Last Updated on June 28, 2021
Last Updated on June 28, 2021
If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.
We’ve been big fans of Fayetteville ever since our first weekend here and can’t wait to keep coming back for more. It’s one of our favorite spots for day trips from Raleigh (also, Durham) and in all of Eastern North Carolina at any time of year. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about winter or any of the warmer months.
This post is part of our series on Fayetteville and other awesome places to visit in North Carolina.
Things to Do in Fayetteville NC
US Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum
Here, you’ll find a tribute to the history of airborne and special operations from the 1940s to current units.
All of this is put together with well-designed, interactive exhibits and memorabilia. Greeting you at the entrance is Iron Mike, the 3,235-pound statue dedicated to all past, present, and future paratroopers.
The Airborne & Special Ops Museum also features among our favorite things to do with kids in Fayetteville!
Veterans Park & Constant Vigilance
Do not miss Veterans Park’s dog tag chandelier, made of 33,500 tags dedicated to North Carolina veterans.
Another place to take pause is in front of is the bronze statue of Constant Vigilance. That’s the first memorial for K9 soldiers killed in action.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden
At Cape Fear Botanical Garden, you have 80 acres of greenery to explore. This awesome spot sits and just two miles from downtown between the Cape Fear River and Cross Creek.
Its variety of curated gardens are worthy of visiting throughout the year, though spring is probably the best time. Whether you’re looking to escape to a flowery oasis or check out one of the special events, Cape Fear Botanical Garden is the perfect spot to connect with nature.
Bonus Tip: When visiting with children, don’t forget to stop by their Visitors Services and check out a FREE Themed Backpack. With options for all ages, you can choose one that focuses on trees and flowers, bird watching, or searching for insects.
Visit CFBG any time and you’ll see why this is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in North Carolina!
J Bayard Clark Park & Nature Center
Hike out to the covered bridge, stop at the waterfalls, and enjoy the “Bicycle Man” playground with the little ones. Take a gander in the Nature Center to see their exhibits and make sure to ask about their upcoming special programs!
The Cape Fear River Trail and Cape Fear Botanical Garden are also mentioned in our guide to outdoor attractions in Fayetteville!
Root for Fayetteville Teams
With three semiprofessional sports teams in Fayetteville, there is always a chance to cheer on a home team!
2019 marked the inaugural year for Minor League Baseball’s Fayetteville Woodpeckers and the city couldn’t be happier to have them.
The brand-new Segra Stadium holds nearly 5,300 people and even has picnic-style seating. There’s also a section of rocking chairs for those who really want to chill out in the outfield.
Speaking of baseball, did you know that Babe Ruth hit his first home run in Fayetteville? You can see the historic marker for the exact spot here.
Many folks might remember the Cape Fear FireAntz and they’re still playing hockey at Crown Coliseum as the Fayetteville Marksmen.
As part of the NC-based Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL), the Marksmen play between October and April, making their games one of the most fun things to do in Fayetteville during fall and winter.
Fascinate-U Children’s Museum
Take a tour through Fayetteville’s hands-on “mini-city” at Fascinate-U Children’s Museum. Here, kids (and adults, too) can learn through play and by manipulating the prepared environment around them.
With exhibits staged to reflect real-life situations, children can interact with materials in the museum’s Fire Station, Post Office, and Army Fort!
We also included Fascinate-U among our favorite children’s museums in North Carolina!
Don’t worry about imagining yourself high above the treetops with the roar of a rushing waterfall behind you, because that’s exactly what you’ll find at ZipQuest!
Choose from two courses and get ready to swing across the forest like Tarzan! With the Waterfall Expedition, you’ll take eight tree-to-tree zip lines, cross three suspension bridges and three spiral staircases, all with expertly trained professionals.
1897 Poe House
At the 1897 Poe House, you can tour the homes owned by one of the most affluent families of Fayetteville in the early 20th century! Named for the year it was constructed, the Poe House was owned by Josephine and Edgar Allan Poe.
Not to be confused with the famous author, E A Poe was a successful businessman, politician, and civic leader in Cumberland County.
Tours highlight women’s and children’s roles in the house, African American history, and the technological, economic, and social changes that occurred in North Carolina while the Poes were in residence.
Leclair’s General Store
Leclair’s General Store is an awesome place to visit no matter when you come to Fayetteville, though it’s especially awesome during the winter. That’s because you can sip wine or a nitro cold brew while you browse this Haymount District shop.
