more at Zenda Douglas