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Durham (North Carolina)

1,289 bytes added, 03:51, 6 June 2019
Splurge: Nana's is gone
Meet a city of tremendous contrasts. Much of what you'll find in the Bull City did not exist a decade ago. Other parts remain unchanged over half a century—or more. Amid the economic and intellectual engines of Duke University and Research Triangle Park, a mosaic of historic neighborhoods hold nearly 200 years of history. While not everything in Durham's past has been rosy, the city has endured as a place for all walks of life to coexist. Durhamites are intensely proud: of their barbecue, their basketball (fact: you will find just as many UNC fans here as Duke die-hards) and their resilience. For many decades, it was not an easy place to live and the butt of much ridicule in the eyes of other North Carolinians. Durham got the last laugh, though, as the city now stands as a Southeastern mecca of culture, food and innovation.
It's a place unlike any other, where cigarettes and curing warehouses gave way to computers and start-up incubators—all under the looming presence of an academic powerhouse.
Durham owes much of its wealth and history to tobacco. Through the second half of the 19th Century, Washington Duke and his family grew from a single farm into American Tobacco, which controlled 90% of all cigarette production for the United States. The Duke family donated money to Trinity College, which in 1924 was renamed Duke University.
Durham has a liberal [] trendy arts culture. It is an eclectic blend of the high class with an unusual concentration of four star restaurants (part owing to a strange bit of local family history) to trendy cafés on 9th Street, the independent bookstore "the Regulator" which draws famed authors from former secretary of state Madeline Albright to expert on everything John Hodgman. You'll find old hippies, bikers and families in generally happy co-existence. The area has a very active gay community which stages both a famed regional film festival and an annual pride march{{Infobox |Duke vs.UNC
Basketball allegiance isn't bound by city limit in North Carolina. Durham is no exception. Simply put, there's no predictor to who roots for whom. For Bull City natives, it comes down to many things: what street you live on, who your parents grew up rooting for, even where you went to elementary school. That said, most Durham basketball fans fall on one side of the Duke/UNC rivalry. Locals are passionate about explaining it. But beware trash talk; everyone from children to the elderly can and will school you. It's religion down here.|}}You'll find old hippies, bikers and families in generally happy co-existence. The area has a very active gay community which stages both a famed regional film festival and an annual pride march.  Politically the area is dominated by Democratic politics [] in an otherwise (nationally) Republican leaning state.Because of the academic influences of Duke, UNC, NCCU and NC State University, you will easily encounter locals of any possible affiliation or background. It's not uncommon to hobnob with a seemingly random stranger at a Durham bar, only to discover they have a PhD and are international leaders in their field!
The 2010s and post-recession economic recovery brought unprecedented growth to Durham. Along with soaring home prices, a revitalized and thriving downtown, and seemingly countless new restaurants, the city has become an incredibly popular place to live on a national level. A cool factor rivaled by Austin, Nashville and Portland, OR, means it's common to see natives and newbies alike sporting pro-Durham clothing. Both groups will tell you that the Bull City offers what many other locales can't: a mix of blue-collar grit, sophisticated academia, tech-centric innovation and world-class diversity.
Durham is served by Interstates 40 and 85, and US routes 15, 501 and 70 along with several state routes. "The Durham Freeway" generally refers to NC-147, which connects I-85 and 15/501 in northwest Durham to I-40 and Research Triangle Park in southeast Durham, by way of downtown. If you wish to rent a car, car rental options at the RDU airport are plentiful and range from $20 to $50 per day, with whole-week rentals significantly discounted.
It should be mentioned that like Atlanta's infamous "Peachtree", Durham has a number of synonymous roadways, in some cases miles from each other. This can easily confuse visitors. The most notorious is '''Chapel Hill Rd/St/Blvd'''. The road goes from but with the city's Lakewood advent of Google Maps, Waze and West End neighborhoods to the Chapel Hill border via Shannon Plaza and the fringe of the South Square area. Mostly residential. The St acts as an arterial from downtown through West Endlike, serving as a vibrant thoroughfare for the neighborhoods in between. "The Boulevard" as it is known in the neighborhoods surrounding it, courses from the foot of the Forest Hills neighborhood and bee-lines directly west 's not too hard to Chapel Hill, eventually becoming 15-501. Mainly commercial with lots of big-box retailers and chain restaurantsfind your way around. When in doubt, ask a local!
