Why Visit Durham?
Durham is a unique, vibrant city, full of history and culture. There really is something for everyone in Durham, NC! Whether you are a fan of the arts, sports, good food, learning experiences, or just having fun wherever you may be, Durham is the place for you!
Traveling to Durham is easy whether you are arriving by plane, bus, car, or train.
Durham is just few miles away from RDU airport. I have been to many airports in the USA and abroad and I can tell you that without a doubt, RDU airport is the nicest! The bathrooms are large and clean! I can’t believe how many airports have small, dirty bathrooms, ya’ll! Waiting in line for ever when traveling with a toddler is definitely not my cup of tea.
And another plus when traveling with kids and going through RDU is that they have private family bathrooms. These are definitely a lifesaver when traveling alone with a small child. Note to all other airports: get some family bathrooms!
The airport also has a Observation Park that kids love! They can watch airplanes land and take off and hear communications from the pilots to the tower. There is also a picnic area and play area. Pretty much a child’s heaven, especially for a little boy like mine!
If you are traveling by car, Durham is also in a great location. It is right off of I-40, which makes it a great place to stop by if you are headed East to the beach or West to the mountains.
Durham also has bus stops as well as an Amtrak train stop. The Amtrak train, the Carolinian, runs from Charlotte, NC to NYC.
Things to do with Kids in Durham, NC
Durham, NC has so many fun things to do! Below are some of my favorites if you are visiting with kids in tow!
- The Museum of Life and Science is hands-down my favorite place to go with my son! You can literally spend all day here and still not see everything! There are over 84 acres of amazing outdoor exhibits alone. My son’s favorite are the train, the animal exhibits (bears, lemurs, wolves, and farm animals), and Hideaway Woods (an amazing tree tree house playground!).
- Durham Bulls Athletic Park – The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is the home of the famous Durham Bulls! The Durham Bulls are a minor league baseball team that is the farm team for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Athletic Park was built in 1994 and it is a modern and fun-filled stadium! It even has it’s own craft brewery, Bull Durham Beer Company, for all you craft beer lovers. If you come to a Sunday game, kids get to run the bases after the game!
- The American Tobacco Campus – The American Tobacco Campus is the former home of the Lucky Strike cigarette factory that has been beautifully re-imagined into a multi-use area that consists of more than a million square feet of residences, offices, a movie theater, a gallery where you can see the original coal-fired boilers, lots of green space, and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Kids will loved the water pools that flow throughout the campus! American Tobacco also has free concerts in the summer that are very kid-friendly!
- Durham Performing Arts Center – The Durham Performing Arts Center, referred to as the DPAC by locals, is a theater that welcomes all of the biggest broadway shows that are touring! If you time it right, you can find great shows for kids here. This October, they will be showing The Little Mermaid and I have seen the Lion King here, too! At Christmas they usually have the Nutcracker Ballet as well.
- Duke Lemur Center – The Duke Lemur Center includes 80 acres of wooded land, where Duke University employees focus on lemur research and conservation. The Center offers a variety of tours, including one catering to children under age 8. For children over 10, there are special tours, like Painting with Lemurs and Lemur Keeper for the Day, that sound like fun!
- Eno River State Park and West Point on the Eno– Come see the Eno River and enjoy a day of hiking, picnicking, canoeing, swimming, and even camping! Every Summer there is also a fun festival, The Festival for the Eno, that has bands, food, and artisans.
- Duke Gardens – The Sarah P. Duke Gardens consist of 55 acres of specialized gardens at Duke University. Admission is free and the gardens are open every day. There is a cafe on-site or you can bring a picnic lunch. The gardens are beautiful and they are a great place to let kids wander around and explore. The gardens are also a great place to have family portraits taken, just be sure to schedule the session prior to having your pictures taken!
- Ninth Street District – The Ninth Street District is another of my favorite places in Durham. It is rife with unique, eclectic, and kid-friendly restaurants. There are also many cute shops to visit there as well!
Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Durham, NC
- Monuts – Monuts is a cute bakery and cafe in downtown Durham off of 9th street. We love to stop by here to get doughnuts after eating at a restaurant in the 9th Street District. They have amazing, gourmet doughnuts with flavors like Apple Cider, Coconut Dream (my personal favorite!), raspberry hibiscus, and many others!
- Elmo’s Diner – Elmo’s is a casual, kid-friendly restaurant with an extensive menu! Everyone in your party is sure to find something they like here! They serve breakfast all day and have everything from southern-style chicken and dumplin’s to Mexican style food and burgers. The kid’s menu here has more options than any kids’ menu I’ve ever seen!
- Blue Corn Cafe – Blue Corn Cafe is a restaurant that serves Latin and South American fusion style food. My husband who is from Cuba, loves all of the Cuban food that Blue Corn Cafe has! We recommend the picadillo and plantain sampler. Our toddler loves plantains! This restaurant is a great choice if you want something that adults and kids can both enjoy. Artwork from local artists adorns the walls and gives the restaurant a distinct Durham feel.
No matter which activities you choose, your family is sure to have a blast exploring Durham, NC! Make sure to check out everything that Durham has to offer and the best things to do in Durham, NC with kids this summer before you plan your getaway!