With all the incredible things to do in Durham, NC, the city is a perfect destination for a fun getaway.
Whether you love art, nature, sports, or something else, there’s something fun to do in the city. From enjoying live music to doing a guided tour and seeing nature to learning about basketball, there’s a large variety of incredible activities.
If you want to know what to do in Durham, NC, this guide helps you out. I included the best attractions, museums, fun activities, and much more to help you make the most out of your time in the city.
Best Things To Do in Durham, NC
Visit the American Tobacco Campus
The American Tobacco Campus, or the American Tobacco Historic District, is a great place to see in Durham. This is a historic tobacco factory that was built in 1874 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The complex was transformed into an area with a lot of things to do.
You can find a large variety of restaurants here and there are lots of different retail shops here as well. In addition to that, there are several venues where concerts and other events take place.
Whether you want to have lunch, go shopping, have dinner, or enjoy fun entertainment, you can check out the American Tabacco Campus.
Attend a Performance at the Durham Performing Arts Center
The Durham Performing Arts Center is a great place for performing arts, and visiting the center is
You can go here to see Broadway shows, attend concerts and listen to great music, attend a comedy show, or go to another type of event. Because of the variety of shows that you can attend here, there’s likely a show that you’ll like.
The design of the Durham Performing Arts Center further adds to the experience that you’ll have when you go here. The center has a beautiful contemporary design and it has a capacity of 2,700 people.
Address: 123 Vivian Street, Durham, NC 27701
Do a Guided Tour at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens
The Sarah P. Duke Gardens are beautiful specialized gardens that are part of Duke University. The gardens have a total area of 55 acres and many species of flora can be found here.
One of the gardens that you can find here is the Terrace Gardens. This is a garden with Terrace beds filled with shrubs, perennials, trees, and much more. Also, there is a pergola in this garden.
There is also a rose garden with all kinds of beautiful gardens.
Exploring the Sarah P. Duke Gardens by doing a guided trolley or walking tour is one of the best things to do in Durham. During these tours, volunteer docents tell you all about the ecology, history, and plants of the gardens.
Address: 420 Anderson St, Durham, NC 27708
Visit the Museum of Life and Science
The Museum of Life and Science is an interesting science museum that was established in the year 1946. You can find the museum on Murray Avenue and it is a great place in Durham to visit with kids as well.
You can find a wide variety of exhibits at the museum through which children can learn about science and other disciplines.
For example, there is an aerospace exhibit where space artifacts from the Apollo era can be found, such as space suits and a real moon rock.
Or go to the Butterfly House and see hundreds of butterflies in a rainforest environment!
In addition to that, there are interesting outdoor exhibits, including one focused on dinosaurs and one focused on wind.
Address: 433 W Murray Ave, Durham, NC 27704
See a Baseball Game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Going to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in downtown Durham to catch a baseball game is a fun thing to do in Durham.
The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is a stadium that you can find in downtown Durham. The stadium has a capacity of 10,000 people and there are about 2,500 seats that are covered by the stadium’s roof.
You can go here to see a game of the Durham Bulls, which is a Triple-A affiliate of the Tampla Blue Rays, a team that competes in Major League Baseball. In addition to that, the ballpark is also the home of the baseball teams of Duke University.
When you are at the stadium, you can also see the iconic snorting bull sign.
Address: 409 Blackwell St, Durham, NC 27701
Go to the Nasher Museum of Art
The Nasher Museum of Art is an interesting art museum that is part of Duke University. You can find the museum on the campus of Duke University and you can go here for free.
The museum’s collection includes more than 13,000 objects and these objects come from all over the world. From European sculptures to paintings from the United States to South American wooden objects, there’s a lot to explore at the museum.
In addition to seeing its permanent collection, you can also go to the museum to see great temporary art exhibitions that are at the museum for a couple of months.
There are also interesting events that you could attend at the Nasher Museum of Art. For example, you can sometimes go here to attend talks.
Address: 2001 Campus Dr, Durham, NC 27705
Visit the Duke Lemur Center
The Duke Lemur Center, founded in 1966, is a research center on the campus of Duke University. The research center focuses on the study, care, and protection of lemurs, which is the most endangered group of mammals.
The center houses more than 200 animals and 14 species of animals. Outside of Madagascar, the center has the most diverse population of lemurs.
If you want to see the lemurs, you can do a guided tour of the center. There are different types of tours to choose from. For example, you can do a behind-the-scenes tour and learn about how the center works.
Keep in mind that the tours are very popular and that you need to make a reservation in advance.
Address: 3705 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC 27705
Go to the Duke Basketball Museum
The Duke Basketball Museum is a great museum in Durham for those who love basketball. You can go here every day of the week, except for Sundays from 10 AM till 4 PM, but hours are subject to change.
This museum, which is located adjacent to Cameron Indoor Stadium on the campus of Duke University, is a place where you can learn about the history of the Duke men’s basketball program.
