Map of Durham North Carolina Area
Everyone calls Durham, North Carolina, “Bull City.” But what everyone also calls it is one of the most vibrant and growing cities in the state.
Built by the tobacco industry and dominated by Duke University, named for a prominent tobacco family, Duke has evolved over the years to become a diverse and exciting place to live, a close-knit community that shares a passion for the arts, the city’s quirky nature, and ever-growing identity.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know about Durham, North Carolina if you’re looking to visit or even settle down in Bull City.
Where is Durham, North Carolina, located on the U.S. Map?
Durham, North Carolina, is located in east-central North Carolina along the Eno River. It is part of the state’s Piedmont region and one of the cities that are part of the Triangle, along with Raleigh and Chapel Hill.
The Triangle is also known as the Research Triangle, as the three cities are each home to major universities as well as several biomedical and technology research companies.
Durham is about 25 miles northwest of the state’s capital, Raleigh, and just 11 miles northeast of Chapel Hill. It is connected to two major interstates, I-40 and I-85.
Durham is also relatively close to the beach and mountains of the state, about 245 miles to the Outer Banks and 154 miles to Wilmington.
It’s a bit of a longer trip to the mountains. While Boone is 165 miles away, Asheville is just 224 miles from Durham.
How Big is Durham: Size and Population?
Durham is a moderately large and populous city. It is situated on about 113 square miles and has an estimated population of 280,000, making it the fourth-largest city in the state after Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro.
The Durham metro area has an estimated population of about 650,000.
Durham has been quickly growing for the past 40 years, but especially in the past 10 years. In 1980, its population was just over 100,000.
Durham experienced a 37% growth in population between 1990 and 2000 and then a 22% growth each between 2000 and 2010 and 2010 and 2020.
Today, it has a dense suburban feeling.
Is Durham a Good Place to Live?
Durham was considered a high-crime area of the region for decades, but urban renewal projects have made it one of the most desirable places to live in the state and Triangle.
Ethnic and economic diversity is strong (Niche ranks it No. 28 on its list of Most Diverse Cities in America) and young professionals are flocking there, driven by its booming tech industries and artsy and quirky identity.
Niche gives Durham high ratings for nightlife and being good for families.
The housing market in the area continues to boom, with the median host cost sitting at about $225,000, above average for the state and country.
The neighborhoods around Duke University are particularly desirable — and expensive. Other popular neighborhoods include Chancellor’s Ridge in southwest Durham, which is situated in a country-ish setting but close to both Durham and Chapel Hill.
Brightleaf Park is a new community on the Durham-Raleigh border. Downtown Durham is becoming more popular and trendier as condos are being built and homes surrounding the center of town being renovated.
What is Durham Known for?
Neighboring downtown Durham, Duke University and the Duke University Hospital System dominate Durham life.
A private university, Duke is consistently ranked in the top 5 higher education institutions in the country and its gothic and beautifully lush campus is a major tourist draw.
Duke sports, especially men’s basketball, is a religion here. The Blue Devils are part of the city’s identity.
“Bull City” gets its name from the city’s world-famous minor-league team, the subject of the film “Bull Durham.”
The Bulls play in the Durham Athletic Park downtown, which was renovated in 2014 and is considered one of the most beautiful minor league parks in America.
Durham has carved a spot for itself in the past two decades as a major creative center.
Cultural and arts festivals dot its calendar and locally produced murals dot its walls. Durham is home to art galleries large (the Nasher Museum of Art) and small.
The city is home to the Durham School for the Arts downtown, a secondary magnet school focused on visual and performing arts.
Other downtown venues include the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), which offers touring Broadway shows, stand-up comedy, and major touring musicians.
Close by, the American Tobacco Campus is full of technology companies, art galleries, and local boutiques.
Durham is also known for its melting pot of music scenes, with popular festivals including the Durham Blues & Brews Festival, Art of Cool Festival, and venues such as Motorco Music Hall and the Pinhook.
Indie music, jazz, rap, and world rhythm all find welcoming homes in Durham.
Museum of Life and Science
The Museum of Life and Science, north of downtown, is a major draw for both children and adults.
It includes exhibits ranging from Carolina wildlife and space exploration to dinosaurs and geography. It’s home to a collection of animals as well, including bears, wolves, and lemurs.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
If you visit Duke University, don’t forget to devote time to walking through the sprawling Duke Gardens.
The gardens cover 55 picturesque acres on the university campus, and house collections of native plants, koi ponds, and inspiring landscaping. There are also five miles of walkways and admission is free.
Eno River State Park
If you’re up for more outdoor adventures, try this park that’s a highlight among the 30 miles of trails and green spaces of Durham.
Running, biking and fishing are popular activities along the Eno River, and the state park also boasts a historic mill and mountain hiking.
The annual EnoFest, typically held around July 4, is a major fundraiser to maintain the park and includes food and craft vendors, as well as live music.