25 BEST Things to Do in Wake Forest (NC)

In the heart of North Carolina, Wake Forest is a vibrant community that offers many interesting attractions for visitors. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, a foodie, or seeking family-friendly fun, there are plenty of things to do in Wake Forest for all.

Immerse yourself in the town’s fascinating past as you explore its historic district and visit the Wake Forest Historical Museum. Enjoy small-town ambiance as you stroll through tree-lined streets, indulge in local cuisine, and embrace the thriving arts and culture scene.

With its family-friendly activities and proximity to Raleigh, Wake Forest offers a delightful blend of experiences for all types of travelers.

Best Things to Do in Wake Forest

1. The Factory

The Factory - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of The Factory / Things to Do in Wake Forest
  • Address: 1839 S Main St, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8: 00 am – 10:00 pm

The Factory is an all-around entertainment and shopping center where families with kids, and even solo travelers can spend the whole day and not have a dull moment.

This mall is especially centered around sports and entertainment to offer fun activities to kids and adults alike. It also has eateries and shops so that after a day of shopping and playing around, you can enjoy some delicious local food.

Some of the top attractions in the Factory include the House of Sports which facilitates indoor soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, and lacrosse games.

The mall also has a fitness center called Carlisle’s Complete 7 Training. Then there’s bowling, indoor golf, beauty and spa, and many more fun activities – all under one roof.

2. Polar Icehouse

things to do in wake forest
  • Address: 1839 S Main St #200, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Opens- 24 hours
  • Cost of Admission: For ticket information, click here.

The exterior of the Factory belies the greatness that rests inside. Polar Icehouse is one of the many amazing sports facilities inside the mall. The facility features two NHL regulation ice rinks equipped with top-of-the-line sound and light systems, perfect for exhilarating Public Skate sessions, League plays, Open Hockey, and flexible Freestyle figure skating sessions.

Polar Ice Wake Forest offers a variety of activities and sports programs for all ages, including Learn to Skate, Figure Skating, Hockey for children and adults, and year-round Camp Chillin for ages 6-12. With twin ice sheets and a full snack bar, Polar Ice Wake Forest is also just the place to celebrate unforgettable birthdays.

3. Wake Forest Farmers Market

Wake Forest Farmers Market  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Wake Forest Farmers Market
  • Address: 235 S Taylor St, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Saturday: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Every Saturday morning in Wake Forest begins with a lively and vibrant Farmers Market at Renaissance Place. The freshest organic produce is bought here directly from local farms. Stock up on pasture-raised beef, freshly picked eggs, honey, jams, homemade preserves, flowers, and baked goods.

In addition to these basics, you’d also find locally made cheese, candles, soaps, and so much more. What’s more, the locals of Wake Forest are dedicated to sustainable living and most of their farms have adopted environmentally friendly agricultural practices.

4. Wake Forest Renaissance Centre

Wake Forest Renaissance Centre  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Wake Forest Renaissance Centre
  • Address: 405 Brooks St, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday- Friday: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm,
    Saturday & Sunday: Closed
  • Cost of Admission: For ticket information, click here.

Art devotees of all ages would have a blast at Wake Forest Renaissance Centre. Here you can watch live performances, movies, concerts, and more. There’s a day for every activity so make sure to check the schedule before making your way.

You might even be able to attend a concert or a popular event during your visit. Most of the shows are targeted at families, so the young ones can have an equally good time at the Renaissance Center.

5. Wake Forest Historical Museum

Wake Forest Historical Museum  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Wake Forest Historical Museum
  • Address: 414 N Main St, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
    Saturday- Monday : Closed
  • Cost of Admission: Free

Located on Main Street, in the heart of the town is the Wake Forest Historical Museum. This museum is dedicated to the earliest days of Wake Forest University, the town’s sports, literary journey, and local history. Displays include artifacts, paintings, pictures, old documents, copies of the Gazette, etc.

There are also 15-minute films to take the visitors back in time. The multifaceted museum hosts a variety of events many times a year. A visit to this museum is the quickest way to get a crash course on the small and personable town of Wake Forest.

6. Falls Lake State Recreation Area

Falls Lake State Recreation Area  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Falls Lake State Recreation Area
  • Address: 13300 Creedmoor Rd, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 am -9:00 pm

Falls Lake State Recreation Area gives access to 12000 acres of lake and 26000 acres of breathtaking woodland that surrounds it. This is just the place for all the outdoorsy people to get lost in nature.

