The Ultimate Durham Spring Bucket List
We're so excited about spring in Durham that we almost wet our plants.
As the days lengthen and the sunshine lasts a bit longer, we put away the scarves and jackets, open up the windows, stop and smell the flowers, and get excited about all things spring.
Whether you’re visiting for the weekend or just looking for spring-y things to do, there are some things you just can’t miss while you’re here this season. We’ve put together the ultimate bucket list blooming with spring vibes to help you, your family, and your friends get outdoors and have fun safely in Durham.
From spacious patios to downtown rooftops and grassy lawns, Durham has plenty of options when it comes to outdoor eating.
Dine on a patio
Choose from one of these restaurants with an outdoor patio, so you can enjoy the sunshine and feel safe eating outdoors.
Have a picnic
Durham Parks and Recreation manages 68 parks and many of them have picnic tables or grassy spaces perfect for a picnic. Order some take-out or pack a lunch and enjoy a meal outside surrounded by fresh air, sunshine, and a nice breeze.
Need some more awesome ideas? Check out one of these new restaurants that recently opened up in Durham — most of them have take-out options! Place an order online at one of the restaurants at the Durham Food Hall, then pick it up and eat outside next door at Durham Central Park.
Attend the Streetery.
The Streetery happens on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month starting in April with shopping, festive lights, dining, live music, and more around downtown Durham. Check out The Streetery map and updates on the location, and then go enjoy the fun!
Hike a trail.
Trails provide people of all ages with beautiful and safe places to walk, hike or jog. Durham has a ton of trails that are just waiting to be explored. Here are some of our favorites:
Eno River Trail
Step onto the Eno River trail for a free nature adventure. Follow the river bank, journey through the woodlands, or hike a short nature trail for a close look at the Eno River State Park. You can request a park trail map for descriptions and distances.
American Tobacco Trail
The American Tobacco Trail is a 10-foot wide, paved, off-road trail that follows the old CSX railroad. Walkers, joggers, cyclists, rollerbladers, and baby stroller pushers can take in the scenery and enjoy the trail.
Rent some wheels.
Are you ready to explore Durham and have a wheely good time? Bike borrowing services and scooter programs are vying for you to pedal from one end of the city to the other.
When you’re on a bicycle, you can’t help but feel the wind and take in the sights and sounds. Need a bike? We got you. Try renting one from Durham Cycles, Bullseye Bicycle, Pedego Electric Bikes, Bicycle Chain-Durham, the Durham Bike Co-op, or one of our other local bike shops.
Need to get around Durham and have a little fun? Between the Spin, Bird, Lime, and Gotcha scooters, the Bull City has around 800 scooters. Electronic scooters are an environment-friendly alternative to driving that are powered by a small electric motor. Rent one and adventure around Durham quickly and easily.
See public art.
In Durham, any blank space can become a canvas, and it is common to see murals on walls, crosswalks, and electrical boxes. Make sure to squeeze in some time to venture around Durham to see local art.
Our Instagram guide highlights murals dedicated to celebrating Durham's Black history, culture, and artists.
Explore UHILL Walls, a walkable art district with over 40,000 square feet of murals in Durham. Learn about the artists, get the best Instagram pics, and enjoy the outdoors. Check out this interactive map for mural details and descriptions.
If you want to see a unique one-of-a-kind art exhibit, check out Satellite Park. In 2018, Mural Durham, an organization that connects Durham through creativity, transformed eight decommissioned satellites to create a one-of-a-kind community park. Each satellite was painted by a different local artist and represents a range of artistic styles and backgrounds.
Go to Brunch.
Here's the best way to do brunch in Durham this spring. Pick a brunch spot like Rue Cler, Foster's Market, GRUB Durham, Monuts, and True Flavors, then order a cup of coffee or tea. Next, try something delicious on the menu like french toast topped with fruit, and bacon, of course, and then wash your meal down with a cocktail or a beer. Order a cinnamon roll or slice of pie for the road, thank them for their incredible service, leave a tip, and then go home and take a nap. Wake up, eat your cinnamon roll or pie, pick a new brunch spot for the next day, and repeat.
