Did you know that there are almost 290,000 people living in Durham, North Carolina? This number is only growing since more and more people are discovering what this city has to offer. After all, Durham is only growing, and there are plenty of things to do, so you’ll never be bored if you decide to sell your home and make the big move.
However, before you can move to Durham, you will first need to know all about the best neighborhoods in Durham, NC, and what they have to offer. The great thing about Durham neighborhoods is that one is never quite the same compared to the next. This gives you plenty of variety when choosing a place to live since every neighborhood will have a special flair to make any person, regardless of preferences or lifestyles, feel at home.
However, before we dive into the best neighborhoods in Durham, let’s explore a little bit about the history of Durham and why it’s such a great place to live.
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A brief history of Durham, North Carolina
While Durham County, NC, may now seem like a small-scale bustling metropolis, it was not always that way. It was originally a small town that was quite isolated from the other locations surrounding it. It was only during and after the Civil war that things really started to pick up for Durham.
This is because of the tobacco industry. Back in the day, tobacco was all the rage, and everyone, especially soldiers, wanted to have some to take to occupy them on their travels. During the Civil War, Durham already had some modest tobacco plantations.
The soldiers that came through town tried some of the tobacco and discovered that it was some of the best tobacco that they ever had. For that reason, even when they were away at war, the soldiers would send orders all the way back to Durham for more tobacco to be shipped to them. Eventually, two men, John Ruffin Green and W.T. Blackwell decided to go into business together, creating the Bull Durham Tobacco Factory.
This factory helped to give Durham its first economic and financial boost. The Bull Durham Tobacco Factory ended up doing great business, and it brought a small fortune into Durham. It was only in 1910 when the company broke apart, but by that time, Durham already had a sturdy foundation for further growth, and, indeed, it kept on growing.
Eventually, a man named John Duke decided to found the Trinity College in Durham in 1924. Interestingly enough, John Duke is the very same Duke responsible for Duke Energy and Duke University (which used to be Trinity College). Since the 1920s, Durham has continued to grow.
More than that, it has built strong connections with the surrounding areas such as Chapel Hill and Raleigh.
1. Downtown Durham
If you want to pack up, sell your home, and taste a slice of the city life, you should head straight to downtown Durham. The downtown area is the heart of Durham, and without it, the rest of the city likely would never have flourished as much as it did. To this day, downtown remains the most lively neighborhood in all of Durham, and if you like to stay busy, it could be the perfect place for you to move to.
In the downtown area, you will find some of the best restaurants in Durham, NC. No matter your taste preferences, the restaurants in the downtown area have something to offer everyone. Whether you are a BBQ fan or a vegan, you won’t have any trouble finding something to eat downtown.
More than that, more and more restaurants keep opening their doors in the downtown area. For that reason, you’ll never have to argue about dinner or lunch with your family and friends. But the benefits of the downtown area don’t stop there.
There are also some great apartments in Durham, NC. Most of them are downtown, while houses tend to dominate the other neighborhoods in the city. The great thing about the apartments downtown is that they are within walking distance of everything you need, from stores to restaurants and beyond.
This can save you a lot of time and money since you’ll hardly need to use your car. This is especially true if you get a job downtown. And, of course, for a bit of shopping and recreation, you can’t forget about the malls in Durham, NC.
You can find everything you’re looking for in the malls, and if you can’t, you are sure to find something to buy in some of the boutique stores throughout Durham.
2. South Durham
When it comes to choosing the best neighborhoods in Durham, NC, to live in, you can’t pass up South Durham. Even if you’ve never visited Durham before in your life, you’ll find yourself right at home as soon as you set foot in this neighborhood. The welcoming atmosphere might have something to do with all the amazing (and very cozy) coffee shops and niche stores in the area.
If you’re used to sipping on Starbucks coffee all day, your taste buds might be numb to the taste. You can try invigorating them with a real cup of artisan coffee from Joe Van Gogh Woodcroft. This is a must-try coffee shop that also serves tea along with pastries to keep you fueled throughout the day.
This is not to mention that many of the coffee shops in this area roast and grind their own beans. If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you should know that freshly-roasted beans are fresher and more delicious than any other. But South Durham is more than coffee shops.
There are also great restaurants and little dives to eat at. Many of the cafes offer big breakfasts, and some even offer vegan options. If you don’t like the idea of eating out, you could always buy groceries and cook at home.
