North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina

A- Overview:
Close your eyes and imagine a city set among acres of hardwood and evergreen forests, hills and dales, serene lakes, meandering rivers and streams, and you will have an accurate picture of Durham, North Carolina. Durham is the fourth largest city in the state, and is located about halfway between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the pristine beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Durham is a colorful, creative, and entrepreneurial community and is the proud home of Research Triangle Park, Duke, and North Carolina universities. Visitors have found this congenial town to be filled with an engaging spirit where diverse and passionate people are open and welcoming. Both residents and visitors enjoy the host of cultural, historical, educational, and natural amenities that Durham has to offer.

Durham has also been called the City of Medicine for its outstanding hospitals, major national and multinational health care companies, cutting-edge research companies, specialty clinics, nationally recognized medical teaching facilities, and acclaimed centers for weight management.

Although each is separate and distinct, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are the three main cities that make up the family of communities sometimes referred to as the Research Triangle or the Triangle Region. Research Triangle Park (RTP) carved from Durham pinelands in 1959 as a special Durham County tax district for research and production, is encompassed on three sides by the City of Durham and a mere four miles from downtown Durham. The Triangle now refers to two metropolitan statistical areas (a four county MSA with the city of Durham at its core, and another around Raleigh-Cary), a 13-county state planning region, and other regional cooperatives

If you are wondering what to do during your trip to Durham, visiting adults and children enjoy the highly acclaimed, entirely hands-on Museum of Life and Science. Durham has many historic sites from which to choose, such as Bennett Place (where the Civil War ended) or Stagville (the largest plantation in North Carolina with the original big house, slave quarters, and a monumental barn still standing). Explore the miles of nature trails along the Eno River, or take a restful stroll through the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. At night, you may want to enjoy a live performance at Duke University or at the beautifully restored Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham.

No trip to Durham would be complete without visiting Duke University. The highlight of this showplace is the Duke Chapel, reminiscent of England’s Canterbury Cathedral. The bell tower rises 210 feet and houses a 50-bell carillon that rings out at the end of each workday and on Sunday. A half-million-dollar Flentrop organ with more than 5,000 pipes is in a special oak gallery, and renowned organists perform public recitals on the first Sunday of each month. During a visit to the West Campus, take a look at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the home of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team since 1935.

Thousands of locals and tourists fill the stands each summer as the Durham Bulls play a full season in the Class AAA International League as an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Bulls shot to fame (and have been credited with rejuvenating minor league baseball ) on the shoulders of Kevin Costner catching for rookie pitcher Tim Robbins in the 1988 movie “Bull Durham”. While the Bulls no longer play in Historic Durham Athletic Park where the film was actually shot, the park is still standing and hosts numerous events and festivals each year. In 1995, the Bulls moved from the wonderful old-time ballpark to a state-of-the-art stadium about a mile south in downtown Durham.

Throughout the year, Durham is jumping with festivals and events. From free music concerts and chili cook-offs to art exhibits and world class film festivals, visitors to the Durham area will find both their days and nights filled with stimulating entertainment.

B- City Information:
Population: 203,778

Elevation: 394 feet

Area: 94.6 square miles

Location: Twenty-three miles from the Virginia border, Durham is in the northeast corner of North Carolina’s central piedmont, a geographic foothills region lying between mountains and coastal plains. Durham is 140 miles from the Appalachian highlands and 130 miles from the coast.

Nearest city: Raleigh, NC; 21.5 miles

Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time and observes daylight saving time from April to October.

Local Seasons: Durham has a moderate climate during spring, fall and winter, but summers are hot and humid. Winter temperatures are chilly but temperate, ranging from highs in the low 50s F to lows in the upper 20s-mid-30s F, with snowfall rare. Spring and fall days are perfect sweater-weather days, with daytime temperatures usually in the low to mid-70s F, falling at night into the 50s F. Summer days are often in the upper 80s and low 90s F with high humidity.

