Spring officially begins on March 20th and we are celebrating with ALL the outdoor activities! Make this your Spring bucket list with tons of free things to do outdoors and the biggest events happening in March, April, and May.

Hike at the Eno River State Park

Eno River State Park

Eno River State Park consists of 4,200 acres of land and the river flows through Durham for 33 miles before ending up in Falls Lake. It’s only 10 miles from downtown Durham but it’s one of the best places in Durham to get away from it all. You can go canoeing, fishing, hiking, and even camp overnight. Be sure to snap a picture on the suspension bridge!

Stroll along the Riverwalk (Hillsborough)

Just a short drive away in Hillsborough, the Riverwalk is a paved greenway that stretches about 1.8 miles along the Eno River. (Making it wheelchair and stroller friendly!) The main entrance is by the Eno River Parking Deck at the end of Nash and Kollock Street, adjacent to the Gateway Center. You can find it right in Downtown Hillsborough so hop over to spots like Weaver Street Market, Wooden Nickel Pub or Matthew’s Chocolates afterwards!

Asheville Comes East Beer Festival

Photo: @hiwirebrewing

March 23, 2019 @ 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Hi-Wire Brewing at Golden Belt

Hi-Wire is bringing 20+ Western North Carolina breweries that see limited to no distribution to the triangle. These beers will be rare, specialties, or one-offs that are hard to find in the market. Entry is $10 and includes two beer tokens and commemorative tasting glass. 

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Free Family Day: The Art of Science & the Science of Art

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

March 24, 2019 @ 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

The Nasher partners with Duke science departments and students to explore the crossover between art and science as you create artful chemical reactions and investigate beautiful designs found in nature. Get wowed by Nasher Family Day favorite Magician Joshua Lozoff! Get immersed in onomatopoeia in our newest exhibition “Christian Marclay: Surround Sounds.”

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Spring Food Truck Rodeo ft. dreamRoot

March 24, 2019 @ 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Durham Central Park

A Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo is an all-ages Sunday afternoon gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, five times each year. The event is free to attend. You simply pay for what you decide to eat from the trucks’ menus–from savory and stick-to-your-ribs to sweet treats. DreamRoot, from right here in Durham, is the featured band.

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Bull City Food & Beer Experience

March 24, 2019 @ 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at DPAC

Tyler’s Restaurant & Taproom and Sam’s Quik Shop will be hosting the 6th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience on Sunday, March 24, 2019. The event features restaurants paired with breweries spread throughout all three DPAC floors featuring unlimited samplings and the Harris Onstage Experience showcasing live music & local food trucks. 

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Shop 60+ local vendors at the Spring Patchwork Market

Patchwork market durham nc
Photo: Anna Carson Dewitt

March 31, 2019 @ 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Durham Armory

FREE! & INDOORS! Shop over 60+ Handmade Makers at the Spring Patchwork Market! Are you interested in the identity and story behind the things you own or give as gifts, support your local maker by shopping at the Spring Patchwork Market. Small batch and one-of-a-kind goods meticulously crafted or found with thoughtfulness and care are available for purchase.  

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See the cherry blossoms bloom at Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Durham is incredibly lucky to have this beautiful botanical garden. Named one of the top 10 public gardens in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, Sarah P. Duke Gardens is open everyday of the year and is free to all! The cherry blossoms usually bloom in the last couple of weeks of March and the first two weeks of April.

See a film at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

Carolina Theatre

April 4-7 @ Carolina Theatre

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is an annual event that showcases non-fiction cinema. It’s a four-day, morning-to-midnight array of nearly 100 films, as well as discussions and panels. You can grab individual or package tickets here. Or there’s usually some free screenings at Durham Central Park. (We’ll keep you up to date as the schedule becomes available.

Durham 150 Opening Celebration

Major the Bull

April 13, 2019 @ 9:30am-2pm

Mark your calendar to celebrate Durham’s 150th birthday! Expect events, performances, and activities for all ages. We’ll keep you up to date as more information becomes available!

West Point Eno Egg Hunt

April 13, 2019 @ 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at West Point on the Eno

Egg hunters wanted at the 32nd Annual Egg Hunt at West Point on the Eno. Children will be divided into groups according to their age for the egg hunt: 0-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-9, 10-12. Find the golden egg and win an extra prize! All age groups will start at 10:15am; games, crafts and face painting to follow until noon. Remember to bring your own basket! Mr. Bunny will be available for pictures. Free and open to the public!

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Dog-Gone Egg Hunt

Photo: Durham Parks and Rec.

April 13, 2019 @ 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at West Point on the Eno

Don’t let your canine companion miss out on this spring tradition! Bring your dog to West Point on the Eno, where they will experience an egg hunt: Canine style! Find the golden egg to win a special prize. Mr. Bunny will be available for pictures. Dogs must remain on leash. Free, drop-in event. 

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Bull City Bike Rally

April 13, 2019 @ 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm at West Main Street, Downtown Durham

Join Raging Bull for 2 days as they close downtown Durham for the largest rally of the year. Live Bands, Bike show, Bikini contest, Demos, Rides, Tats, Vendors, Games and Great food!

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Pints for Paws Craft Beverage Festival

April 14, 2019 @ 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Durham Central Park

Celebrate the Durham craft beverage community while raising funds for Animal Protection Society of Durham. This will be the second year of this fun festival, with local craft breweries and other local craft beverage makers coming together in one event to raise funds for homeless animals. There will be food trucks, a band, doggie wading pools, games, and a whole lot more. Adoptable dogs from APS of Durham will also be there for you to meet! 100% of the proceeds will benefit Animal Protection Society of Durham to care for animals in need. 