You can see trophy displays, interactive exhibits, and all kinds of memorabilia at the museum.
Besides that, you can find the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame next to the Duke Basketball Museum. Here, you can see portraits of Hall of Fame members and you can learn about all intercollegiate sports of Duke University here.
See Art Exhibits at 21c Museum Hotel Durham
21c Museum Hotel Durham, located in downtown Durham, is a unique venue that you can find in downtown Durham.
This place is both a contemporary art museum and a hotel.
At the museum, you can see changing art exhibitions that showcase beautiful and interesting contemporary art from all around the world.
The galleries can be visited every day of the week and often change, so when you visit the museum often you can see new amazing art every time.
In addition to that, the museum organizes a variety of events that can be great if you’re looking for activities in Durham, including guided tours of the current exhibitions and talks.
You can also find Counting House, a museum serving delicious food, at the museum/hotel.
Address: 111 North Corcoran St, Durham, NC 27701
Shop at The Streets at Southpoint
The Streets at Southpoint is a great shopping destination where you can find more than 150 shops.
You can find many well-known retail stores here, including H&M, Nordstrom, and American Eagle.
In addition to that, there are many unique restaurants at The Streets at Southpoint, there is a movie theater where you can see the latest movies, and there is a lifestyle area where you can have a relaxing time.
Address: 737 9th St, Durham, NC 27705
Visit the Duke University Chapel
The Duke University Chapel is a chapel that you can find in the heart of the campus of Duke University and it’s one of the most iconic landmarks in Durham.
It is a Christian chapel that is open to all people and was constructed in the year 1932 in the Collegiate Gothic style.
When you are in Durham, you can see the exterior of the chapel from the outside or you can visit the chapel.
There are regular docent-led tours every Sunday. These tours take about 45 minutes and the public can join these tours for free.
It is also possible to attend organ rehearsals several days a week.
See Art at the NCCU Art Museum
The NCCU Art Museum, part of the North Carolina Central University, is an art museum where you can find one of the most significant collections of works by African-American artists in the state of North Carolina.
The permanent collection of the museum includes about 1,300 different objects of art that the public can see for free. The works from the 19th century that you can see here were made by the following three African-American artists: Henry Ossawa Tanner, Edward M. Banister, and Robert S. Duncanson. In addition to that, the collection includes objects from the 20th century by various other artists.
You can also see temporary art exhibitions at the museum.
Address: 1801 Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 27707
See a Show at the Carolina Theatre
The Carolina Theatre of Durham, which is located in downtown Durham, is a performing arts theater that dates back to the year 1926.
The venue was originally named the Durham Auditorium, but after renovations, it was renamed the Carolina Theatre. It became a venue for film and performing arts, and many famous artists performed at the theater.
Nowadays, the theater is still a great spot for performing arts and film and it’s an amazing place to check out if you’re looking for things to do in Durham.
You can go to the theater for all kinds of concerts, dance performances, comedy shows, concerts of a wide variety, and other types of events.
In addition to that, you can go to one of the film series of the theater or go to one of the film festivals that takes place at the theater.
Address: 309 W Morgan St, Durham, NC 27701
Go to a Concert at the Motorco Music Hall
Motorco Music Hall is a wonderful venue if you want to listen to music at a concert, enjoy a comedy show, or see a movie.
You can enjoy concerts of a wide variety of genres here, and you can often go to concerts by up-and-coming bands at this concert venue.
In addition to that, you can find the restaurant Parts&Labor at the Motorco Music Hall, so you can have delicious food here.
Also, if you are looking for free things to do in Durham, the Motorco Music Hall is a great place to consider going to as there are many free events (although most of the events are ticketed events).
Address: 723 Rigsbee Ave, Durham, NC 27701
Do a Guided Tour at the Duke Homestead
The Duke Homestead, or the Duke Homestead State Historic Site and Tobacco Museum, consists of a farm, a historic home, and factory buildings.
Washington Duke and his family owned the buildings at the end of the 19th century.
You can go to the site and learn about the early farming life of the Duke family and the beginnings of the tobacco business of the family by doing a guided tour of the complex that takes about 45 minutes. During these tours, you’ll visit various parts of the historic buildings and get interesting information.
There are daily tours 5 days a week. Duke Homestead is closed on Sunday and Monday.
Address: 2828 Duke Homestead Rd, Durham, NC 27705
Go to the Hayti Heritage Center
The Hayti Heritage Center is a cultural arts venue that was established in the year 1975. The facility aims to promote cultural understanding through events, programs, and activities.
You can go here to see interesting exhibitions of art that often change. About 20 to 25 artists are showcased through these exhibitions every year. Also, you can enjoy live music at the start of each exhibition.
Besides that, you can go to the Hayti Heritage Center for great performing arts. For example, you can enjoy great concerts here.
