Located slightly northwest of Raleigh and northeast of Chapel Hill, Durham is the third leg in what is known as “The Research Triangle” in North Carolina. This entire area of the state has evolved to focus on the major universities that have created an atmosphere of excitement and opportunity here.
Originally home to the Eno and Occoneechi tribes of Native Americans, the area around Durham began to see an influx of English, Scottish, and Irish settlers during the mid-1700s. This was followed by a number of very large plantations popping up in the area during the Antebellum period leading into the Civil War.
Following the Civil War, Durham saw a period of rapid growth that was fueled by the explosion of the tobacco industry. The area was known first-and-foremost for tobacco production all the way up until the 1970s, when Duke University began to take over as the focal point of the community.
Growth and development continues in Durham today, mostly fueled by the technological advances inspired by the brilliant minds at Duke University. The city is also home to a number of successful software startups.
Durham has been one of the fastest growing cities in the country for more than a century now. During the 2010 census, the city recorded a population of 228,330. That number was estimated to have grown to 257,636 in 2015.
As a community that is focused on higher education, the median income for a family in Durham is over $60,000.
With Duke University as the central focus of the community and The University of North Carolina not far away in nearby Chapel Hill, a significant portion of the lifestyle in Durham revolves around higher education. There is a large population of college students, but even locals who are long past college ages can take advantage of many university amenities.
Duke sporting events are definitely a central focus here in Durham, as the Blue Devils are a strong favorite to win the NCAA basketball tournament almost every year. The university also offers some fantastic green spaces to enjoy and is the motivating force behind the thriving startup culture you will find in downtown Durham.
Duke University also plays a pivotal role in the cultural aspects of the Durham community. After a visit to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, you will see exactly how connected the university is to the community.
That connection carries over into the performances you can see in Durham as well. The Durham Performing Arts Center and the Carolina Theatre are both excellent places to enjoy a show. And thanks to the local students, there are always interesting acts and performances coming to town.
Shopping is also plentiful in Durham, where you can find everything from major malls to boutique shoppes selling handmade merchandise. The Streets at Southpoint is probably the most popular destination for mall-style shopping, but the Northgate Mall is also a great option.
If you are looking for a more unique shopping experience, try checking out the stores in Brightleaf Square in the Downtown District, or the Ninth Street Shopping District located between Duke’s east and west campuses.
Like everything else in Durham, the local restaurant scene is also driven by the university. You will find a wide range of dining options that are both delicious and reasonably priced. As you start to explore the city, make sure you check out the Korean BBQ sandwiches at KoKyu Na’Mean, the authentic southern-style cooking at Dame’s Chicken & Waffles, and the amazing bistro sandwiches at Toast.
There are also plenty of high-end restaurants for special occasions. One of the best restaurant experiences in all of Durham can be found at Nana’s, where the menu of world-class cuisine changes weekly.
Durham Area Communities
Because Durham is such a thriving community, it has also become a popular destination for active adults looking to spend their retirement years.
College students are definitely king in Durham, but that doesn’t mean that retirees are second class citizens here. On the contrary, catering to the young minds of Duke University has also created one of the most active and enjoyable retirement destinations in the Carolinas.
The luxurious home that you’ve always wanted could be waiting for you right here in The Triangle.
Epcon Communities is known for building low-maintenance, single-story homes in smart, amenity-rich neighborhoods across the Raleigh market. Epcon homes are designed and built to connect you to the outdoors and your community, while also giving you more free time to do what you love. Home prices start in the $500k’s.