Top Free Summer Concerts in the Triangle
Updated: Jul 17, 2019
Growing up in a small, rural town we had to be creative in how we had fun. I like to give people a perspective: the closest Starbucks was 2 ½ hours away (I know! How did I survive?), and furthermore as an only child, I had to be extra creative. So moving to Chapel Hill was a big deal. After all, they have seven Starbucks!
Within 20-min there are endless activities. Always. And now that the dogs days of summer have arrived, we are on a mission to seek out the best of the best fam-friendly activities! The temps are warmer, the days longer, and Destination Graves is hitting the road!
Music has always played a special part in our family, so it seemed fitting to kick it off with, 'Top Free Summer Concerts in the Triangle.'
1.Friday’s on the Front Porch - Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill
It was 85, sunny, and the girls had just graduated pre-K! A celebration was in store and Friday’s on the Front Porch was the perfect way to honor the day. We first visited the Carolina Inn last year for the Santa breakfast and instantly fell in love with its upscale, southern charm. And following suit, the concert did not disappoint. The lawn was beautifully manicured with drink tables lining one end, the stage the other, and a good mix of sun and shade. Tickets can be purchased for drinks, food, and ice cream! The atmosphere at the concert was upbeat, fun, and the music that evening was on-point.
We opted for finer dining and enjoyed dinner at Crossroads, one of the restaurants at the Inn. Their outdoor dining space is conveniently located adjacent to the action so the girls were still able to enjoy running and dancing to the tunes as we waited for our meals. Crossroads received 5-stars from the Graves fam. Our waiter was friendly (shout out to Eliot!), the food was absolutely delish, AND here’s the kicker, reasonably priced! We can’t recommend this concert series and Crossroads enough. Do yourself and fam a favor tonight and go!
*pro-tip: Parking is located in the Nash Lot. I say this because we circled the Inn for 20-minutes….
April 26 - Oct 11, Fridays, 5-8 p.m.
2. Saturday’s in Saxapahaw - Saxapahaw
This summer concert spot will for sure hold a special place in our hearts. My parents were visiting and after a stellar fam day, we closed the evening with Saturday’s at Saxapahaw. It was so fun! First, we enjoyed a walk through the Farmers Market that was filled with locally-made honey, thirst-quenching Boro kombucha, fire-grilled pizza, fresh flowers, and of course, ice cream!
*pro-tip: bring your bathing suits for the massive slip n’ slide!
Even though the kids missed out on the slide action, they practiced their hula skills and duped my parents into buying animal face masks. The lawn hillside was shaped like an amphitheater and one little girl even got brave enough to dance right next to the stage! We all enjoyed the bluegrass tunes, and even inspired Adalyn to say she wanted to play the fiddle. Just 20-min from Chapel Hill, this vibrant, eclectic scene will not disappoint!
Saturdays, May 4 - Aug. 31, farmers market 5-8 PM. Music, 6-8 PM.
3. Streets at Southpoint Music on Main - Durham
Last summer we had the brilliant idea to bring all three kids (at that time aged 4, 4 and 9-months) to see the Incredibles 2 at Southpoint. Well, Rory lasted 90-seconds so thankfully this super fun concert was taking place just steps outside the theater! Rory and I danced, took in the sights, and enjoyed the Motown tunes while we waited for the movie to end. The whole Graves fam is unapologetically smitten with Southpoint, and this only deepened our love!
Saturdays, April 13-Aug. 24, 6-9 PM
4. Jazz & More Brunch - Carrboro
This is definitely a hidden gem. The kids and I hit this up only once last summer, but I wish we would’ve visited more often! Mom if you’re looking for a relaxing morning, lounging in a lawn chair, coffee in hand, and kids running around freely on a small, quaint shaded lawn - this is it. The eclectic music is perfect for lazy Sunday morning vibes, and the regular dancers from the audience are entertainment in themselves. And for the kids, balloon animals!
Sundays, May 19 - Oct 14, 11 AM -1 PM
5. Sunday Night Concert Series - Southern Village, Chapel Hill
Bring your lawn chair, blankets, and picnic accessories as you settle in for an evening of good music on this spacious lawn. We happened to attend during 'Porch Fest,' a hunger relief benefit. (See calendar for full list of events, including a weekly Saturday evening outdoor children's movie!) Not only did the kids have a blast playing the numerous field games, but it also felt good to celebrate a great local cause. And before heading home it's always a must to stop into La Vita Dolce. Their commitment to high-quality ingredients makes their gelato an ice cream lovers dream. (The goat cheese black raspberry was surprisingly delicious - great choice, Avi!)
Sunday’s, May 5-July 2, 6 PM
With SO many incredible concert series in this area, this is just scratching the surface, but these are our favs thus far!
Happy long summer days filled with good music, good vibes and good ol' fashioned family fun!
What are your favorite summer concerts series in the Triangle? Is it on this list? If not, I'd love to hear more so we can check it out too!!