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
38.6
41.6
49.7
58.6
67.0
75.0
79.2
77.2
70.7
59.0
49.8
41.7

High temperature (°F)
49.3
53.5
62.1
71.3
78.6
85.1
88.7
86.9
81.1
71.4
62.1
52.8

Low temperature (°F)
27.9
29.7
37.2
45.8
55.4
64.9
69.6
67.5
60.2
46.6
37.6
30.6

Precipitation (in)
4.4
3.7
4.6
3.3
4.5
3.9
4.0
4.3
4.4
3.7
3.4
3.4

Climate:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precip.
10
10
10
9
10
10
11
10
8
7
8
9

Wind speed (mph)
8.2
8.6
9.3
8.8
7.7
7.0
6.7
6.3
6.7
6.6
7.1
7.7

Morning humidity (%)
80
78
80
81
85
87
89
91
92
90
85
81

Afternoon humidity (%)
55
52
49
46
54
56
58
59
59
53
52
55

Sunshine (%)
52
56
60
63
59
60
60
58
58
60
57
53

Days clear of clouds
9
9
9
10
8
8
7
7
10
13
11
10

Partly cloudy days
7
6
7
9
10
12
12
12
9
7
7
7

Cloudy days
15
14
14
11
13
11
12
11
11
11
11
14

Snowfall (in)
2.8
2.5
1.3
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.1
0.8

Getting around:

By Bus

Public transportation is offered by DATA (Durham Area Transit Authority).
919-687-7055.

By Car

The Triangle area is a transportation hub; I-85 comes in from the Virginia/Washington D.C. area bringing traffic from I-95. I-40 comes up from the Fayetteville/Wilmington area to the south and skirts Raleigh before heading northwest to Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Charlotte.

Getting there:

By Car

Reached from the east via U.S. 70 and I-40 to N.C. 147, from the north via I-85, from the west via I-40/85 to I-85, and from the south via U.S. 15/501 joining I-40 to N.C. 147.

By Train

Amtrak, 800-USA-RAIL, has a station on Pettegrew Street, 919-872-7245.

By Plane

Raleigh-Durham International Airport

1600 Terminal Blvd., Morrisville

919-840-2123

Charlotte Douglas International Airport
5501 Josh Birmingham Parkway, Charlotte

704-359-4000

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day: Jan. 1

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day: 3rd Mon. in Jan.

President’s Day: 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Memorial Day: Last Mon. in May

Independence Day: July 4

Labor Day: 1st Mon. in Sept.

Thanksgiving Day: 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Dec. 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve: Dec. 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Bennett Place State Historic Site

4409 Bennett Memorial Road.

919-383-4345

Open Monday through Friday from 9 – 5

Perhaps the official end of the Civil War was General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, but the big surrender was at the Bennett farmstead where Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Union General William T. Sherman 17 days after Lee’s Appomattox surrender.
Here you can view the reconstructed farmhouse and outbuildings and visit the interpretive center and museum.

Duke Homestead State Historic Site

2828 Duke Homestead Road

Durham, North Carolina

919-477-5498

919-489-3364

Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Hours may vary.

Admission Free

As a Confederate soldier (circa mid-1800’s), Duke learned about the Union soldiers’ love of Bright Leaf tobacco, and he returned home to begin the enterprise that would one day establish North Carolina as the heart of a worldwide tobacco empire. National Historic Landmark of the Duke family’s home, this historic site includes authentic tobacco barns and original factories, as well as a museum filled with cigarette manufacturing and marketing memorabilia. Living history demonstrations of life on a typical yeoman farm in the 1800’s are regularly performed

Rosenzweig Gallery

2115 Cornwallis Road

Durham, NC 27705,

Judea Reform Congregation Building, 919-932-1844, Dedicated to presenting exhibits of Jewish religious and creative arts and crafts, this gallery features traveling exhibits of highly acclaimed Israeli and regional artists, as well as original programs of Judaica and religious prints and books from the Rosenzweig Collection.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

418 Anderson Street

919-684-3698

Open daily from 8am to dusk.

