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Things To Do In Downtown Durham

Socialize On The American Tobacco Campus

North England’s Lake District and Durham

The American Tobacco Campus is one of the most exciting areas in downtown Durham, with an eclectic mix of restaurants, green space, water features, recreational sporting cages, and entertainment. The one-million-square-foot district is the former Lucky Strike cigarette factory complex, which has been transformed into a multi-use gathering place for locals and visitors.

The complex is a mix of business and pleasure, with an event, concert, or block party happening most nights of the week. There are a variety of food options, from food trucks to tapas baseball games at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park pick-up games on the basketball court quiet places to read in the green space by the man-made stream and evenings at the documentary theater.

The campus is also home to the Burt’s Bees headquarters and is a regular spot for concerts beneath the Lucky Strike smokestack.

Address: 318 Blackwell Street, Durham, North Carolina

An Hour Is All You Need

Start at Five Points. It’ll be hard to find a focal point , but this iconic intersection is the heart of great eats in downtown Durham. Pizza lovers can get their fix at Pizzeria Toro, where wood-fired pies are paired with antipasti, salads, and Italian wines. For something on the lighter side, head to legacy restaurateur Toast for handcrafted, gourmet panini pressed sandwiches, seasonal soups and salads.

Even in the midst of this transitional time, you’ll find lots to love here: from Pierce McCoy, a shoe shiner for over five decades, to Beyú Caffé and Bull McCabes long-time Durham staples. Try to resist the smell of baked goods from Ninth Street Bakery wafting throughout alleys and sidewalks along your journey, as well as the murals all over the brick facades.

Everywhere you look is a culinary adventure.

Walk .3 miles to Black Wall Street.

See warehouses brought back to life .3 miles away at the American Tobacco Campus.Former Lucky Strike tobacco warehouse and manufacturing buildings got a second life at the American Tobacco Historic District, a one-million-square-foot entertainment campus, complete with restaurants like Boricua Soul, Full Frame documentary theater, and event spaces.

Once one of the largest tobacco companies in the world, American Tobacco was formed through a merger of several tobacco companies led by J.B. Duke. The buildings lay vacant after the company closed in 1987 … until 2004 when Capital Broadcasting purchased the American Tobacco Campus .

Explore Relax And Get Inspired At Sarah P Duke Gardens

Just outside Downtown Durham lies Sarah P. Duke Gardens, a beautiful botanical garden thats a must-visit in the city.

It’s located at Anderson Street and offers a beautiful 55-acre green area perfect for relaxation, drawing over 600,00 visitors annually.

The gardens are divided into four distinct areas that offer different but picturesque experiences.

You start your adventure by the large Gothic gates, where you can take a map for a self-guided tour along the gardens.

End your trip by the Terrace cafe for a snack or a hearty meal options include sandwiches, salads, drinks such as coffee, and more.

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North Carolina Museum Of Art

The North Carolina Museum of Art is an art museum in Raleigh, North Carolina. It opened in 1956 as the first major museum collection in the country to be formed by state legislation and funding. Since the initial 1947 appropriation that established its collection, the Museum has continued to be a model of enlightened public policy with free admission to the permanent collection.Learn More

Only Burger Durham North Carolina

Best Things to Do in Downtown Durham, North Carolina(Approximately Top 10)

We often want life to be simple. For example, sometimes all we want is a burger, but at the same time, we want that burger to be absolutely perfect. This intense desire for the perfect burger drove the owners of OnlyBurger to come up with such a tasty burger that they had to open two more shops to satisfy their happy customers. OnlyBurger started as a food truck serving burgers made of Certified Piedmontese beef free of hormones, antibiotic, and steroids they are freshly ground every day and served on a toasted bun.

Add fried green tomatoes and pimiento cheese and you end up with the burger that tops all burgers. When the customers got tired of chasing the truck all over Durham, the company opened two restaurants downtown. They also offer turkey and veggie burgers for those who prefer lighter fare.

3710 Shannon Rd., Suite 118, Durham, North Carolina, Phone: 919-937-9377

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Durham Performing Arts Center

Since its opening in 2008, DPAC has become the center for live entertainment in North Carolina. Recognized for its contemporary design, DPAC features 2,700 seats, intimate sightlines, and state-of-the art sound and video. Listed five times in the top 5 in Pollstar magazines annual worldwide theater attendance rankings, DPAC is currently the No. 4 ranked theater in the U.S.Learn More

Late Afternoon: The Durham

Durhams hottest club is The Durham. It has everything: Minoan bull sacrifices, tobacco warehouses that have been converted into mustache grooming parlors for your bikes, a hideous and sentient freeway

Sorry about the digression into Stefan-territory. What The Durham really has is delicious cocktails and the most pleasant rooftop view you are likely to find in all the things to do in Downtown Durham. Its a charming spot to relax for a drink with an old college friend before the real main course

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Cheer On The Bulls At The Durham Bulls Athletic Park

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is one of the top things to do while you are visiting Durham. The ball park is home to the Durham Bulls minor league baseball team, and the fan game experience is unforgettable. Besides the game, the ballpark has unique eats beyond the typical hot dog fare and quirky ways to engage fans in the excitement.

