Durham, North Carolina

Bull City



Sunny Days: 206
60100 Affordability
70100 Schools
62100 Diversity
73100 Safety

Barbecue is the third rail of North Carolina politics.

  • John Shelton Reed

The Best Thing About Durham?

It’s a big city packed into a small town

Durham, NC, sister-city to Raleigh, has all the best parts of a large city, packed into a much more reasonable package. Because it used to be a big tobacco town, there was already a lot of infrastructure needed to make a great little-city. All of the brick buildings used to house those workers are now some of local's favorite places to live, eat, and work!

Some of the perks include a ton of opportunities for outdoor activities, great restaurants with dog-friendly patios, a surprisingly great art community, and a big university.

Review of Durham from a local:
I LOVED living in Durham. Especially when I worked in Wake Forest. It was a straight shot down 98. I ended up moving back to WF/N Raleigh line when I got a job further in north Raleigh. I lived on the border of Lakewood/Maplewood and I loved it. I was off Chapel Hill rd and while my apt was awful the location was great. 5 min to downtown/Brightleaf and I very much frequented Durty Bull brewery, Motorco, Accordion Club, Geer St, James Joyce, Devines, & the Social. Made an occasional appearance at the Green Room too. The social atmosphere is a world away from downtown Raleigh where everyone’s concerned with your job and status. In Durham it’s far more intellectual. I always felt like the people I met in Durham were far more genuine. Plus the food is awesome.

The Worst Thing About Durham?

Not particularly bike-friendly or walkable

If you talk to a Durham local about moving there, they’re going to mention that besides a few ritzy neighborhoods, it’s not the most walkable or bike-friendly city in the US. That being said, there are a lot of areas specifically for recreational activities, but you do lose that city feel the more you talk about walkability. With people also complaining about the public transit, it’s definitely considered a must-have car town unless you live right smack-dab in the center of downtown.

Here's a note from a local about city efforts to improve public transport: The TLDR is it's a priority to city council and they are making progress. It's at the research phase right now. We need to be patient because these improvements don't happen over night, but we need to keep telling them this is important to us.

Worklife of Durham

In terms of work, Durham is big on tech and medical. As a growing tech city and part of The Research Triangle, or The Triangle, it’s home to one of the most prominent high-tech research and development centers in the US, making it a hotspot for people wanting to use University’s resources. Not to be outdone by tech, the city of Durham is also dubbed “The City of Medicine” according to durham.gov and has over 300 medical and health-related companies.

Most of the Durham workforce works at one of the hospitals/universities in the area either Duke or UNC. There is an awesome biotech hub here with Syngenta, Biomerieux, Monsanto (sorry), BASF, Bayer Crop Science, EPA all represented. There is a pretty thriving agriculture scene here with a lot of small farms in the area. Those are mostly in the northern part of the county and in adjacent Orange and Chatham county.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

Cost of Living/Opportunities

Like many mid-sized cities, Durham is becoming less and less of a hidden gem by the day. That being said, there are a lot of housing opportunities due to the rotation of students and fellows at Duke. Speaking of Duke, according to the University, the cost of living in Durham is about 23% lower than the national average.

Neighborhoods in Durham

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Brightleaf Square

College Students

Durham, being home to Duke University and several other colleges, is a great place to be if you love a college atmosphere, great bars and restaurants, and sports. Although locals will tell you to avoid certain places cough Shooters cough, you’ll find a host of great places to see friends, hang out, grab a beer, and watch a game. Check out these neighborhoods if you’re a Duke fan or just love college sports and nightlife:

  • Brightleaf
  • Geer St.
  • 9th St.

Geer St.

Young Professionals

A booming job market isn’t the only thing that attracts young professionals to Durham. The city has an astounding amount for young professionals to get up to when they’re not working (at Duke). There are amazing restaurants, local businesses, weekly farmer’s markets, and a huge art scene to explore all around downtown. Because Durham is a big city stuffed into a small downtown, there is plenty to do without losing that quaint neighborhood feel:

  • Geer St.
  • American Tobacco
  • Warehouse District
  • Lakewood


Young Families

There are plenty of family-friendly neighborhoods to explore in Durham. Because a lot of young families get transplanted here for work purposes, there is a very tight knit community of families (both locals and transplants) who are ready to welcome yours with open arms! A lot of Durham neighborhoods, although not that walkable, boast large lot sizes and yards, perfect for young families.

  • Cleveland-Holloway
  • Trinity Park
  • Old West Durham
  • Morehead Hill

Duke Park

Established Families

Families whose kids are a little older might be interested to know that there are plenty of neighborhoods that both cut down on commute while giving you the feel of traditional suburbs. These neighborhoods boast both historic and contemporary homes, while being close to parks and greenways like Duke Park. Although not as walkable as other neighborhoods right in downtown, Duke Park is close to downtown and so you get the best of both worlds.

  • Duke Park
  • Hope Valley
  • Forest Hills
  • North Gate Park
  • American Village
  • Woodcroft


Empty Nesters/Retirees

The constant innovation that The Triangle brings to the Durham area means that the city is full of energy and youth, which sounds like the perfect vibe for the recently empty-nested or retired. It has a great climate, friendly people, and a very high quality of life, all with the perfect blend of a small-town and big-city feel. Check out these neighborhoods for your perfect spot:

  • Southpoint
  • Walltown
  • Duke Forest