Parking There are two toll roads just south of the city, connecting southern Triangle suburbs with Research Triangle Park and the Raleigh Durham International Airport. Signage is clear and plentiful to avoid accidentally entering these freeways.  Parking and traffic are major issues in booming Durham, even in the more populous areasespecially downtown. Be mindful of parking in residential zones in the city for extended periods without a permit. Many downtown spaces require a pay-and-place receipt, purchased at a nearby machine that will require you to enter the vehicle's license plate number. Always consider Uber or Lyft to get around, as both services are inexpensive and convenient in the area.  Avoid downtown surface streets, the Durham Freeway (NC 147), US 15-501, US-70, I-40 and I-540 at rush hours; the traffic has quickly gone from bad to terrible. Outside of normal rush hours, you should be able to move about easily.
===By bus===
*'''Bahn's Cuisine''', 750 9th St, ''+ 1 919'' 286-5073. Most of the week this is an average Chinese takeout place; however, on Wednesday and Saturday they serve Vietnamese home cooking and soups. A local hangout since 1985. The locals can tell you're "not from around here" if you order Chinese on those days. There are both vegetarian and vegan plates. The "#8 Vegetarian plate" of fried tofu and a vegetable roll is the most popular dish on Saturdays and to a lesser degree on MondaysWednesdays. The "Pork Bun" is a good choice for small children as is the Satay Chicken (they'll frequently make adapted portions for children). It is cash only. Plates and sides are $23-$69.
*'''Bean Traders Triangle CoffeeCo''', 714 9th St, Durham, ''+ 1 919'' 286-6087. A locally owned and operated chain with 3 stores (2 in Durham, 1 in Chapel Hill) which as the name seems to intonate is also a The local coffee buyer/distributor of the "Bean Traders" brand of whole sale coffee beansplace on 9th street. The coffee is excellent Larry's Beans and the atmosphere relaxed and causal (2 stories of it). Cookies and baked goods are also for sale, but better desserts can be found next door at Francesca's. Wireless access is provided.
*'''Cosmic Cantina''', 1920 1/2 Perry St, ''+ 1 919'' 286-1875. A Duke hangout with cheap California-style burritos, cheap beer, and quick service. Entrees, if they can be called that, range from $2-$6, beer is $2, soda is $1. Cosmic is open late, generally until 4AM. Durham is home to the original Cosmic Cantina, which can also now be found in [[Chapel Hill]] and [[New York City|Manhattan]].
*'''Elmo's Diner''', Ninth Street, []. Serves the best breakfast in Durham, as well as good comfort food and diner fare for lunch and dinner. Grab a table or sit at the bar. You may have to wait a bit on weekend mornings, but Elmo's makes coffee and newspapers available to help pass the time.
*'''Francesca's Dessert Cafe''', 706-B Ninth Street, [], ''+ 1 919'' 286-4177. It is known for its own gelato style ice cream with many flavors (made on location) and varieties as well as its sorbetto (also made on location) in addition to its baked goods. In addition it also has soy varieties of its ice cream. The coffee is decent (counter culture brand) but a better cup can be had next door at "Bean Traders". All desserts are under $10.
*'''Loco Pops''', 2600 Hillsborough Rd. Serves gourmet popsicles in a variety of unusual, Mexican-inspired flavors. Try the Mexican chocolate or the mojito. Each popsicle is $1-$2.
*'''The Original Q Shack''', 2510 University Drive. They serve traditional NC barbecue, chicken, and beef sausage. Choice of side dishes include onion rings, mac and cheese, fried okra, deviled eggs, french fries, and hush puppies. It is a pleasant, informal dining experience with both indoor and outdoor seating. Price range is $6-$12.
*'''Torero's''', []. Has four restaurants in Durham and sells above-average Americanized Mexican cuisine, with most entrees $6-$8.
