12 Fun Things to Do in North Hills with Kids!

The more we visit North Hills in Raleigh as a family the more we fall for this Raleigh neighborhood located just five miles north of downtown Raleigh, and if you’re looking for ideas on what to do in North Hills with kids, we’ve got you covered! 

Family of four dining at a high top table in a French restaurant
Lunch at Coquette is a personal family favorite!

Whether you need help with weekend plans, after school activities, or things to do over a summer school break, the ever evolving and popular Midtown Raleigh district offers something for all ages.

People sitting on grass in a park surrounded by building
Midtown Park hosts many kids events

Divided into three districts; Main District, Lassiter District, and Park District, North Hills is a pedestrian-friendly outdoor shopping promenade with countless restaurants and kid-friendly events and activities. Below is what our kids love to do there! 

North Hills Raleigh (with Kids)

Flour Power Cooking Class

Two kids in a kitchen learning how to cook
JT was a great cooking instructor

Savannah is our little baker at home, always wanting to cook up a storm in our kitchen (and make a mess) and she jumped at the chance to participate in a kids cooking class at Flour Power Studios.

They have several class options including their popular Friday night Kid’s Night Out program which Savannah did and provides the perfect amount of time for adult time – while Savannah was at the 2-hour cooking class, we got to do date night things in North Hills as it’s located in Midtown Park and just a few steps away from our favorites, Las Ramblas Spanish Tapas and Vita Vite wine bar.

Savannah Makepeace beating eggs in a kitchen
Savannah preparing her brownie mix

Savannah loved her Chocolate Extravaganza cooking class and made Chocolate Brownie Cookies, Chocolate French Toast, and Chocolate Whipped Cream. 

They also do themed weekly classes for preschool to teens which are a fun way for your kids to focus on hands-on kids cooking class sessions, plus summer and school break camps, and also family and adult cooking classes!

JT was an awesome instructor and our little chef learned basic skills including following the recipe, the proper way to handle food, cooking techniques, creativity and imagination in the kitchen. 

Quail Ridge Bookstore

Books on display inside a bookstore
Great independent bookstore!

Both our daughters love reading and looking in book stores, and Quail Ridge Books is a lovely local and independent bookshop in the North Hills Lassiter District with a nice kids & teens section.

Founded in 1984, this bookstore provides a wide variety of carefully selected books, events, discussion groups and even town hall meetings. Their Readers’ Club is good value at $20 per year per household and offers discounts and special sales. 

Savannah Makepeace reading a book in a bookstore
Our kids love reading!

Every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning for 30-minutes you can join their children’s booksellers as they read their favorite picture books during Under The Tree Storytime. There’s also a Teen Book Club open to high school-age teens (roughly 14-18), a monthly book club is a great way to sample the wide variety of genres on offer to young adults. 

Experience Italy at Giorgio Pizza Bar

Cheese pizza on a plate
5-cheese pizza (Cinque Formaggio)

We‘re about to visit Italy for 2-weeks as part of our one month Europe trip, so we were excited to dine at the new Giorgio Pizza Bar for a taste of Italian in North Hills and the perfect warm up for our vacation.

If you’re looking for a great family-friendly restaurant, while there is no specific kids menu the pizzas and pastas are definitely big enough to share and our kids absolutely loved their 5-cheese pizza (Cinque Formaggio) and the Tre Pepperoni, and of course their desserts!

If anyone is gluten free, they have excellent cauliflower crust pizza bases, and of course a great selection of Italian wines and cocktails for pairing with all their dishes.

Giorgio offers a local, seasonal approach to both hand-tossed, crispy, sourdough pizzas and other regional pizza styles, as well as small Italian style shared plates, and is now one of our favorite North Hills restaurants!

NOTE: lunch is recommended here during weekends as a family, as weekend dinners tend to lend more to “date night” and would not highlight the same elements that a family forward service would.

You can enjoy your meal in the cozy and stylish dining room, or for a more casual experience on their colorful outdoor patio. Read our full review.

North Hills Kids Series 

Group of kids playing in a park under a tent

Held every 3rd Tuesday from June-August in the Coastal Credit Union Midtown Park, North Hills Kids is a seasonal series of fun-filled events that provide an opportunity for children to come together to learn, exercise, and socialize in an outdoor environment.

Young guests and their parents are invited to attend free programs designed to highlight local children’s attractions, activity classes, and kid-friendly performances.

Edible Art, Bakery & Dessert Cafe

Entrance to a bakery

Looking for cupcakes? Look no further! Since 1982 Edible Art Bakery and Dessert Café has been making sweet, Southern, Scratch-made cupcakes and desserts that our kids unanimously approved of! 

They have standard and seasonal flavors, and we went with a box of four: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Brownie, Red Velvet and a gluten-free Triple Chocolate! 

Four cupcakes in a cardboard box
Box of four, yes please!

Try one of their custom cakes made from their 100+ year old family recipe, and consider them for catering needs for your next event, such asweddings. 

Bowling At Kings Dining & Entertainment

Young girl ten pin bowling

We don’t bowl often as it was never a big thing for us growing up in Australia like it is here in the U.S., but we always enjoy bowling as a family when we do.

If you’re looking for some social gaming fun when you visit North Hills, Kings is an upscale bowling lounge and our favorite place to go bowling in Raleigh, and even though we aren’t very good we always have a laugh and this is a cool space with a fun atmosphere.

