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Town Highlight: Durham

“Downtown Durham, NC in December 2017”, licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

Durham, known as “Bull City”, is the 4th largest city in North Carolina and receives a lot of attention due to the growth of the Research Triangle Park. But the city of Durham has a rich history, thriving arts and culture scene, and unprecedented growth, which makes it a great place to call home.

Durham initially grew steadily after the American Civil War, in large part due to the tobacco industry. Durham became known as the birthplace of the American Tobacco Company and Duke Power (now Duke Energy). The city also has been the home of a vibrant Black community since the late 19th century and was the home of “Black Wall Street” at the turn of the century. Durham is home to several recognized institutions of higher education, including Duke University and North Carolina Central University. The city has also developed into a national leader in the medical field, thanks to Duke University Health System and a large number of companies in the life sciences and biotechnology field. The Research Triangle Park is south of downtown Durham and encompasses 11 acres of research facilities and companies in the tech, life sciences, and biotechnology industries.  

A huge advantage of living in Durham is the housing cost is more affordable than other cities with a large presence of the tech industry, including neighboring Raleigh. According to, the median home value in Durham is $275,386, while the median home value in Raleigh is $309,922; in San Francisco, CA  $1,145,132; in San Jose, CA $897,154; in Austin, TX $401,796; and in Seattle, WA $820,766. The annual average appreciation rate for homes in Durham is 3.16%, which is expected to increase in the next couple of years as the growth of the Research Triangle Park continues. 

There is no shortage of things to do and see in Durham. For starters, the Duke University campus is a great place to take in some beautiful architecture, as well as Sarah P. Duke Gardens, a public garden that is considered a national architectural landscaping treasure. A unique attraction is the Duke Lemur Center, which is a non-invasive research center that is home to over 200 lemurs across 14 species that is open to the public. For hiking lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Eno River State Park offers 30 miles of hiking trails along the Eno River, with camping, canoeing, and kayaking available as well. For families, the Museum of Life and Science is a great place to experience learning in an engaging environment, both indoors and outdoors. There are several additional parks for hiking, gathering, picnicking, and more. 

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is the home of the Durham Bulls baseball team and games are a fun night out, often with themed nights, including 4th of July Fireworks and Bark in the Park nights where dogs are welcome into the ballpark. The stadium is located in the heart of the American Tobacco Campus, which is a mixed-use space and home to many restaurants, shops, salons, the YMCA, and more. This space also includes the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), a world-class performing arts center that hosts concerts and theatrical performances throughout the year (DPAC is re-opening to the general public in August 2021). 

If you are a fan of breweries, Durham is home to Hi-Wire Brewing, Ponysaurus Brewing Company, Fullsteam Brewery, and Durty Bull Brewing Company. Bull City Ciderworks offers a wide variety of craft ciders, and Durham Distillery offers tours and tastings of their locally produced gin. There is also a very thriving restaurant community in downtown Durham, with everything from upscale to soul food. 

Durham’s rich history, growing job market, affordable home prices, and limitless entertainment options make the Bull City a great place to call home, especially for anyone new to the Triangle and working in the tech, life sciences, or biotechnology industries. 

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