And if you think it’s just an average general store, think again. This place is carefully and thoughtfully filled with art, antiques, and oddities that make you want to start a Pinterest board.
Cultural Heritage Trails
Fayetteville is filled with Culture Heritage Trails, so all you have to do is pick one to follow! With 750 miles of themed driving trails, you can get to know the ins and out of Cumberland county.
Whether your interest is African-American Heritage and Black History, Gaelic Beginnings, Antiquing, Fish and Gaming, Historic Architecture or Civil War history, these trail maps will lead the way through America’s Hometown.
Tons of Fun Shopping in Fayetteville
If you like shopping ’til you drop, Downtown Fayetteville has some beautiful and unique shops to make browsing up and down Hay Street a lot of fun!
As book lovers, one of our first things to do in Fayetteville is to stop in at City Center Gallery & Books. They have a great kids’ books section in the book, some rare local history finds, and art from creators based in the area. This is all a big part of why we think this is one of the best bookstores in North Carolina!
Honestly, just walking through all of these amazing shops is just one of our favorite things to do in Fayetteville!
Eat at these Awesome Fayetteville Restaurants
Whether you’re talking about the make-your-own Bloody Mary Bar from Circa 1800 or the most delicious Vietnamese food outside of Hanoi from Grilled Ginger, it’s easy to see that Fayetteville is bursting at the seams with delicious places to eat.
Start light and healthy with Egyptian from Pharaohs Village, sandwich the day with a sweet or savory pie from Fayetteville Pie Company, and end with melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork from Fowler’s Southern Gourmet.
From Hay Street to Hope Mills, we included these awesome places to eat among more must-eat restaurants in Fayetteville!
Coffee and Tea Houses
Locally-owned coffee and tea houses are scattered throughout Cumberland county and here are a few of our favorites.
The deep and complex loose leaf pickings at Winterbloom Tea are obviously worth sampling, but it’s also a cozy spot with plenty of comfortable seating.
The Coffee Cup’s delicious affogatos and to-go lunch boxes are still on my mind.
And if you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy latte, check out Rude Awakening! With a latte art printer, you can pick fun IG-worthy sayings to top your vanilla latte.
Visit these Fayetteville Breweries
Fayetteville has a love for good Hometown beer. A Mondo Mash beer flight at The Mash House is a great way to start.
Dirtbag Ales in Hope Mills offers an all-inclusive experience to with their delicious beers.
There’s a dog park, soccer field, playground, and their Sunday Farmer’s Market with yoga and vendors is pretty awesome, too. Don’t forget to see what’s cooking up next door at Napkins!
Bright Light Brewing Company serves up delicious microbrew beers and serves as a kid- and dog-friendly meeting spot for the community.
Lake Gaston Brewing Company is about creating memories, enjoying friendships, and kicking back like you would at the lake.
And then there’s Huske Hardware House, Fayetteville’s oldest BrewPub. Not only has Huske Hardware House been fermenting yeast on Hay Street since 1996, the building, established in 1903, has a long history in Fayetteville.
We mentioned these four veteran-owned breweries in this guide.
And if you’re seeing some bubbly, white, or red, say “Hi!” to Angela at the Wine Cafe on Hay Street. They have a great variety of wines she hand-curates.
Gillis Hill Farm
Family-owned for eight generations, Gillis Hill Farm is Fayetteville’s ultimate agritourism spot! It’s open from April to October, and the farm is well known for fresh, delicious ice cream and the pick-your-own seasonal options. You can also tour the farm and take home some amazing produce from Gillis Hill Farm!
Lake in the Pines
Lake and a pool all in one? Yes, please! Fayetteville’s Lake in the Pines Swim Club is a two-acre lake fed by an underground spring. It’s the perfect place to paddle around, take a picnic, and enjoy friends and family in the summer.
Ready for a weekend in Fayetteville?
If you assume Fayetteville is only meant for folks who’ve grown up here or who happen to be stationed at nearby Fort Bragg, think again. This place is full of fun things to do and we look forward to exploring it more. Don’t worry, because we’ll share what we find with you.
Have you ever spent a weekend in Fayetteville? What else should we do when here? And if you’ve never been before, which of these things to do in Fayetteville are you looking forward to enjoying first?