From the very beginning of the year to the very end, the awards, accolades, and stories poured in. For everything from food and drink to business and art, Durham continues to draw attention from all over. Here are just 10 of the top highlights from 2015 in Durham.
Durham again proved to be one of the top destinations in the world. It was recognized on Trivago's Top 50 Best Value List for travelers, as well as Jetsetter's number three destination to visit in the world in 2016. American City Business Journals also recognized Durham as the number two spot in the United States where your money goes the farthest.
In 2015, four new hotels opened to national acclaim for their architecture, design, food, and amenities. Now guests can stay at the 17-story 21c Museum Hotel, a boutique hotel, restaurant/bar, and art museum; The Durham, a boutique hotel with a rooftop bar and first-floor restaurant from a James Beard Award-winning chef; the Residence Inn Durham McPherson/Duke University Medical Center Area near Brightleaf Square and Duke University's East Campus; and the Aloft Durham Downtown in the Historic American Tobacco Campus, right next door to DPAC and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Durham continues to be known as the Tastiest Town in the South and its new restaurants received national attention for their offerings in 2015. Bar Virgile caught the eye of the Virgin Atlantic blog for its charcuterie and bourbon list. The Wall Street Journal called Juju Asian Tapas "a great bet" for "groovy small plates." Dashi was written up in Saveur for its "delicious" ramen and "perfectly executed bar snacks."
Hideaway Woods, a two-acre, forested learning environment opened at the Museum of Life + Science in 2015. Already a popular exhibit with kids and parents, the exploratory playscape features a tree house village, a flowing stream bed, and fanciful nature sculptures.
One of the top electronic music and technology festivals in the world announced its relocation to Durham starting in 2016. Next year's lineup includes headliners like electronic music pioneer Gary Numan, GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, and Laurie Anderson, a musical experimentalist. The four-day festival will be held May 19-22 in Downtown Durham.
In April 2015, living history presenters flocked to Durham to commemorate the largest troop surrender of the Civil War.
In 2015 nano-brewery Ponysaurus opened its new high-capacity brewery and taproom in downtown Durham. Bull Durham Beer Co. opened the first on-site ballpark brewery at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Durham Distillery began making and serving its Conniption gins, chocolate, and coffee liqueurs from its location in the Central Park district. Pebble Brook Spirits began producing an Apple Pie liqueur, and Brothers Vilgalys, maker of Lithuanian honey-spiced liqueurs, began offering additional liqueurs with unique names like Zaphod and Beebop.
Durham is often mentioned in the same breath as Silicon Valley these days. Mati Energy, a Durham startup operating out of American Underground, won the 2015 Google Demo Day, beating out startups from across the country. Additionally, the Research Triangle Park Foundation opened The Frontier, a collaborative space for new businesses.
Durham welcomed a new event space that hosts weddings, parties, corporate events, and more. The Rickhouse is an airy and light-filled space that overlooks the Historic Durham Athletic Park.
Downtown Durham continued its revitalization with new retail outposts. Popular Brightleaf Square boutique Vert & Vogue opened Vert & Vogue Femme in Durham's Five Points district, focusing on women's apparel and accessories. Parker & Otis owner Jennings Brody opened Chet Miller, a boutique and gift shop with men's gifts. Brightleaf also saw the addition of Indio, with home goods and gifts, and Schoolkids Records, which sells vinyl, CDs, and turntables.
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