October/November 2019

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When I moved to Durham in 2011, freshly graduated from UNC, I noticed a striking difference between Carolina students and Duke students (well, besides Carolina having a superior men’s basketball team, of course): There were essentially no college students visiting Durham’s downtown.

You’d see them on Ninth Street, sure, and Chapel Hill is a town, not a city. But, with all this revitalization happening just a few blocks away from their campus, you’d think Duke students would venture farther than Devine’s or Shooters. Not that I was complaining, mind you, what with our rabid rivalry and all (#GoHeels).

These days, all that’s changed. You go downtown in late August now, and you know Duke’s back in session. I stopped in Pour Taproom the weekend before Labor Day, and it was standing-room only. You’re having to dodge Lime and Bird scooters left and right. Bull City Running Co.’s Fullsteam Ahead! Run Club gets decidedly larger on Wednesday nights – and not because the temperature is near perfect. 

And, allegiances aside, I’m thrilled. Because our downtown merchants deserve the business and the recognition. Students should be proud to attend Duke, not only for its merit and prestige (it pained me a little to type that), but because Duke is in Durham, one of the greatest cities you or I will ever live in. I mean that sincerely.

On page 40, we asked several Durhamites for some of their tips on what they enjoy most about our downtown. There are some gems in there, and a few of our staff even gave their thoughts, too (see what we had to say on page 49). But we’re always looking to discover more – let us know your own downtown recommendations by dropping us a note at [email protected].  –Amanda MacLaren


40 An Insider’s Guide to Downtown
Five Durhamites share their favorite spots and hidden gems

50 Build Me Up
The latest downtown development news

54 Class Acts
A brief spotlight on exceptional figures in our local schools

60 School of Thought
Parents share the journey that led them to their children’s past and current schools

74 Read With Me
Take your kiddo to these local storytimes

76 A Comprehensive Directory of Private, Regional Boarding, Charter and Magnet Schools


116 Biz Briefs

120 Sixth Annual First Responders Appreciation Breakfast

121 RTP Breaks Ground on Boxyard

122 Plan to Improve Public Schools Shows Some Early Promise


8 Go. See. Do. 
Our top events this fall

20 Noted
What we’ve heard around town …

26 Downtown’s Renaissance
The unmistakable signs of Durham’s changing landscape

28 Best Bar Bites
Drinking establishments that also offer quality meals

92 Kids’ Corners 
Three families create unique spaces for their children to study, play and relax

106 #PetsOfInstagram
These Durham animals are on their way to social stardom

126 Taste 
Discover our city’s best restaurants

135 Engagement & Wedding 
Tying the knot, Bull City-style


12 Legends of the LUEWWDiverse at Motorco Music Hall

14 Ribbon Cutting for Voyager Academy’s new Viking Stadium

16 VIP Preview for “Native Voices” at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University


32 Healthy Durham: The Future of Durham’s Early Education and Universal Preschool Programs

65 Made in Durham
Equity, access and a thriving Durham economy

110 Adopt a Pet
Two sweet pups, looking for a home!

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