Like it or not, most of us are creatures of habit—which is exactly why you need to start taking advantage of all the good stuff Bull City has to offer from the moment you arrive. I recently talked to a Durham native that had never set foot in Duke Chapel. Don’t let that be you.

Ten Things to Do in Durham Your First Month Here

1. Get Acquainted with American Tobacco Campus

You’ll probably be spending a lot of time here and taking quite a few photos. 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 Bee house, relax in the rocking chairs under the Lucky Strike Tower. Check out the free music concerts on the lawn in the summer!

2. Spend Some Time (and Money) at Local Businesses

The best spots to eat and shop in town definitely aren’t at national chains. Durham is known for its abundance of local businesses and they all contribute to Durham being Durham. So whenever you need a gift, a cup of coffee, a quick bite to eat, a new outfit, choose local first. Also, be sure to get yourself a Shop Durham card. It’s a card that gets you discounts & rewards at locally owned Durham businesses, everything from free coffee at the Durham Co-Op Market to 50% off Durham Distillery Tours to 10% off at Funny Girl Farm! Visit to see a list of local businesses and get a card!

3. Get Outside

Natural beauty is one of the many things that Durham has no shortage of. Whether you want to stay urban at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, get a little taste of the wild on the Eno River, explore West Point on the Eno, or head out on the American Tobacco Trail, there is so much to explore!

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4. Learn More about Durham’s History

Durham has a seriously fascinating history with some up’s and down’s. Learn all about it at numerous spots around town, most of them free, like Duke Homestead, Bennett Place, Durham History Hub, Historic Parrish Street Forum, and more. You can even go on a free walking or bike tour with Preservation Durham.

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5. Cheer on the Durham Bulls

Baseball is part of Durham’s DNA. The Durham Bulls are a Triple-A minor league baseball team and the 2017 National Champions. They even have their own microbrewery, the first one located inside of a minor league baseball stadium. Of course, baseball season runs late March/early April to late September/early October so you can catch them then. We guarantee that that blue and orange will be become a wardrobe staple. While you’re at it, visit the original Bulls stadium where the film ‘Bull Durham’ was filmed.

6. Start a Favorite Brewery & Coffee Shop List

Good beverages are a given in this town. Everything from beer to coffee to craft beverages. Don’t know where to start? Visit a different one every week and then decide which is your favorite. Try a few local favorites like Cocoa Cinnamon, Bean Trader’s, Kaffeinate, Joe Van Gogh. You can’t go wrong with spots like Durty Bull, Fullsteam, Ponysaurus, Bull City Ciderworks, and of course, the Durham Bull’s own microbrewery, Bull Durham Beer. Take a tour of the Durham Distillery and get 50% off with your Shop Durham card!

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7. Put a DPAC Show on Your Calendar

We’re pretty proud of having a world-class performance venue in our town. Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Today all place DPAC among the top U.S. venues of its size and type. They host over 200 performances a year including touring Broadway productions, concerts and comedy events, family shows and the American Dance Festival. Past performances include The Lion King, Harry Connick Jr., B.B. King. Hamilton is coming soon.

8. Spend a Day on Duke’s Campus

From Duke Chapel to the Nasher Museum, sports and world-class performances, Duke is overflowing with cool stuff to do. Put it on your radar early. You don’t have to miss out just because you’re not a college kid.

9. Find Some Rooftop Views

Rooftop patios seem to be a big trend around here and we’re not complaining at all. Find your favorite to watch the sunset from. You can sip some cocktails on rooftops of spots like the Durham Hotel, Unscripted Hotel, or Grub to name a few. And you’ll probably find yourself at the top of parking garages to take some photos of the Lucky Strike Tower or the Old Bull.

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10. Get Some Seriously Fresh Food

Durham’s local focus isn’t limited to retail, it goes right down to the food we eat and where it was grown. There’s so many farms you can visit and farm stands you can get the best food and local products from. We love spots like Funny Girl Farm’s stand that’s open 5 days a week, Perkin’s Orchard, and Waller Family Farm, where you can pick your own strawberries. The Durham Farmers’ Market has great local farmers to get fresh food from plus food trucks and incredible creators. All the vendors are all located within 70 miles of the market and sell only items that they produced! You can also volunteer at places like Duke Farms and SEEDS’s urban farm.

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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.