Admission Free

55 acres of landscaped and wooded gardens featuring over 2,000 kinds of plants. Of special interest is their 20-acre Culberson Asiatic Arboretum. About 550 species and cultivars of Asian plants present a living example of the close relationship between the flora of the Eastern U.S. and the flora of eastern Asia. Five miles of pathways with landscaped bridges, courts, lawns, ponds and waterfalls help create a very enjoyable experience for the visitor. Docent-led tours are also available by advance arrangement.

West Point on the Eno

5101 North Roxboro Road,

Durham, NC 27701

919-471-1623

Located along a two mile stretch on the scenic Eno River, this 388 acre city park offers a variety of recreational activities such as picnicking, hiking, canoeing, and rafting. An amphitheater is also inside the park, as well as many historic buildings such as a reconstructed 1778 working gristmill, the McCown-Mangum House built in the 1880s, the Hugh Manhum Museum of Photography, and a recreation of a 19th century blacksmith shop

Museum of Life and Science

433 Murray Avenue just beyond the State Museum of Life and Science and adjacent to the NC Museum of Life and Science.

919-220-5429

Family Fun magazine wrote that the NC Museum of Life and Science is among the top four family-friendly museums in the Southeast.

This 78-acre, 50,000 square foot regional science-technology campus offers user-friendly learning experiences and a sense of discovery.

Includes renowned Magic Wings Butterfly House, new interactive outdoor exhibit Catch the Wind, Bayer CropScience Insectarium, Ellerbee Creek Railway, weather and aerospace, daily science shows and ever-changing traveling hands-on exhibits.

Magic Wings Butterfly House and Bayer Crop Science Insectarium

433 Murray Avenue

Durham, NC

919-220-5429

The Butterfly House is just beyond the State Museum of Life and Science and adjacent to the NC Museum of Life and Science.

This 3-story, tropical conservatory, largest museum butterfly house east of the Mississippi, features over 1,000 tropical butterflies in free flight including many rare species from Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Butterflies are drawn to certain plants and blooms. This butterfly-friendly vegetation is available here with beds of exotic flowers, tropical fruit trees and a flowering meadow in a rainforest area (that even includes a stream garden).
The Insectarium presently has more than 25 live exotic and native species of insects and insect predators plus an extensive collection of mounted specimens.

Duke University Chapel

Chapel Drive

Duke University West Campus

919-684-2572

The Chapel is normally open to tourists daily from 8a to 5p. Tourists are also invited to attend Sunday service at 11am.
Durham’s most popular tourist attraction, the Duke University Chapel (built in 1930) is a prime example of English-Gothic architecture and represents one of the last great collegiate Gothic projects in the United States. It features the only significant Æolian Organ built for a church. This 4-manual, 5,200 pipe instrument is being restored to its original condition and has a pleasant tone. In the 210-foot tower of the chapel is installed a 50-bell carillon; the bells range up to 5 tons in size. The beautiful, stained-glass windows accent the aesthetic impact of the chapel.
The Inter-denominational chapel serves the university community and holds Sunday morning worship at 11am to which all are welcome. During the fall and spring semesters, there are numerous recitals and concerts by the university organists and guest performers. The carillonneur gives a recital at 5pm weekdays, and before and after the Sunday worship service.

Historic Stagsville (circa 1787)

5825 Old Oxford Highway

Durham, NC 27722,

919-620-0120

One of the largest pre-Civil War plantations, this historic plantation offers visitors a glimpse into the past, particularly of the African American slaves who worked the plantation. Two beautifully restored historic buildings and an old barn are on site and self guided tours of the extensive grounds are available, as well as an array of learning opportunities

Patterson’s Mill Country Store

5109 Farrington Road

Durham, NC 2751

919-493-8149

An authentic turn-of-the-century country store and doctor’s office/pharmacy that features relics from the Patterson’s Mill community, as well as extensive pharmaceutical exhibits and tobacco paraphernalia.

