America’s Best In Durham – We want to help you start your stay in Durham with an Unwritten Hotels offer. They’re pairing one winner with a one-night stay at the City View King Hotel, breakfast for two and a couple.
Being a tourist in your own city is ridiculous. You live here, busy with your routine and work, but when you go out and do something different, you experience new things and see things in a new way. A stay in Durham is a great opportunity to indulge in your favorite things you wouldn’t normally do and experience something new!
America’s Best In Durham
Our number one choice to stay in Durham city centre. The off-piste hotel is centrally located and centrally located to many great restaurants and shops, making it easy to walk downtown. The rooms are large, spacious and clean. There’s a rooftop pool, which makes it the perfect spot for cocktails in the warmer months. Even if the weather is cold, the terrace is a great place to watch the sunset.
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Head downstairs in the morning for a full espresso bar and some snacks, followed by sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts throughout the day. It also turns into a cocktail bar at night, so you can enjoy a night tea after taking in all that Durham has to offer.
The city center is the mecca of art and culture. Start at one of the many art galleries, such as the 21c Museum, where you’ll find rotating exhibitions and contemporary art exhibitions. Entry is free and open 24/7. Pleiades Arts showcases the Bull City’s best and brightest local artists. Then visit the Durham Arts Council, filled with paintings, ceramics, fiber art, glass art, jewelry, digital photography and other mixed media from Durham and the Triangle’s most talented artists. Stop by Discover Durham and pick up a guide to the city’s many murals and try to see them all. Go out and explore it all.
Check out Pinhook for live music. It’s a DURM staple with great live performances and cheap drinks. (Tip: Go upstairs for a delicious Pie Pushers pizza!) Visit Motorco Music Hall for national and local acts.
Starting in the spring, Bull City Laughs will take you on a tour of Durham full of history and laughter. The tour departs from 9th Street, BYOB, and prepares for a 90-minute guided tour of places such as Duke University, NCCU, Duke Gardens, and more. You will learn something new – maybe even about your path.
Durham, North Carolina
If your life is scheduled for Friday night, go to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning. It’s just a few blocks from the Unscripted Hotel. Grab a donut from Rise or one of the many food trucks and shop the Arts and Crafts Market. Liberty Arts Foundry also does tours on Saturday mornings.
Once a tobacco factory, the American Tobacco Campus is home to the famous Lucky Strike Tower, which is how many people identify with Durham. It is really very beautiful with a river running through the entire campus and a large green space. Play Bull City Chess, relax in the hammocks, check out Burt’s Bee House, relax in the rocking chairs under the Lucky Strike Tower. (Tip: Check out the free concerts on the lawn in the summer!)
Durham Distillery is home to award-winning concept gins, cold-distilled cucumber vodka and Dedent Dam Fine Liqueur. They’ve even been named the #1 Craft Gin Distillery in America! Their rides are perfect for date nights or a fun night out with friends!
There are many great yoga studios in Durham, such as Yoga Power Community, Global Breath, Yoga of the East or warm up with hot yoga at Arihon. Saturday morning (
Restaurants & Retail
Over 10,000 square feet of space, Boxcar Bar + Arcade features a full bar (including 24 American crafts), 70+ arcade games, and a wood-fired pizza kitchen. Visit Urban Axis to test your ax throwing skills and Quarter Horse Arcade for more retro arcade games.
If you want to go shopping in Durham, the city center is one of the best places to do it. You’ll definitely want to head to Main Street where you’ll find Dolly, Bungalow, Letter Bookshop, Exotic and Vert & Vogue. Just a block away, you’ll always find the excellent Chet Miller, Everyday Magic and Artisan Markets. For aesthetics and upscale shopping, head to the historic district, which includes Brightleaf Square, Morgan Imports, Parker & Otis, Song of Sixpence and Indio.
Want to know more about Durham? Preservation Durham offers free walking and bike tours that showcase the history and architecture of downtown Durham! Tours are on Saturdays from April to November at 10am.
Third Sunday is one of our favorite date nights because you can explore so many different art galleries, shops and restaurants in one walk. There’s free entry to art galleries such as the Golden Belt Campus, Pleiades Arts and Durham Arts Council, as well as live music on the city’s street edges.
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No wonder the city center is full of restaurants. Start with the best breakfast in town at Beyu Caffe, or indulge in sweet and savory treats at Ninth Street Bakery or Loaf. We’re big fans of Bagel Bar sandwiches and Rise cookies. No one stops at a Sunday lunch buffet like Geer Street Garden.
For lunch, try traditional Cuban cuisine at Copa or Mediterranean cuisine at Neomonde. Head to Gorsha for traditional Ethiopian dishes like sambusa, kekel and spicy vegetarian stews. Check out the classic sandwich shop King’s for cheap eats or the New York-style Jewish deli at Lucky’s. And for dinner, grab some of the best Italian food at Mother & Sons or Gonza’s Tacos in the West Village.
Little Dipper Fondue and Cloud Brewing are great options. If you’re still hungry for dinner, Hutchins Garage serves pizza Wednesday-Saturday evenings. Jack Tarr Diner serves breakfast all day and a Sunday evening fried chicken dinner special.
On Gear Street, Cinnamon Cacao (which grows its own beans) is very cozy, try their hot chocolate in the winter and relax on the patio in the warmer months. Expand your coffee horizons at Counter Culture and check out their free tasting on Friday mornings at 10am. At the Durham Hotel, it’s all about medieval vibes and coffee sodas. And caffeine, you have to try their specialty lattes.
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The bakery and pastry offerings are equally delicious. The parlor will change the way you think about ice cream, with unexpected flavors like Sweet Potato Pecan, Apple Pie and vegan varieties in addition to the classics.
Ninth Street Bakery offers a cafe menu as well as unique baked goods. Enjoy the best cookies in Durham at The Loaf; At Rose’s, their ice cream sandwich is a must. And the sweetness continues in the pine colors that shake up the ice cream, coffee and local baked goods.
Be sure to stop by the Durham Hotel to watch the sun set at one of the city’s hottest patio spots. Dip your toes in the rooftop pool and return to the pristine hotel to watch the city go by. At Elle Twenty Six, you’ll find unique handcrafted cocktails and the most beautiful alleyways you’ve ever seen. Check out Bar Brunello and Bar Vigil, European-inspired wine bars with one of the largest liquor selections in the Triangle. For something a little different, visit Honeygirl Meadery.
Located next to Hutchins Garage, Loella’s, a bottle shop and bar, is expected to open in February.
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For beer lovers, there’s Dirty Bull Brewing Company, Ponisarros or FullSteam, and Bull City Ciderworks is a great place for cider. Visit FullSteam on the first Saturday of the month for the Patchwork Market with local markers.
Shop local Durham businesses within half a mile of Unscripted. Click here to view the 195 participating businesses.
Join our mailing list for information on the best things to do in Durhamunda to add to your weekend adventures. It’s no secret that Durham, NC is filled with endless activities and things to do. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll through one of the city’s beautiful historic neighborhoods or something to eat, you’ll find it here! Let us guide you in the right direction so you can experience only the best of our city. Here are four of the best things to do in downtown Durham.
Still searching for the perfect itinerary? we got you covered! To make navigating our city easier, request a free copy of our online Durham vacation guide. Because sometimes you just need a local perspective!
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Descend into Mossy Brightleaf Square to discover a charming historic neighborhood filled with some of Durham’s best shops and restaurants. This luxurious area has everything you need