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Durham, North Carolina

Photo of Durham, North Carolina

About Durham, North Carolina

In the central Piedmont region of North Carolina, Durham is as famous for its university as for its basketball team. One of the country’s top academic and research institutions, Duke University not only has some impressive buildings and collections - open to the public - but also gives the city a vibrant, youthful atmosphere. And its basketball team, the Blue Devils, has won a stream of trophies. The city, whose wealth was largely built on tobacco, also offers some surprises - including a gorgeous collection of lemurs. The best places to stay in Durham ensure you make the most of what the city offers.

Many of the city’s must-see attractions are associated with the university. Duke’s Chapel, for example, has an impressive 210-foot tower and 77 bible-themed stained-glass windows while the Nasher Museum of Art is as impressive for its futuristic building as its collection of international contemporary works.

Basketball fans will want to check out the Duke Basketball Museum which contains videos, trophies and memorabilia of the award-winning Blue Devils.

In the university grounds, there’s the beautiful Sarah P Duke Gardens with koi ponds, magnolias and rose gardens. But the star attraction is undoubtedly the Duke Lemur Center, a research and conservation organisation and home to the largest collection of endangered lemurs outside their native Madagascar.

Elsewhere in the city, historic Stagville, once one of the largest plantations in the South, tells the story of slavery and the tobacco industry, while the Museum of Life + Science is a full-on, fun, family attraction including a dinosaur trail, treehouses and vast butterfly house. And, at night, the former home of the Lucky Strike cigarette factory has been transformed into a huge entertainment district with restaurants, theatre and bars.

Outside the city, the Eno River State Park and Little River Regional Park offer plenty of opportunity for hiking, mountain-biking, canoeing, fishing and bird-watching. Choose one of the best places to stay in Durham to make the most of the city.

For art lovers

  • Both contemporary-art museum and hotel, the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham mixes contemporary styling with the building’s art-deco design. Rooms are light and chic in pale neutral tones while the public areas are filled with striking, modern art. There’s also a spa, steam room and swanky bar.

For more choices, browse our list of the best places to stay in Durham, expand your search to include all our North Carolina recommendations, or contact a friendly guru for advice.

Best Hotels in Durham, North Carolina

  • 21c Museum Hotel, Durham 125 rooms from $199

    Durham, North Carolina (North Carolina)

    A boutique hotel with an integrated contemporary art museum located in a gorgeous 19th century building with an art-deco feel. Bedrooms have a smart, contemporary look with chic designer furniture. Relax in the swanky hotel bar or explore this lively little neighbourhood.

    Artworks  -  The hotel boasts its own contemporary art museum
    Local markets  -  Durham Farmers Market
    Spa
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
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