Things to Do in Durham, North Carolina

Durham Skyline

Durham, North Carolina is the county seat of Durham County. As of July 2014, Census estimates place its population at 251,893. According to their visitors Bureau, Durham, North Carolina features a diverse mix of history, culture and pioneering achievements, which is what makes it such an engaging tourist destination.

It has a deserved reputation as a celebrated foodie destination and for high-quality college universities and a burgeoning startup culture with a dash of cosmopolitanism. According to, Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill are renowned for their research technology specializations and together they form a Tri-City region that is known as the Triangle.

According to census data, it is growing by 80 residents a day because of its job growth promise and quality of living features. reports that young people in the area are educated and diverse with an affinity for local microbreweries and community.

Our Favorite Venues

Fun & Educational Activities

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens

426 Anderson St, Box 90341, Durham, NC 27708-0341 / 919-684-3698 / Website

If you're looking for something to do in Durham North Carolina and you enjoy outdoor garden walks, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens nature park could be a great destination to visit. Visitors were impressed by the beautiful Japanese garden, the Koi pond, the native plants, the comprehensive visitor center and the opportunity to have a serene picnic.

 A New Jersey tourist flew in specifically to enjoy this Raleigh Durham park and comments that university students are lucky to have such a gorgeous land area so nearby their campus to explore. A Lexington Kentucky visitor spent over an hour taking a contemplative walk through the gardens in the Fall all the way through to duke chapel. This local area resident was duly impressed by the gorgeous landscaping, the carefully constructed bridges, and the wandering paths that created an atmosphere of pleasant almost Buddhist peace. A nature lover from North Carolina tells us that when the tulips are in bloom it is a sight to behold- you can also enjoy the wild bird life. 

Museum of Life + Science

433 W Murray Ave, Durham, NC 27704-3101 / 919-220-5429 / Website

Another stellar tourist destination is the Museum of Life + Science. It sits on 84 acres and features a butterfly conservatory, a science center, all-weather outdoor exhibits that feature red wolves, black bears, and lemurs. Overall, visitors say that they enjoy the butterfly house, the farm animals, both the outdoor and indoor exhibits, the opportunity for family-friendly hands-on activities, the insect exhibit and the petting zoo.

A Durham area resident says that it's a great place to bring children if you're looking for something fun to do- adults will also enjoy the gorgeous walking paths that feature natural animal sites like wolves and lemurs. A family who flew in from Louisiana and stayed in a local area hotel to watch some basketball at Duke also swung by this museum which they described as the cultural linchpin of the Durham area. It offered in-depth learning experiences that were visually approachable, which was a great benefit to young children prone to distraction.

American Tobacco Historic District

318 Blackwell St, Durham, NC 27701-2883 / 919-433-1567 / Website

Another fun area to visit is the American tobacco historic district- it is classified as a site and landmark, according to, and visitors enjoyed exploring an old tobacco factory. The factory in question is the former Lucky Strike tobacco factory- it's now been converted into a restaurant café with fun water features. If you're looking for something to do, especially if you have out-of-town guests, you could do worse than taking them on a guided tour of this historical landmark.

You can get something to eat as you meander through and perhaps take in a Durham Bulls game in the evening. Besides the old tobacco factory, there are assorted shops and an ice cream parlor to visit- a great destination for the summer months when nothing beats a waffle ice cream cone. This historically renovated town does get a good deal of foot traffic from the nearby Durham Bulls ballpark- though you should be aware that according to one reviewer there isn't a lot of healthy food to eat in the area so you might want to pack a bag lunch if you're going to be a while visiting it.