Durham is comprised of different neighborhoods and districts with distinctive vibes. Durham has a growing and vibrant downtown, a warehouse district with music clubs, restaurants, bars, and a brewery, as well as districts known for their unique dining and shopping.
Downtown is the vibrant heartbeat of Durham and is comprised of several unique districts. Spend a day, a morning, or a week seeing all it has to offer. Downtown Durham is a vibrant, diverse, and creative southern city. Home to several landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places and alive with food, arts, culture, and dozens of events throughout the year, it’s an area that offers something for everyone. Explore Downtown Durham with this interactive map.
Unique Downtown Districts
The City Center District has restaurants, bars, galleries, local shops, and more make the area exciting, day or night. Much of the architecture is original and ensures that Durham retains its historic charm. City Center feels like a small town’s downtown that grew up, with a mix of unique local culture and commercial enterprise that makes Durham special.
The former American Tobacco manufacturing plant has been reborn into the American Tobacco District, anchored by one million square feet of multi-use space, DPAC, Durham Performing Arts Center and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. It’s a district marked by world-class entertainment, professional offices and lofts, a busy dining scene, a community green, and a manmade river, all surrounded by Durham’s famed reuse architecture. And don’t miss the iconic American Tobacco water tower!
BRIGHTLEAF & WAREHOUSE:
Brightleaf Square became a premier destination when turn-of-the-century tobacco warehouses were adapted into retail, dining, and office spaces. The area is a bustling retail center during the day and a lively nightlife spot after the sun goes down.
Next to the Brightleaf District is the Warehouse District, a residential area crafted from old tobacco warehouses. It’s dominated by the West Village apartment community and the former Liggett & Myers tobacco buildings that have been converted into shops, restaurants, offices, and apartments.
Central Park is home to the Durham Farmers’ Market and many other community events throughout the year. It also boasts a 10,000-square-foot skate park, several art studios, and great lawns to relax upon. The northern side of the Central Park District, also known as the DIY District, marks the northern edge of downtown. Here you will find a hotbed of live music, bars, and restaurants, as well as a local theater. This is also a common spot for many of Durham’s food trucks to park and serve, with rotating cuisines.
The Golden Belt is a fully restored textile mill repurposed to house art space, studios, offices, retail, lofts, and dining. It is the largest all historic, LEED Gold-certified campus in the Southeast. This seven-acre campus is situated in an up-and-coming neighborhood full of restored homes.
With Durham’s rolling geography, abundance of tree-lined communities, and convenient location, it is no wonder why so many love to call it “home.” Within Durham County real estate is Durham, the fifth-largest city in North Carolina and home to more than 145,000. Durham is nearly synonymous with medical care and research. One in three Durham residents works in the more than 300 healthcare-related companies. In fact, Durham’s nickname is the City of Medicine.
Conveniently located between Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Research Triangle Park, Durham is home to Duke and North Carolina Central. Durham has 13 historic sites, three art centers, 12 signature annual events with national or regional recognition, plus dozens of other core and celebrated annual events, six science and nature centers, and great spectator sports venues.
Quick Facts about Durham County
- Year Durham County created: 1881
- Year Durham became a place: 1823
- Year Durham got its name: 1853
- Year Durham re-established: 1869
- Durham Population: (City & County) 288,133 (City) 245,475
RDU International Airport, located 12.5 miles from Downtown Durham
Climate & Weather:
Temperatures here are very pleasant, allowing for outdoor activities like golf almost year round.
Major Corporate and Research Parks:
Research Triangle Park: A 7,000-acre Southeast Durham-based special county research and production district houses more than 170 major research companies employing 39,000 full-time employees and 10,000 contract workers.
Economic Impact of Durham Visitors:
9 million visitors spend $765.8 million each year More than 3,500 conventions and meetings each year Roughly 4,000 visitor-sector businesses and organizations More than 13,000 visitor-related jobs.
Meetings & Events:
Durham has over 300,000 net square feet of meeting space in major hotel convention centers, several conference facilities, and unique meeting venues, including the Durham Civic Center Complex with 120,000 usable square feet.
In addition to Duke and NCCU, Durham is home to North Carolina School of Science & Math, Durham Technical Community College, many private schools, and Durham Public Schools, the eighth largest school district in the state.
On April 1, 2013, sales tax for Durham County increased to 7.5%. Alcohol is taxed at 7%. Non-prepared food purchases at retail stores are taxed at 2%. Lodging rooms are taxed at 13.5% (4.75% state sales tax, 2.75% county sales tax, 6% county occupancy tax). Car rentals are taxed at 16% in Durham (25.61% at RDU International Airport).
Durham County real estate is a very progressive area to live, but you can still find very affordable housing. Check out some of the specific communities in Durham County.
Durham County Community Information
Local News Websites
- American Tobacco Historic District
- City of Durham
- Durham Chamber of Commerce
- Downtown Durham
- Durham Visitors Bureau
- Alivia’s Durham Bistro
- Amelia Cafe
- Beyu Caffe
- Blu Seafood & Bar
- Blue Corn Cafe
- The Broad Street Cafe
- Chama Churrascaria
- Cosmic Cantina
- Dain’s Place
- Elmo’s Diner
- Fishmonger’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar
- Four Square Restaurant
- FullSteam Brewery
- Guglhupf Bakery & Patisserie
- James Joyce Irish Pub
- Joe Van Gogh
- Mad Hatter Bakeshop
- Magnolia Grill
- Nana’s Restaurant
- Nasher Museum of Art Cafe
- Parker & Otis
- Rue Cler
- Scratch Seasonal Artisan Bakery
- Taqueria La Vaquita
- West End Wine Bar
Recreation, Entertainment & Culture
- North Carolina Museum of Life & Science
- Bennett Place Historic Site
- Carolina Theater
- Duke Homestead
- Durham Arts Council
- Durham Art Guild
- Durham Art Walk
- Durham Bulls Baseball
- Durham Performing Arts Center
- Eno River State Park
- Festival for the Eno
- Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
- Historic Durham Athletic Park
- North Carolina Central University Art Museum
- St. Jospeh’s Historic Foundation – The Hayti Heritage Center
- The Nasher Museum of Art
- The Sarah P. Duke Gardens