We have only bowled here during the daytime, so can’t comment on the night time scene. Also keep in mind that this is a popular venue so I recommend you reserve a lane in advance (18 lanes in total). 

If you do have to wait for a lane, there’s also a gaming area with pool (billiards), ping pong tables, foosball, and dart boards. There’s a decent selection of food with burgers, wings, fries, sandwiches, pizza, and tacos. Watch our video of us bowling at Kings.

French Style Lunch at Coquette

Family of four having lunch in a restaurant

If you dream of visiting Paris as a family, you can get a taste of France right here in North Hills without the 8 hour flight. 

Coquette is a true French Brasserie and classic bistro featuring authentic ⁣⁣French food with a kids menu, a lovely basket of bread to start, and our kids always look forward to their mini desserts like Profiteroles and the Macarons which are delectable.

Coquette is a lovely family dining experience with warm and attentive staff and it feels like a true Parisian cafe. For the adults, I highly recommend the French Onion Soup, the Seafood Crepe, and their Espresso Martini is the best I’ve had in Raleigh! 

Considering Coquette serves brunch, lunch and dinner, getting a taste of France in Raleigh is just a short drive away. 

Nutella Waffles at Jubala Coffee

jubala coffee raleigh

You know we love our coffee dates, and the great thing about Jubala Coffee is our kids love it too because of their delicious Banana Nutella Waffles so this is the perfect coffee spot for us as a family!

Savannah is always at us to go to Jubala for their waffles, and she doesn’t have to twist my arm too much as I love their lattes and biscuits (my pick is their bacon, egg, pimento cheese), and the North Hills location on Midtown Park is great. 

Start your North Hills weekend off with coffee and waffles at one of our favorite coffee shops in Raleigh, then head to the Midtown Farmers’ Market. 

Shop, Play & Learn at Alara + Zane

Located on the Midtown Park side, Alara + Zane is a Shop, Play, Learn, Party concept designed to support families with children ranging in age from newborns through to 6 years old.

Not only can you find quality clothing and products, but also a space where kids can play and learn, and where new parents can get expert advice and find community through activities and events. 

There’s over 2,000 sq ft of space designed to spark imagination and activate open ended play, including a lookout tower and art & science room where creativity and independence is encouraged. 

Locally owned and operated by a mom of two, Sanaa Alyemeni who believes in the idea that families need another place of their own. Check out their various memberships

Ice Cream at Ben & Jerry’s or Kilwins

If your kids are ice cream lovers you have two great options in North Hills, one on either side of Six Forks Road. 

Our kids find it hard to choose between the iconic Ben & Jerry’s (we have visited their factory in Vermont), and Kilwins, who have been around even longer serving their ice cream, chocolates and confectionery since 1947. 

Ben & Jerry’s is located in the Main District, and Kilwins in the Park District. You can’t go wrong with a cone or cup at either of these popular stores!

Watch a Movie at the Cinema

Movie cinema in a shopping mall
Regal Cinema

Like most kids, our kids love to go to the cinema and watch a movie on the big screen with popcorn in hand, and of course it’s the perfect wet weather activity.

Regal Cinema at North Hills is a state-of-the-art movie theater, offering the latest and greatest films available. 

Regal’s policy for a Child’s ticket is age 3 to 11. Children under 3 are free except in reserved seating and recliner locations. And no children 6 and under are allowed into a “R” rated movie.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar 

Locally owned in North Carolina, The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar is a popular spot for families to grab lunch or go for a night out for dinner.

Our eldest daughter loves sushi, while our youngest loves burgers, so the unique combination that this restaurant offers both is perfect for us. And if you can’t decide, why not try both!

cowfish north hills 1 2
Bento box

Savannah ordered a bento box with a mini burger, a sushi roll and sides. For the truly adventurous, consider their signature burgushi, a fusion of both burgers and sushi! 

Cowfish offers an array of fresh, hand-crafted sushi, ranging from the traditional and, in true Cowfish fashion, the not so traditional, and the Cowfish burgers are made from ½ pound of all-natural beef, turkey, lamb, or bison.

Burger with lettuce, cheese, and avocado
Bison burger

My bison burger with cheddar, avocado salsa, lettuce, chipotle aioli, red onion on a sesame seed bun was delicious! 

There’s milkshakes for the kids and spiked shakes for us adults, plus an aquarium, brightly colored walls, high ceilings, and original pop art covering the walls adding to the fun vibe! 

Go Shopping in North Hills Mall

Mom and daughter shopping

Our kids are shoppers, and while there aren’t a ton of stores in North Hills specific to younger kids, what we love about this district is it’s walkability, park your car once and explore on foot. 

Some of the stores good for family shopping include:

  • Learning Express Toys & Gifts – their shelves are stocked with lots of unique and classic toys and those that have passed the test of time, plus the latest and greatest toys. You can get personalizations and gift wrap for free!
  • Copper Penny – specializes in clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories and curated with a Southern eye. We bought this cool necklace there! 

  • Kendra Scott – an American accessories brand inspired by the personal experiences, travel, and sense of community of its CEO, designer, and philanthropist Kendra Scott. Love their jewelry selection! 
  • REI – needs no introduction. National outdoor retail co-op is dedicated to outfitting its members with products from all of the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, snow sports, and travel; plus its own line of award winning gear.

And of course there’s a Target on-site, and what kid can’t find something in Target? See the full North Hills Shopping Directory here.

Looking for more family fun in Raleigh? Don’t miss our guide to 75+ things to do with kids in Raleigh.

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