• Photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock


For many, Durham and Duke University are synonymous, and for good reason. Duke's well-manicured lawns, tree-lined streets, and stately buildings run right into town. With more than 30,000 employees, the university is also the city’s biggest employer and famous for its renowned medical and research facilities. Having a university of such magnitude in their backyard means that Durhamites and visitors alike can attend all kinds of world-class lectures, exhibits, and sports events. This is not purely a college town, however, but a former tobacco-company town continually growing into a more arts-minded, urbane city. For years, old brick factory buildings have been slowly turned into shopping malls, theater spaces, and trendy restaurants. Although neighboring Chapel Hill often steals its thunder when it comes to attracting visitors, many locals prefer Durham’s calmer and more mature vibe. Add Durham's long list of historic sites and museums to its ever-evolving sense of self, and you've got a city that is definitely worth exploring.


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