The Ultimate Durham Checklist

Share This!

Photography by Beth Mann

Bull City Laughs
Clockwise: The five founders of Bull City Laughs: Terrell Wilder, financial officer; Omar Helms, chief technician; Brandon Wright, “laugh engineer;” Q Randle, business ambassador; and Akili Hester, president. Photo by Joshua Steadman

1 Purchase local produce, meat and eggs from your nearest farmers market (see page 78 to find one by you) or at Perkins Orchard, a year-round farm stand.

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

3 Catch the latest exhibition at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and visit the new outdoor space and sculpture garden that connects it to the Rubenstein Arts Center, where you can also peruse exhibits, hear live music or see a dance troupe perform.

4 Stock up on drinks at Beer Durham and then hop on the Bull City Laughs bus for a comedy tour around the city.  

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, the monthly The Patchwork Market or any day at The Artisan Market at 305

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

8 Volunteer with a local nonprofit, from Meals on Wheels Durham to the Food
Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina
to Habitat for Humanity of Durham

9 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., Starpoint Brewing and/or Durty Bull Brewing Co. 

10 Walk or bike the American Tobacco Trail

Nolia: Family + Coffee storytime
Young customers listen intently as Nolia: Family + Coffee owner Natalie Minott reads “Hank’s Big Day” during storytime.

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

12 Have lunch and a pastry at The Mad Hatter’s Café & Bakeshop or at Guglhupf. 

13 Bring your little ones to child-friendly coffee shop Nolia: Family + Coffee for storytimes and family fun.

14 Take a workshop on how to build a terrarium, hang macrame planters and create floral arrangements at plant and gift shop The Zen Succulent

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

16 Go on a shopping spree to boutiques like Fifi’s, Exotique, Smitten, Bano, Indio, Vintage Home South, Vaguely Reminiscent, Bungalow, Parker and Otis, Chet Miller and Vert & Vogue

17 Visit The Durham Hotel’s Rooftop Bar and watch the sunset, cocktail in hand. 

18 Pour your own pint at Pour Taproom

19 Check out work by African American artists at the art museum at N.C. Central University.  

The Hillside Park basketball courts were updated this past year, which included resurfacing, replacing backboards and improving fencing and landscaping. The design was inspired by the City of Durham flag. Photo by Estlin Haiss

20 Discover Durham with locals and professionals by heading out on a gourmet culinary tour led by Taste Carolina; a Beltline Brew Tour; a free historic walking or bike tour; and/or a Mural Durham Bike Tour led by Preservation Durham that pedals past approximately 13 downtown murals. 

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

22 Play a game of pickup basketball on the refurbished and colorful courts at Hillside Park

23 Attend a Third Friday art event at any 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 has 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

wine and cheese board from Bulldega Urban Market
A wine and cheese board from Bulldega Urban Market, perfect for sharing with new neighbors.

26 Pick up an interesting beer from Sam’s Bottle Shop, Beer Durham, Growler Grlz, The Glass Jug Beer Lab, Ramblers, LouElla Wine, Beer + Beverage or Hope Valley Wine & Beverage

27 Attend a service at Duke Chapel

28 Pick up your groceries at locally owned 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 “Asian Appetizers or “Winter in the South” at Durham Spirits Company

31 Come to regular performances of blues shows at The Blue Note Grill

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

33 Take in a Durham Bulls game. 

34 Visit Bennett Place, the site of the largest surrender in the Civil War.

35 Join 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 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 Records, Carolina 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

Durham Bike Co-op workshop
Robert Weston, volunteer Ronnie Rozenkranz-Boxford and Rob Walpole, the co-op’s construction coordinator, repair bikes at the Durham Bike Co-op workshop.

39 Become a member of the Durham Bike Co-op, a nonprofit where you can pay $30 a year (and an extra $20 if you want a bike) or volunteer for three hours and do two more hours and pay $10 in exchange for a bike. The cost of membership offers you access to the shop, Co-op tools and assistance from volunteer mechanics.

