Durham isn’t just home to a top-rated medical school, health system, and university—it’s also among the fastest growing and most livable areas in the country. AND in a recent report from Moody’s Analytics, Durham was named as being in one of the best positions to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Adam Kamins, a senior regional economist at Moody’s, found the “most dynamic recoveries” won't be in urban powerhouses like New York City, but instead in “areas that were poised to lead the way in 2020 before everything changed.” Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill (The Triangle) boast deep cultural diversity, a reasonable cost of living, a strong school system, and many rich and varied opportunities to explore, engage, and discover. And moving to Durham is a smart choice–it was just named as the 4th Most Educated City in the US!
With more than 8,500 new jobs paying a living wage, $1.3 billion of investments, and 6.6 million square feet of commercial space (all in 2018), Durham is a city on the rise. The area is home to a wide range of innovative and established companies, such as IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, Fidelity, RTI International, Red Hat, SAS, Epic Games, Burt's Bees, and many more internationally known employers. Durham is part of what is called the Research Triangle. With Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University as the anchors, the Triangle is a hub for research and businesses focused on health, science, and technology. Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the country, is just 10 miles away from campus and a source of innovations in biotechnology, environmental sciences, and pharmaceuticals and the place where more than 55,000 innovators come together every day. Raleigh-Durham International (RDU) airport is less than 25 minutes from Duke and averages 126 daily departures to 41 destinations, including non-stops to Chicago, New York, Atlanta, London, Paris.
A Rich History
While white mob violence squashed black entrepreneurship in Southern cities like Wilmington, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, black business flourished in Durham in the first half of the 20th century, creating a vibrant African American middle class. WUNC radio host Frank Stasio invites a panel of community leaders, business owners, and activists to look back at the history of the Bull City and trace how its economy, politics, and culture have shifted in the past 150 years. In this episode of The State of Things, the focus is on Black Wall Street: a four-block district on Durham’ Parrish Street that was once a mecca for black-owned businesses.
Durham has something for everyone when it comes to entertainment, food, outdoor activities, recreation, and more. If you like great food, there are few places more recognized for great eating than Durham. In recent years, the city has been praised by Southern Living, Garden and Gun, and Bon Appétit magazines as well as The New York Times. Durham has developed a robust microbrew and microdistillery culture, with award-winning breweries including Ponysaurus, Bull City Ciderworks, and the Durham Distillery—all easily accessible from downtown.
The American Tobacco Trail is a 22.6-mile trail, 12 of which are in Durham, that runs along an abandoned railroad bed originally built for the American Tobacco Company in the 1970s. Beginning just across from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park at Morehead Ave, it is a must for bicycling, hiking, walking, and running.
For theater and concert fans, few venues in the country compare to the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC). DPAC draws the top touring Broadway shows (with Hamilton returning in the 2020/2021 season!) and nationally known music acts. To provide even more entertainment and cultural enrichment, Duke Performances brings acclaimed music and dance artists to its venues on campus.
While we think Durham has plenty to offer, it is easy to visit the mountains and the beach. Asheville, Boone, Blowing Rock, and the Appalachian Mountains are about three and a half hours away by car, while the Atlantic Ocean and North Carolina’s serene beaches including Bald Head Island, Outer Banks, and Wilmington are just a few hours east.
In addition to Duke’s rich sports culture—including 12 national championship teams in a variety of sports—you can take in a Durham Bulls minor-league baseball game in the summer or head to Raleigh to watch the Hurricanes play hockey in the winter.