Maybe you're here to race, leap, throw and hurdle your way to the top of the podium at the Durham County Stadium, or maybe you're here to cheer your favorite athlete to their personal best from the stands. Perhaps you're here just to witness Durham come alive as national talent descends on the Bull City for the USA Track & Field National Youth Outdoor Championships.
Whichever reason brought you here, we expect you'll want to take in the distinct culture and community that Durham is known for.
Here are our top five ideas for how to soak Durham in while you're here.
Estimated read time: 3 minutes
1. Sing the songs of the season
The Bull City is full of hidden gems you probably haven’t explored, but you've picked the best possible time to enjoy a few days in this spectacular summer season.
Take your your lawn chairs, blankets and coolers from the stadium to downtown Durham; Durham Central Park is just one of many locations that hosts free concerts throughout the summer months. On Fridays you can hear regional and national acts at the Durham Central Park Concert Series — perfect for the whole family. On Wednesdays, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens hosts an affordable Music in the Gardens concert series as well.
What's more, Brightleaf Square is also host to a summer concert series every other Friday evening, and American Tobacco Campus’ American Tobacco Music on the Lawn music series (pictured) features a mix of rock, R&B, folk and soul music on designated Thursdays.
Tag us on Twitter as you make memories in Durham’s outdoor spaces while you explore!
2. Cool down from competition
Put the kids in their bathing suits and head to one of the city-operated spraygrounds, which feature sprinklers built into playground equipment. It’s a great way to expend some energy and cool off at the same time.
After a hot afternoon at the park, chill out at Locopops. Kids (and parents!) will love the array of gourmet popsicle flavors, which range from mojito and mango chili to chocolate brownie.
Discover the science behind clouds at The Museum of Life + Science’s outdoor water exhibit Into the Mist. Kids and adults are encouraged to learn about cloud formation by playing in the mist that forms over the green landscape.
Post-playdate, take the kids to Pelican’s, a short five-minute drive away from the museum. You can order New Orleans-style sno-balls in flavors like tutti frutti and cherry cola. If you really want to go for gold, try all 100 flavors and win a free t-shirt!
3. Explore. Experience.
Chances are you’ll have time between events while in Durham. Why not take a stroll (or a ride) between venues? Multiple bikeshope near downtown allow you to rent a cycle to take a leisurely ride from one end of the city to the other, and the downtown area is extremely walkable.
Plan to relax and unwind by gather the family for a scenic hike in Eno River State Park, or a stroll or ride on the American Tobacco Trail. If children are too young for a hike or bike ride, enjoy a family stroll through the beautiful, 55-acre Sarah P. Duke Gardens, open to the public free-of-charge (pictured).
4. Kick your feet up after you compete
Staying close to the action could be a one-of-a-kind experience; you've got a variety of unique accommodations available to you. Durham County Stadium is incredibly close to the downtown area, meaning you have plenty of options for lodging within walking distance of your venues of choice.
5. Delight your taste buds with the whole family
From food truck forays to intermission brews, inexpensive meals and beverages are well within reach during your downtime. Fullsteam Brewery, Parts and Labor, and King’s Sandwich Shop are all family friendly venues, and offer meals under $10 that’ll keep you energized throughout your busy days. Head to Five Points in the city center for a full dining experience that’ll satiate any palate.
Traveling around the country for track & field competition isn't cheap, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a culinary tour with your youth athlete. Durham prides itself on thoughtful, local and fresh flavors that are made to energize the body and delight the taste buds. Additionally, we've got tons of edible options that won't break the bank for you or your team. Here are some $10-and-under meals that you can enjoy in Durham.
6. Come for the competition — leave with a memory
Just like you hope to leave with a medal or ribbon and some stories to tell about your accomplishments, we hope you'll take a bit of Durham home with you. Take some time to walk to a local business and take a look at the fashion and flavor of local art and wares. See treasures abound at Morgan Imports, The Mothership, or Parker & Otis, and don't forget to stock up on running needs at Bull City Running Co. You’ll spend just a few days in Durham, but with a bit of exploration, Durham will stay with you until you return.
Looking for additional things to do in Durham? Check out our free things to do.