The Ultimate Durham Checklist

The Ultimate Durham Checklist

A detailed list of 70 things you simply must do


1 Walk or bike the American Tobacco Trail.

2 Have breakfast at Elmo’s Diner and/or Hope Valley Diner.

3 Purchase local produce, meat and eggs from nearby farm stands like Funny Girl Farm and Perkins Orchard.

4 Go to a Broadway show at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

5 See a concert, stand-up comedy or even just a movie at The Carolina Theatre.

The Museum of Life + Science’s Sensory Path is one of many museum features designed specifically for kids. Photo by Adam Kissick

6 Meet local artisans and find beautifully crafted pottery, jewelry, illustrations, woodwork and more at the weekly Durham Craft Market and monthly Durham Patchwork Market.

7 Take your rambunctious youngsters to Durham’s most central playground: Mount Merrill.

8 Spend a morning volunteering with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

9 Have lunch and a pastry at Mad Hatter’s Cafe and Bakeshop.

10 Go on a shopping spree to Fifi’s, Magpie, Mynt Boutique, Exotique, The Scarlet Rooster, Smitten, Bano, Indio, Cotton Creek, Liberation Threads and Vert & Vogue.

11 See a play at Manbites Dog Theater.

12 Have a locally brewed beer at Bull City Burger & Brewery, Ponysaurus, Fullsteam Brewery, The Bullpen and/or Durty Bull Brewing Co.

13 Tour the early home, factories and farm where Washington Duke first grew and processed tobacco at Duke Homestead.

14 Go on a gourmet culinary tour led by Taste Carolina.

15 Rock out at The Pinhook and/or Motorco Music Hall.

16 Catch the latest exhibition at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

17 Head to one of three farmers’ markets on a Saturday morning.

18 Sample more than 250 beers from different breweries across the globe at the World Beer Festival.

19 Find new, used and children’s books at our local bookstores The Regulator Bookshop, Letters Bookshop, Books Do Furnish a Room and Wentworth & Leggett Books.

Grab a pint at Ponysaurus, or one of several other local breweries. Photo by Briana Brough

20 Check out the art museum at N.C. Central University.

21 Play a game of pool or bocce at West End Billiards.

22 Take a tour of the Duke Lemur Center, which houses the largest living group of these endangered primates in the world.

23 Attend a Third Friday art event at one of our incredible galleries and at Golden Belt, a renovated former textile factory.

24 Recycle your old technology with Triangle Ecycling, which handles computer refurbishing and boasts a strong youth education program with Durham Public Schools, teaching hands- on computer repair skills to students.

25 Catch at least one performance during the American Dance Festival.

26 Pick up an interesting beer from Sam’s Quik Shop, Sam’s Bottle Shop, Beer Durham, Growler GrlzBottle 501, The Glass Jug, Ramblers or Hope Valley Wine and Beverage.

27 Support fair trade at One World Market.

28 Go on a free historic walking tour led by Preservation Durham.

29 Take a continuing education course at Duke University.

30 Sign up for cooking and mixology classes like “Southern Cakes” and “From Beer to Eternity” at Durham Spirits Company.

31 Come out for local and/or national jazz acts at either Beyù Caffè or The Shed.

32 Test drive Organic Transit’s ELF, an ultra-ef cient bicycle-car hybrid.

Have your tarot read at Arcana. Photo by Briana Brough

33 Take in a Durham Bulls game.

34 Plan to stick around after a shopping trip during Northgate Mall’s Music on the Plaza concert series.

35 Local food trucks are opening up shop in our malls! Grab some eats from American Meltdown, Porchetta and Belgian Waffle Crafters, which recently opened in The Streets at Southpoint, and Heavenly Smoke at Northgate Mall.

36 Shop the Durham Co-Op Market for items like local meat, produce and body care products as well as well-priced staples, like toilet paper. Plus, free Wi-Fi in their cafe!

37 A fan of vinyl? Peruse the impressive collection of LPs at Chaz’s Bull City Records and/or Carolina Soul and/or Hunky Dory and/or Schoolkids Records.

38 In the middle of summer, find respite from the heat with an ice-cold, homemade Fahsyrah’s Lemonade.

39 Go to a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and Wallace Wade Stadium.

40 Gather your 13 best buddies and your favorite beer for a trip around downtown on the Biker Bar.

41 Get crafty at creative reuse center The Scrap Exchange.

42 Grab a cup of drinking chocolate or a coffee with black lava salt at Cocoa Cinnamon.

43 See a show at Duke’s Reynolds Industries Theater or Baldwin Auditorium.

44 Visit the downtown community garden SEEDS, operated by green-thumbed youngsters.

45 Attend an event at co-working space Mercury Studio, whether
it’s the monthly Writers’ Salon, in which participants share creative writing samples; Listening Room with performances by local musicians; or the groundworkk event series, with presenters sharing their ideas for starting new businesses or organizations.

One of Duke Lemur Center’s residents. Photo by Briana Brough

46 Go canoeing, kayaking, shing, camping, picnicking and swimming at Jordan Lake, Falls Lake, Lake Michie or at one of the five access points within the Eno River State Park.

47 Play a round of golf at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, ranked last year as the No. 1 college hotel in the U.S. by

48 Get a season pass to the N.C. Museum of Life and Science and take the kiddos often.

49 Explore our burgeoning craft beverage scene: Try Bull City Ciderworks’ Smooth Hoperator cider, Durham Distillery’s Conniption gin, The Brothers Vilgalys’ Krupnikas, Honeygirl Meadery, Pebble Brook Spirits and Mystic Bourbon Liqueur.

50 Trek around Duke’s East Campus while raising money for the Animal Protection Society (APS) of Durham during the annual Walk for the Animals.

51 Better yet, adopt a shelter pet from APS of Durham.

52 Attend a service at Duke Chapel.

53 Head to a story time with the kids at your closest Durham County Library branch.

54 See an outdoor concert at the American Tobacco Campus.

55 See a 3-D IMAX movie at The Streets at Southpoint’s AMC theater.

56 Spend a spring afternoon at Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

57 Celebrate our nationally renowned food and beverage scene at TASTE, an annual series of culinary-based events hosted by Durham Magazine and Chapel Hill Magazine.

The groundworkk event series provides a platform for new business and organizations.

58 Do your part to save the planet with Fillaree, a line of handmade liquid hand and body soaps, all-purpose cleaning sprays and body butters that are both organic and vegan and come in refillable bottles.

59 Take your pick of the day’s catch – delivered fresh from the Carolina coast every day – at Saltbox Seafood Joint.

60 Have a hearty burger at Wimpy’s Grill and/or King’s Sandwich Shop.

61 View exhibits or take a class in the documentary arts at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.

62 Gather a group of friends and book a Wine & Design painting class.

63 Jump around on a eld of trampolines at either DefyGravity or SkyZone.

64 Spend a night at The King’s Daughters Inn, Washington Duke Inn, Durham Marriott, 21c Museum Hotel, Morehead Manor, Arrowhead Inn or The Durham Hotel.

65 Grab a doughnut or bagel from Monuts Donuts and/or a biscuit or Maple Bacon Bar from Rise.

66 Hear ordinary people tell extraordinary stories at The Monti.

67 Purchase a Runaway T-shirt, and learn to say “Durm” like you’re from here.

68 Attend a dance party and/or have your tarot read at basement bar Arcana.

69 Visit Bennett Place, the site where the Civil War ended.

70 Attend the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, a renowned international event featuring more than 100 films, or catch one of their year-round events at the Power Plant theater in American Tobacco.