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The Durham Staycation Guide

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

The following information is included in Durham Magazine’s 2023 Visitors & Relocation Guide. You can also pick up a hard copy at Durham Magazine’s office (1777 Fordham Blvd., Ste. 105).

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.

Tried & True Favorites

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

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. Owned by innkeepers Daniel and Monica Edwards, it’s 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.

Boutique Stays at the Center of it All

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.

Stay at the 21c Museum Hotel and stroll through the thought-provoking contemporary art museum with a handcrafted cocktail in hand after dining at the Counting House restaurant. The former bank building is on the National Register of Historic Places and still has a vault you can explore in the basement.

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. 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.

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. 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.

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

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

Modern Comforts

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. 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. 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 ]