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Welcome to Durham!
Nicknamed as “Bull City,” Durham, NC, is the home of Duke University and their famous basketball team. It’s also quickly becoming known as one of the hippest cities in the state. With the erupting culinary scene, the performing arts center, and the famous coffee that is brewed all over the city, there is plenty to see and do in this busy city. Travelers know the popular activities well-known to Durham, but a worldwide local will not leave any stone unturned. This is an insider’s guide to some of Durham’s finest spots.
The Durham Coffee Scene
If you are a big coffee drinker, you will definitely get your fill in Durham. Many Durham hotel cafes are becoming known for the unusual, yet delicious coffee they brew. One example is The Unscripted Hotel, a downtown lodge that was converted into a boutique hotel in the summer of 2017. Not only can you get the best pizza in the Triangle, but you should indulge in the Cocoa Cinnamon coffee, which is made with raw cacao, star anise, black pepper, vanilla, and cruised rose. You can drink it hot or cold, but whichever way you like it, it is certain to blow your mind.
Every traveler needs to check out the local coffee and hippy scene at the Beyu Café. This is not just a coffee shop, it also includes a restaurant, jazz club, and an exhibit for local artists. This all in one location can’t be beaten! If you are in town on a Wednesday, there is an open mic and spoken word night that starts at 8 pm. It is a blast and highly recommended by the locals!
Worldwide Local Tip: While you are enjoying the man-made aspects of the city of Durham, be sure to enjoy the natural aspects, as well. Sarah P. Duke Gardens is 55-acres of a public garden on Duke’s campus, and a great way to enjoy a perfect morning, depending on when you are planning your trip. You can even get an organic snack and coffee to enjoy while walking around the gardens.
A Smoking Good Time
North Carolina has a long reputation throughout history for the tobacco industry and is still one of the largest cash crops for the state. What once was the Lucky Strike Cigarette factory has now been converted to a one-million square foot entertainment center and district. The American Tobacco industry curates their own art shows, concerts, and pop-up shops from local vendors.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you want to check out the local art scene, then you should head over to the Carrack. This artist-centered, non-commissioned art space always has something to see and is a funkier alternative to a Durham museum. There are amazing exhibits, local artist’s performances, and even workshops that are hosted at the location.
Many people don’t realize when they visit North Carolina, especially Durham, that there are major wildlife conservation programs all over the state. In Durham, there is even a lemur center! With 80 acres of land, the Duke Lemur Center is the largest sanctuary for rare and endangered Prosimian primates in the world. Established in 1966 with only 90 primates, there are now over 4,000, with more than 21 species being represented, overall. This is a great location for a family to spend an afternoon, observing the animals and enjoying the Durham weather; you can even pack a picnic and be introduced to the animals during your visit.
Worldwide Local Tip: Durham seems to be the city of cafes, with a local favorite being the Guglhupf Bakery, Café, and Restaurant. Good luck trying to pronounce the name; luckily, however, every taxi and Uber driver will know where you are trying to go because they are very familiar with it, as one of the best and most popular Durham restaurants. This patisserie and bakery building, in the industrial area of town, showcases unique architecture in its design, with exposed brick and steel beams. Enjoy the smell as you walk into the building, as it will captivate you and instantly make you fall in love. It is not to be missed!
Don’t Miss the Golden Belt
While walking throughout the city, take a stroll down to the Golden Belt. Once a textile mill, the warehouse has been repurposed into an event space, art gallery, and farmers market (on the weekends). You can spend an entire afternoon hanging out here. For a real treat, you may be able to sip on some local wine or mead at the farmer's markets or a gallery show.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you are traveling with kids, take them to Sky Zone, where they can burn off some energy by enjoying this trampoline sport and the DefyGravity arena. It’s a great place to visit on a rainy day or any day you’re looking for some inside fun that the whole family can enjoy.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Whatever your plans are, you will enjoy yourself and be privy to some amazing food while you are in town. Durham is a town where art, science, history, and culinary delights have all come together for you to enjoy. Roaming the city as a worldwide local will allow you unmatched access to the amazing sights and activities that Durham has to offer.