4 Ways to do a Fall Getaway in Durham

As the temperature drops, the activities heat up in Durham thanks to the start of a new school year at some of the best universities in the nation, beautiful foliage, and artistic performances.

Posted By Shayla Martin on Oct 13, 2016

Here are four distinctly Durham ways to spend a fall weekend in the Bull City.


1. Fall Family Fun

Fall is the perfect season for a family trip to Durham, and both little ones and parents will delight in festivals, food truck rodeos, and more.

  • On Saturdays and Sundays until October 30, families can hop aboard the Pumpkin Patch Express train at the Museum of Life + Science ($12 per person; children two and under are free) to journey to a pumpkin patch and pick out the perfect gourd to bring home.

  • On October 23 from 4 to 7 p.m., dance to beautiful symphony music in your favorite costumes at the Durham Symphony Orchestra Halloween Spooktacular at Northgate mall. There’ll be a costume contest, Paperhand Puppet Intervention puppet show, music, and local food and beverage vendors.

  • Explore historical concepts of spiritualism at Duke Homestead’s Halloween Phantasmagoria on October 28 ($15 at door, $10 in advance). This event is appropriate for all ages.

  • On October 30, round up the fam for a special Halloween Weekend Food Truck Rodeo at Durham Central Park, where more than 50 trucks serve up everything from dumplings to barbecue, all to the sounds of The Swang Brothers.

2. Suit up for Sports

Durham is home to some of the most thrilling teams in college sports, so there are plenty of ways to get in the team spirit this fall.

  • For those of us counting down until basketball season, block off October 22 for the annual Countdown to Craziness event at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The evening of entertainment is filled with games, highlight videos, on-court contests and the official introduction of the 2016-2017 basketball team.

  • Pigskin fans can watch the battle for the Victory Bell when the Duke University Blue Devils play the Tar Heels in Durham on Thursday, November 10.

  • On Saturday, November 19, celebrate Senior Day and one of the biggest inter-state rivalries when North Carolina Central University takes on Greensboro’s North Carolina A&T State University.

  • Spend the night and enjoy a post-game brunch in the Ninth Street area, where options include Elmo’s Diner and Vin Rouge.

3. Take in Fresh Fall Air

Fall foliage in North Carolina is unmatched, and there are countless places in Durham to watch the leaves change.

  • Take a leisurely stroll through Sarah P. Duke Gardens, or hike or mountain bike the trails at Eno River State Park or Little River Regional Park the weekend of October 21, predicted to be a peak weekend for fall color.

  • Adventurous types can opt to see the leaves from the water on a guided kayak tour of Falls Lake on November 25 with Frog Hollow Outdoors.

  • Mix outdoor fitness with great eats on October 16 at the Bull City Race Fest near the American Tobacco Campus, where runners and walkers can take part in one-mile, five-mile, or half-marathon races, followed by a food truck rodeo and beer garden.

4. Autumnal Arts

You may not know it, but Durham is a world-class arts town complete with provocative art exhibits and exciting theater performances.

  • From now until January 8, visit the Nasher Museum of Art for the Southern Accent exhibit, an in-depth look at the complex culture of the American South and southern identity.

  • Check out 21c Museum Hotel’s free contemporary art museum in Downtown Durham, featuring rotating exhibits from both national and international artists.

  • At the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), consistently ranked as one of the best performing arts centers in the nation, see the Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home from October 25 to 30.

  • Decorate your home with autumn produce, local crafts, and artwork from the Durham Farmers’ Market and Craft Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

For an immersive weekend experience, spend the night at one of Durham’s hospitable hotels or bed and breakfast inns!

About the Author

Shayla Martin



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