Whether you prefer to stay indoors or head outside for an invigorating adventure in brisk temperatures, Durham’s many attractions, events, and eateries provide the perfect backdrop to your winter adventure.
Curious about what to do and where to go? We’ve broken it down for you in a step-by-step guide, so you can personalize your winter weekend getaway.
Estimated read time: 2 minutes
1. Pick Your Main Attraction
One exciting aspect of winter in Durham is that it falls smack in the middle of college basketball season. If you want to witness one of the most storied teams in college sports history, get a ticket to the Duke University basketball game and join the Cameron Crazies.
Even though it's winter - it's still North Carolina. There are beautiful, mild days to enjoy this season; bundle up and get active by exploring Durham’s natural areas, which provide stunning scenery throughout the year. For a close-to-town escape, head to Sarah P. Duke Gardens, a 55-acre public garden on Duke’s campus. Go for a hike at West Point on the Eno, a recreation area that also features a historic mill and photography museum, or explore 4,200 acres of protected forest at Eno River State Park.
Check out the event calendar for more options.
2. Add a Local Favorite
On chilly winter days, warm up with a drink at one of Durham’s locally owned coffee shops. Try the Montezuma latte with dulce de leche and cayenne pepper at Cocoa Cinnamon (pictured), a milk chocolate and whipped cream-topped hot chocolate at Bean Traders, a peanut butter mocha at Beyú Caffé, or the fire pits at Ponysaurus.
Peruse local shops on Ninth Street like The Regulator Bookshop for a winter read to snuggle up with by the fire, or One World Market, a fair trade retail shop showcasing the handmade crafts of artisans from more than 70 developing countries. Pick up something fashionable to wear at Vert & Vogue boutique in historic Brightleaf Square, and accessorize with jewelry and scarves from Indio (pictured).
Durham hosts many niche film festivals throughout the year, including the Nevermore Film Festival at the historic Carolina Theatre. Take in the latest indie horror, science fiction, and action-thriller films on February 23-25.
3. Check Out Durham’s Dining Scene
NanaSteak, from Durham chef Scott Howell, is a modern steakhouse right next door to DPAC, perfect for dinner before a show. The cozy and intimate restaurant Littler opened over the summer to much fanfare, serving up adventurous dishes like chicken fried duck tongues, beef heart tartare, and potted rabbit.
You can’t come to North Carolina without trying some barbecue, so head to Picnic Durham (pictured) for whole hog, wood-smoked barbecue with a side of hushpuppies and slaw. For a cocktail alternative, try a cider flight at Bull City Ciderworks, where you can choose from ciders like Smooth Hoperator and Sweet Carolina. While you’re there, indulge in locally sourced snacks and gear.
See all of Durham's top-rated restaurants.
4. Select your Hotel or B&B
Durham has more than 70 lodging options to choose from, ranging from cute bed and breakfast inns to luxury boutique hotels. There are several new properties to choose from, including JB Duke Hotel and Cambria Hotel & Suites Durham. Find your ideal property and get away.