15 Best Things to Do in Durham, NC

15 Best Things to Do in Durham, NC

Durham might seem like a small city, but wait till you step a foot inside. The history of this small place is vast combined with some of the best historic sites and nature spots. The city is pedestrian-friendly too!

Learn about the American tobacco industry for this is where it all started! Watch your favorite Durham Bulls win a game. The small city shall keep you entertained throughout your trip. Are you worried about the food?

You get to have any cuisine for there are all sorts of restaurants in downtown Durham! These are the top 15 things to do in Durham on your vacation-

Gather at the American Tobacco Campus

American Tobacco Campus
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We shall like to kick-start this trip with a visit to the most exciting part of town. Yes, we are indeed talking about the downtown area. If you have been following us- we have always reminded you how popular and charismatic downtowns can be.

Similarly, the downtown part of Durham has a few things to offer you. And, American Tobacco Campus ranks first.

Looking for some entertainment? Hungry? Need a break? Want to pass some time? American Tobacco Campus is the answer to all of these questions. This part used to be the complex of a cigarette factory!

The place is lively when the sun sets. You can see a lot of locals and tourists walking around, enjoying themselves or just looking for some great food!

Eat a bite at Brightleaf Square

Brightleaf Square
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After we are done with the American Tobacco Campus- we have another similar place for you to enjoy. Don’t worry for the fun never ends here in Durham! In Brightleaf Square, you shall find the foods of your dream.

Food chains, eateries, and shops are the three things that fill up Brightleaf Square. And, there are some fancy restaurants too. You can see hungry folks walking all around, looking for their favorite place!

Even the warehouses of the iconic Watts and the Yuille tobacco companies are located here. So, the region even has a lot of historic significance. You can find every type of cuisine in the restaurants.

Gaze at the beauty of Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Sarah P. Duke Gardens
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We’d recommend exploring a bit around the campus of Duke University for there are a lot of sights that need to be enjoyed within the campus. We have a few on our list, but we’d like to start with the gorgeous Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

The garden itself is the most beautiful, but the space is huge and amazingly decorated. Built on a land of almost 55 acres- the landscapes are just perfect. The garden has been named after the wife of one of the benefactors of the university- Sarah Pearson Duke.

Did you know there are many events here? The Japanese tea gatherings that happen are some of the best. Many summer internships also take place here.

Pay a visit to the gorgeous Nasher Museum of Art

Next on our list of great things you should check out on the campus of Duke University has to be the great Nasher Museum of Art. An art museum that contains art in every category- Nasher Museum of Art is indeed a sight for the sore eyes.

You can find, ancient, modern, or even contemporary art in this museum. You can even get your hands on some rare Medieval art. Did you know that there are even a lot of pre-Columbian works that can be found here?

If you are passionate about art- the Nasher Museum of Art is a must-visit for you. The exhibitions that are held throughout the year are especially awesome!

Pop in to see the beautiful Duke Chapel

Duke Chapel
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Hold on, we are yet done with the Duke University campus. We bet you were not aware of the fact that the campus even had some gorgeous jaw-dropping architecture.

Yes, the presence of Duke Chapel inside the campus proves that the person who came up with the design was indeed a mastermind. Also, very few buildings have a neo-Gothic architecture as fine as this one.

The chapel looks more like a palace with the towers piercing out and the columns standing straight. It is indeed one of the most beautiful sights to look at. Did you know some volcanic stones were used while building the castle?

Catch a show at Carolina Theatre

Carolina Theatre
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The Carolina Theatre is one of the best things to enjoy in Durham. This theater shows you what the actual Durham looks like, and it is pretty famous too. It hosts a lot of events throughout the year. And, you even get to see a lot of films all year round.

Are you passionate about the arts community? You must pay a visit to the remarkable Carolina Theatre then. There are even daily shows that go on here.

You can easily book a ticket and get a chance to be a part of an incredible legacy that the theater is carrying.

Check out some burgers from OnlyBurger

We bet after all these sightseeings you are hungry! Want us to recommend some actual good food?

Yes, we know how exciting it is to try out some new cuisines in a new place, but does anything even beat the traditional American hamburger and fries? Yes, we thought so too.

Let us introduce you to OnlyBurger- a store that makes their food so perfect that they ended up opening two other branches! The Piedmontese beef that they put in their burgers is quite delicious. So, drop by this shop after a hard day of seeing everything and eat till you drop!

Try out some adventures at the Eno River State Park

Eno River State Park
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If you are getting tired of the city life- shall we recommend a bit of the outdoors for you? As we all know- Durham is expanding as a city. But, we do need some greenery. And, the best place to take a break here amid nature is the Eno River State Park.

