There's nothing like spending a day at Raleigh's Pullen Park, especially in the summer when the weather's great, the kids are out of school and the carousel and train are calling.
But the big challenge with a trip to Pullen can be parking.
There is some parking available in lots on the Pullen grounds, but it's extremely limited, particularly during peak times.
So we've pulled together all of the options we could find for free parking at Pullen (plus a great tip for avoiding that hassle altogether).
Parking on Pullen grounds
▪ The main parking lot for Pullen Park is at the park entrance on Ashe Avenue. As soon as you pull in, the lot is on the left. Try that first and maybe you'll get lucky.
▪ There's also some parking along the side of the park with the picnic shelters. As you enter the park off Ashe Avenue, instead of turning left into the main parking lot, go straight. You'll see the Pullen Aquatic Center on the right. Keep going. Next you'll see a small lot on the right with a sign specifying that it's parking for Pullen Aquatic Center. Don't even think about it. But just past that lot, there's another lot on the right. That lot is for Pullen Park patrons. There is also some street parking along that road just past that second lot.
Alternative parking — weekends
▪ Governor Morehead School — Visitors can try to park across Ashe Avenue in the front lot at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. Please only park in the front lot. To get there: The school is located on Ashe Avenue, almost directly across the street from Pullen Park. It's about a 5-minute walk back to the park.
▪ Cates Avenue — N.C. State also offers free parking a bit farther away at its parking deck on Cates Avenue. To get there: Cates Avenue is one-way so from Pullen Road (which connects Western Boulevard and Hillsborough Street) turn onto Dunn Avenue and the Cates deck is on the left. Follow the walkway from the deck to Pullen Park. It's about a 10-minute walk.
Alternative parking — weekdays
▪ Hunt Drive Soccer Fields on Dix Campus — N.C. State and the Governor Morehead School lots are reserved on weekdays, so do not park there. Try the park's lots first and if those lots are full, try the soccer field lots on Dix Campus. To get there: Take Western Boulevard toward Dix Campus, turn right onto Hunt Drive and you'll see the soccer fields with parking on the right. From there, it’s a 10-minute walk back to Pullen on the greenway trail.
You can avoid the parking hassle by taking the bus (Bonus: kids 12 and under ride free).
Take GoRaleigh's Route 11 bus from the GoRaleigh Station at Moore Square downtown, where multiple parking decks are close by. The bus runs every 30 minutes during peak times and hourly at other times, and it drops off near the intersection of Western Boulevard and Ashe Avenue.
The GoTriangle Route 100 is the best way to get to the park from Durham and Chapel Hill. Park at the Regional Transit Center and take the 100 into Raleigh. This route stops at Hillsborough Street and Park Avenue, requiring a 0.6-mile walk to Pullen Park.
GoTriangle's Route 300 is your best bet from Cary. Park at the Cary Train station and ride into Raleigh. It will drop you off near the intersection of Western Boulevard and Ashe Avenue.
The 100 and 300 routes run every 30 minutes until 6:30 p.m., and then hourly until 10:30 p.m.
Check schedules and fares and find other park-and-ride options at goraleigh.org or gotriangle.org. You can also see every bus in the Triangle in real time at triangle.transloc.com. Need help? Call 919-485-7433.