Durham, North Carolina is in the midst of a renaissance. Once a booming tobacco and manufacturing city decades ago, the new Bull City is filled with art, music, and food. With that said there are numerous reasons to visit the Bull City. Here are some reasons I like to visit:
1) The Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC). This is by far one of the best venues to see a show or concert in North Carolina. They have parking on site, the American Tobacco Campus within walking distance, as are many other restaurants and hotels. I’ve seen Lyle Lovett and his Large Band three times at the DPAC, as well as Wicked, and the Wizard of Oz. Hmmm, I just notice the Oz theme here… It doesn’t matter where you sit – no seat is a bad seat!
2) Food. Yes, the Bull City has a plethora of food options for you to try. My favs? Bull City Burger, the Original Q Shack, newly discovered Scratch Baking, and Cocoa Cinnamon. I haven’t even touched below the surface of the eateries in Durham. No worries though! I haven’t found a calorie I didn’t like yet so I’m sure I’ll be back! And recently a new market opened in the downtown called Bulldega City Market, a family owned market that sources their goods locally and they carry organic, sustainable products as well. Durham is truly part of the local movement on so many things.
3) American Tobacco Campus. The old Lucky Strike Factory was in ruins, but thankfully was brought back to life and repurposed for everything from businesses and restaurants, to a museum, a movie theater, and reception center in the campus. Many of the structures from the old mill was left in place and is part of the overall feel and decor of the new space. Plus they have outdoor events under the water tower in view of the old smokestacks in the quad under the stars. What could be better than that?
4) West Point on the Eno Park. West Point on the Eno park is such a fun place to visit! I went after a series of terrible rain events flooded some of the park, but it was still accessible and fun to walk along the river. There is a historic homestead and mill at the park entrance and the trails go out from there. Many people bring their pups and you can pack lunch or pick up some food from one of the restaurants downtown and have a picnic! Cocoa Cinnamon is a good after-park place to grab some hot chocolate or coffee on a cold day.
5) See a Durham Bulls baseball game. Yes, the Durham Bulls of Bull Durham movie fame are a real Triple-A Minor League Baseball team. Although they play in a different stadium than the one used for the movie, they are still located near the historic American Tobacco Campus and DPAC at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
6) Visit the Duke Campus. The campus itself is visit worthy, especially the Chapel, but be sure to carve out time for the spectacular 55 acre Sarah P. Duke Gardens and the Duke Lemur Center too. The Lemur Center has the largest collection of lemurs anywhere in the world outside of their native Madagascar. They are celebrating their 50th Anniversary in September 2016.
7) The Eno River State Park. The Eno River State Park is very close to downtown Durham. It packs some serious punch: it’s great for hiking, canoeing, fishing, photography, and camping. If history is your thing, you won’t be disappointed by the beautiful scenery and the old grist mill in the park as well.
Of course this isn’t everything Durham has to offer. The Bull City also has shopping, art galleries, museums, as well as historical sites such as the Duke Homestead and Bennett Place State Historic Sites. There’s plenty more to do in the Bull City and I’m slowly picking my way around the town with every back road trip!