The Ultimate Durham Checklist

The Ultimate Durham Checklist

72 items you must complete before you call yourself a true Durhamite

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Motorco Music Hall is a venue that often brings artists together for collaborations that audiences have never heard before, like this performance between West African dance band Kaira Ba, Mallarmé Chamber Players and singer Shana Tucker. Photo by Beth Mann

1 Purchase local produce, meat and eggs from your nearest farmers market (see page 74 in the 2019 Relocation Guide to find one by you) or at year-round farm stand Perkins Orchard.

2 Have a big breakfast at Elmo’s Diner and/or Foster’s Market.

3 Walk or bike the American Tobacco Trail.

4 Make movie night more interesting with the unique flavors of popcorn from The Mad Popper.

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

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 some time volunteering with a local charity, from the East Durham Children’s Initiative to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina to Habitat for Humanity of Durham.

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

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

11 Stop by the Museum of Durham History to learn more about the Bull City’s past.

12  Have a locally brewed beer at Bull City Burger & Brewery, Ponysaurus, Fullsteam Brewery, Bull Durham Brewing Co., Clouds Brewing, Barrel Culture, Hi-Wire Brewing Co. 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  Check out the art museum at N.C. Central University.

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

16 Go on a shopping spree to boutiques like Fifi’s, ExotiqueSmittenBanoIndioVintage Home SouthVaguely ReminiscentBungalowParker & OtisChet Miller and Vert & Vogue.

17  Hear live music at The Durham Hotel’s Rooftop Bar and watch the sunset, cocktail in hand.

18  Pour your own pint at Pour Taproom.

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

Find a new book to read at Letters bookshop. Photo by Beth Mann

20 Go on a gourmet culinary tour led by Taste Carolina, a free historic walking tour lead by Preservation Durham, or a craft beer, craft spirits and/or cuisine tour with Tap the Triangle.

21 Take a workshop on terrariums, botanical embroidery and/or succulent wreaths at plant and gift shop The Zen Succulent. Stop by Everyday Magic next door beforehand for ethically sourced crystals, candles and gifts.

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 Bottle ShopBeer DurhamGrowler Grlz, The Glass Jug Beer LabRamblers or Hope Valley Wine & Beverage.

27 Support fair trade at One World Market.

28 Pick up your groceries at Bulldega Urban Market or the Durham Co-op Market.

29 Take a continuing education course at Duke University or walk the campus for its Gothic architecture.

30 Sign up for cooking and mixology classes like “Couples Night Out in France” or “Mardi Gras” at Durham Spirits Company.

31 Come out for regular performances of blues shows at The Blue Note Grill.

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

33 Take in a Durham Bulls game.

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

35 Join the foodies and families sampling our tastiest restaurants-on-wheels at the regular food truck rodeos in Durham Central Park. Bonus points for visiting more than three!

36 Spend some time at one of our local coffee roasters, Counter Culture. Come out to the training center and headquarters. Come out to the training center and headquarters Fridays at 10 a.m. for free, educational cuppings.

37 A fan of vinyl? Peruse the impressive collection of LPs at Chaz’s Bull City RecordsCarolina Soul, 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.

Jennifer Curtis (left) and Tina Prevatte Levy (right) of Firsthand foods work with farmers like Chad and Kim Woods (center) of Spring Crest Farm to help their farm stay small and earn revenue. Photo by Beth Mann.

40 Support local farmers by buying meat from Firsthand Foods – the business works as an intermediary to help farmers get their products directly to consumers and to local restaurants.

41 Get crafty at creative reuse center The Scrap Exchange, and visit their new thrift store while you’re there.

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 Get a cocktail on tap – or a Miller High Life – and a Frito pie at The Accordion Club.

45 Join the Fullsteam Ahead! Run Club. Every Wednesday at 6 p.m. – rain or shine – runners depart from Fullsteam Brewery to complete either a 3-,4- or 6.4-mile route before heading back to the bar for a pint and food truck fare. Or join Fleet Feet at Ponysaurus every Thursday for a 3- or 5-mile route.

Pair this drinking chocolate with a plate of classic cinnamon sugar churros for a rich, satisfying dessert or midday pick-me-up at the Lakewood Location of Cocoa Cinnamon. Photo by Sarah M. Arneson.

46 Go canoeing, kayaking, fishing, camping, picnicking and swimming at Jordan LakeFalls LakeLake Michie or the Eno River State Park.

47 Play a round of golf at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club.

48 Get a season pass to the N.C. Museum of Life and Science and take the kiddos often. Adults, head to an AfterHours event: an opportunity for science lovers 21 and older to grab a beer, explore the museum and hang out with friends – without the kids!

49 Explore our burgeoning craft beverage scene: Try Bull City Ciderworks’ Smooth Hoperator cider, Durham Distillery’s Conniption gin, Graybeard Distillery’s Bedlam Vodka, The Brothers Vilgalys’ Krupnikas, Honeygirl Meadery 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 Take a dip in the pool at Unscripted Durham’s Patio Lounge.

54 See an outdoor concert at both the American Tobacco Campus and Brightleaf Square.

55 Take your pick of the day’s catch – delivered fresh from the Carolina coast every day – at one of Saltbox Seafood Joint‘s two locations.

56 Head out on a Mural Durham Bike Tour, a 90-minute expedition on the first Saturday of the month (May–November) that pedals past approximately 13 downtown murals.

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

58 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.

59 See a 3-D IMAX movie at The Streets at Southpoint‘s AMC theater.

For a slightly lighter lunch at King’s Sandwich Shop, try the Bruschetta and mozzarella sandwich – And Go ahead, add a side of tots! Photo by Briana Brough

60 Have a hearty burger at Wimpy’s Grill, King’s Sandwich Shop, Dain’s Place, Bull City Burger & Brewery and/or Burger Bach.

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

62 Take a wine class – including topics like orange wine and island-cultivated wines – at Bar Brunello, led by the wine bar owner and wine director, Esteban Brunello.

63 Take the kiddos roller skating at Wheels Fun Park.

Mazaliyah Morris (far left), her niece, Eliana, 3, and daughters Madilyn, 7, Maliyah, 9, and Maddy, 13, take a break from roller skating with Jen McGonigle (far right) and her daughters, Cordelia Ramont, 6, and Mattie Ramont, 13, at Wheels Fun Park. Photo by Beth Mann

64 Spend a night at JB Duke HotelThe King’s Daughters InnWashington Duke InnDurham MarriottUnscripted Durham21c Museum HotelMorehead ManorArrowhead Inn or The Durham Hotel.

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

66 Hear ordinary people tell extraordinary stories at The Monti.

67 Get a library card at your closest Durham County Library branch.

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

69 Enjoy small bites and a rosé flight (or your own favorite style of wine) at The Wine Feed.

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.

71 See a concert, stand-up comedy or a retro movie at The Carolina Theatre.

72 Grab a sandwich at Toast and have lunch on the patio as you watch the hustle and bustle of Five Points.

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Hannah Lee
Hannah Lee is the editorial assistant at Durham Magazine. Born and raised in Winston-Salem, she attended UNC-Chapel Hill and double majored in broadcast journalism and German. She enjoys good beer, ice cream and morning runs.