March - April; October
As it's not a traditional tourist destination, Raleigh doesn't really have a peak season in terms of prices. Deciding when to go is really a question of weather. Spring is lovely, with blooming azaleas, Bradford pear trees, dogwoods and more. Temperatures are mild, with cool nights becoming balmy as spring inches toward summer. March means only one thing: March Madness, as the college basketball championship season is called. Bars are packed with fans cheering on the local college teams—NC State, Duke or the University of North Carolina. Fall is also nearly perfect, weather-wise. While early September can be hot, hot, hot, by October the temperatures have fallen to comfortable levels and the foliage has turned gloriously golden. Fall also brings football season—fans flock to nearby Chapel Hill to watch the Tarheels play, bringing with them huge tailgate picnics of fried chicken, biscuits, sweet tea and plenty of beer. If you can, snag an invite—it's a classic Carolina experience.
May - September
If Raleigh had a true off season, it would certainly be summer. With temperatures spiking as high as 105 degrees and near 100-percent humidity, walking around on an August day can feel like swimming in boiling milk. Add in the occasional earth-shaking thunderstorm, and you've got a recipe for winding up marooned in your air-conditioned hotel room. But if you can take the heat, Raleigh summers offer tons of laid-back fun with things like outdoor movies at the North Carolina Art Museum, Downtown Live concerts in Moore Square Park, swimming at Falls Lake and 4th of July festivities at the State Fairgrounds.
December - February
To call North Carolina winters "unpredictable" is like calling Lady Gaga "eccentric." You might have sleet one day and 70-degree temperatures the next. The slightest bit of snow can send locals into a tizzy, racing to the grocery store to stock up on bread and milk to sustain them during the coming apocalypse. Fortunately, even small amounts of snow are fairly rare, and the mild days vastly outnumber the bitter ones. Just pack a jacket and you'll be fine. Southerners celebrate the holidays with gusto, and Raleigh-ites are no exception. Winter visits are the perfect time to enjoy some traditional holiday spirit, with festive Christmas parades and tours of wreath-bedecked historic homes.