Printed from
Back to Location

Space for your notes

Durham town

North Carolina, NC, USA


Durham is a humble town with some great coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. Even though it doesn't look very spiffy, it has a cheerful look to it and some historic brick architecture here and there. This is a youthful town with an abundance of hangout spots, probably because Duke University is nearby. 
A wonderful place to check out is American Tobacco Campus, where a man-made river with waterfalls adds to the ambience of a historic tobacco factory complex. Have a meal here at Saladelia Cafe. There's tons for kids to do, including a giant chess board, a bee hive in the wall behind glass, and stepping stones over the river.
The main downtown area is at City Center, at Main St and E. Chapel Hill St, where many working people walk over to get lunch on weekdays. Check out Toast Italian Sandwiches (closed Sundays) and its happy outdoor tables where you can feel the breeze and watch people walk by. Come early as there are only four outdoor tables. Across the street is The Cupcake Bar, Pizzeria Toro, and Ninth Street Bakery. Beyu Caffe is a jazz club, next door. City Center has every type of restaurant you could want: Indian, Thai (with a bangkok twist), British, and Irish. Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas, Ponysaurus Brewery (nice lawn) and Bull City Burger and Brewery (great back patio) are here. As you drive down E. Chapel Hill Street you will see some great historic architecture. Go to the top of The Durham Hotel for a cool rooftop bar with food and drinks, and great views at sunset. 
Walk north from City Center seven minutes to Durham Central Park where there's a playground and animal sculptures for kids to climb. Many events are held here. Walk another five minutes north and you'll come to another great area:
In the evening, Rigsbee Ave and Geer Street comes alive with strung lights and students sitting at picnic tables outside Motorco Bar. Food here is delicious, with affordable small plates from all corners of the globe. Don't put your elbows on the picnic tables or you'll get all cut up and it takes weeks to heal!
Full Steam Brewery has a fun night of belly dancing performances the last Tuesday of every other month (e.g. March 31, 2019).
This area is a 13 minute walk north of City Center. Another Cocoa Cinnamon coffee shop is here, on Geer Street, with picnic tables outside and fans to cool you, plus a nice yellow interior. There are two other Cocoa Cinnamon coffee shops (mentioned below). Geer Street Beer Garden is here too, with delicious burgers and salads, friendly staff, and picnic tables outside under fans by some greenery. Blue Note Grill has blues bands and live music many nights a week. 
Some of the cool places in Durham are just in random spots. For a magical recessed patio with plants, decorations and fountains, and delicious baked goods, visit Guglhupf Bakery and Cafe, though you need to come on a weekday because it's crowded on weekends. You can order in the bakery to the right and eat at the cafe tables, or order food from the cafe straight ahead and then they bring it to your table. Nearby, Li Ming's Global Market, in a plain shopping plaza, has an awesome selection of Asian foods. Target is nearby.
Bean Traders Southpoint, near Streets at Southpoint Mall, is a huge coffee shop with a plain, interior (not appealing to me) packed with students studying. Its pastries are mostly gluten-free and not very yummy. Baby Scratch Bakery is another spot to try, off the beaten path. Counter Culture Coffee can be combined with a trip for your kids to East End Park which has bouncies, a splash park, and a playground. 
In the Ninth Street area is Guasaca Arepa and Salsa Grill, a Venezuelan counter service cafe with delicious food! Check out One World Market, a cute shop with items from around the world. Cosmic Cantina is in this area. Also here is gorgeous Mad Hatter's Cafe and Bakeshop with its modern architecture, huge windows, bright paintings, young clientele and yummy chocolate chip scones (weekdays are best; weekends too busy). There is a Whole Foods Market here. Many people jog across the street on the weekend, at Duke East Campus. You can walk the perimeter of the campus on a lovely trail under tall trees, and then extend your exploring by checking out the Trinity Park neighborhood which borders the east side of campus. For a hip coffee shop nearby with a middle-eastern interior and cute outdoor seating, check out Cocoa Cinnamon, at 2627 Hillsborough Rd, which has the delicious baked goods from Guglhufp! Another Cocoa Cinnamon (Lakewood) has a fantastic Spanish interior and hot churros fresh out the fryer.
American Tobacco Campus, next to DPAC and the Durham Bulls Stadium, has restaurants, fountains, and atmosphere at night. Find it by punching in "Mellow Mushroom" on your GPS.
One of the nicest parks for a stroll in Durham is Northgate Park.
Or for a truly stunning walk, head over to Sarah P. Duke Gardens and a stroll around Duke University campus, checking out their amazing chapel. Or visit the Nasher Museum of Art, which is open late till 9pm on Thursday nights.
For a plain walk in the Duke Forest, check out Al Buehler Trail.

Photo Gallery

Looking toward Beyu Caffe.

Seating outside Toast.

Guglhupf Cafe has lovely outdoor seating.

Lush plants and fountain outside Guglhupf cafe.

Sitting outside Toast, in City Center.

Letters Bookshop in the City Center area.

Inside Cocoa Cinnamon, on Hillsborough Rd.

The beautiful interior of Cocoa Cinnamon, on Hillsborough Rd.

Cute little tables at Cocoa Cinnamon.

Outdoor seating at Cocoa Cinnamon on Hillsborough Rd.

Picnic tables and shade canopies outside Motorco.

Picnic table outside Motorco, and apartment building in the distance.

Strung lights and happy times at Motorco.

A storm cools things down at Motorco.

Sunset at Durham Central Park.

Skatepark at Durham Central Park.

Outdoor seating at Mad Hatter's Cafe and Bakeshop.

The gorgeous interior of Mad Hatter's Cafe and Bakeshop.

Sitting outside Fullsteam Brewery.

Picnic tables outside Fullsteam Brewery.

Outside Motorco at night.

The Pit BBQ.

Lights outside Motorco.

Belly dancing every second month at Fullsteam Brewery.

Cocoa Cinnamon on Geer Street has a yellow interior.

Map of Africa at Cocoa Cinnamon on Geer Street.

Adorable frogs outside Native Threads, on Ninth St.

Inside Triangle Coffee House on Ninth Street, on a cold winter night.

Cocoa Cinnamon Lakewood has a Spanish theme.

Guglhupf pastries at Cocoa Cinnamon Lakewood, and blue outdoor seating.

You can watch the staff make fresh churros at Cocoa Cinnamon Lakewood!!

Bean Traders Southpoint- the brighter part near the windows.

Guasaca Arepa and Salsa Grill offers the most delicious food!

Colorful green decor at Guasaca Arepa and Salsa Grill.


This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

City Center is one of the main areas in Durham, located at Main Street and E. Chapel Hill Street. Park along the road and pay with credit card at the meters.
Geer Street and Rigsbee Ave (a 13 minute walk north of City Center) is a main area at night, for the bar scene. Park along the road or in a parking lot- some are free/allowed after 5pm.
Durham is spread out over many areas, so check each eatery for its address as there is not one main area to go to.
All content Copyright © 2006-2018 copying prohibited