In addition to that, the Hayti Heritage Center screens films throughout the year, there are classes, and there is much more to do and see at the Hayti Heritage Center.
Address: 804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 27701
Explore Brightleaf Square
Brightleaf Square, an area in Durham that once played a role in storing the city’s tobacco and that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a redeveloped place where you can find many restaurants and shops that are surrounded by beautiful historic architecture.
A great place that you can find at Brightleaf is Clouds Brewing, a restaurant with a German-inspired food menu and 50 taps.
You can also go to Jeni’s for delicious ice cream.
Address: 905 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701
Learn About History at the Museum of Durham History
The Museum of Durham History is a museum where you can learn about the city’s history through the stories of the people of the city.
You can find both permanent and changing exhibits at the museum that focus on a particular part of Durham’s history.
For example, there is a permanent exhibit through which you can learn about the beginnings of the city of Durham through the personal stories of Eliza Bennet Duke, Richard Fitzgerald, John Green, and many others.
There is also an exhibit where you can learn about Durham in an interactive way with a touchscreen.
Another permanent, but changing, exhibit focuses on teaching the city’s history to school-aged children.
The museum has free admission.
Address: 500 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701
Stroll the Durham Farmers’ Market
The Durham Farmers’ Market is a year-round farmer’s market and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re wondering what to do in Durham.
The market is a producer-only market where you can discover the food and culture of downtown Durham. The vendors that sell their goods at the market all come from less than 70 miles away.
At the market, you can find fresh produce, handcrafted wares, and artisanal food. What’s great is that you can discover small farmers and artisans at the market.
In total, there are more than 65 vendors at the market.
Address: 501 Foster St, Durham, NC 27701
Do a Guided Tour of Bennett Place
Bennett Place is a former farm and homestead that belonged to James and Nancy Benett. The site is known for being the place where the last surrender of the Confederate Army took place.
It’s here where Confederate General Johnston met with Union General Sherman to sign the surrender papers for Southern armies in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
You can now find a reconstructed farm building at Bennett Place and you can do a guided tour of Bennett Place. These tours take between 30 and 60 minutes.
There’s also a Visitor Center where you can find various exhibits through which you can learn about the story of the Bennett Family and the events that took place at Bennett Place.
Address: 4409 Bennett Memorial Rd, Durham, NC 27705
Attend a Basketball Game at the Cameron Indoor Stadium
The Cameron Indoor Stadium is an indoor arena that is located on the campus of Duke University. It is a small stadium that opened in 1940 and it is still in use today. The venue is in use for the Duke Blue Devils.
You can go here to see a basketball game of the men’s and women’s basketball teams of Duke University, and there are games of other sports here as well.
In addition to going here for the games, you can also check out the Duke Basketball Museum when you go here, which is also perfect if you’re looking for things to do in the city of Durham. Here, you can learn about the history and achievements of the sports teams of Duke University.
Address: 115 Whitford Dr, Durham, NC 27708
Have Ice Cream at The Parlour
The Parlour is an ice cream shop that you can find at 117 Market Street in downtown Durham.
At this ice cream shop, you can get incredible ice cream made with the best ingredients.
The founders of The Parlour lived in Philadelphia, a city with many handmade ice cream stores. The founders moved to Durham and wanted to make it easier to get high-quality handmade ice cream.
You can get all kinds of unique flavors of ice cream here, including many seasonal flavors. Also, there are vegan options, including fruit sorbet ice cream and ice cream made with coconut milk.
Besides scoops, you can also get delicious sundaes, milkshakes, and other sweet treats here.
Address: 117 Market St, Durham, NC 27701
Go to Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium and See a Game
Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium, located at 110 Bassett Drive, is a very large outdoor stadium with a capacity of more than 40,000 people.
The stadium is situated on the campus of Duke University and you can go here to see a game of American football of the Duke Blue Devils.
The stadium was built in 1929 and was originally named “Duke Stadium”, but it was renamed in 1967 after the head coach Wallace Wade.
Address: 110 Frank Basset Dr, Durham, NC 27708
Attend the Festival for the Eno
The Festival for the Eno, or Enofest, is an annual festival that takes place in summer.
The festival features great music from both established and emerging artists, and you can listen to both contemporary and traditional music at the festival.
In addition to that, there are many activities that you can participate in. For example, there are workshops, there is a petting zoo, and there is much more.
You can also see a wide variety of fine crafts at the festival made by local artists.
The festival also includes many food trucks and vendors. From pitas to empanadas to vegan food, at the international food court of the festival, you can get all kinds of foods.
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What To Do in Durham Tips
Some of the activities on this list require a reservation in advance, so keep this in mind when deciding what to do in Durham. For example, when you want to do a tour at the Duke Lemur Center, you need to make a reservation far in advance.
Durham Things To Do Map
Thanks for reading my guide to the best things to do in Durham, NC. As you see, there’s a lot to do in the city!