All major airlines fly into Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). It is best served by American Airlines and Southwest Airlines. These and other airlines provide direct connections to most major hubs, including Charlotte, Atlanta, Washington-Dulles, Baltimore-Washington, Chicago (Midway and O'Hare), New York (LaGuardia), Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Phoenix, among others. Most other major cities are reachable after a single connecting flight.
Amtrak's Carolinian and Piedmont lines stop in Durham.
• Watch a Durham Bulls minor-league baseball game. Tickets are $5 and up.
• Go watch a Duke men's basketball game if you visit during basketball season. Tickets are hard to get. Your best bet may be between December 15th and January 1st, when students (and some locals) are gone.
• See an independent film or a play at the historic Carolina Theatre.
• See the largest collection of lemurs outside of Madagascar at the Duke University Primate Center. Tours are by appointment only. Scheduling your tour at least two weeks in advance is recommended, but they can sometimes accommodate last-minute additions.
• The Streets at Southpoint, off of Interstate 40 in south Durham, is the largest and most varied mall in the area, if not the whole state. It mixes indoor and outdoor shopping and dining, in a setting that tries to recapture the spirit of old downtown Durham.
• Northgate Mall, off of Interstate 85 in north Durham. Smaller and less fancy than Southpoint, and often cheaper
• Brightleaf Square, just west of downtown Durham, is built in a converted tobacco warehouse. It houses boutique shops and a few good restaurants.
• Ninth Street, near the Duke campus, has boutique stores catering to a college crowd. Look for bookstores, clothing stores, an art gallery or two, and an upscale toy store.
Durham has a bit of a reputation for crime, not entirely undeserved. However, most areas of the city are reasonably safe, including the areas around Duke and most of the outskirts of the city. The areas immediately around downtown (stretching a few miles east and south of downtown) are not always well lit or well patrolled. Use caution at night, and avoid walking alone.
Durham owes much of its wealth and history to tobacco. Through the second half of the 19th Century, Washington Duke and his family grew from a single farm into American Tobacco, which controlled 90% of all cigarette production for the United States. The Duke family donated money to Trinity College, which in 1924 was renamed Duke University.
In the early 20th Century, North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, Mechanics & Farmers Bank, and Mutual Savings & Loan were founded in Durham by African-Americans. These prominent companies drew more African-American investment to Durham, to the point that Durham's Parrish Street neighborhood became known as "Black Wall Street." NC Mutual Life continues to this day as the oldest and largest African-American-owned life insurance company in the US and as a visible part of the Durham skyline.
Today, Durham has no more tobacco warehouses or factories left. The old factories and warehouses are gradually being converted to housing, retail, and office space. The city has changed its motto from "City of Tobacco" to "City of Medicine," based on the high concentration of medical practitioners and researchers at Duke and in nearby Research Triangle Park.
The two best-known attractions in Durham today are Duke University and the Durham Bulls. Duke University has a unique Gothic architecture that some will find pleasing (and others more than a little ostentatious). The Durham Bulls are the most popular minor league baseball team in America, due to the enduring popularity of the movie "Bull Durham," which was filmed largely at the old Durham Athletic Park.
Much of Durham is reachable from two interstates, 40 and 85, or two freeways, 147 and 15/501. The term "The Freeway" generally refers to 147, which connects I-85 and 15/501 in northwest Durham to I-40 and Research Triangle Park in southeast Durham, by way of downtown. If you wish to rent a car, car rental options at the RDU airport are plentiful and range from $20 to $50 per day, with whole-week rentals significantly discounted.
• Triangle Transit Authority, (919) 549-9999. Routes between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill as well as Research Triangle Park and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
• Durham Area Transit Authority, (919)683-DATA. Routes around the more urban parts of Durham, mostly every half hour.
• Go for a walk in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens
• Explore the Duke Forest .
