Have an exit strategy before you come to downtown Raleigh for First Night

When you head into downtown Raleigh for First Night on Sunday, it might be a good idea to have a strategy for how you’ll get out.

That’s because while people will trickle in to downtown over many hours on New Year’s Eve, they’ll leave in a great wave shortly after the midnight fireworks. The result can be gridlock.

First, decide where you want to park. The large parking decks are clustered around the Raleigh Convention Center and along Wilmington Street. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance provides a list of parking lots with a map at Know how to get to where you want to park and, more importantly, which route you want to take to get out.

Second, be aware of the streets that will be closed. Of course, there’s Fayetteville Street, the center of the festivities, and all of the streets that cross it. Not only does that include Hargett, Martin and Davie streets, but also Morgan Street, on the south side of the State Capitol, which will be closed between Salisbury and Wilmington streets from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Other temporary street closures include:

▪ Edenton Street, on the north side of the State Capitol, between Salisbury and Wilmington, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

▪ Salisbury Street, between Jones and Davie streets, from 6 to 7 p.m.

▪ Lenoir and South streets, between Salisbury and Wilmington, around the times of the fireworks, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Want to avoid driving downtown? GoRaleigh will run shuttle buses from park-and-ride lots at Triangle Town Center mall and the N.C. State park-and-ride lot at Oval Drive and Initiative Way on Centennial Campus. Buses will run every 30 minutes from 5 p.m. until 12:30 a.m., and regular fares apply: $1.25 one way and $2.50 round trip. Off-duty Raleigh police officers will provide security at the park-and-ride lots.

The free R-Line bus that circles downtown and connects to the Glenwood South district will run until 2:15 a.m. For information, go to

There will also be two taxi cab lines running from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. You’ll find them on the east side of Salisbury street, between Morgan and Cabarrus streets, and on the west side of Wilmington Street, between Morgan and Davie streets.

Richard Stradling: 919-829-4739, @RStradling

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