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Check out a free event at MoogFest

The weird and wonderful world of Moogfest is descending upon Durham April 25th through the 28th. We’re pretty excited. Moogfest offers panels and workshops by day and concerts by night. The full schedule usually includes over 200 workshops, masterclasses, and conversations. You can grab tickets here or there’s usually some great free events available. (We’ll keep you up to date as the full schedule becomes available)

Swing in the hammocks at American Tobacco Campus

Once a tobacco factory, the American Tobacco Campus is home to the famous Lucky Strike Tower so many identify with Durham. It’s truly beautiful with a river running throughout the campus and a large green space. Play a game of Bull City chess, lounge in hammocks, check out the Burt’s Bees house, relax in the rocking chairs under the Lucky Strike Tower. Check out the free music concerts on the lawn in the summer!

Cheer on the Durham Bulls

The Durham Bulls will open their 140-game schedule on Thursday, April 4 against the Charlotte Knights, and host their first home game on Thursday, April 11 against the Columbus Clippers. After kicking off the home schedule, stick around for the fireworks show.

Every year the Durham Bulls have a great lineup of promotional nights that make the games even more fun than usual! Check out our guide to all the promotional nights including Bark in the Park, Star Wars Night, Wool E’s Birthday, and a lot more.

Pick strawberries at Waller Family Farm

Waller Family Farm

Waller Family Farm is a real working strawberry, vegetable and beef cattle farm, located in Durham County. We love coming here to pick our own strawberries. Picking starts around the last week of April, through May and into June. They provide cardboard flats to pick in, or you can bring your own containers.

Check their site often for dates, times and availability of berries during the strawberry season.

Brunch it up at a new spot

Photo: Kaitlin Martin

Breakfast is the first meal and perhaps the best meal of the day, and Durham has it down pat. This spring, head out and explore some new spots- here’s 11 Breakfast Spots to Try.

Dine at one of Durham’s Essential Patios

Guglhupf durham nc bakeries

This time of year, there’s nothing better than enjoying dinner and drinks on an open-air patio. Here’s our guide to some local favorites and a few you may have not thought of.

Go on a Pony Bike Ride that ends at Ponysaurus Brewing

Photo: Instagram @ponysaurusbrewing

No, we don’t mean actual ponies! The Pony ride is a social, leisure ride that begins at Major the Bull in Downtown Durham and after winding around downtown will end at the Ponysaurus Brewing Co. tap room and beer garden for pints, dumplings from Chirba Chirba and a chance to win prizes and hang with good folks. Pony ride happens on the second Tuesday of each month.

Explore Duke Homestead

Duke Homestead showcases the historic home, farm, and factory buildings of Washington Duke and his family as they lived on the property from 1852 until 1874. Free of charge, open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Hike at West Point on the Eno

West Point on the Eno is free 404-acre park along the Eno River.  Tour three historic buildings, a rebuilt operational grist mill on the site of what was once the largest mill on the river, the house of the one-time mill owners, and the old tobacco packhouse is now home to the Hugh Mangum Museum of Photography.

Explore nature too with five miles of scenic trails along the river for hiking and fishing, an amphitheater used for festivals and concerts, and the river itself, with a natural play space and rapids.

Canoe at Lake Michie

Photo: @dukerow

Located in northern Durham County less than 30 minutes from downtown, Lake Michie is a scenic gem that’s perfect for a hiking, canoeing, bird-watching, camping and rockhounding. Park access is free; fee for boating, and fishing. The lake may only be accessed during operating hours, Friday through Monday mid-March to mid-November and with a permit purchased at the boathouse.

Bike the American Tobacco Trail

American Tobacco Trail Photo: Kaitlin Martin

Hop on American Tobacco Trail for 22+ uninterrupted miles. It was once a railroad track that was converted into a beautiful trail for biking, walking, and running. You can even ride horses on the trail! See more about American Tobacco Trail here.

Take the dogs to the park

There’s several dog parks in the area. See them here. Our favorites are Northgate and Piney Wood Dog Park.

Note: There is a $17 fee to register your dog annually and you can register online here.

Lumberjack Challenge

May 11, 2019 @ 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Rock Quarry Park

The flannel will be flying during this log carrying, log rolling and hatchet throwing event. Don’t find yourself a sad “sap”, space is limited so register early. Open to all adults who “wood” like to have a “tree-mendous” time! $15.00 (Resident) $20.00 (Non-resident)

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Blues and Brews Festival

Photo by @thestrivinganomaly

May 18, 2019 @ 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm at Durham Central Park

One of the best summer beer & music festivals in Durham! 20 local craft brewers and 3 great blues bands make for a fun event. Proceeds go to local charities. 

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2019 Walk for the Animals

Photo: APS of Durham

May 25⋅@ 10:00am – 1:00pm at Duke University East Campus

Grab a leash and join APS on Saturday, May 25, for the 2019 Walk for the Animals, at Duke University’s East Campus lawn. With your commitment to animal welfare, and involvement with the Walk, APS can give Durham animals the second chance they deserve – to live the lives they have always imagined!

Also See 35+ Things to Do with Kids around Durham & 5 Must-See Art Exhibits and Museums

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Katelyn Belch
Author: Katelyn Belch

Founder of Best of the Bull and Shop Durham. It’s my chief goal to keep you in the know about all things Durham.