Fortunately, South Durham is full of grocery stores and markets with an endless array of food and supplies for your kitchen. There is even Sprouts Farmers Market full of organic and otherwise healthy food if you are thinking about improving your diet. Then, after your meal, you can spend some time on one of South Durham’s many parks and trails.
The American Tobacco Trail is particularly renowned and is great if you want to spend the day hiking and enjoying the great outdoors.
3. Trinity Park
If you love history and historic homes, you can’t forget about the homes for sale, Durham, NC, particularly in Trinity Park. Trinity Park is quite a large neighborhood that spans about 40 blocks. The name Trinity Park obviously ties back to Trinity College (now Duke University), founded by John Duke many years ago.
However, this neighborhood also gets its name from Trinity Park, a real park in the very center of this neighborhood. If you have children or plan on growing your family at some point in the future, Trinity Park could be a great place to settle down. The park has plenty of space for children to run around, and it also has a playground where the kids can spend their energy until their exhausted.
Beyond the playgrounds, the park also has shelters for picnics. So, if you don’t feel like going out to eat and don’t want to eat at home, you can enjoy yourself in the great outdoors with a picnic. The park also has plenty of space for community events, of which there are many to always keep Durham’s inhabitants occupied and entertained.
As for the homes in the area, you’ll find that there are numerous historical houses all throughout Trinity Park. These historical homes actually hold special importance to those who live in Trinity Park. There have been plenty of occasions when the inhabitants of this neighborhood have saved historical homes from being knocked down.
For that reason, you have the ability to browse many of the historic homes for sale and see if any of them pique your interest. Many of them have been remodeled and can be great places to raise a family. After all, these houses tend to be quite large and can house a growing family without any issues.
4. Old West Durham
Don’t let the name fool you; Old West Durham isn’t full of crumbling homes and old people. In fact, even though Old West Durham is indeed the oldest neighborhood in the city, it feels surprisingly new and very hip. This may be because it is situated between the East and West Campuses of Duke University.
For that reason, Old West Durham tends to feel like an upbeat college town rather than a neighborhood in Durham. This neighborhood tends to be best for college students, young professionals, and anyone who wants to experience this kind of young and lively atmosphere. Although it is a good distance away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area, Old West Durham still gives off the busy feel.
After all, there is a lot to do in this neighborhood. If you have kids, you can always explore the nearby campuses to see if Duke University might be a good place for them to study in the future. If you’re not too interested in the university, don’t worry because there are still plenty of things to occupy yourself with.
In Old West Durham, you’ll never be short of restaurants. As with the downtown area, you’ll find a restaurant to match every kind of taste preference and diet. There is even a gastropub called Burger Bach that serves some amazing hamburgers along with beer and other meal options.
But what about the housing situation? There is not as much space in Old West Durham because it is older and doesn’t have as much space for development. However, don’t let that deter you from this neighborhood.
Even though the homes and lots are smaller, they are in a great location. You won’t have any trouble walking to nearby restaurants or shops if you feel like it.
5. Duke Park
Out of all the Durham, NC, neighborhoods, Duke Park is perhaps the coziest. The Duke Park neighborhood only started to be developed in the 1920s, making it not the oldest neighborhood in Durham but certainly not the newest either. It was in the 1950s when development in the area really started to flourish.
Quaint little homes started to pop up everywhere, and many of them are still in this neighborhood even today. You’ll find that Duke Park is one of the most peaceful and safe neighborhoods in all of Durham. The design of the neighborhood itself is artistic, and there are beautiful trees, yards, and roads throughout.
Instead of boasting historical homes, Duke Park is full of modernist homes unlike any other. The houses tend to have large yards, which can be perfect for kids and pets to play around on. This is not to mention a very scenic 17-acre park that you can spend an hour or two exploring or having a picnic.
Because there is so much greenery in Duke Park, you won’t have any excuse for avoiding the great outdoors. The only downside of Duke Park is that restaurants and shops are not as close to the homes as they are in other neighborhoods. So, you might have to get in your car to go somewhere.
The best neighborhoods in Durham, NC
From Duke Park to Trinity Park and beyond, the best neighborhoods in Durham, NC, have something to offer everyone. Whether you’re a young professional or have a family, you’ll find that you’ll feel right at home as soon as you move to Durham.