• Go hiking or have a picnic at Eno River State Park or West Point on the Eno River. West Point has an old-fashioned corn mill that still sells fresh cornmeal.
• Cosmic Cantina is a Duke hangout with cheap California-style burritos, cheap beer, and quick service. Entrees, if they can be called that, range from $2-$6, beer is $2, soda is $1. Cosmic is open late, generally until 4am. Durham is home to the original Cosmic Cantina, which can also now be found in Chapel Hill and Manhattan. 1920 1/2 Perry St, (919) 286-1875.
• Torero's has four restaurants in Durham and sells above-average Americanized Mexican cuisine, with most entrees $6-$8.
• Wimpy's Grill is a walk-up lunch counter (no seating) that serves some of the best hamburgers, peach cobbler, and chocolate cake in Durham. Skip the chain restaurants, and support a local mom-and-pop joint. Weekdays only, open until 2:30pm. Very popular with locals. 617 Hicks St, (919) 286-4380.
• The Mad Hatter's Bake Shop is a local bakery that has recently branched out into full dinner fare. Their dinners are as good as (and more creative than) their cakes and cookies. Entrees tend to be $6-$8, and many are healthy and vegetarian-friendly
Durham also has plenty of fast-food restaurants, with a particularly high concentration on Hillsborough Road.
• Elmo's Diner on Ninth Street serves the best breakfast in Durham. Grab a table or sit at the bar. You may have to wait a bit on weekend mornings, but Elmo's makes coffee and newspapers available to help pass the time.
• Bullock's is a local tradition, serving eastern-North Carolina BBQ, sweet tea, hush puppies, and plenty of fried vegetables. Go "family style" for about $9 and eat a bit of everything. Note that eastern-NC BBQ is dry and is cooked with vinegar, and may not be what outsiders are used to. Bullock's is often crowded, but the line moves fast. Bullock's is cash only and closes at 8 pm.
• Pop's, in downtown Durham, has tasty, creative Italian dishes and pizzas. Most entrees are $15-$20.
• The Magnolia Grill, on Ninth Street, is one of the finest restaurants in the area, with a menu of gourmet Southern-inspired food that changes daily. Save room for dessert. Entrees are around $20, with appetizers and dessert $8-$10. Reservations recommended, 1002 9th St, (919) 286-3609.
• Sweet tea is always good in the South anywhere you can find it. Note that if you ask for "iced tea" or even just "tea," you will probably get sweet tea. Ask for "unsweetened tea" or "hot tea" if that's what you want.
• Satisfaction, in Brightleaf Square near downtown, is a popular Duke hangout, serving a solid selection of beer and mixed drinks. Satisfaction has plenty of TVs, usually showing sports; they are quite busy when Duke basketball is on. 905 W. Main St - Brightleaf Square, (919) 682-7397.
• The Durham Marriot at the civic center downtown. The people there are friendly and provide great service. They have a shuttle to take you up to a five mile diameter from the hotel which gets you to most places in town. Ask for the 8th floor rooms facing west. (919) 768-6000.
• The Millennium Hotel Durham Upscale accommodations about a mile from Duke University. 2800 Campus Walk Avenue, (919) 383-8575. Call (866) 866-8086 for reservations.
• Wyndham Garden Hotel - Raleigh/Durham 4620 South Miami Boulevard. Tel: (919) 941-6066. Fax: (919) 941-6363. Located in the heart of Research Triangle Park, at the center of the region's business and educational centers.
• Chapel Hill, about 12 miles from Durham, is home to the University of North Carolina (UNC-CH). Chapel Hill has many good restaurants and bars on Franklin Street, adjacent to the UNC campus.
• Raleigh, about 25 miles away, the state capital. Raleigh has North Carolina State University; the state museums of art, history, and science; and the state symphony and ballet.
• Research Triangle Park, between Durham and the airport, is a major center for technology, pharmaceutical, and environmental research.
Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License
This site is operated by 2023 Cedar Lake Software