Downtown Durham is the historic and geographic soul of a vibrant, diverse, and creative southern city. Home to several landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places and alive with food, arts, culture, and dozens of events throughout the year, it's an area that offers something new with every visit.
The district serves as a hot spot for unique, local restaurants - find complete listings in the restaurants section, and check out Celebrated Cuisine for restaurants receiving media praise.
Downtown is made up of seven unique subdistricts, each with its own personality. They are easily explored by foot or by a free ride on the Bull City Connector, a bus route connecting downtown and Duke University.
Explore downtown with the Downtown Durham Map and Guide >>
The City Center District is what one would expect from a city experiencing a full-on renaissance. Restaurants, bars, galleries, local shops, and more make the area exciting, day or night. Much of the architecture is original and ensures that Durham retains its historic character.
Birthed from the historic one-million-square-foot American Tobacco manufacturing plant, the American Tobacco Historic District is now a true live/work/play destination.
- Enjoy a music, comedy, or theater show at DPAC, Durham Performing Arts Center, or a documentary film at the Full Frame Theater.
- Catch a Triple-A baseball game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, or grab a souvenir in the off season.
- Grab a bite at one of several restaurants, including Cuban Revolution, Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, Basan, and Tyler's Restaurant & Taproom.
- Walk along a man-made river and rushing waterfalls, or take a seat to relax and people watch in the open-air campus at American Tobacco.
Brightleaf & Warehouse
Brightleaf Square became a premier destination when turn-of-the-century tobacco warehouses were adapted into retail, dining, and office spaces. Adjacent to the Brightleaf District is the Warehouse District, primarily a residential area crafted from old Liggest & Myerys tobacco warehouses.
- Shop the brick-lined street at Brightleaf Square and neighboring Peabody Place to admire clothes, books, antiques, and other retail options from nearly a dozen local shops.
- Visit Parker and Otis, a restaurant and gift shop where you can find everything from gourmet cheeses to unique cookbooks.
- Gifts, kitchenware, and jewelry purchased at Morgan Imports will have friends and family asking, "Where did you get that?"
- Meet the real life butcher and baker at Rose's Meat Market & Sweet Shop, which an Esquire editor called the "high point" of his trip to Durham.
The Central Park District encompasses Durham Central Park and the so-called DIY district where Foster Street and Rigsbee Avenue meet Geer Street, this area is a hotbed for live entertainment, bars, restaurants, food trucks, and more.
- Find fresh produce year-round on Saturday mornings or Wednesday afternoons in the summer at the Durham Farmers' Market.
- Indulge in Southern fare like okra and pulled pork at The Pit Authentic Barbeque, or grab a burger from the window at King's Sandwich Shop.
- Catch live music with a drink in hand at Motorco Music Hall or The Blue Note Grill.
- Bring helmets and pads to skateboard at the Central Park Skate Park.
- Chow down at Geer Street Garden, a restaurant and bar in an old-school gas station, complete with a beer garden out back.
- Visit The Makery at Mercury Studio for an assortment of goods made by North Carolinians. Find everything from ceramics to local food products at the place voted "Best Place to Buy Locally Made Art" by the readers of Indy Week.
Golden Belt & Government Services
The Golden Belt District is anchored by its namesake, a fully restored textile mill repurposed to house art space, studios, offices, retail, lofts, and dining. The neighborhood borders the Government Services District, which is home to most city and county offices and a growing selction of restaurants, bars, and boutiques.
- Experience the largest all-historic LEED Gold-certified campus in the Southeast when you visit Golden Belt.
- Visit more than 30 artist studios and ROOM 100, a central art gallery.
- Get a tattoo to remember your trip to Durham at Dogstar Tattoo.
- Try a hot yoga class at Bikram Yoga Durham.
- Grab some supplies from Bulldega, a neighborhood grocery across the street from City Hall.
- Enjoy a cocktail and board game at The Atomic Fern, a low-key bar in the Government Services neighborhood.
See more things to do Downtown:
Explore Other Districts:
Downtown Durham Events
Explore a list of upcoming events taking place in Downtown Durham. Read More