10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots

Downtown Raleigh is one of the best places to strike a pose. It has urban beauty, lush green parks, street art and city lights. As a full time professional photographer I’m constantly on the lookout for beautiful locations. I’m here to make it even easier on your Instagram stories and photo albums with the 10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots.

1. HQ Raleigh Wall

What’s a trip to Raleigh without a photo with a colorful wall that actually says, “Raleigh”? HQ Raleigh is in the warehouse district of the downtown area. Strike a pose with friends and let the world know where you are!

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of HQ Raleigh's blue mural wall.

2. CAM

The Carolina Museum of Art is next to HQ Raleigh in the Warehouse District. It’s angular metal roof and bold yellow letters make it a point of interest. They seasonally have food trucks and seating on the front gravel patio but with or without it it’s certainly picturesque.

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of CAM art museum.

3. Fayetteville Street

This main avenue in the downtown area is one of the prettiest streets I’ve ever walked. It’s so incredibly well kept and looked after. It has beautiful landscaping and flags that usually correspond to the month’s holidays or festivals. It’s not too heavily trafficked but be careful and look both ways if you stop in the center of the street to grab a photo. There’s a lot of great bars and restaurants on this street if you’re in the mood for some delicious food and cocktails. If you’re standing on the street and look north you’ll see the Capital Building and if you look south you’ll see Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. They’re both beautiful structures. But don’t overlook how photo-worthy the street itself is.

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of the capital city's main avenue, Fayetteville Street.

4. The Capital Building

Raleigh is the capital city of the state of North Carolina. Thus, there’s a grandiose building that announces its authority over the state. It has beautiful columns and green grass surrounding it. There’s a few notable statues as well. Walk around all four sides of it because there’s something different to see from every angle. I snapped the image below during golden hour, right before sunset.

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of the Capital Building during golden hour.

5. City Market

This market was first built around 1914 to serve the city’s residents with a place to buy local foods, including fruits, vegetables and baked goods. It’s long standing history as an icon of the city is still present in it’s architecture and cobblestone streets. My favorite part of City Market is the market lights that are hung high above the street. It’s a pretty scene during the day but it’s even more stunning at night when they illuminate. I photographed this wedding at a venue at City Market and I loved the result.

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of City Market cobblestone street with strung overhead lights. 10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of City Market cobblestone street with strung overhead lights with a bride and groom.

6. Globe at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

You can literally put the whole world in your hands here! It’d be difficult to miss the large globe perched outside this museum. It’s on the sidewalk and reaches nearly three stories high. Where else can you take photos with the entire Earth?

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of the large globe at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

7. Boylan Bridge

The views of the city from Boylan Bridge are worth enjoying. As the city expands the skyline is changing and a photo you take here today may be vastly different from next year’s view.

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of the view from Boylan Bridge.

8. Monsters Wall near Trophy

This is one of my favorite murals in the city! The “monsters” wall, painted by Kevin Lyons, has such personality. It’s located near Trophy Brewing and Pizza. I loved photographing some of a couple’s engagement session here.

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of a mural wall by Kevin Lyon of black and white monsters near Trophy Brewing.

9. JC Raulston Arboretum

This arboretum is a part of NC State college’s property and is absolutely free to visit (donations welcome). They’re very generous with their beautifully landscaped gardens and do not charge a photography fee to create images here if you’re a pro. Of course all hobbyist are always welcome. They have a variety of photo-worthy spots from their Japanese Garden, to Elm Circle and Rose Garden. The image below was taken during this engagement session on the arboretum’s perennial border walkway.

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of JC Raulston Arboretum, part of NC State, with lush landscaping and gardens.

10. Geometric Mural Wall

Not too far from JC Raulston Arboretum is an unassuming mural wall. It’s at the end of a shopping strip and I am certain while many people admire it as they drive by to the highway they don’t stop to photograph it. But not me! It’s right near a Whole Foods and Bruegger’s Bagels off Wade Avenue. I love the geometric pattern the artist chose painted in hues of blue, red and black.

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog. Photo of a geometric red, black and blue mural wall.

Note that while many of these are unlikely to change, some spots like mural walls are subject to refreshing! So if you show up and there’s another painting over it simply go with the flow and find beauty in the location you’re photographing and experiencing.

For more to do in North Carolina check out:

Which would be your first stop on the way to capture all 10?

10 Best Downtown Raleigh Photography Spots on Sometimes Home travel blog.

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5 Comments

  1. Mona Mihlrad
    July 5, 2017 / 4:17 am

    I love reading and looking at your posts!

  2. July 7, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    This is the perfect post for me as I will be in Raleigh in a couple of weeks! Thank you for the tips and a look at Raleigh.

    • July 8, 2017 / 3:07 pm

      You’re welcome! Let me know if you need more Raleigh info! 🙂

  3. July 8, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    I’ve never been to Raliegh but am so inspired by all these spots!

    • July 8, 2017 / 3:07 pm

      Thanks, Lola!! It’s a wonderful city! Glad the post was inspiring. 🙂

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