*'''Wimpy's Grill''', 617 Hicks St, ''+ 1 919'' 286-4380. A walk-up lunch counter (no seating) that serves some of the best hamburgers, peach cobbler, and chocolate cake in Durham. Skip the chain restaurants, and support a local mom-and-pop joint. Weekdays only, open until 2:30PM. Very popular with locals.
*'''Xiloa''', 748 9th St, ''+1 919'' 286-1430. A very different kind of Caribbean/Nicaraguan/Southwestern mix of delicious fare. Try their Refrescos (a type of non-alcoholic drink, generally fruit-based), Indian tacos and nacatamales.
*Durham also has plenty of fast-food restaurants, with a particularly high concentration on Hillsborough Road. Try the '''Dog House''' (4 locations, ask around) and '''Cook-Out''' (Hillsborough Rd, N Duke St, Miami Blvd locations) especially.
*'''Metro 8 Streakhouse''', 746 9th St, ''+1 919'' 416 1700. Upscale Argentinian steakhouse. Unusually great salad and steak with great service and a romantic atmosphere.
*'''Mateo''', 109 W Chapel Hill St (''Downtown''), ''+ 1 919'' 530-8700. Featuring a tapas menu that blends the flavors of Spain with beloved ingredients and dishes of the South. Reservations recommended.
*'''Nana's''', 2514 University Dr (''at James St''), ''+ 1 919'' 493-8545. Serves upscale and innovative New American fare in their warm and quiet space tucked into the city's lovely Rockwood neighborhood. Reservations recommended.
*<drink name="Shooters II Saloon" alt="behind Brightleaf Square" address="827 W Morgan St" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">A wild-west themed bar and dance club popular with Until recently, Durham was not a great city for bars. The waves of growth in the college crowdpast decade have changed that, Shooters is famous for its mechanical bull and dancing cage. It is easy now you can find just about any nightlife to suit your fancy, from high-end cocktail dens to find cheap drink specials and some new friends. Shooters is most frequented on weekend nights after 10PMhipster dives.</drink>
Your best bet for a night out is downtown, specifically around Five Points and slightly north to the burgeoning area of Rigsbee Avenue and Geer Street. There are several places to eat and drink further west toward and just beyond Duke's East Campus, namely the Brightleaf Square and Ninth Street corridors.  Durham boasts some great breweries in off-the-beaten-path areas close-in to downtown, among them Ponysaurus and Honeygirl Meadery. Do not walk to these areas after dark. Use a ride-hailing service or drive yourself, minding your belongings when you park.  Just remember: Uber and Lyft are inexpensive and easy to use in the Bull City.  Some notable establishments include: * '''Shooters II Saloon''', 827 W Morgan St. A wild-west themed bar and dance club popular with Duke kids, Shooters is famous for its mechanical bull and dancing cage. Doesn't really pop off outside of weekend nights after 10PM. * '''Fullsteam''', 726 Rigsbee Avenue (''Rigsbee''), ''+ 1 919'' 682-2337. A popular Durham hangout. They are a brewery which serves their own beer and a selection from other breweries.  * '''Motorco''', 723 Rigsbee Avenue. Music venue and converted garage. Great food, plentiful outdoor seating. A nice place to start the night before walking/ubering to other downtown spots.  * '''Alley Twenty Six''', 320 E Chapel Hill St. Perhaps the first mixology bar to grace Durham, this cozy, two-sided bar offers exceptional cocktails at DC or NYC prices. But it's worth it for the inventiveness and the snacks, which include appropo takes on Southern favorites like pimento cheese.
* '''Dain's Place''', 9th Street. A non-smoking bar with many types of beers. It draws more the post-grad and 25-35 crowd. Great burgers and also an unusually good salad.
Additionally, there are some nice bars centered around three main areas. There is a area around 9th street which houses Dain's, Tavern and the Green Room. There is the area along main street which extends from the Social(1007 West Main) all the way down to the Pinhook (107 West Main). There is also the area along Rigsbee avenue which houses Fullsteam, Motorco, Surf Club and Geer St Garden.

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