St. Joseph’s AME Church (circa 1869)

804 Old Fayetteville Street

Durham, NC 27412

919-683-1709

One of the first autonomous African-American churches in America, this beautiful church was converted into a performance hall in 2001 and features an 1891 brick sanctuary that includes a stained glass portrait of Washington Duke.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Funwerks

4350 Garrett Road

Durham, NC 27701

919-401-6301

This amusement venue offers an array of activities for families to enjoy including a miniature golf course, go-carts, bumper boats, batting cages, paintball, and video games.

Magic Wings Butterfly House and Bayer Crop Science Insectarium

433 Murray Avenue

Durham, NC

919-220-5429

The Butterfly House is just beyond the State Museum of Life and Science and adjacent to the NC Museum of Life and Science.

This 3-story, tropical conservatory, largest museum butterfly house east of the Mississippi, features over 1,000 tropical butterflies in free flight including many rare species from Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Butterflies are drawn to certain plants and blooms. This butterfly-friendly vegetation is available here with beds of exotic flowers, tropical fruit trees and a flowering meadow in a rainforest area (that even includes a stream garden).
The Insectarium presently has more than 25 live exotic and native species of insects and insect predators plus an extensive collection of mounted specimens.

Museum of Life and Science

433 Murray Avenue just beyond the State Museum of Life and Science and adjacent to the NC Museum of Life and Science.

919-220-5429

Family Fun magazine wrote that the NC Museum of Life and Science is among the top four family-friendly museums in the Southeast.

This 78-acre, 50,000 square foot regional science-technology campus offers user-friendly learning experiences and a sense of discovery, which enhances the learning experience.

Patterson’s Mill Country Store

5109 Farrington Road

Durham, NC 2751

919-493-8149

An authentic turn-of-the-century country store and doctor’s office/pharmacy that features relics from the Patterson’s Mill community, as well as extensive pharmaceutical exhibits and tobacco paraphernalia.

Bennett Place State Historic Site

4409 Bennett Memorial Road.

919-383-4345

Open Monday through Friday from 9 – 5

Perhaps the official end of the Civil War was General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, but the big surrender was at the Bennett farmstead where Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Union General William T. Sherman 17 days after Lee’s Appomattox surrender.
Here you can view the reconstructed farmhouse and outbuildings and visit the interpretive center and museum.

Duke University Chapel

Chapel Drive

Duke University West Campus

919-684-2572

The Chapel is normally open to tourists daily from 8a to 5p. Tourists are also invited to attend Sunday service at 11am.
Durham’s most popular tourist attraction, the Duke University Chapel (built in 1930) is a prime example of English-Gothic architecture and represents one of the last great collegiate Gothic projects in the United States. It features the only significant Æolian Organ built for a church. This 4-manual, 5,200 pipe instrument is being restored to its original condition and has a pleasant tone. In the 210-foot tower of the chapel is installed a 50-bell carillon; the bells range up to 5 tons in size. The beautiful, stained-glass windows accent the aesthetic impact of the chapel.

The Inter-denominational chapel serves the university community and holds Sunday morning worship at 11am to which all are welcome. During the fall and spring semesters, there are numerous recitals and concerts by the university organists and guest performers. The carillonneur gives a recital at 5pm weekdays, and before and after the Sunday worship service.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

418 Anderson Street

919-684-3698

Open daily from 8am to dusk.

Admission Free

55 acres of landscaped and wooded gardens featuring over 2,000 kinds of plants. Of special interest is their 20-acre Culberson Asiatic Arboretum. About 550 species and cultivars of Asian plants present a living example of the close relationship between the flora of the Eastern U.S. and the flora of eastern Asia. Five miles of pathways with landscaped bridges, courts, lawns, ponds and waterfalls help create a very enjoyable experience for the visitor. Docent-led tours are also available by advance arrangement.

