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The Durham Staycation Guide

Everything you need to know about where to stay, what to do, and how to feel like you're on vacation in Durham without going far from home.

You probably have an amazing home, but that home has dishes that need washing, laundry that needs folding, and a yard that could use a little love. Maybe you’re just getting settled in Durham and looking for something fun to do, or perhaps you’ve lived here for years and need to see the city through fresh eyes.

There are numerous ways to engage, explore, learn, have fun and find community in Durham, and a staycation – a vacation you take in your city – might be precisely what you need. Whether you’re planning a solo adventure to break a routine or aiming to impress friends and family visiting your new hometown, your first order of business should be picking the perfect place to stay.

How to Feel Like You're on Vacation on Duke Campus

Where to stay: The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club first opened its doors in 1988 to serve the communities of both Duke University and Durham. The Inn features beautiful terraces, a lush golf course, indoor/outdoor meeting areas, and conference and wedding spaces.

Things to do: From there, you can easily explore Duke’s picturesque campus and numerous visitor attractions – the Nasher Museum of Art, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Duke Chapel, the trails through Duke Forest, and the Duke Basketball Museum and Sports Hall of Fame.

Where to eat: There are plenty of great food options nearby, but The Fairview Dining Room and Bull Durham Bar located at WaDuke never disappoint.

A Bed & Breakfast Near Top Entertainment

Where to stay: Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast, Durham’s oldest Black-owned lodging property, opened to the public back in 1997. Originally built for the CEO of Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co., the Colonial Revival-style home has been refurbished with modern amenities. The inn is owned by innkeepers Daniel and Monica Edwards who take their Southern hospitality seriously.

What to do: Morehead Manor is located within walking distance of downtown, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP), the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), the American Tobacco Trail, and the historic Brightleaf District, so you can catch a Broadway performance, walk to a Bulls game or join a Third Friday Art Walk downtown.

Where to eat: You'll want to relax over a leisurely breakfast at the Inn, and then spend the rest of the day taking advantage of all the action downtown! Consult our Downtown District Guide for recommendations.

The facade of a historic inn framed by trees on a sunny day.

Morehead Manor Inn. Photo: Morehead Manor

Boutique Stays at the Center of Downtown Durham

Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, three of Durham’s boutique hotels offer something unique. Park your car and appreciate the walkability of downtown for an entire weekend.

Where to stay: At the 21c Museum Hotel the former bank building is on the National Register of Historic Places and still has a vault you can explore in the basement.

What to do: Stroll through the thought-provoking on-site contemporary art museum, open 24 hours a day, with a handcrafted cocktail in hand.

Where to eat: Dine on seasonal cuisine with chef Stephanie Klos's signature New Orleans influences at the Counting House restaurant.

Where to stay: The Durham Hotel has a striking mid-century modern design and unbeatable views of the city at its rooftop bar, The Roof at The Durham, which offers shared plates and thoughtfully designed beverages.

Where to eat: The Restaurant at The Durham is a new American restaurant that has received national acclaim for thoughtfully curated seasonal dishes. Make sure to grab a signature coffee soda from the hotel’s coffee shop before heading out to take on the day.

What to do: The Durham's welcoming lobby coffee shop is affectionately known by locals as Durham's living room, making it the perfect place to people-watch, get a little work done or hold court with your friends or colleagues.

Where to stay: Unscripted Durham is the newest boutique hotel to open in the Bull City and features a rooftop pool, iconic blue façade and a mid-century design.

What to do: Check the website and plan your staycation around one of the programmed evenings, like “Sounds of the Studio” every Friday and Saturday evening with favorite local DJs or weekly happy hours with specialty cocktails at The Studio.

What to Do on a Staycation in Downtown Durham

When you stay at these properties, you're only a few steps away from many of Durham’s delicious and unique places to eat, plus one-of-a-kind arts and entertainment venues. Bookmark our Downtown Durham Walking Tour or Public Art & Inspiration Guide to explore the city when you have a few hours or a full afternoon.

Escape the Bustle

Where to stay: Resting on six acres of gardens and lawns, the historic Arrowhead Inn Bed and Breakfast is just a 15-minute drive north of downtown. Reserve a room in the Manor House or escape to the Garden Cottage or secluded North Carolina Cabin.

What to do: Further remove yourself from the downtown bustle by spending a morning or afternoon outdoors at the nearby Eno River State Park, Lake Michie, Falls Lake, or at Historic Stagville – one of three state historic sites located in Durham County.

Where to eat: Complete your stay by enjoying a meal at nearby favorite restaurants, including Bleu Olive, Gocciolina, Bullock’s Bar-B-Cue and Picnic.

Plan a Stay with Modern Comforts

Where to stay near the Durham Bulls Athletic Park: Minutes outside the city center, find properties that offer conveniences and amenities that make a staycation feel like the real deal. Take an easy walk to the American Tobacco Trail or Durham Bulls Athletic Park from the brand-new Springhill Suites Durham Cityview.

Where to stay with a fitness center: Stay on top of your workout routine at AC Hotel Durham’s top-of-the-line fitness center, complete with a Peloton bike, before relaxing with a drink in the AC Bar & Lounge.

Where to stay with an indoor pool: Take a dip in the indoor pool at the Hilton Garden Inn Southpoint and wake up to room service breakfast in bed.

Want to find the perfect place to stay in Durham? We’ve got you covered.

[Check out our guide to Durham's lodging properties ]