Try local beer & cocktails.
We brew it, sell it, and drink it (responsibly) here. With dozens of local breweries, bottle shops, and craft beer-conscious bars and restaurants, you won’t need to settle for an uninspiring beverage. Here's a guide to some of the breweries in Durham that are brewing up some good flavors. Get your brew on.
Have a fancy cocktail
When life gives you limes, garnish your margarita! There is no shortage of creativity when it comes to creating and pairing cocktails in Durham. Alley Twenty Six, Kingfisher, Bar Virgile, Jack Tar & The Colonel's Daughter, and Corpse Reviver Bar & Lounge are some of our favorite cocktail bars in downtown Durham that feature unique pairings in a relaxed setting.
When you shop at local businesses, you’re likely getting something that’s unique, handmade, and fresh.
Durham Farmers' Market
Bring the whole family and check out the Durham Farmers' Market at the pavilion in Durham Central Park every Saturday morning. Enjoy coffee from Caballo Rojo Coffee, handcrafted vegan pastries and desserts from Bklyn Vegan Bakery, seasonal vegetables, organic eggs, unique souvenirs, and more.
Perkins Orchard, a unique fruit and vegetable stand located in the heart of Southeast Durham, celebrates its 51st season this year. Stop by for a quick tour of the property, eggs, seasonal fruits and vegetables, sorbets, and popsicles.
Souvenirs & Crafts
From traditional to unique finds, Durham has tons of local shops where you can find the perfect souvenirs and gifts for yourself and others. Peruse through a variety of gifts from around the world at Bull City Fair Trade. Check out the beautiful handmade items from Zola Craft Gallery. Visit sister stores Chet Miller, Parker & Otis, and Tiny, for an eclectic selection of just about everything and anything. Indio has puzzles, home goods, and more. Thrift through The Scrap Exchange thrift store for clothing, books, and games.
Find the food trucks.
This community is replete with young entrepreneurs and culinary veterans alike — all of whom help bring dozens of mobile dining options to Durham.
Durham has Latin American cuisine, pizza, Korean BBQ, homemade ice cream, grilled cheese sandwiches, cakes, and more — all on wheels. You can often find Durham's food trucks parked on street corners downtown, or in Durham Central Park on Saturday mornings.
Ready for some safe outdoor family-friendly fun? Waller Family Farm, a strawberry, vegetable, and beef cattle farm located in Durham County, opens up in April for strawberry picking. When you get your absolutely perfect juicy red berries home, eat them, freeze them, jar them, or bake them in something sweet.
Attend a Durham Bulls game.
Grab your tickets and take in a game when the Durham Bulls return to the diamond this spring. You likely know Durham is the main location in the blockbuster film “Bull Durham” — a career game-changer for Susan Sarandon, Kevin Costner, and Tim Robbins — and (we’ll claim this unapologetically) the best sports movie of all time.
You can find backdrops and familiar spots from the cult-favorite movie around the Triangle. Visit North Carolina has a guide of real life locations in “Bull Durham.” Go Bulls!
Buy a houseplant.
Everyone needs a low-maintenance friend that's a great listener, helps you breathe better, and is always there for you. Head to The Zen Succulent, Durham Garden Center, Gunters Greenhouse, Tierra Sol Studio, Ninth Street Flowers, or Pine State flowers to get yourself or someone else a plant friend made in Durham.
Fresh Durham air and natural light help to energize the mind and body, so make sure to schedule an outdoor fitness class or yoga session.
Join an outdoor fitness class
Take your workout outside or try a new class. Sign up for an outdoor workout with Fit Lab Studios.
Play a round of golf.
The Hillandale Golf Course provides a challenge to golfers of all skill levels. An experienced instructor can help you up your game, or you can reserve a tee time just for fun.
Enjoy a fun and challenging day with friends, family, or colleagues at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. For guests looking to perfect their swing, multiple professionals are available for lessons. Tee times are available 14 days in advance for the general public.
Visit a local gallery.