The state recreation area has clean and well-equipped camping grounds and numerous other recreation areas within its walls including Beaverdam, B.W. Wells, Highway 50, Holly Point, Rolling View, Sandling Beach, and Shinleaf.

Visitors can explore the area through all the hiking trails, or they can have a more relaxing day with activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming. Those seeking some adrenaline-inducing activities can make use of all the mountain biking opportunities in the area. You can visit the recreation area and enjoy the serenity of its water and land, at any time of the year.

7. E. Carroll Joyner Park

E. Carroll Joyner Park  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Town of Wake Forest, NC / Things to Do in Wake Forest
  • Address: 701 Harris Rd, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday- Sunday:8:00 am -6:00 pm

No visit to Wake Forest is complete without a trip to the county’s largest parks. The E. Carroll Joyner Park is a treat for the eyes and the soul with its humongous green space that seems to spread to the horizon.

Children have a blast in the park with so much space to play and explore, and the adults love it for its nature, tranquility, and countless amenities. Adding to the charm of this park is the woodland on its edges, with the thick trees changing their color with the weather.

A restored log cabin, the pecan grove, the farm buildings, and other rustic and idiosyncratic attractions, make it difficult to exit the park even after spending the whole day.

8. Piper Lights

Piper Lights  - things to do in wake forest
  • Address: 5725 Fixit Shop Rd, Wake Forest, (GPS)

Located on the Fixit Shop Road, Piper Lights is the brainchild of a local family that adores Christmas. A tradition that began 30 years ago is now one of the major attractions of the town, and it doesn’t cost a dime.

Piper Lights is a light display that you can enjoy and appreciate in a drive-thru. The display is put up every year after Thanksgiving and stays up until New Year and is one of the best things to do in Wake Forest around the holidays.

9. Heritage Golf Club

Heritage Golf Club  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Heritage Golf Club / Things to Do in Wake Forest
  • Address: 1250 Heritage Club Ave, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 am – 7:30 pm

Heritage Golf Club is a top-class golf club in Wake Forest with remarkable views and a challenging yet friendly course. Designed by Bob Moore, the course is suitable for golfers of all skill levels. It is even suitable for visitors who have never played golf a day in their life.

This club has numerous amenities including a practice bunker and a private teaching tee. The staff also helps by sharing some amazing tips and tricks.  

10. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Address: Stealey Hall – Main Administration Building, 100 N Wingate St (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Thursday: 8:00am – 5:00 pm, Friday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is a school located on the former campus of Wake Forest College. Founded in 1950, the institution is part of the Southern Baptist Convention, offering various advanced degrees and theological programs.

The campus also features a sporting facility, which means visitors and tourists can experience the spirit and energy of the local sports fans during a game. Additionally, the Seminary is surrounded by many attractions, including the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre, The Factory, and TPC Wakefield Plantation. Most of the town’s food scene is here too.

11. Art After Hours

Art After Hours  - things to do in wake forest
The Artists’ Nook at @Mimosa Home & Gift Boutique / Image courtesy of Art After Hours

You cannot experience Wake Forest like a local unless the second Friday of every month is marked down on your calendars. This is the day, every month when the neighbors, friends, students, and families head over to Downtown Wake Forest on S. White St. to experience the festivities of Art After Hours.

This event offers an opportunity to admire and purchase unique and one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts created by local artists. Then there’s the promise of an evening of family entertainment, food, and a chance to see what local merchants have on offer.

The event draws a good crowd of folks and offers a great way to enjoy cool Wake Forest evenings by walking around the town.

12. Horseshoe Farms Nature Preserve

Horseshoe Farms Nature Preserve  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Wake Audubon Society ⁣ / Things to Do in Wake Forest
  • Address: 2900 Horse Shoe Farm Rd, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm

Horseshoe Farms Nature Preserve in Wake Forest is a hidden gem worth exploring. This 146-acre preserve is a haven for nature enthusiasts, featuring 85 acres of woodlands, unpaved trails, and rare natural resources.

During your explorations around the park, you’ll spot plenty of wildlife and witness the beauty of the meandering Neuse River. It’s just some of the cultural and natural riches that await you. It’s best to grab your furry friend, pack a picnic, and immerse yourself in this peaceful retreat.