West Point on the Eno

5101 North Roxboro Road,

Durham, NC 27701

919-471-1623

Located along a two mile stretch on the scenic Eno River, this 388 acre city park offers a variety of recreational activities such as picnicking, hiking, canoeing, and rafting. An amphitheater is also inside the park, as well as many historic buildings such as a reconstructed 1778 working gristmill, the McCown-Mangum House built in the 1880s, the Hugh Manhum Museum of Photography, and a recreation of a 19th century blacksmith shop

Wheels Family Fun Park

715 North Hoover Road, Durham, NC 27701

919-598-1944

An enjoyable activity for the whole family can be expected at this full service family entertainment amusement park that features a race course for remote controlled cars, a miniature golf course, a skateboarding park, an indoor playground, an indoor roller skating rink, go-carts, and batting cages

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

January

Kwanzaa Celebration with the African American Ensemble (formerly KwanzaaFest)

919-683-1709
Durham Armory

Call for date and time.

Admission Free.
A full day of cultural festivities, entertainment, and educational activities, including an African style marketplace, a variety of live poetry readings, dance, music, and children’s activities.

Nevermore Horror and Gothic Film Festival
Carolina Theatre

919-560-3030

Call for date, time and admission charges.
Created in 1999, the Nevermore Horror and Gothic Film Festival is dedicated to screening audience-requested horror flicks as well as brand-new films from around the world.

February

Native American Powwow
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

919-416-2730

Call for date, time and admission charges.
Full day of traditional Native American dancing, singing, crafts, food, and socializing.

North Carolina Jewish Film Festival
Carolina Theatre of Durham, Royall Center for the Arts

919-560-3030

Call for date, time and admission charges.
A celebration of Jewish history and culture through internationally acclaimed films and short features from around the globe, including motion pictures direct from theatrical release in Israel.

March

Annual Bike Show – Harley-Davidson
Durham Harley-Davidson, Inc.

919-682-6695

Call for date and time.

Admission Charged.
Events include a chili cook-off, Harley-Davidson motorcycle show, door prizes, and lots of food and fun for the whole family.

Annual Durham Spring Carnival

Durham County Stadium

Admission Charged.
Games, rides, prizes, music, food and entertainment for the entire family.

April

Annual Grady Tate Jazz Festival
B.N. Duke Auditorium, North Carolina Central University Campus
Two nights of Jazz greats featuring the NCCU Jazz Vocal Ensemble, Grady Tate, and various jazz vocalists.

Earth Day Festival and Celebration
Durham Central Park

919-560-4100
The Triangle’s largest Earth Day celebration featuring an eclectic mix of music, educational booths and events.

“Getting a Jump on Easter” Egg Hunt

Durham Central Park, Downtown
919-682-2800

Admission Free.

Features a traditional egg hunt and also educational activities with farmyard and domestic animals.

Bennett Place Living History Civil War Surrender Reenactment
Bennett Place State Historic Site
Reenactment of negotiations and surrender between Generals Sherman and Johnston that ended the Civil War. Occurs bi-annually in odd years.

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Carolina Theatre of Durham, Royall Center for the Arts
The only international festival of its kind celebrating strictly the power and artistry of documentary cinema. Formerly Doubletake Documentary Film Festival.

May

May Day Music at Durham Central Park

Durham Central Park, Downtown
919-560-2788

Admission: donation suggested. Children and students free.

Classical Music is performed in the park. Also includes an orchestral instrument petting zoo, cake walk, May pole, instrument-making session, and other activities.

June

Alive After Five Concert Series (summer months)

Durham Bulls Athletic Ball Park

Admission Free.
FREE concerts and outdoor fun for the entire family. Concerts are normally held on the last Thursday of the month. Musical entertainment provided by various artists.

Durham Arts Council’s Edible Arts Festival
Durham Civic Center

Admission Charged.
Sample gourmet creations and signature dishes by Durham’s finest culinary artists and nationally acclaimed chefs.

American Dance Festival
Various locations on Duke University West Campus
The largest and most influential modern dance festival in the world, featuring more than two dozen modern dance companies and hundreds of choreographers, writers, and students participating in classes, seminars, and performances.