Checking out the local art galleries always makes for an enjoyable day out. From paintings to pottery, Durham has a diverse mix of galleries showcasing local art and artists. Visit the NCCU Art Museum, the Durham Arts Council, 5 Points Gallery, Horse & Buggy Press & Friends & PS 118 gallery, the art galleries and studios at Golden Belt Campus, and 21c Museum Hotel, so you can see a range of different art styles and media.
Go for a Swim.
Sennett's Hole & Bobbitt's Hole
The Eagle Trail and Sennett Hole Trail at West Point on the Eno lead to a popular swimming area at Sennett’s Hole. The Bobbitt Hole Trail at Eno River State Park leads to Bobbitt’s Hole.
Little River Lake & Lake Michie
Take a short drive north of downtown Durham to Little River Lake or Lake Michie, where you can push off from the shore in an electric motorboat, rowboat, or kayak, which are available for rent from the City of Durham. You can also fish from the banks.
Put the kids in their bathing suits and head to one of the city-operated spraygrounds, which feature sprinklers built into playground equipment. It’s a great way to expend some energy and cool off at the same time.
Falls Lake & Jordan Lake
Frog Hollow Outdoors will guide you on a kayak or canoe trip on Falls Lake or Jordan Lake. They offer instructions and classes for beginners, and if you’re a seasoned veteran, you can rent their equipment and go out on your own.
Get a cold treat.
When the weather is warm, ice cream is the perfect treat to cool down. Here's the scoop on some of Durham's cold and yummy treats.
The Parlour features seasonal ice cream flavors made with local dairy along with a sizeable selection of vegan offerings. Sugarfish Icecream is an Asian-inspired local ice cream shop making fresh and delicious flavors and cones. Chill out at Locopops and enjoy the array of gourmet popsicle flavors which range from mojito and mango chili to chocolate brownie. La Monarca is a traditional paletería serving Mexican-style popsicles and ice cream. Fuel up with a homemade ice cream sandwich from Rose's Noodles Dumplings, & Sweets, a butcher-bakeshop owned by a husband-wife duo. At Pelican's SnoBalls, enjoy New Orleans-style sno-balls in flavors like tutti frutti and cherry cola.
Iced coffee, iced tea, iced everything! It's time to bust out the iced drinks in the Bull City, and Durham's local coffee shops are all serving delicious iced drinks to help us stay cool. Check out Liturgy Beverage Company, Cloche Coffee, Jetplane Coffee, Beyú Caffè, the Oak House, Cocoa Cinnamon, Bean Traders, Joe Van Gogh, and Jeddah's Tea for all your iced beverage needs and more.
Go on a Walking Tour.
Got a couple of hours? How about an afternoon? There's much to discover in and around downtown Durham.
This self-guided walking tour will take you to the American Tobacco Historic District, a one-million-square-foot entertainment campus, to CCB Plaza where you can pose with Durham's 10-foot tall bronze icon known as Major The Bull, and over to Historic Brightleaf Square where you can pick up a local item that’s distinctly Durham.
Enjoy live music outdoors.
Without music, life would b flat. From hip hop and soulful jazz to country and rocking indie bands, there’s plenty for the music-focused lover in the Bull City.
Enjoy food and fun in the parking lot of Motorco Music Hall at Live in the Lot, a series of movies, music, and comedy. Grab brunch and a beer, sit out in the beer garden, and sway to the blues and jazz music at the Blue Note Grill. The iconic red barn on Chapel Hill Road, formerly known as County Fare Food Trucks & Bar, has been transformed into The Honeysuckle at Lakewood, a neighborhood bar and kitchen. Starting this April, they will bring live music and Covid-19 safe live programming to their 4,500 square foot outdoor dining area. And, you can always enjoy live music and more at The Streetery every 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month starting in April.
Discover Hidden Gems.
It's not hard to find top-notch food, entertainment, and retail in Durham, but you'll have to dig a little deeper for the hidden gems — tucked away eateries, boutiques, and outdoor sanctuaries. Take a few hours to expand your Bull City horizons and explore unfamiliar retail, entertainment, restaurants, and secret outdoor spots! Here are some Durham hidden gems you really should discover.