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 its new thrift store while you’re there. 

Amos Cooper at Rock's Bar and Hair Shop
“You don’t have to have a cut to pull up to the bar and have a drink” at Rock’s Bar and Hair Shop, says downtown resident Amos Cooper. “It’s also a great place for a group to pop in and have a round, especially if someone is getting a trim.”

42 Enjoy a beer while you wait to get a haircut at Rock’s Bar and Hair Shop

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

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

45 Join the Fullsteam Ahead! Run Club with Bull City Running Co. 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 at 6 p.m. for a run 3- or 5-mile run that starts at 6:30 p.m. 

46 Go canoeing, kayaking, fishing, camping, picnicking and swimming at Jordan Lake, Falls Lake, Lake Michie or the Eno River State Park

47 Play a round of golf at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club and/or the Hillandale Golf Course.

48 Get a season pass to the 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 with your dog 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 Support artists from around the globe at Bull City Fair Trade

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

54 Take a picture with Major the Bull in CCB Plaza.

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 Visit North Star Church of the Arts for a performance, art exhibit, movie screening or Sunday service.

57 Spend a spring afternoon at Sarah P. Duke Gardens

King’s Sandwich Shop
Even if you’re not a meat-eater, “King’s Sandwich Shop low-key has the most delicious, biggest and best-priced salad in Durham,” says Sheila Amir, the writer and owner/creator of “The Bulls of Durham.”

58 Celebrate our nationally renowned food and beverage scene at Sip + Savor and TASTE, two annual culinary events hosted by Durham Magazine, Chapel Hill Magazine and Chatham Magazine

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

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

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

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

63 Take the kiddos roller skating at Wheels Fun Park

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

65 Take a selfie at the Duke Arts Annex’s Satellite Park, and attend a free arts workshop. 

66 Hear ordinary people tell extraordinary stories at The Monti

67 Get a library card at your closest Durham County Library branch. Visit the Main Library branch following its major expansion and renovation when it opens in April this year!

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

69 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

70 Attend the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, a renowned international event featuring more than 100 films, or catch one of its year-round events at the Full Frame Theater at American Tobacco Campus

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

72 Get creative at the Durham Pixel Wall at Durham Central Park– like we did for our cover shoot!

73 Grab a doughnut from Monuts and/or a biscuit from Rise

74 Take a dip in the pool at Unscripted Durham’s Patio Lounge. 

75 Tour Duke Homestead State Historic Site, the early home, factories and farm where Washington Duke first grew and processed tobacco. 

76 Grab a cup of drinking chocolate and churros, or a coffee with black lava salt, at Cocoa Cinnamon’s Lakewood location. 

Gibson Girl Vintage
Gibson Girl Vintage has “awesome clothing – especially love the vintage children’s clothes, which would make the perfect unique baby shower gift,” says Janice Little, pictured here with daughter, JoyAna.

77 Shop for interesting gifts at Morgan Imports, Dolly’s Vintage and Gibson Girl Vintage.

78 Go on a date night to Boxcar Bar + Arcade and/or Quarter Horse Bar & Arcade.

79 Pick up a bottle of Alley Twenty Six’s homemade tonic, or try it in a cocktail at the bar.

80 Get a scoop (or two) of Vietnamese coffee or salted butter caramel ice cream from The Parlour.

81 Stop by Everyday Magic for crystals, candles and gifts.  

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

83 Watch the movie “Bull Durham.”

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

85 See an outdoor concert at the American Tobacco Amphitheater, The Stage at Golden Belt and Durham Central Park

Share This!

Durham Magazine

Upcoming Events

25 Jun
25 Jul
All Day


Friday , Hillsborough Gallery of Arts @ 121 N. Churton St. Hillsborough
No event found!
Load More


Keep up with all that Durham has to offer.

Don't miss out!

Scroll to Top