Duke Homestead Herb, Garden and Craft Festival
Duke Homestead State Historic Site

Admission Free.
Enjoy this historical outdoor herb festival, which features traditional herbal-use displays and a wide variety of herb and craft vendors. Musical entertainment, guided tours of the Homestead and food are available.

July

Children’s Independence Day Parade & Family Fun Day

Durham Central Park, Corner of Hunt St. and Foster St.
919-682-2800

July 4

Admission Free.

This July 4 event has been expanded to include a family picnic and ice-cream social following the parade. Children decorate their bikes and scooters using patriotic colors and will then follow a police escort around the block. Afterwards, everyone can enjoy a tasty lunch and additional entertainment.

Festival for the Eno
West Point on the Eno City Park

Admission Free.

One of the region’s premier Independence Day celebrations with exhibits, displays, arts, crafts, and live entertainment on the banks of the Eno River to benefit efforts to preserve this beautiful natural area.

Durham Music Festival

Various Downtown Durham locations.
919-560-2730

Call for information.

Admission Charged.

Come out and enjoy the music, artists, exhibits and activities. Past festivals have featured more than 35 live bands!

Bimbe Cultural Arts Festival
Durham Central Park, Downtown

919-560-4965
African-American music and arts festival. One of the oldest cultural festivals in the country and one of the region’s most comprehensive celebrations of music, art and dance, from African and Caribbean to reggae and rap.

August

Bull City Chili Challenge

Durham Central Park

919-682-2800

Call for exact date and time.

Admission Charged.

The Bull City Chili Challenge is an annual event featuring sampling and judging of a wide selection of tasty chili showcasing local restaurants and produce. The area’s first cook-off is sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International! Tasting kits will be sold and you will be able to sample chilies in 5 categories: Vegetarian, Youth, Restaurant, Free Style, and Texas Style. All proceeds will benefit Durham Special Olympics. Also features live music, a raffle and special activities for children.

North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Carolina Theatre of Durham, Royall Center for the Arts

919-560-3030
One of the nation’s premier gay and lesbian film festivals, with more than 100 films screened (including world-premiere showings) and more than 10,000 tickets sold each year.

September

Bull Durham Blues Festival
Historic Durham Athletic Park

919-683-1709
A celebration in the birthplace of the Piedmont Blues, featuring national, regional, and local blues, from the mournful sounds of the Mississippi Delta to the fine finger-picking and ragtime exuberance of the Piedmont Blues.

Durham Arts Council’s Centerfest
Five Points Plaza, Downtown Durham

919-560-2723
One of North Carolina’s oldest and one the Southeast’s largest street-arts fairs. The streets of Downtown Durham come alive with arts, crafts, entertainment, food, and fun.

North Carolina Gay Pride Parade
Duke East Campus and Ninth Street District
The largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender event in a five-state area, attracting 6,000 festival participants.

World Beer Festival
Historic Durham Athletic Park

500 West Corporation Street

919-530-8160
Featuring more than 300 beer vendors from all over the country as well as local restaurant vendors, family entertainment, and great music by local and regional artists.

October

Broadway at Duke Series
Page Auditorium, Duke West Campus
Since 1968, Broadway at Duke has brought the best of Broadway, off-Broadway, and major national and international repertory companies to Durham.

Oktoberfest
Main Quad, Duke University West Campus

Admission Free.
Oktoberfest is a day-long party on the main quad featuring craft and food vendors as well as a large variety of local artists.

November

Durham Art Guild’s Annual Juried Art Show
Durham Arts Council, Royall Center for the Arts

Admission Charged.
Durham’s more than 100 working artists join with regional artists to compete and display in a variety of media.

December

Christmas by Candlelight at Duke Homestead
Duke Homestead State Historic Site

Call for exact date and time.

Admission Free.
A celebration of an 1870 Christmas with evening candlelight tours of the Homestead featuring period decorations, caroling, hot apple cider, and other goodies.

Light Up Durham
Downtown Durham

Call for exact date and time.

919-687-6561

Admission Free.
Seasonal music, performers, tree lighting, food and fun, including a parade that brings Santa to town.