Try these iconic things to do in Cary

By Maggie Mae Whittemore | for Raleigh Convergence

New to Cary, NC, and looking for things to do? This post is part of Raleigh Convergence’s New Neighbor Project, which connects newcomers to the Raleigh area with content from community members around things to do, civic engagement, local history and more.

You Know You Live in Cary if You’ve Done These 7 Things…

You’ve enjoyed an afternoon at the Downtown Park.

This town square of Cary is a true urban park. On the corner of South Academy Street and Kildaire Farm Road, this space features a beautiful lighted fountain, a performance stage and area, bocce ball court, table tennis, and much more.

Many events throughout the year are held here including the Baristas and Bakers breakfast series, Park After Dark concert series, and other great activities. While events in the Town of Cary are canceled for now, the park is still open.  

You’ve explored some of the Gold Medal winning parks and Greenways.

Currently, Cary has more than 30 public parks and outdoor areas (that were awarded a Gold Medal by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in 2016). 

These parks are connected through a Greenway system that spans more than 80 miles and recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. You can walk, run, or bike through these trails while appreciating the flora and fauna of Cary. 

Enjoy some fresh air with these now: Greenways and park grounds are still open!

You’ve attended an event at Koka Booth Amphitheatre.

Constructed in 2001 on the north bank of Symphony Lake, Koka Booth Amphitheatre hosts over 50 events every year! From its annual Chinese Lantern Festival, which features magnificently crafted lanterns, each one comprised of hundreds of parts and thousands of LED lights, to performances by the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, everyone can find something they want to experience at Booth Amphitheatre. [bookmark for the future

You’ve seen a movie at The Cary Theater.

What was once the town’s first indoor movie theater has flourished into a multi-use cultural location with a spotlight on digital arts, amateur and youth theater and music.

Their summer festival the “Beyond: The Cary Film Festival” usually attracts hundreds of people annually in June. It features a variety of genres of movies and brings in the producers, directors, and writers to hold interactive panels and discussions. This year, it’s going virtual, Sept. 24-27!

This cultural center brings a diverse selection of films year-round for residents to enjoy. While it’s currently closed, bookmark their site for the future.

SIGN UP FOR FREE NEW NEIGHBOR GUIDES, DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX:

You’ve admired the local art of the Cary Gallery of Artists. 

This cooperative operated by local artists features over 300 pieces of traditional and contemporary fine art created by 24 artists from around the Triangle.

An artist on duty during its business hours helps inform visitors on the displays. The exhibits change monthly and during their “Final Friday” evening reception they reveal the new works. The gallery is currently open with revised hours, you can learn more here

You’ve tried some wacky cheese creations at the Pimento Cheese Festival.

The Pimento Cheese Festival has become a summer staple for the Town of Cary. Food trucks line Academy Street and on top of serving their regular menus, they must feature an item with a classic southern delicacy: pimento cheese!

On top of that, there is live music in the Downtown Park, restaurants competing for the title of “Best Pimento Cheese” which you sample and vote for and a pimento cheese sculpting contest.

It is a day full of crazy cheesy creations and fun for the whole family to look forward to in the future. [website]

You’ve stopped for lunch at Ashworth Drugs.

Ever since opening its doors in 1957, Ashworth Drugs has prided itself on the promise “We Fill Your Prescriptions Promptly and with the Courtesy You Deserve.”

Not only does Ashworth’s function as a pharmacy, but it also has an amazing soda fountain with a variety of delicious items like homemade pimento cheese, fresh-squeezed orangeades, milkshakes, and boasts “the best hot dogs in town.”

This classic downtown drug store is the perfect place to meet up with friends or have a family outing.

About the New Neighbor Project: Cary Ambassador:

Maggie describes herself as “just a northern girl navigating the southern world.” After moving from Maine to North Carolina after graduating from college in 2017 with a degree in Media Studies, Digital Arts and Journalism, she made her new home in the Town of Cary. This transition was made easy by those in her new neighborhood that welcomed her with open arms.

Throughout 2019, Maggie represented Cary in two different statewide pageants, holding the title of Miss Cary for both. With this title, she made it her goal to become involved through volunteering to give back to and meet the people she was representing. She attended over 15 events throughout the year including celebrations like the Pimento Cheese Festival, the Cary Road Race, and the Bond Park Pumpkin Flotilla.

Maggie is delighted to get to be the Community Ambassador for Cary and is enthusiastic to get her new and established neighbors connected. [learn more]

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