In the Eno River State Park- the options are vast. There are a lot of trails here too. Go walk along a trail, enjoying some of the best views. The blue river that flows through the green forests is indeed a sight that must not be missed.

You can even go kayaking in the river water. Those who love nature- shall fall for the Eno River State Park too.

Are you looking for some hiking activities? The many trails that go along the river are exceptionally good for hiking. The Cox Mountain tends to attract all sorts of adventure-lovers.

Visit the Bennett Place Historic Site

Bennett Place Historic Site
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When you talk about the historic sites of the country- we can assure you that there are only three of them here, and we shall be taking you to every one of them. First, we will be starting with Bennett Place Historic Site.

If you are one of those history geeks- Bennett Place Historic Site shall be among the top things to do in Durham for you. Let us have a look now, shall we?

Confederate General Joseph Johnston met with the Union General William Sherman, and it was this sight where the troops gave us, and that marked the end of the Civil War.

Interact with some Lemurs at Duke Lemur Center

Coquerel's sifaka at Duke Lemur Center
Danita Delimont / Shutterstock.com

Want to go check out some cute little prosimian primates? Yes, Durham has a place specially reserved for them! You could find all types of prosimian primates here in the specially designed Duke Lemur Center.

The center is close to the Duke University campus, and so you can drop by after you chcek out the sights inside the campus. But, the things of this center are gorgeous on another level.

It all started when Yale sent some of its primate species to Duke and asked it to take care of it. But, now it’s the largest in the world! You can take a tour around, learn about the new species and enjoy!

Visit the Duke Homestead Historic Site

Duke Homestead Historic Site
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The next historic site we shall be checking out after Benette Park is the infamous Duke Homestead Historic Site.

The home and the beginning of everything important for the iconic Duke family of America- Duke Homestead Historic Park plays an important role for America’s tobacco industry.

It was here that the legendary Washington Duke tried out his hand in making tobacco. What is now the largest tobacco company in the entire world- The American Tobacco Company was just a start-up that had its initial stages right here.

There is a museum now in this place where you can see all the processes of how they made tobacco in the old days. You can even see the tobacco factories.

Check out the Museum of Life + Science

Butterfly in Museum of Life + Science
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The Museum of Life + Science is one of the top interesting places to check out in Durham. The downtown of the city is decorated with many attractions, and the Museum of Life + Science happens to be one of them.

So, when you are in the area- try to peep inside and get amazed. Originally named North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, this museum has some of the best displays of natural science you can ever see in your life.

More than 80 collections tell a lot. Are you done with the attractions inside? Wait! Don’t leave as of yet for there are things to be seen outside too! There are a butterfly house and even a train that keeps visitors excited!

See the Stagville State Historic Site

The third historic site we will see is going to be the Stagville State Historic Site. When you think about it- Durham truly has some of the best spots for all history buffs.

If you are someone who is well-versed in the topics of American history, then you must know about these spots. Well, now you are getting a chance to see them for yourself! Let’s get going!

The Stagville State Historic Site actually used to be the homestead of the Bennehan-Cameron family. You might have heard about the famous Stagville Plantation, but did you know it also happened to be one of the largest ones in America at that time?

Being enlisted on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the place is charming and you must definitely take a morning to explore the history!

Catch a game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park

Durham Bulls Athletic Park
JamesReyes, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When you are on a trip to Durham, there are some things that are an absolute necessity. Similarly, a trip to Durham is incomplete without making your way to the infamous Durham Bulls Athletic Park. But, why a park suddenly? Come on, we shall be showing you around.

The city’s very own minor league baseball team- Durham Bulls calls this park their home. The game nights are lovely here for which we think that you should book a seat beforehand. But, even if you cannot get a ticket- don’t worry for there are some other amazing experiences here.

There lies a location not far away from the stadium where the iconic movie- Bull Durham was made. So, head over to the park, enjoy a game, eat a few bites!

Visit the Durham Performing Arts Center

Durham Performing Arts Center
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When in Durham- you must absolutely check out the Durham Performing Arts Center. Not only is it one of the most attractive spots in the city, but it is considered one of the top horses in all of the States.

In such uncertain times when such centers are almost becoming extinct and people sit at home and watch performances on YouTube- Durham Performing Arts Center has kept up with its legacy.

It ranks among the top three performing centers in the US that earns a lot of profit from the tickets.

The center holds more than 2700 people and hosts almost 200 shows per year. Tourists, as well as locals, love visiting this legendary location to have a taste of the real Durham.

Now, we have to say goodbye! But, we will be back with another plan for you! Stay tuned!