Planning a North Carolina getaway? Make sure to squeeze in a weekend in Durham! North Carolina’s fourth-largest city, Durham is has undergone a recent economic and cultural renaissance and is emerging as one of the coolest cities in the Tar Heel State.
From funky street art to exotic meat burgers, the Bull City is a must-see NC destination that’s continuously growing. Read on for my best picks on where to eat, what to do, and where to stay on your next weekend in Durham!
Where to Eat
What began as a donut stand on a tricycle has now grown into a bustling brick and mortar breakfast joint serving up Durham’s best donuts and bagel sandwiches. I highly recommend building your own bagel and getting a cocoa cinnamon donut for dessert!
Two Roosters Ice Cream
Two Roosters got its start in Raleigh and has been growing from the get-go! With creative flavors like Girl Scout Mint, Blackberry Hibiscus, and Fluffer Nutter Croissant, their super unique ice cream is to die for. Stop by their brand new Durham location at the Golden Belt Campus!
Durham Food Hall
The food hall trend has finally arrived in Durham. This brand new space features ten of the area’s best chefs under one roof. It’s a one-stop-shop for all of your local food needs. For breakfast, head to Durham Food Hall for a gourmet bagel from Everything Bagels and pair it with a cappuccino from Liturgy Beverage!
Bull City Burger & Brewery
Sometimes you’re just in the mood for burger & fries. Currently open for curbside pickup only during COVID-19, Bull City Burger & Brewery is one of my favorite Durham restaurants. Everything is made in house except for the ketchup, so you know it’s good. I can attest that the deliciousness carries through even with a mid-pandemic takeout order.
Things to Do
Hunky Dory Record Shop
Vinyl lovers, this place is for you. Situated on charming little Ninth Street in Durham, Hunky Dory serves beer while you shop around for new (or old) tunes! From Jay-Z to Guns N’ Roses, you’re bound to find a new record for your personal collection here.
Walk the American Tobacco Campus
Built in 1874, the American Tobacco Campus started out as a – you guessed it – tobacco factory. It’s been reimagined and renovated into a creative hub full of startup businesses, restaurants, retail shops, and a lot of twinkling canopy lights. The ATC is definitely worth a walk through on your visit!
Hunt for Murals
One of my favorite things to discover in my travels is unique street art, and Durham’s got a lot! Put on your comfiest walking shoes, charge up your phone, and head out for a self-guided mural tour. Find a list of Durham’s most Instagrammable murals here.
Walk the Duke Campus
Durham is the home to Duke University, famous for its basketball team and incredibly prestigious academics. Take a walk through campus! Exercise on the East Campus Loop Running Trail and don’t miss the beautiful Duke Chapel standing at 210 feet tall above the campus.
If you love wine, you’ll love mead! Grab a glass or flight of handmade meads at Honeygirl Meadery in Durham. Their small-batch meads range from traditional honey to herb-infused. Stop by and try a flight or a glass and purchase a bottle of your favorite to take home!
Original to Asheville, Hi-Wire Brewing made its Durham debut in 2018 in the newly renovated Golden Belt Campus. With tons of indoor and outdoor space, this is a perfect social distancing spot to enjoy a freshly tapped beer. I recommend the Lifeboat Golden Lager!
Where to Stay
Normally I’m an Airbnb gal, but the Unscripted Hotel has me reconsidering my loyalties. This boutique hotel is located within walking distance to just about everything you’d need for a fun weekend in Durham. Come for the pool, stay for the views! On weekends the Unscripted pool patio feels like a mini Las Vegas with a live DJ and excellent drink service.
No hotel reservation needed to enjoy the pool! It’s open to the public, but advance reservations for a table are recommended.
With so much recent growth and development, this is list is just a fraction of the many fun things to do in Durham. Check out more videos and images of the Bull City on my Instagram Durham highlight. Once you’ve seen Durham, schedule your next NC road trip with this guide!