Top 5 to check out just outside Raleigh

The Meadow Lights
Benson
11/16 – 12/31

The oldest and largest Christmas light show in eastern North Carolina takes place every year in Benson, with a light display that covers over 30 acres. The annual event, put on by The Old Country Store, also features four trains that take visitors of all ages through 10 acres of the display, though the millions of lights are still visible from the road. Enjoy a 16-horse carousel, Santa visits and concessions as well. meadowlights.com

Tin Cup Joe
Chapel Hill

Housed in an old camper, Tin Cup Joe is unlike any coffee shop you’ve ever visited. Chris Jordan started the business in 2016 in Carrboro, but recently reopened in a new location at Midway, next to Al’s Burger Shack on W. Franklin Street. The camper is famous for its Dr. Pepper Latte, an unconventional yet addicting beverage you won’t find at your average local cafe. Tin Cup Joe offers coffee from Carrboro Coffee Roasters and local dairy from Maple View Farm and Homeland Creamery. tincupjoe.weebly.com

RnB & Paint
Durham
12/8 – 12/9; $35

This creative cultural event in the Bull City features R&B musicians performing live, a DJ and a secret celebrity guest host, all while you paint your very own artistic masterpiece. Proceeds from the event support Mission Epilepsy, Music Is Life, Big Sister Talk and Motive 8 Inc., four local nonprofits. nbandpaint.com

Saint & Co.
Durham

Durham’s newest cafe and bakery boasts artisan pastries, toasts and coffee drinks in the morning and Neapolitan style pizza and North Carolina craft brews in the evening. There’s also a focus on sourcing local ingredients, including Carolina Ground flour for breads and pizza dough. Along with pizza and baked goods, Saint & Co. offers sandwiches, salads and charcuterie, as well as freshly baked breads by the loaf to take home. Enjoy the assorted menu items in a welcoming, open dining area comprised of cozy couches, wooden tables and high top seating, perfect for getting work done away from the office or for meeting up with friends. facebook.com/saintandcodurham

Lauralee Gifts
Cary

Recognized by local media outlets as one the Triangle’s best gift shops, Lauralee Gifts offers a delightful selection of small batch jewelry, distinctive handbags, books, locally made candles and more, as well as a variety of North Carolina food products, including Killer Toffee from Cary, sea salt from Wilmington and Asheville’s Postre Artisan Chocolate Chews. The friendly gift shop is a great place to go for holiday gift shopping, or to find some unique goods for yourself. lauraleegifts.com