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Get to Know Durham, North Carolina

Durham View

Durham, North Carolina is a mid-size city that welcomes visitors with big-city amenities and small town friendliness. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a multigenerational vacation, this city has you covered. Durham offers a bountiful buffet of world-class entertainment, an innovative food and beverage scene, historical sites, college and minor league sports, museums and more. With all these choices, the most daunting task is deciding what to do first. 

Places to Visit in Durham

Duke Gardens

This is one of the top spots to visit in Durham because of its stunning garden displays that are considered among the best in the United States. The 55 acres of gardens are located on the Duke University campus and are free to visit. There are 5 miles of walkways with sections of gardens like the Historic Gardens, Native Plants, and Asiatic Arboretum featuring hundreds of plant varieties, fountains, koi ponds, and elaborate landscaping. Take a guided walking or trolley tour through the grounds or just stroll at your own pace. 


Historic Stagville was once one of the largest plantations in the pre-American Civil War South.With 30,000 acres and 900 slaves, it is the site of an important piece of history. You’ll be able to explore 18th and 19th century homes, the old slave quarters, and a one of a kind barn. In addition to tours, Stagville also has regular educational and cultural events on site – like lectures on the personal lives, struggles and celebrations of the enslaved. Stagville is dedicated to study and preserve African-American culture

Duke Lemur Center

It is the world’s largest sanctuary for rare and endangered prosimian primates with 80 acres of land. One-hour tour are offered but require advance reservations. The Center had its beginnings in 1966 when 90 primates were located from Yale University to Duke University. Since then, the Center has housed and taken care of almost 4,000 primates including lemurs, lorises, and tarsiers. Currently, there are approximately 250 primates representing 21 species. The Center hosts events such as Lemurpalooza, when visitors bring blankets and picnics and are introduced to some of the primates. If you are wondering what to see in Durham with kids, this is a fun place to visit with the whole family

Museum of Life and Science

The Museum of Life and Science is a natural science museum that features many hands-on exhibits. Formerly known as the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, the museum sits on 80 acres of land and consists of several buildings and attractions. 

One of the best things to do in Durham, North Carolina, the museum is known for its Aerospace exhibit that displays many early NASA space program artifacts on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.

Eno River

It consists of 4,200 acres of land and along with the West Point on the Eno City Park, preserves more than nine miles of the Eno River. Located northwest of downtown Durham, the park is a popular place for outdoor activities such as camping, canoeing and fishing and there are also 24 miles of hiking trails. If you are wondering what to do in Durham with kids, this is a great park to explore. 

The area was home to several Native American tribes. Once the settlers arrived, they built over 20 grist mills on the river. The park was created in 1972 to protect the area from development. The park is known for its natural beauty including its springtime wildflowers and its animals such as beavers, bird, deer, fish, and turtles among others.


DPAC is a 2,800 seat theater that draws world-class entertainment and sellout crowds to Durham. The magnificent glassed-walled building is an architectural delight inside and out. Located in the American Tobacco Historic District, DPAC presents internationally-acclaimed productions such as Hamilton and other popular Broadway extravaganzas. The theater features concerts of every imaginable musical genre as well as comedy, dance, and other performing arts. Performances sell out quickly, so reserve tickets well in advance.

Nasher Museum of Art

The Nasher Museum of Art is on the Duke University campus featuring galleries of Meso-American artwork; pre-Columbian, classical paintings and sculptures; African mask; contemporary pieces; photography; and much more.The museum in also a learning institution, with classes, lectures, and film series programs centered on the visual arts. After visiting the galleries, plan to have lunch at the Nasher Cafe in the main lobby, which features unique and artsy sandwiches, salads, and appetizers.

American Tobacco

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 food district is the former Lucky Strike cigarette factory complex. Which has been transformed into a gathering place for local and visitors who meet up for tapas, take in ballgame at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, join in a game on the basketball court, read in the green space by the man-made stream, or enjoy a quiet evening at the documentary theater. The campus is home to the Burt’s Bees headquarters and is a regular spot for concerts beneath the Lucky Strike smokestack.