Durham has something for every cultural sensibility. No matter what you're into, living in Durham doesn't involve settling for second-rate. First-run Broadway shows like Wicked, The Lion King, and Billy Elliot are a frequent attraction at the new (and beautiful) Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC).
If fine arts aren't your thing, you may be interested in the "Doughman," a playful, calorie-ridden take on an Ironman triathlon featured on "Man Versus Food."
Festivals, Events, Series
- Duke Performances
- Carolina Performing Arts
- Carolina Ballet
- Fullframe Documentary Festival
- American Dance Festival
- Troika Music Festival
- World Beer Festival
- DPAC - #5 among top US entertainment venues
- Koka Booth Amphitheatre
- Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
- Red Hat Amphitheatre
- PNC Arena
- Duke Energy Center
Best Music Venues
- Cat's Cradle, 300 East Main St., Carrboro, 919-967-9053
- Lincoln Theatre, 126 E. Cabarrus St., Raleigh, 919-821-4111
- Carolina Theatre, 309 Morgan St., Durham, 919-560-3060
The area has an incredible local indie rock music scene and attracts some big-name acts as well as big-talent acts. If you are looking to get out and hear some good music, be sure to check out the shows at these venues.
Best Book Store
- The Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth St., Durham, 919-286-2700,
- Internationalist Books and Community Center, 405 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 919-942-1740
If you manage to pull yourself from your casebooks and you long for days of pleasure reading, either of these bookstores has a relaxing atmosphere and offers a wide and cutting edge selection of books and magazines that will help to remind you that yes, reading can be fun.
Best Used-Book Store
- Books do Furnish a Room, 1809 W. Markham Ave., Durham, 919-286-1076,
- Nice Price Books, 811 Broad St., Durham, 919-416-1066
Books do Furnish a Room and Nice Price Books offer a great selection of used books in Durham.
Best Coffee Shop
- Mad Hatter's Bakeshop and Cafe, 1802 W. Main St., Durham, 919-286-1987
- Caffe Driade, 1215-A E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 919-942-2333
- Beyu Caffe, 335 W. Main St., Durham, 919-683-1058
These coffee shops provide a nice alternative to studying in the library. Drink copious amounts of coffee, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and contemplate the finer points of tort law.
Misc., and not to be missed
Farmer's Market (Durham) Pavilion at Durham Central Park on Foster Street, Saturday 8 AM – Noon, April to November; select dates and times, December to March.
Pavilion at Durham Central Park on Foster Street, Saturday 8am – Noon, April to November; 10am - Noon, December to March; and Wednesdays April to November.
Durham's Farmer's market is huge and completely local. Shop for produce, meat, cheese, fresh flowers, local arts and crafts, and delicacies from local food trucks.
Duke Lemur Center 3705 Erwin Rd.; 919-489-3364; firstname.lastname@example.org; Open for seasonal tours Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm and on Saturday from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm.
Definitely among the more unique ways to spend a day, the center offers everything you need to know about lemurs, our little primate friends from Madagascar. Tours are available with a reservation, so call ahead to check times and availability.
Indoor Rock Climbing Vertical Edge Climbing Center, 2422 US Highway 70 East; 919-596-6910
Once you’ve mastered the climbing wall in the Wilson Recreation Center, tackle this challenge and channel your frustration with the law into something positive.
Bowling AMF Durham, 4508 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd.; 919-489-9154
Bowling is a great idea for section bonding time, and the Law School has a very active faculty/staff/student league.
Blue Point Yoga, 2816 Erwin Road, Suite 203, Durham 919-383-9184,
Blue Point Yoga Studio is centrally located so that you don't encounter more stress trying to reach a place where you intend to de-stress. Featuring two beautiful, spacious and bright studio rooms, Blue Point offers group and private instruction for both yoga and Pilates.
Best Day Trips
Dating from the 18th century, the oldest part of Winston-Salem is about 90 minutes' drive from Durham. There are "olde tyme" bakeries, historic houses, and lots of mini-museums scattered around. If you have an interest in German food, try the Old Salem Tavern, which serves modern American food with a German/Moravian influence.
This is more of a half-day, but it is definitely worth seeing. A better name for this museum might be the "Tobacco is Cool Museum." The homestead is where the Duke family had its beginnings, and it chronicles the history of the family and the tobacco industry. The Dukes basically invented the machine-rolled cigarette and brand advertising, which helps explain how at one time they sold around 90 percent of the tobacco in the world. After visiting the museum, you leave with a new appreciation for the family that built your university.
Another half-day trip, learn some Civil War History and visit the Place where General Joseph E. Johnston Surrendered to General William T. Sherman. The surrender of the Armies of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida constitute the largest troop surrender in the Civil War.
You can get to the beach in about two and a half hours, and, believe it or not, there is great surfing here. The water is warm in summer and fall, and after Labor Day the coast is pretty clear of tourists. A great place to spend a Saturday, even if you have to lug along a textbook.
North Carolina Zoo
A sprawling zoo with an African section and a North American section. Be prepared to walk, and make the trek on a cool day.
North Carolina is known for its pottery, and this is the place to see it. Seagrove is a community of potters who open their studios to viewers and sell their wares on site. It's fun to just wander around, but it's also a great place to buy gifts for family back home.
The Outer Banks
Stretching along the entirety of North Carolina's Coast, these sandy islands hide numerous historical and natural treasures within their embrace. Check out the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort which has a heavy focus on pirates, or see where flight was invented in Kitty Hawk . Or explore the ill-fated Roanoke Colony . You can also hunt for seashells on the miles of shoreline or try to catch a glimpse of the wild horses roaming the island of Shackleford!
Best Local Rag
The Independent, available online.