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Durham Summer on a Dime (2018 Edition)

Posted by DCVB Staff on Jun 29, 2018 3:18:46 PM

What could be better than spending a summer in Durham? How about a summer that doesn’t break the bank? Durham offers many family-friendly activities on the cheap, ranging from sporting events to live music, and of course, a taste of Durham’s booming food scene. Here’s a selection of free and inexpensive activities to try this summer.

Durham Bulls


Outfield Reserved and lawn tickets cost only $9.07 per person, and kids under two years of age are admitted free. Families can save even more on $1 concessions nights that feature $1 hot dogs, soda, and popcorn. August 8 is also bring a book night, where fans can bring a new children’s book to donate and receive a buy-one-get-one free ticket to the game. See the Bulls’ promotions schedule for upcoming opportunities to save bucks while supporting the hometown Bulls.

Preservation Durham Walking & Bike Tours

Preservation Durham offers free 90-minute walking and bike tours on Saturdays from April until November.

  • Explore Durham’s public art on the Murals by Bike tour, the first Saturday of each month
  • Go on a walking tour of Durham’s tobacco history on the second Saturday of each month
  • Learn about Durham’s Civil Rights history on the third Saturday of each month
  • See Durham architecture and urban landscapes on the fourth Saturday of each month

Farmers’ Markets

Spend your Saturday morning snacking on healthy treats (and samples!) as well as fresh pastries at Durham’s three farmers’ markets:

Here are some $10-and-under meals that you can enjoy in Durham.

Outdoor Concerts


Grab your lawn chairs, blankets and coolers – Durham Central Park is just one of many locations that hosts free concerts throughout the summer season; on Fridays you can hear regional and national acts at the Durham Central Park Concert Series. 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. 


The American Dance Festival, held every summer in Durham, hosts free events that are open to the public, like the Movies by Movers film festival, where you can see films dedicated to the celebration of body movement and the camera.  Little ones and the young at heart will enjoy Northgate Park's kids' summer movie series, where parents and kids get into the theaters free to enjoy a litany of family favorites. And although the 39th Annual Festival for the Eno has come and gone, West Point on the Eno is still must-see for lovers of the outdoors. It's open daily, year-round from 8am until dark.

Head Outdoors


Gather the family for a scenic hike in
Eno River State Park, or a bike 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)

The Arts


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The Nasher Museum of Art is always free for children 15 and under, and free for everyone all day on Thursdays. Outside of those hours, the cost of admission is $5 per person. The always free Third Friday Durham events downtown  celebrate local artists and artisans with galleries and shops open late, food trucks, and live music. And finally, at The Scrap Exchange, feel free to create your own work of art during a 1.5-hour Open Studio session in the Make 'N Take Room for only $5 per participant.

Discover more Free Things to do in Durham >>

Topics: Kids & Families, Itineraries

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When people wish someone a great trip, they say “Bon Voyage.” We want you to have a great trip to Durham, the Bull City – so Bull Voyage!

Read on for everything you need to know about events and things to do in Durham, NC. Check back regularly for new photos, lists, and guides, so you can explore Durham like a local.

Do you have a tip or comment? You can reach us at blog@durham-cvb.com

Visit us in Downtown Durham

Durham Visitor Info Center
212 W Main St #101
Durham, NC 27701

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