Keep your eyes focused on the bull billboard at the top of the stadium during home run hits. If a player hits the bull, he wins a free steak dinner. A mile away from the ball park is a treasure for true baseball fans and fanatics of baseball-themed movies.

It is the location of the original stadium, which was the home of the Durham Bulls for more than 50 years and the location where the movie Bull Durham was filmed.

Address: 409 Blackwell Street, Durham, North Carolina

Learn Something At The Museum Of Life And Science

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Museum of Life and Science

The Museum of Life and Science isn’t just a buildingâit’s 84 acres of fun things to discover and do. Highlights include an enchanting butterfly house, an outdoor dinosaur trail, recreated natural habitats for more than 60 species of living animals, and plenty of hands-on exhibits. Throughout the year, the Museum also hosts a variety of different programs including Space Camp, Tinkering Family Workshops, and educational tour groups.

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Watch A Performance At The Durham Performing Arts Center

The Durham Performing Arts Center is one of the top draws in Durham, ranking third in the United States for ticket sales for a performing arts center. The center draws Broadway shows like Hamilton and major performing artists in the 2,700-seat theater.

There are more than 200 performances to choose from each year, ranging from concerts and comedy to dance and theater. The center’s architecture is as popular as its performing arts with modern angles and magnificent walls of glass. The center opened in 2008 and quickly became a major draw for the Durham arts community.

Address: 123 Vivian Street, Durham, North Carolina

See A Show At The Durham Performing Arts Center

Durham Performing Arts Center

Whether you’re a fan of touring Broadway musicals, big-name comedians, old-school rock and roll performances, or classical theater, the Durham Performing Arts Center has something for everyone. Recent lineups have included the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Wanda Sykes, Chris Rock, Chelsea Handler, Air Supply, Steely Dan, and an ABBA cover band, as well as touring productions of “Hamilton,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Hairspray,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Whichever type of show you choose to see here is sure to be a memorable experience.

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Enjoy The Delicious Restaurants

  • Address: Elmos 776 9th St
  • Hours: 7:00 am 3:00 pm , Saturday-Sunday: 7:00 am-3:30 pm

Durham is a haven for cool culinary creations and has some fantastic restaurants.Picnicis the go-to spot in town for some authentic Southern eats. Its a legend among locals and a mandatory meal for any out of towner.

The atmosphere offers the casual comfort of a family cookout or mamas kitchen, with a hip and rustic flair. Theyre serving up elevated down-home classic Southern country cooking. The Barbecue Plate with all the fixings is the best bet to really experience this eatery.

Elmos has been an institution in Bull City for decades, and always lives up to its beloved stature. It has that quaint and homey feel you hope for from a neighborhood diner. The menu boasts an array of American classics, as well as their famous breakfast food which is served all day long.

Every dish is delicious and made completely from scratch. Scoot into a cozy booth and order up any of the time honored eats available, such as the Biscuits and Gravy or Greek Grilled Cheese.

The Best Things To Do In Downtown Durham Nc

Durham Distillery durham nc date idea

Its no secret that Durham, NC, is packing with endless activities and things to do. Whether youre looking for a relaxing stroll through one of the citys gorgeous historic districts, or interested in grabbing a bite to eat, you can find it here! Let us steer you in the right direction so youre able to experience only the very best our town has to offer. Here are four of the best things to do in Downtown Durham.

Are you still searching for the perfect itinerary items? Weve got you covered! Request a free copy of our online Durham Vacation Guide to make navigating our city easier. After all, sometimes you just need a locals perspective!

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Swing By Burt Bees Headquarters

The founder, Burt Shavitzs rustic cabin from Maine was relocated here to honor his life.

Peer into the window to see the life Burt lived in the woods of Maine. Its a reminder that the Bee Man taught us to never lose sight of our relationship to nature.

The District also houses The American Underground which launched in 2010 and is becoming the counter-story to Silicon Valley.

Its creating a diverse startup scene rich in innovative ideas and deep city engagement. Today, it supports 275+ startups across four locations and has been dubbed the Startup Capital of the South.

Durham is for doers and innovators and its bringing an exciting and vibrant air to the city.

  • Hours: You cant go in without working there butyou can see outside any time
  • Address: 211 W Pettigrew St, Durham, NC 27701, United States

Long Sault Conservation Area

The largest conservation area in the Durham region, Long Sault is tucked into the Oak Ridges Moraine and offers more than 18 kilometres of trails ranging in difficulty. Well-marked trails bring hikers past plantation, wetland, mature forest, and lots of wildlife.

Address: 9293 Woodley Rd, Bowmanville

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An Afternoon Of Adventure

Get some retail therapy at Brightleaf Square.

You wonât find any major chain retailers at Historic Brightleaf Square and we think thatâs a good thing. Just .8 miles away, you can pick up an item thatâs distinctly Durham at locally-owned shops like Indio, where youâll find a curated selection of beautiful gifts and textiles, or a collection of delicacies at shops like Details and AR Workshop, among others.

