Why Durham is One of the Most Underrated Cities in N.C.

After living in North Carolina for nine years now, I’ve never heard people talk about Durham very often. Even after moving to the Triangle (Chapel Hill – Raleigh – Durham), I haven’t heard much about it. But Durham is such a cool place, and it’s only getting cooler. Vogue recently named it North Carolina’s hippest city. Here are some reasons that it’s completely underrated:

Gotta love Dame’s Chicken and Waffles. YUM.


Honestly, the #1 thing I want to do is eat in Durham. There is such a diversity of delicious restaurants in the city. Between classic southern chicken and waffles at Dame’s or Spanish tapas at Mateo, Durham really has it all, and it’s all the best of the best too. Check out my previous post on the 7 Foods I Want to Eat in Durham.

The American Tobacco Campus

American Tobacco Campus

Until just last week, I had never set foot on the American Tobacco Campus. I did not know what I had been missing. This beautiful area, right next to the Durham Bulls baseball stadium, is home to various shops, restaurants and bars. The best part about it though is its outdoor ambience, full of bistro lights, a man-made river and an old train car. It makes for a great evening stroll. It’s outdoor amphitheater also hosts performances every so often, like a summer concert series.

Duke Gardens. Photo courtesy of Visit NC

Duke Gardens

These gardens are breathtakingly beautiful and make for a perfect springtime activity. Stroll through Asian inspired gardens or gardens with native plants. Sometimes the gardens also host events or even live musical performances.

Durham Bulls

Durham Bulls

You can’t go wrong with a visit to this local Triple-A minor league team. Tickets are cheap, and the atmosphere is great. Sometimes the team has special events, like Game of Thrones night, for example (my personal favorite). Even without special events, the games are fun. Grab a beer from the brewery located inside the stadium (watch them fill it up from the bottom of the cup!), sit back and relax with some great North Carolina weather and views of the old tobacco town.

DPAC Photo courtesy of DPAC


The Durham Performing Arts Center is such a gem in the Triangle that everyone takes for granted. I’ve seen The Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King here and loved both experiences. The venue is constantly getting great shows and performers. Some upcoming performances include Mamma Mia!, Chicago and The King and I.

The rooftop of the Durham Hotel Photo courtesy of Soapi.info

Cool Hotels

There aren’t many places where I’d likely list “cool hotels” as something notable for a city. Most cities have your run of the mill hotels, or if there are any “cool” ones, they’re likely incredibly expensive and exclusive. Two hotels in Durham, however, are not like that at all. I recently stumbled upon 21c Museum Hotel, which is open to the public 24/7. It has an art museum inside, an old bank vault, a nice bar and even some very cool bathrooms (Seriously check out the bathrooms if you visit). 21c isn’t the only cool hotel in Durham either. The Durham Hotel has a great rooftop bar with a cozy atmosphere and views of the city. Both are definitely worth a visit when in town.

Fullsteam Brewery Photo courtesy of Durham-NC.com


Durham is also home to some great beer. I already mentioned the beer at the Durham Bulls stadium, but there are great breweries throughout the rest of the city too. Some popular local breweries include Fullsteam Brewery, Ponysaurus Brewing Company, Durty Bull Brewing Company and others.

Duke University Photo courtesy of ivywise.com


As much as us UNC fans hate Duke, you have to admit that the campus is beautiful. It’s certainly worth a visit if you’re in town. As a Methodist, I’ve also enjoyed visiting Duke Chapel.

Featured image courtesy of The Odyssey

What do you love about Durham, North Carolina? Please share in the comments below!



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