Loading your recommendations…

Catch Shade Not Rays in Durham

Estimated Read Time:
6 min

Here's a list of shaded spots where you can eat, drink, and play in Durham.

With summer in full swing, everyone is out soaking up the sun and catching some rays. When you need a break from that direct sunlight, you can dine in a hidden garden, sip cocktails outside under an umbrella, or meet up with friends in a covered park.

Durham has plenty of shaded options in every neighborhood, so we put together a list of places with covered areas to help visitors and locals, stay cool, chill out, and catch shade.


Downtown Durham has you covered. Find shaded tables and benches around Main Street, sit under the pavilion at Durham Central park, or pop into the American Tobacco Campus to enjoy a meal or drink in one of the shaded outdoor areas.

American Tobacco Campus (ATC) | 300 Blackwell Street

Head to the restored historic tobacco factory for hours of fun and a little relief from the sun. Stop by Parker and Otis and other restaurants and retail shops, then grab a seat on a table or bench in one of the shaded areas. Boricua Soul has a large covered patio where you can people watch and stay cool.

The Blue Note Grill | 709 Washington Street

Enjoy some hickory-smoked barbecue and a beer out on the patio under an umbrella or in the beer garden.

Bull McCabes Irish Pub | 427 W. Main Street

Nothing beats hanging out with friends under some shade at a traditional Irish pub with burgers, televisions, and 20 beers on tap.

Cocoa Cinnamon | 2013 Chapel Hill Road

Enjoy your single-origin iced coffee and pastry outside under one of the umbrellas and shade sails at Cocoa Cinnamon. All three Durham locations have tables with umbrellas to keep you out of the sun.

Corpse Reviver Cocktail Bar | 715 Washington Street, Suite B

Want to cool down with fancy drinks and light bites under some shade? Head to Corpse Reviver, a cocktail bar and lounge which features Durham Distillery's gin, vodka, and liqueur.

Durham Central Park | 501 Foster Street

With numerous markets, events, and classes, there's always something fun to do at Durham Central Park. Grab some food nearby at the Durham Food Hall, spread out a blanket, and relax under the large pavilion.

Durty Bull Brewing Company | 206 Broadway Street

Durty Bull is throwing major shade on their parking lot patio. Grab a beer, relax on the patio, and have some fun at one of their open mic, live music, and trivia nights.

Fullsteam Brewery | 726 Rigsbee Avenue

Enjoy Southern-sourced food and beer in an industrial space with games and communal tables. They have a few tables set up outside along the building, so grab a beer and soak up the great weather.

Geer Street Garden | 644 Foster Street

Geer Street Garden is the place to be for comfort food, beers, and cocktails in a renovated former gas station. Try the Reuben sandwich and fried chicken plate out on the patio for a perfect day.

The Glass Jug | 545 Foster Street, Suite 10

Located in the middle of all the action in downtown Durham, The Glass Jug serves exclusive Glass Jug beers on draft, plus draft wine and cider. Stop by and enjoy a drink on the covered patio, surrounded by gorgeous views of Durham Central Park.

Goorsha & Gojo | 910 W. Main Street

Stop by Goorsha, which serves traditional Ethiopian fare with a modern twist, and Gojo, their new sister cafe, to enjoy Ethiopian flavors outside on the covered patio.

Indian Monsoon Restaurant & Bar | 105 W. Morgan Street

The coconut curry, tikka masala, and garlic naan are calling you. Dine outside on the patio while you enjoy the weather.

Mothers & Sons Trattoria | 107 W. Chapel Hill Street

Enjoy a meal on the patio at Alimentari and Mothers & Sons Trattoria. During the day, they operate as Alimentari with take-home and curbside pickup lunch options. At night, Alimentari becomes Mothers & Sons Trattoria with a dine-in menu full of tasty Italian cuisine, cocktails and wine.

NanaSteak | 345 Blackwell Street

With an award-winning wine list to complement any meal and incredible downtown Durham patio views, this is an airy and cool backdrop for an extraordinary evening.

Ninth Street Bakery | 136 E. Chapel Hill Street

Do yourself a favor and stop by Ninth Street Bakery for pastries, baguettes, sandwiches, and more. Their cozy patio is the perfect place to read a book or meet up with a friend.

Parts & Labor at Motorco | 723 Rigsbee Ave.

Head on over for brews, cocktails, and a delicious mix of items inspired by global street food. Hang out with friends on one of the shaded picnic benches and enjoy the live music.

Ponysaurus Brewing Company | 219 Hood Street

Ponysaurus Brewing Co. is a brewery creating beers that are meant to be savored and appreciated. Stop by for a beer and pizza on their new and improved large two-storied covered patio.

Pour Taproom | 202 N. Corcoran Street

The Pour Taproom patio has plenty of shade and umbrellas to help beat the heat. Grab a small bite and cool off with a refreshing drink.


There are many places to catch shade in West Central Durham. Sit under large trees on the Duke University East Campus and find covered areas under awnings and pavilions at Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Most of the businesses along Ninth Street are as shady as ever with a few tables and chairs covered by awnings.