13. Neuse River Greenway Trail

Neuse River Greenway Trail  - things to do in wake forest
Neuse River Greenway Trail
  • Address: Raleigh, NC (GPS)

The Neuse River Greenway Trail is a 30-mile paved and uninterrupted greenway, providing a year-round haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning from Falls Lake Dam to the Wake County Line, this trail offers a variety of scenic views, from winding boardwalks to suspension bridges crossing over wetlands. It’s perfect for walkers, joggers, cyclists, runners, and rollerbladers.

However, that’s just scratching the surface. You can also view historic sites and explore the river crossings and trees that dot the trail. Don’t hold back and explore this beautiful and challenging trail that is perfect for both experienced cyclists and families alike.

14. Hill Ridge Farms

 - things to do in wake forest
  • Address: 703 Tarboro Rd, Youngsville (GPS)
  • Hours: Wednesday -Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm, Sunday: 1:00 pm – 5:00
    Monday – Tuesday: Closed
  • Cost of Admission: For reservations, check it here.

If your kids know nothing but metropolis life, it’s time you take them to the Hill Ridge Farms on Tarboro Road and help them experience a good old, family-bonding experience.

It’s the kind of place where even the adults’ inner child comes out to play, and your kids will have the time of their lives. You can take a hayride, experience some gem mining, or hop on the mini trains.

The farms are built to educate the masses in the most wholesome way possible, therefore there’s plenty to see and do. After a ride, the kids can jump on the giant trampoline or visit the goats in the petting area. For adults, educational tours include displays of vintage farm equipment and machinery.

15. White Street Brewing Company

White Street Brewing Company  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of White Street Brewing Company
  • Address: 218 S White St, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday -Thursday: 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Friday: 2:00 pm – 12:00 am
    Saturday: 12:00 pm -12:00 am , Sunday: 12: 00 pm – 10:00 pm

Located in historic downtown Wake Forest, White Street Brewing Company is a must-visit spot for beer enthusiasts and one of the best things to do in Wake Forest. You can witness the entire brewing operation from start to finish and sample the delicious brewed on-site ales and lagers in their taproom.

The brewery has earned a prominent place in the Wake Forest community due to its uncompromising commitment to quality. Their classic Main Street Series and modern Side Street Series are a testament to their passion for brewing.

16. Holding Park Aquatic Center

Holding Park Aquatic Center  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Town of Wake Forest, NC
  • Address: 133 W Owen Ave, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Friday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Sunday: 1:00pm – 7:00 pm
  • Cost of Admission: For daily admission fees for both residents and non resident of Wake Forest, click here.

Holding Park Pool is a summer hotspot located on Owen Ave, featuring a six-lane, 25-yard lap pool, a children’s pool, and two thrilling water slides that drop into a plunge pool.

The outdoor pool complex is set in a beautiful park valley with stunning old-growth trees, a wetland with cattails, and plenty of green spaces. This facility also schedules swim times, offers swimming lessons for everyone, including parents, hosts swim teams, and provides changing rooms and other amenities.

17. Downtown Wake Forest

Downtown Wake Forest  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Wake ForestDowntown⁣ / Things to Do in Wake Forest
  • Address: 103 N White St, Wake Forest (GPS)

Strolling is one of the best things to do in Wake Forest. One of the biggest attractions in small towns is the simple joy of walking around the town. Downtown Wake Forest, with its wide roads, cool evening breeze, cute cafés, art galleries, specialty shops, and local boutiques, offers an experience that’s hard to find in big cities around the world.

Taking a stroll around Downtown Wake Forest will allow you to soak in the town’s atmosphere.

18. Davis Field

best things to do in wake forest
  • Address: Wake Forest University, Davis Field, Winston-Salem (GPS)

Davis Field is a beautiful green field, lined with large oak trees, on Wake Forest’s University campus in Winston Salem. This little oasis feels like heaven to students as they make a beeline for it after a tiring day of studying and back-to-back classes. You’d find the students lounging under the trees, napping on one of the many hammocks, having a little picnic with friends on a blanket, etc.

Davis Field is also frequented by the marching band, and various clubs and associations. Different societies hold their events and festivities on the field, giving an open invitation for everyone to join in.

19.  Black & White Coffee Roasters

 - things to do in wake forest
  • Address: 314 Brooks St, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday: Closed

If you drink coffee like you breathe air, head over to Black & White Coffee Roasters in Downtown Wake Forest. This is their first café location, but these roasters have set the bar high from the get-go.

By roasting new single-origin beans and creating unique blends, Black & White offers an exceptional coffee experience that even the most ardent coffee drinkers will appreciate.

