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Your Guide to Durham Winter Weekend Getaways

Estimated Read Time:
2 minutes

Whether you prefer to stay indoors or head outside for an invigorating adventure in brisk temperatures, Durham’s many attractions, events, and eateries provide the perfect backdrop to your winter adventure.

Posted By Discover Durham Staff

Curious about what to do and where to go? We’ve broken it down for you in a step-by-step guide, so you can personalize your winter weekend getaway.


1. Pick Your Main Attraction

One exciting aspect of winter in Durham is that it falls smack in the middle of college basketball season. If you want to witness one of the most storied teams in college sports history, get a ticket to the Duke University basketball game and join the Cameron Crazies.

You can also catch a North Carolina Central University basketball game at the McDougald-McLendon Arena, or score tickets to a Duke women’s basketball game through February.

Live entertainment abounds this winter as well. Prepare for comedy, magic, and music at both the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) and the The Carolina Theatre.

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Even though it's winter — it's still North Carolina. There are beautiful, mild days to enjoy this season; bundle up and get active by exploring Durham’s natural areas, which provide stunning scenery throughout the year. For a close-to-town escape, head to Sarah P. Duke Gardens, a 55-acre public garden on Duke’s campus. Go for a hike at West Point on the Eno, a recreation area that also features a historic mill and photography museum, or explore 4,200 acres of protected forest at Eno River State Park.

2. Add a Local Favorite

On chilly winter days, warm up with a drink at one of Durham’s locally owned coffee shops. Try one of the spiced single origin dark or milk drinking chocolates at Cocoa Cinnamon (pictured above): choose from the Malala, 1491, Ixchel, Dark Testament, and Cacao Canela. Or, sip a milk chocolate and whipped cream-topped hot chocolate at Bean Traders, a peanut butter mocha at Beyú Caffé, or enjoy a brewed beverage near the fire pits at Ponysaurus.

Peruse local shops on Ninth Street like The Regulator Bookshop for a winter read to snuggle up with by the fire, or One World Market, a fair trade retail shop showcasing the handmade crafts of artisans from more than 70 developing countries. See 328 rare and varied tubas at the Vince and Ethel Simonetti Historic Tuba Collection, the largest of its kind in the country. Pick up something fashionable to wear at Vert & Vogue boutique in historic Brightleaf Square, and accessorize with jewelry and scarves from Indio (pictured below).

Durham hosts many niche film festivals throughout the year, including the Hayti Heritage Film Festival and the Nevermore Film Festival at the historic Carolina Theatre. Take in one of the nation's longest-running Black film festivals and features screenings of documentaries, short and feature-length films on February 13-15, and the latest indie horror, science fiction, and action-thriller films on February 28-March 1.

Check out the event calendar for more options.

3. Check Out Durham’s Dining Scene

NanaSteak, from Durham chef Scott Howell, is a modern steakhouse right next door to DPAC, perfect for dinner before a show. The cozy and intimate restaurant Littler also serves up adventurous dishes like chicken fried duck tongues, beef heart tartare, and potted rabbit. There's also one of Durham’s smallest but mightiest restaurants a bit off the beaten path, and recently nominated for Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants list! Sister Liu’s Chinese dumplings, noodles and sandwiches are worth every single bite and are sure to warm the soul.

You can’t come to North Carolina without trying some barbecue, so head to Picnic Durham (pictured) for whole hog, wood-smoked barbecue with a side of hushpuppies and slaw. For a cocktail alternative, try a cider flight at Bull City Ciderworks, where you can choose from ciders like Smooth Hoperator and Sweet Carolina. While you’re there, indulge in locally sourced snacks and gear.

See all of Durham's recent culinary debuts.

4. Select your Hotel or B&B

Durham has more than 70 lodging options to choose from, ranging from cute bed and breakfast inns to luxury boutique hotels. There are several new properties to choose from: find your ideal property and get away.

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Discover Durham Staff



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