Alpaca Peruvian Charcoal Chicken | 703A Ninth Street

With three locations in Durham, you are always near delicious Peruvian chicken that can be paired with fresh-made Latin-inspired sides like maduros (sweet plantains). The Ninth Street location has numerous seats outdoors with tables, chairs, and umbrellas.

JuJu Asian Tapas + Bar | 737 Ninth Street
Juju serves up small plates with bold flavors and features a dynamic beverage program. Dine at the exquisite bar, in the luxurious booths, or outside on the patio under some shade.

Cloche Coffee | 721 Broad Street

Looking for beautiful plants, tasty drinks, and covered outdoor seating? Head to Cloche Coffee and enjoy an iced drink under the shade sail.

GRUB Durham | 1200 W. Chapel Hill Street

Stop by for GRUB Durham for some Southern-inspired grub and a little shade. With both a patio and rooftop bar, they have plenty of comfortable outdoor seating options.

Honeysuckle at Lakewood | 1920 Chapel Hill Road

Order a hand-crafted cocktail and food from the farm-inspired menu and relax on the shaded patio on a hot day.

Mad Hatter Cafe + Bakeshop | 1802 W. Main Street

Stop by this cafe and bakeshop for baked treats, breakfast all day, and light lunches and dinners. Dine outside in the shade and then walk around Duke East Campus.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens | 420 Anderson Street

With numerous shaded areas and pavilions on its 55 acres, Sarah P. Duke Gardens is the perfect place to visit on a warm summer day. Sit on a shaded bench, picnic under a large tree, or relax under one of the garden pavilions.

Vin Rouge | 2010 Hillsborough Road

Ready to be transported to a quaint village in the south of France? If you said oui, make sure to stop by Vin Rouge, an authentic French bistro with outdoor seating in their garden patio.


When you're looking to cool off in South Durham, make your way to Boxyard RTP and to local restaurants along Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd. There are, of course, numerous parks with covered areas as well.

Boxyard RTP | 842-898 Park Offices Drive

Less than a 15-minute drive from downtown Durham is Boxyard RTP, a 15,000 square-foot shipping container park full of restaurants like Beyu Caffe, Wonderpuff, Lawrence Barbecue, and more. Stop by the boxyard and enjoy food, drink, and live music in one of the shaded areas. They even have large fans to help keep you cool!

Foster's Market | 2694 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.

Foster's Market is a gourmet food market and cafe focused on scratch-made sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. They have ample seating on their covered patio.

Guglhupf Bakery, Cafe & Biergarten | 2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.

Guglhupf serves seasonal German fare, baked goods, and drinks in an open, airy venue. Stop by for brunch or a selection of cookies, scones, muffins, desserts, and tarts on their extended garden patio.

Namu | 5420 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.

Is your visit even complete without a trip to Namu? Stop by for Korean fare, craft coffee, and more, in an expansive garden complete with tables, umbrellas, and an assortment of plants.

Pure Soul | 4125 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.

There's a new vegan restaurant in town and the food is purely delicious to the soul. Located on Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., the restaurant has a huge covered patio that is overflowing with plants and flowers.

The Refectory Café | 2726 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd

Head to Refectory Café, where every diet classification can delight in delicious food from a common menu, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on their lovely covered outdoor patio.

Tobacco Wood Brewing Co. | 2500 Meridian Pkwy

Tobacco Wood Brewing Co. features 30+ craft taps and delicious bites like pork belly grilled cheese, BBQ tacos, and flatbreads. Sit at one of the picnic tables with an umbrella to get some shade.

UHill Walls | 3806 University Drive

Spend some time viewing murals at UHill Walls, a commercial space with 40,000 square feet of massive murals. Afterward, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the cool air from the outdoor fans on the covered patios at Apéritif, BB’s Crispy Chicken, Happy + Hale — or one of the other nearby food and drink establishments.


Head east to enjoy local food, craft beer, and ice cream under the shade on Golden Belt Campus, or stop by a new book café to cool down with an iced drink and book.

Golden Belt Campus | 807 E. Main Street

Cool off at Golden Belt Campus under the shade with ice cream on the rooftop patio of Two Roosters Ice Cream or with a beer on the patio of Hi-Wire Brewing.

Rofhiwa Book Café | 406 S. Driver Street

Stop by this Black-owned independent shop for books that capture the artistry and experience of Black writers. They have a couple of shaded tables outside, so you can happily enjoy your book and iced coffee.


Nature abounds in North Durham. Explore trails and parks covered by large trees, spend hours at the museum to get a little relief from that direct sun, or relax and enjoy the weather while dining at a restaurant with outdoor seating.

Gocciolina | 3314 Guess Road

Sit outside on the covered patio and enjoy delicious Italian pasta dishes, beer, wine, and dessert.

Museum of Life & Science | 433 W. Murray Ave.

Located just blocks from downtown, the Museum of Life & Science is one of North Carolina’s top family destinations. With plenty of covered spots on their 84 acres, adults and children can explore outdoor exhibits and stay cool.

West Point on the Eno | 5101 N. Roxboro Street

Great trails, lovely views, and lots and lots of trees. You can enjoy a leisurely picnic and stroll around the grounds, or take a hike through the woods on one of the park trails.

If you know a restaurant, local business, or outdoor spot that we missed, please send us an email at blog@discoverdurham.com.