Dix Park event with Raleigh skyline

Dorothea Dix Park

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Visiting the Park Park Planning Background

Dorothea Dix Park is one of Raleigh's largest parks. The 308-acre site blends historic architecture and rich landscapes into a unique destination in the heart of Raleigh.  

Visit the Dix Park website for more visitor information, seasonal attractions, upcoming events, and project updates.





Dorothea Dix Park
1030 Richardson Drive
Raleigh, NC 27603



Visiting the Park

Dix Park Sunflower Field
  • Dorothea Dix Park is open to visit seven days-a-week from dawn to dusk.
  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) administrative headquarters are located on park grounds. During business hours Monday-Friday, please use public parking areas only.
  • Weekday Public Parking can be found on the Dix Park Visitor Map.
  • Park visitors are allowed to park in all lots after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all-day on weekends.
  • Indoor restrooms are located at the Chapel Event Center during visitor hours. Port-A-Johns are also located throughout the park.
  • The Dix Park Dog Park provides a large grass-covered off-leash facility with areas for large and small dogs.
  • Check out the Dix Park Program & Event Calendar for a variety of free classes, cultural events, and community festivals throughout the year.

Park Planning

A couple looking at a tabletop display

At 308-acres, the creation of Dix Park is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create an amazing new public space in the heart of Raleigh. Creating a park of this size and bold vision doesn’t happen overnight.  It will take careful planning and great partners to turn the already beautiful Dix Park campus into the park of our future.

Gipson Play Plaza

The first major project to move forward is the Gipson Play Plazaalong Lake Wheeler Road. In summer 2022, the City celebrated the groundbreaking for the Gipson Play Plaza – an inviting and inspiring public space for all ages with one-of-a-kind play spaces, works of art, a civic plaza, fountains, and gardens. Amazing play features include a sensory maze, water play mountain, swing terrace, and adventure playground. A picnic grove will offer areas to cook out and recharge with family and friends. You'll also be able to get a snack and pull up a rocking chair at the repurposed historic House of Many Porches. The Gipson Play Plaza is made possible in part by a generous $10 million gift from Pat and Tom Gipson. Construction is scheduled to start in fall 2022 and take two and a half years.

Rocky Branch Greenway in Dix Park

Rocky Branch Enhancement

By far the most complex aspiration in the Master Plan, the Rocky Branch Enhancement project aims to create a nature escape in the heart of the city and restore a healthy stream ecosystem. The City is currently studying the site conditions and feasibility of restoring and enhancing the Rocky Branch along the northern edge of the park.  This work will provide the information needed to inform the restoration and potential realignment of the approximately 5,400 linear feet of impaired waterway within the park boundary, recommendations for reuse of the adjacent Landfill area and design scenarios for pedestrian crossing over Western Boulevard.

Plans & Studies

In addition to large-scale projects, a set of supporting plans and studies are needed to address issues identified but not resolved in the Master Plan process and build a sustainable foundation for the future. These types of studies will not only enable future projects but also establish baseline data to measure future progress. Visit the Dix Park Planning Page for more details.


On July 24, 2015, the City of Raleigh acquired 308 acres of the Dorothea Dix Campus from the State of North Carolina. The purpose of the City’s acquisition of the property is to plan and develop a new destination park – Dorothea Dix Park. The City leased back large portions of the Dorothea Dix Campus to the State for its administrative operations of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

In 2017, The City of Raleigh, in partnership with Dix Park Conservancy, embarked on the incredible effort to create America’s next great public park through an innovative and extensive master planning process. The Master Plan process was governed by a community-led, multi-tier structure. Ultimately, Raleigh City Council gave final approval of the Master Plan for Dorothea Dix Park.

In February 2019, Raleigh City Council unanimously approved the Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan for the long-term vision of the park. Along with master plan adoption, City staff were directed by Council to develop an implementation plan for Phase 1 projects.

Access presentations, meeting records, and documents from the master plan process in the Dix Park Planning Database. If you would like additional information, please contact info@dixpark.org.