Ten Ways to enjoy Durham

Jul. 10, 2014 @ 11:23 AM

1. The Museum of Life + Science. This Durham institution offers something for every age.

The museum has indoor and outdoor exhibits, including a dinosaur trail, Magic Wings Butterfly House, black bears and red wolves. Train rides are an extra $3, and bungee rides will cost you another $5.

Admission is $14 for adults, $11 for seniors (age 65 and older) and active military with ID, and $10 for children ages 3 to 12.

The museum is at 433 W. Murray Ave., off Duke Street. It’s open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

For information, call 919-220-5429, ext. 373.


2. Farmers’ markets. If you want the freshest produce, home-baked pies, delicious bread from one of Durham’s outstanding bakeries and more, visit one of Durham’s two farmers’ markets. The prices are good and the family atmosphere is free.

The oldest one is at Durham Central Park, 501 Foster St. downtown. It’s open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Learn more at http://durhamfarmersmarket.com.

The South Durham Farmers Market has the same hours. It’s at Greenwood Commons Shopping Center, 5410 N.C. Highway 55 (919-251-8224).


3. Food trucks. Vendors are trucking some of best food money can buy in Durham, including Big Deez Dogs, Chick-N-Que, Only Burger, Pie Pushers and The Humble Pig.

To find out where a truck is on a particular day, visit the food truck mapper at http://carpedurham.com/food-trucks. The map resets daily and tracks truck locations.


4. Sarah P. Duke Gardens. If you want to escape to a stress-free world of spectacular beauty, the gardens are the place to go. They’re recognized as one of the top public gardens in the United States, renowned for their landscape design and horticulture. Each year, more than 300,000 people visit the gardens, at 420 Anderson St., from all over the world.

Admission is free, and the gardens are open daily, 8 a.m. to dusk.

For information, call 919-684-3698.


5. Duke Chapel. Standing 210 feet tall, the magnificent chapel is the center for religion at Duke and one of the tallest buildings in Durham. The chapel, located on West Campus, can be seen for miles and draws visitors from all over the world.

It’s built in the Collegiate Gothic style, and has a 50-bell carillon and three pipe organs, one with 5,033 pipes and another with 6,900 pipes. Construction was completed in 1932.

“Keeping the heart of the university listening to the heart of God” is how Duke describes the chapel.

Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The chapel is closed to the public for weddings, funerals and other special events.

For information, visit chapel.duke.edu/ or call 919-684-2572.


6. The Nasher Museum is another jewel in the crown for Duke University and Durham. Located at 2001 Campus Drive, it offers leading-edge exhibits that travel to institutions worldwide. The museum has permanent collections in Medieval art, art of the Americas (largely pre-Columbian), classical antiquities and modern and contemporary art.

Its collection features a growing list of artists, including Barkley L. Hendricks, Christian Marclay, Wangechi Mutu, Ai Weiwei, Fred Wilson and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. More than 100,000 people visit the museum each year.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays (free from 5 to 9 p.m.) and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It’s closed Mondays.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for non-Duke students and free for children 15 and under and military personnel and their families. The museum will be closed July 4.

For information, call 919-684-5135 or visit nasher.duke.edu/


7. American Tobacco Campus District. Billed as “downtown Durham’s entertainment district,” the American Tobacco Campus at 318 Blackwell St. has become a destination that draws thousands each day from Durham and far beyond. The 1 million-square-foot complex marks its 10th anniversary this year, and includes fine restaurants, a cascading waterway, offices, retail, a courtyard with amphitheater and much more. It hosts a summer concert series on the law around the Lucky Strike Tower.

Another big draw is the nearby Durham Performing Arts Center, which has grown into a world-class venue for performances. From Broadway shows like “Wicked” and “Phantom of the Opera” to musical performances by Babyface Edmonds and Lyle Lovett, the DPAC brings first-class entertainment to Durham.

For information, call 919-433-1566 or visit www.americantobaccohhistoricdistrict.com/ or http://www.dpacnc.com.


8. Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. You don’t have to be a Cameron Crazy to love the storied indoor arena on Duke’s West Campus. It’s home to the Duke Blue Devils men’s and women’s basketball teams, the women’s volleyball team and the men’s wrestling team. Students and fans are known as “Cameron Crazies” for their support of the team and loud cheering that has been recorded as high as 121.3 dB – louder than a power saw at three feet or a jackhammer. Just outside Cameron is Krzyzewskiville, named for men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, where students live in tents for months waiting to get a seat when the Blue Devils battle the Tar Heels. For information about visiting Cameron, call 919-684-2120.


9. Downtown. To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of downtown Durham’s death were greatly exaggerated. After years of desolation, it’s back and drawing crowds from all over. If you’re looking for food, you’ll find an astonishing variety – including Dame’s Chicken & Waffles, Old Havana Sandwich Shop and Bull City Burger & Brewery. Durham Central Park hosts the farmers’ market, has a skate park, and lots of open space for kids to play. Take a walk along Main Street and enjoy the atmosphere. Durham is rich in history, as well. If you visit Parrish Street, you are walking on Black Wall Street, which was a thriving business district in the early 20th century. If you want to learn more about Durham’s history, you can also visit the Museum of Durham History at 500 W. Main St., open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call 919-246-9993 or visit museumofdurhamhistory.org/


10. West Point on the Eno. The popular city park at 5101 N. Roxboro St. covers 388 acres with three miles of hiking trails. The river offers a fun place for visitors to wade or watch the water spill over the dam. Canoeing and rafting are available. The park is home to the reconstructed water-powered grist mill that currently grinds corn and wheat, the restored McCown-Mangum House, a working blacksmith shop and the Hugh Mangum Museum of Photography which exhibits early 19th-century works. A variety of natural history programs, craft workshops and demonstrations and concerts are offered throughout the year, mainly on weekends. For information, call 919-471-1623.