These days, the traditional honeymoon is open to interpretation.
If you can’t spare thousands of dollars or two weeks away from work, or you'd rather take a shorter trip closer to home to celebrate your union, you're not alone.
You're a lucky lovebird, as it turns out. Durham is the perfect place to build a temporary love nest before flying to your forever wedded home. To all the newlywed and not-so-newlywed (but still deeply in love) couples out there, this post is for you.
If you have your nuptials in Durham or nearby, the Bull City is the ideal destination to start your life together on a fun and adventurous mini-moon. Here are a few splurge and save suggestions for a mini-moon in Durham.
Estimated read time: 4 minutes
Where to Stay
There are plenty of ways to spend a day in Durham, but it's also a great place to spend the night — or several nights. Durham has over 70 lodging options (with over 8,000 guest rooms), ranging from boutique hotels and cozy bed and breakfasts and locally-owned inns. For a county just 16 miles across, Durham’s lodging options are as exciting and diverse as those you might normally find in larger metropolitan areas.
Durham is home to seven bed and breakfasts, ranging from second-generation farmhouses to historic urban homes. The diversity of offerings means that you can find the experience you want — whether that's a complete rural getaway or cozy convenience — while you enjoy all that Durham has to offer with the love of your life. No matter what your preference, all of Durham's inns are committed to providing unique lodging options and exceptional hospitality.
Durham offers many lodging properties from major hotel groups like Starwood, Marriott, and Hilton, so you can look for opportunities to use credit card points and rewards programs. Additionally, many hotels near Research Triangle Park offer lower prices on the weekends compared to weeknight rates, providing a great value for weekend visitors. Search our website by district, keywords, and amenities to find your ideal lodging property.
You can also rent private homes through Airbnb, where you’ll find options for every budget.
What to do
Splurge: Once the ceremony is over and the family has left town, it’s time for you and your partner to kick back and relax. Head to the 21c Museum Hotel Durham Spa for the “Me + 1” couples package that starts with your choice of a detox or moisture body scrub, then a deep tissue or Swedish massage.
For a fun twist on a dinner date, take a cooking class with Durham Spirits Company. You and your plus one can enroll in one of the scheduled courses — themes range from Spanish tapas to Hawaiian luau — or schedule your own private class with the instructor.
Finally, take the opportunity to get all dolled up for a Broadway performance at DPAC, Durham Performing Arts Center (pictured).
Save: During the day, grab your smart phone and head to the free admission Sarah P. Duke Gardens (pictured) for a fun and impromptu photo shoot. Snap photos of each other among the stunning flora, and ask friendly strangers to take a few pictures of you together in the romantic environment.
Toast your love with a behind-the-scenes tour of Durham Distillery, Durham’s award-winning craft distillery that produces gin and specialty liqueurs. Your tour concludes with a tasting of all five of the distillery’s products for $15 per person.
Head indoors to hear music at the Blue Note Grill every Tuesday evening, where you can dance to live blues music. There’s no cover, and you can also indulge in brews and barbecue. Venues like Motorco and The Durham Fruit & Produce Company offer musical events and dance opportunities to enjoy in addition to a lineup of reasonably priced local and regional acts throughout the week.
For more ideas, see our list of free things to do in Durham.
Where to Eat
Splurge: NanaSteak is a cherished and well-respected restaurant perfect for a special occasion, so it’s an excellent choice for your first minimoon meal. Take part in encountering delightful wines, or an a la carte menu of intricately prepared steaks and accompaniments.
For a one-of-a-kind dinner, make a reservation well in advance with Yamazushi, where you can enjoy a multi-course Japanese meal served on handmade pottery.
After dinner, head over to the swanky Alley Twenty Six cocktail bar for a delicious and sophisticated libation. On the weekends, Durham is a brunch town, so head to Vin Rouge (pictured) for a Parisian-inspired champagne brunch. See more brunch options, and a complete list of top-rated date night restaurants.
Save: Durham is the mecca of eating well on the cheap, with so many options to fit a variety of budgets. If there isn’t a food truck rodeo going on during your stay, try Taqueria La Vaquita (pictured) for authentic Mexican tacos starting at $2 a pop, or nosh on eclectic slices and toppings at Pie Pushers.
Durham’s coffee shops are also a cozy place to spend some private time together, especially at Cocoa Cinnamon or Beyu Caffe, where you can also catch forums and thought inspiring talks in the evenings. After dinner, a double scoop cone at The Parlour is a must-do, with some of the most inventive ice cream flavors in the Triangle.
Want more options? Visit Durham’s hidden gem restaurants.