The 3 best bowling alleys in North Carolina, according to our readers

A red bowling ball and three white bowling pins sit on a clean bowling lane.

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By Stacy Rounds

April 25, 2024

Are you looking for the best bowling alley in North Carolina? Look no further! Whether you’re traveling through the Tar Heel State or you’re a resident looking for a new place to bowl, we’ve got you covered.

Our readers recently voted in an online poll to determine the top bowling alleys in North Carolina in 2024, and the results are in. From family-friendly atmospheres to top-notch facilities, these bowling alleys have it all. Let’s dive into your top choices and discover what makes them the best of the best.

A woman bowler in action.

Courtesy of Buffaloe Lanes North

Best Bowling Alley in Raleigh: Buffaloe Lanes North

When it comes to rolling the perfect game in a tournament or simply having a ball with friends, Buffaloe Lanes North has you covered. Located in Northeast Raleigh, this beloved spot combines the warmth of a family-friendly flair with some serious bowling chops. Buffaloe Lanes has a kid-tested arcade and Starlight Bowling nights that light up the lanes with neon colors and pulsating music. Plus, they offer competitive adult and youth leagues (plus free summer bowling for kids!) that welcome bowlers of all skill levels, so there’s something for everyone.

Beyond the lanes, Buffaloe Lanes North offers tasty treats at The Northhouse Grill, an alcohol-free snack bar that could rival any local diner. The menu is brimming with tasty burgers, chicken tenders, nachos, and other finger-licking snacks, and even some delectable desserts.

So, whether you’re a seasoned pro aiming to perfect your spin or a group of friends looking for an evening of fun, Buffaloe Lanes in Raleigh stands out with its winning combination of top-tier facilities, a welcoming vibe, and endless entertainment options. It’s no wonder this spot has bowled over the hearts of North Carolinians, earning its title as your number-one choice.

A brightly lit bowling alley.

Courtesy of Northside Lanes

Best Bowling Alley in Winston-Salem: Northside Lanes

Stepping into Northside Lanes in Winston-Salem is like walking into a cherished chapter of local history. This gem has anchored the community with its welcoming glow, drawing families, friends, and bowling aficionados to its lanes for years. The magic of Northside Lanes lies in its remarkable ability to blend the timeless allure of bowling with a competitive edge that stands above the rest.

Northside Lanes excels in blending a nostalgic feel with modern conveniences. Their classic jukebox with clean, family-friendly echoes as pins tumble. The alley thrives as a social hub, inviting everyone — including kids who can enjoy automatic bumper lanes — to enjoy a game (or two, or three), no matter their skill level. Plus, the facility is fully handicapped-accessible, so everyone can join in the fun!

The bustling arcade is great for kids and fun-loving adults alike, and with an ATM on-site, you can play all night (until you finally win, that is). The Grille offers a wide selection of timeless, tasty treats like slushies, salads, sandwiches, and even footlong hot dogs for hungry bowlers and gamers to scarf down.

Northside Lanes stands as a testament to the timeless appeal of bowling. It seamlessly marries tradition with modern fun, offering a sanctuary where the past is celebrated, the present is vibrant, and the future — like a perfect strike — is always bright.

An outdoor gathering among green trees and perfectly manicured grass at a fresh, new duckpin bowling hub.

Courtesy of Pinhouse

Best Bowling Alley in Charlotte: Pinhouse

Pinhouse in Charlotte is carving out its own lane in North Carolina’s largest city, swiftly claiming its spot among the state’s bowling elite. As the newest contender on the scene, Pinhouse has embraced its role as the unorthodox upstart, blending the timeless joy of duckpin bowling in a chic, modern gastro-pub setting that includes fun weekly events and karaoke.

Bowling meets boutique in the decor at Pinhouse. The interior boasts a sleek, contemporary design that feels both welcoming and exclusive, striking the perfect balance between an upscale lounge and an action-packed gaming paradise. And the exterior boasts lush, green landscaping, wide-open spaces to enjoy a game of cornhole with friends, and comfortable seating to relax with a beer.

With its innovative self-service bar, guests are treated to an array of craft cocktails and craft beers that are as much a draw as the bowling itself. And the clubhouse menu offers up fresh, modern fare to appease any appetite. Plus, food trucks often roll in to serve your favorite local bites.

The bowling aspect of Pinhouse is intentionally boutique, with fewer lanes than a traditional duckpin alley, encouraging an intimate, engaging experience. It’s the perfect setting for date nights, friendly gatherings, or even solo adventures, welcoming anyone looking to spice up their routine with a dash of fun.

In a city as dynamic as Charlotte, Pinhouse has quickly become a go-to for those seeking an experience that melds the thrill of competitive gaming with the pleasure of social connection.




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