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 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.

What Not To Miss

  • 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.
  • The star attraction is undoubtedly the Duke Lemur Center, a research and conservation organisation that is 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.
  • At night, the former home of the Lucky Strike cigarette factory has been transformed into a huge entertainment district with restaurants, theatre and bars.

Choose one of the best places to stay in Durham to make the most of the city.

The best places to stay in Durham

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 an apartment

  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option this holiday - don't hesitate to visit our online partner Booking.com for a selection of properties ideal for exploring this charming town.

Travel Information

  • Fly to Raleigh–Durham International Airport located 24km (15 miles) from Durham with links to major domestic and International destinations including London and Paris.
  • Alternatively, catch a train with Durham on the Amtrak rail route with New York to the North and Charlotte to the South.
  • If you want to rent a car to explore the town, for prices visit our online partner Rentalcars
  • Best time to visit - Springtime from March to May can provide visitors with pleasant temperatures and colourful blossoms without the high humidity in Summer.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Durham, North Carolina

  • The Durham Hotel Durham, North Carolina 53 rooms from AU$249

    Local exploring  -  An impressive hotel in the heart of the city, ideal for exploring
    Views  -  Rooftop terrace bar gives stunning views of the city
    Lakeside  -  Falls Lake located about 15 km away
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    A trendy boutique hotel set in downtown Durham, whose design nods to the thriving cultural scene with original touches and emphasis on local arts and crafts. The restaurant headed by an award-winning chef draws on local produce, while the rooftop bar offers stunning city views. See More

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  • 21c Museum Hotel, Durham Durham, North Carolina (North Carolina) 125 rooms from AU$292

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

    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. See More

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