MSTP Living in Durham

Durham, a wonderful place to live

Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina, one of three cities — Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh — that form North Carolina’s famed Research Triangle. Each of the cities is home to a major research university. The triangle area, with a combined triangle-wide population of more than a million, boasts a robust intellectual climate and broad cultural diversity.

Durham is a funky town with lots of personality. Housing options are plentiful and affordable — new apartment complexes, renovated mill-village houses, wonderful old houses in turn-of-the-twentieth-century neighborhoods, modern condominiums, suburban choices. Downtown Durham has undergone major renovation, and many people — especially young professionals and retired folks — are making homes in loft apartments, old cotton and tobacco warehouses, revamped commercial buildings, and new condominiums. Restaurants are popping up and making a lively nighttime scene throughout the downtown area and prompting a Livability "top 100 places to live." in 2014

The population is ethnically diverse and politically active. Civic engagement is high.

Durham is an intellectual center, home to writers, dancers, musicians, visual artists, potters, filmmakers, scientists, computer wizards, architects, political activists — all sorts of creative types. The National Humanities Center, a place for long-term retreats by scholars from all over the US, adds another element to conversation in the area.

The Arts

Durham is well known as a center for the performing arts — the American Dance Festival and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival are both headquartered in Durham. The city hosts ten annual music and dance celebrations. The Bull Durham Blues Festival lights up the city with lively jazz every fall; the American Dance Festival brings world-class dance companies and hundreds of dance students for six weeks in the summer; the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival makes Durham home, and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival populates Durham with film makers and film buffs each spring.

Cultural and historic sites and events abound, and history buffs have a field day in the area — exploring Durham's rich African-American history and the cultural history of the early 1900s.

Art galleries dot the city; Duke's Nasher Museum of Art is a local treasure.

Independent bookstores, each with its own personality and niche, are all over town.

Food & Dining

Locavores will find a wonderfully wide variety of produce, dairy, and meat. The every-Saturday Farmers' Market in downtown Durham is a happening place; be there or be square — the market jump-starts many a Durhamite's Saturday morning. And the new Durham Central Market, a local cooperative just opened this year.

If you'd rather someone else cook, Durham is the gourmet food capital of NC and, by most accounts, has the best assortment of restaurants between DC and Atlanta. The city has become a foodie destination with numerous restaurants receiving national attention.

Durham is also the home of Durham Bulls baseball. The baseball stadium in downtown Durham is bordered by the American Tobacco Campus, which houses restaurants of every stripe for all-season enjoyment. The campus, astride a small canal, is especially fun when summer produces outdoor restaurants and live music on the lawn.  See also Southern Living - "The South's Tastiest Town".

Outdoor Recreation

Parks and sports facilities are plentiful, both on campus and in town. Duke Forest is a wonderful spot to bike and hike, as is the Eno River State Park.

Temperatures are moderate throughout the year; Durham residents boat, canoe, skate, bicycle, walk, play tennis and golf year round. Durham sits halfway between the North Carolina coast and the Blue Ridge Mountains — about three hours drive to each.

If you still need convincing: the New York Times puts Durham at number 35 among the 41 places in the world to visit in 2011. See also "36 Hours in Durham/Research Triangle."

For more of Durham's flavor, see the School of Medicine's video about living Durham and the New York Times' take on the Durham-NC Triangle "axis of cool".