The Durham Essentials: Things You HAVE to Experience in Bull City
Whether you're a longtime resident or just trying to hang like a local, these are a few spots that everyone should check off their bucket list in Durham.
Let's start with the free stuff because what's better than that, right? There's some world class things to do in Durham without spending a dime.
Durham is incredibly lucky to have this beautiful botanical garden. Named one of the top 10 public gardens in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, Sarah P. Duke Gardens is open everyday of the year and is free to all! Note parking is free after 5pm and on weekends, otherwise it is $1 per 30 minutes.
420 Anderson Street Durham, NC 27708
American Tobacco Campus
Once a tobacco factory, the American Tobacco Campus is home to the famous Lucky Strike Tower so many identify with Durham. It's truly beautiful with a river running throughout the campus and a large green space. Play a game of Bull City chess, lounge in hammocks, check out the Burt's Bee house, relax in the rocking chairs under the Lucky Strike Tower. Check out the free music concerts on the lawn in the summer!
318 Blackwell Street Durham, NC 27701
At 210 feet tall you may spot the peak of this gorgeous chapel when you're driving around Durham. Duke Chapel is at the very center of the Duke University. You have to see it's breathtaking beauty in person to truly appreciate it. It's doors are open for you to visit 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the school year. Please check their calendar for mass times, weddings, and funerals so you don't interrupt!
401 Chapel Drive Durham, NC 27708
Major the Bull
Everyone's favorite Bull. Named after George Watts Hill, who had a key role in the socioeconomic development of Durham and whose nickname was 'Major'. You have to get a picture with him! Located in the CCB Plaza, 201 Corcoran St, Durham, NC 27701. Just a short walk away from The Parlour, Unscripted Hotel, Pour Taproom, and The Durham Hotel.
Preservation Durham Tours
Want to learn more about Durham? Preservation Durham offers free walking and bike tours that introduce downtown Durham’s history and architecture! Tours are Saturdays, April through November at 10am.
Murals by Bike - 1st Saturdays (Bring your own bike!)
Durham's Tobacco History - 2nd Saturdays
Durham's Civil Rights History – 3rd Saturdays
Architecture and the Urban Landscape - 4th Saturdays
All tours depart and return to the Durham Farmers’ Market at 501 Foster Street.
Places to Eat & Drink
Durham Distillery is home to award winning Conniption gins, cold distilled cucumber vodka, and decadent Damn Fine liqueurs. They were even named the No. 3 Craft Gin Distillery in the US by USA Today! Their tours are perfect for date nights or just a fun evening with friends!
You can get 50% off distillery tours with your Shop Durham card!
Alley Twenty Six
Alley Twenty Six is a beautiful cocktail bar and restaurant that features upscale food and cocktail pairings. They're an award-winning Durham true local favorite.
Go to for a round of 'Best of the Bull' cocktails! Available only with your Shop Durham card. They will all showcase, local (or NC state) spirits and local ingredients, grown or foraged. They will be showcasing interesting ingredients that there isn't an abundant supply of, so the offering will change often. Best of the Bull cocktails will be $10.
If you love coffee, you have to come here. No questions. Voted the best coffee shop in Durham County by Indy Week, Cocoa Cinnamon has 3 Bull City locations and each has their own unique character. The Lakewood location (pictured above) has fresh churros and they even have a roastery here! Cocoa Cinnamon has their own coffee brand, 4th Dimension, that is served at all locations and is available for purchase.
2013 CHAPEL HILL ROAD, 27707
2627 HILLSBOROUGH ROAD, 27705
420 WEST GEER STREET, 27701
Buy a bag of 4th Dimension Coffee and get a free prepared drink from the menu with your Shop Durham card.
They started as a tricycle donut stand and look where they are now! Monuts offers from scratch and made by hand bakery goods including biscuits, bagels, donuts, breads, cookies and more. Their all day menu features sandwiches, salads, soups and other goodies. A true local Durham favorite!
Get a free donut or pastry with the purchase of any speciality espresso drink with your Shop Durham card!
Entertainment & Shopping
Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Today all place DPAC among the top U.S. venues of its size and type. They host over 200 performances a year including touring Broadway productions, concerts and comedy events, family shows and the American Dance Festival. Past performances include The Lion King, Harry Connick Jr., B.B. King. Hamilton is coming soon!
123 Vivian Street Durham, North Carolina
Baseball is part of Durham's DNA. The Durham Bulls are a Triple-A minor league baseball team and the 2017 National Champions! They even have their own microbrewery, the first one located inside of a minor league baseball stadium. Of course, baseball season runs late March/early April to late September/early October so you can catch them then!
Built in the early 1900s to store and age the tobacco produced by the American Tobacco Company, Brightleaf Square is now home to tons of great local shops and restaurants. You can use your Shop Durham card at Bull City Olive Oil, Pine Cone Ice Cream, and Clouds Brewing!
Durham Farmer's Market
Talk about keepin' it local! The Durham Farmers' Market has local farmers, food trucks, and incredible creators. All the vendors are all located within 70 miles of the market and sell only items that they produced! There's even a playground at Durham Central Park directly across the street so you can let the kiddos run free! Stop by Saturdays 10 am-Noon. 501 Foster Street
Durham, NC 27701
Author: Katelyn Belch
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