If you’re not as familiar with these two knockout attractions, an afternoon is probably more of what you’ll need while exploring DPAC and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Dream big at DPAC.DPAC is one of the premiere performing arts centers in the country, so you wonât want to miss out on a chance to catch a concert, comedy show, dance performance, or Broadway musical in this luxurious setting when it reopens. This state of the art space opened in 2008, is the largest performing arts center in North Carolina and is host to 200+ performances a year. It’s also the biggest performing arts center between Atlanta and New York City! Enjoy the view.

Take in the home of the Durham Bulls. In Durham we love our minor league baseball team in a major way. Home to the Durham Bulls baseball team, the Triple-A minor league baseball team of the Tampa Bay Rays The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is a 10,000-seat state of the art stadium that opened in 1995. Baseball America named the Durham Bulls the most accomplished minor league team of the decade.

About the Author

Ashley Strahm


Explore The City Of Durham Public Art Collection

SEATTLE, WA (2022) | 10 INCREDIBLE Things to Do in & Around Seattle

The Durham Public Art Program includes a growing number of permanent and temporary displays throughout the city, including works by artists from Durham and around the country. Take a moment to explore Durham and get to know the Bull Citys sense of place through its public art collection.

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Places To Go In Durham

Welcome, traveler, to Durham. Your journey has landed you here, and new adventures are calling your name. Now that youve arrived, you can stay in the safety and comfort of your hotel and watch the world spin pastor you can embrace this new place youve come to. Learn its streets. Meet its people. Learn its history. Your hand is already on the doorknob, isnt it?

Things to Do in Durham

Youll not be wanting for things to do in Durham. Explore the downtown area in search of museums and boutiquesor that next delicious meal. What tickles your fancy? A delectable five-course supper at the restaurant youve been hearing about? Or perhaps youd rather read the paper while sipping hot coffee at one of the cafes scattered throughout town. Take in a show at the theatre, or just walk along down the main thoroughfare, watching people wander past.

Why spend hours ruminating over what to do in Durham? Let the possibilities wash over you as you explore this new region. Move out on foot and get to know the area on a more personal level. Find that perfect souvenir at one of the smaller shops, or reinvent your entire artistic aesthetic at your new favorite gallery.

When you book your journey with Travelocity, youre never far from Durham attractions. After all, the money you save when you plan a trip with us is best spent along the way. Whether its the roar of the city you crave, or the quiet solitude that comes with a simpler getaway, everything you need to get started is right here.

Things To Do In Durham: American Tobacco Historic District

Located on Blackwell Street, the American Tobacco Historic District is a tobacco factory area consisting of 17 historic structures. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2000, the structures were built between 1874 and the 1950s. Some of the most noteworthy buildings include the Italianate style W.T. Blackwell and Company Building, the Hill Warehouse built in the Romanesque Revival style, and several structures in the Art Moderne style including the Crowe, the Fowler, and the Strickland buildings.

The district was formerly the home of the American Tobacco Company, and the redevelopment of this historic area was a part of a large urban renewal plan to revitalize downtown Durham. Today, the district is known for its many restaurants and shops.

318 Blackwell Street, Durham, North Carolina, Phone: 919-433-1566

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Experience A Summer Full Of Fun At Pickering Museum Village

Whether you want something to do with kids or on a date night, Pickering Museum Village has planned an entire season of events for you. Join for themed tours, Izzy and the Mystery at the Mill, 1920s Prohibition Escape Room, make ice cream or turn cream into butter, and more at this living history museum.

Look Don’t Touch At The Duke Lemur Center


bnilsen / Flickr / CC BY-NA 2.0

The world’s largest and most diverse collection of lemurs outside their native Madagascar is found at Duke University. As a non-invasive research facility, the Duke Lemur Center houses more than 240 animals across 17 species and welcomes over 32,000 visitors a year to meet and learn about conservation efforts for these endangered creatures. The center also helps to study and protect all species of lemurs, including vanishing species such as the aye-aye, sifaka, and mongoose lemur.

Make a reservation today if you want to visit the lemurs you will not be able to see them unless you schedule a tour. Throughout the year, the Duke Lemur Center also offers educational programs and camps as well as wild workshops and events like Lemurpalooza.

The former warehouses of American Tobaccoâwhich was at one time the largest tobacco company in the world and the maker of Lucky Strikes, Pall Malls, and Tareytonsâhave since become the home of Durham’s entertainment district. These converted spaces now host many great restaurants, theaters, special events, and concerts. It’s even the home of the Durham Bulls baseball team.

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Best Things To Do In Durham North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina is a vibrant city that offers couples and families an array of things to see and do. Dont miss a visit to the beautiful Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the The Nasher Museum of Art and the Durham Performing Arts Center. Best things to do in Durham, NC with kids include the Museum of Life + Science, the Duke Lemur Center and Eno River State Park.

We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.

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