20. The Calvin Jones House

The Calvin Jones House  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Wake Forest Historical Museum
  • Address: 414 North Main Street, (GPS)

The Calvin Jones House in Wake Forest is no regular house. It’s special for multiple reasons. The house was completed in 1820, making it one of the oldest houses in town. It first belonged to Calvin Jones, the founding father of Wake Forest.

Located at 414 North Main Street, the Calvin Jones House was also the first home of Stealey Hall – the architectural masterpiece and the cornerstone of the former Wake Forest College. As if all that wasn’t enough, the house is also home to the Wake Forest College Sports Hall of Fame and has numerous historical exhibits and artifacts.

21. Flaherty Dog Park

Flaherty Dog Park  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Town of Wake Forest, NC ⁣ / Things to Do in Wake Forest
  • Address: 1100 N White St, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 6:00 am – 8:00 pm

This place is for all the people who prioritize their dog’s lifestyle, and those who just love dogs. Located adjacent to Flaherty Park’s baseball and softball diamonds, Flaherty Dog Park spans over two acres of land and features a fully fenced enclosure for off-leash play.

This may sound dangerous, but it’s not because the park observes and enforces all the safety rules such as always having the leash in hand. Another strict rule is to have your dog leashed when moving them between playing areas.   

The park also has a paved entrance, double-gated entry, picnic tables, water stations, posted rules of conduct, and pet cleanup stations. Visitors can relax on benches while watching their furry friends play.

22. The Cotton Company

The Cotton Company  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of The Cotton Company
  • Address: 306 S White St, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Thursday: 10:00am – 6:00 pm, Friday & Saturday: 10:00 am –
    8:00 pm, Sunday: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Discover local talent at The Gallery at The Cotton Company, home to three resident studio artists and over 21 other talented locals. Check out Ginger Meek Allen’s beautiful metalwork, Theresa Brown’s stunning portraits, and Dick Larsen’s charming pet portraits and oil paintings.

The Gallery also features one visiting artist exhibit each month. On the ground floor, The Cotton Company offers a marketplace filled with elegant home decor and gifts. Here, you can explore over 50 booths showcasing the latest styles and brands alongside locally made artisan products like pottery, candles, jewelry, and more.

Upstairs, The Event Gallery provides a sophisticated and stylish venue for special events, from weddings to corporate meetings.

23. Wake Escape

wake escape
  • Address: 10501 Ligon Mill Rd Ste 102, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm, Sunday: 11:30-8:00 pm

Wake Escape is Wake Forest’s premier escape room experience. With only 60 minutes on the clock, teams of 8-10 are challenged to solve a series of puzzles and riddles to escape one of the four themed rooms.

Whether you’re a fan of ancient history, futuristic technology, or immersive storytelling, every escape room has something for everyone. Choose from Ramses Revenge, Exit Protocol, Tornado Alley, or Steampunk Submarine, and see if you have what it takes to beat the clock and escape.

24. Page 158 Books

Page 158 Books  - things to do in wake forest
Image courtesy of Page 158 Books ⁣ / Things to Do in Wake Forest
  • Address: 415-B Brooks St, Wake Forest (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Wednesday & Saturday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Thursday – Friday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Sunday: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

There’s nothing unlovable about Page 158 of Books in Downtown Wake Forest. Established in 2015, this cozy bookstore immediately became a popular retreat for all book lovers, both locals and tourists. In addition to the wonderful collection of books and a cozy setting, this bookstore is the readers’ favorite because of the coffee setup in the back.

The bookstore also facilitates little readers with their kid section that comes with some of the best children’s titles. Kids who aren’t fond of reading will stay occupied for hours with the train set in the center of the kids’ section.  

25. Wine and Design

wine and design

Located in Raleigh, Wine and Design is a unique concept that allows people to come together in an intimate setting and make their art as they eat and drink and talk to fellow artists.

The studio offers a cathartic experience as everyone brings their memories and their masterpieces to life, in the presence of good company and great food. You will have to bring the food and drinks yourself while the studio provides the arty supply and a local artist to help you with your first few strokes.

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About Natasha

Natasha moved to North Carolina for college years ago (but she's not trying to age herself here). Her days were spent reading a book on the beach and enjoying a cold glass of sweet tea in between classes at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Upon graduation, she met her partner, Cameron, and they traveled the world together crossing 85 countries and seven continents. After, many years of international travel they settled down a bit and launched Lost in the Carolinas to share their experiences about and travel tips on South Carolina and North Carolina.

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