Durham's Sightseeing Tours
Find your perfect adventure and experience Durham with this list of tours in the Bull City.
Sure, it’s fun to explore Durham on your own, but an informative tour led by an expert guide with all kinds of insider knowledge that you can’t get anywhere else ... priceless.
Looking to learn more about Durham's African American history? Reserve a spot on a Whistle Stop tour. Want to simultaneously exercise and get a glimpse of some of Durham's incredible murals? Check out Preservation Durham's Murals by Bike tour. Eager to hear a comedian spin history into jokes while sipping on adult beverages? Yes, there is a tour for you, and it's on the Bull City Laughs' big blue bus.
Whether you’re visiting for a week or a weekend, or just ready to step out and discover more of the city you call home, this selection of tours will help you get up close and personal with Durham.
Some tour providers on this list may have limited or ceased operations due to COVID-19. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
Whistle Stop Tours
Get ready to learn more about Durham's African American history on a storytelling tour with brief stops all around Durham.
Created by Aya Shabu in 2011, Durham's Whistle Stop walking tours strive to be a contributing voice in shaping the public memory of North Carolina’s slave past and African American achievement. With partnerships that include the Hayti Heritage Center and the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice, the tours celebrate the forefathers and foremothers of Durham’s Black Wall Street, Hayti, and West End neighborhoods.
Expect to see performers and activists, scholars and public historians, natives and long-time residents coming together to preserve African American neighborhoods by sharing their stories. Reserve a spot on a custom group tour available for birthdays, family reunions, professional retreats, class field trips, and more. (Bus tours are available upon request at an additional cost.)
Preservation Durham Tours
Preservation Durham has a mission to protect Durham’s historic assets and stories through education, advocacy, and action. They offer free walking tours (and one biking tour) on Saturdays which focus on Durham's murals, tobacco history, civil rights history, and architecture. All tours depart from and return to the Major the Bull sculpture at 211 W. Parrish St. in the heart of downtown. Register in advance to reserve your spot.
Murals by Bike Tour | 1st Saturdays
Discover all sorts of murals while cruisin' on two wheels for the Murals by Bike Tour.
Preservation Durham has partnered with The Nasher Museum of Duke University and the Museum of Durham History to create a bicycle tour of the historic murals of downtown Durham.
Downtown Durham Tobacco Heritage Walking Tour | 2nd Saturdays
Check out some of the tobacco warehouses that are still standing and learn about Durham's tobacco heritage.
Preservation Durham’s enthusiastic and well-informed volunteer tour guides will lead you through the history of the tobacco industry as they tell many tales from Durham’s past, using oral histories and photographs to illustrate the history of tobacco and the people who supplied tobacco products known throughout the world.
Downtown Durham Civil Rights History Walking Tour | 3rd Saturdays
Walk to sites in downtown Durham that were important during the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement.
The stops include the Durham County Courthouse, the Durham Arts Council (originally Durham High School and later City Hall), the Kress and Woolworth buildings, sites of sit-in protests, and the “Confronting Change” exhibit at the Carolina Theatre.
Durham's Architecture & Urban Landscape Walking Tour | 4th Saturdays
Explore downtown Durham and learn how it has transformed itself from an industrial center to the City of Medicine.
Docents describe the history of many of the landmark buildings that make up the historic downtown district, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977. Featured on the tour are the 1915 First National Bank, the 1921 Mechanics and Farmers Bank Building, and Preservation Durham’s one-time home, the Snow Building, built in 1933.
Masks are required for each tour. Please take the weather into account when planning and always wear comfortable shoes!
Bull City Laughs
Laugh your way through Durham's history as you sit back, relax, and listen to a comedian spin history into jokes.
Bull City Laughs started out of a barbershop from a conversation about entrepreneurs and the importance of controlling your destiny. They believe Durham is a great city, laughter should unite people, and a day or night out should be filled with fun. Their tours combine stand-up comedy and a tour of the city on a large open-air bus to bring you a unique experience.
Whether you sign up for the Turn up Tuesday Tour or the Rated-R Comedy Tour, for about $30, you can bring your own beer (don't get too crazy) and see Durham through the jokes of a comedian.
Brown Hat Tours
See iconic tobacco factories, hip watering holes, and nationally acclaimed restaurants, as you learn about Durham's origins — its rise, fall and rise again as the coolest city in the South.
The Hops 'n' Spirits Crawl will take you to the city's best pubs, breweries, and distilleries, and the Show Off Tour does exactly what it says — shows off the best spots in Durham. Your group can also take a Maker Tour, Blue Devil Tour, and a custom tour where you create the tour you want to experience.
Tobacco Road Tours
For over 12 years, Tobacco Road Tours has provided tours, activities, and transportation services to the public. In 2009, Brad Kennedy and Lynn Lamont, both seasoned domestic and international travelers, desired to bring the history, culture, amenities, and lifestyle to guests in the Triangle. Try your best to sign up as early as possible for their popular Ghost Walk tours that sell out quickly, and check out the Historic Durham & Tobacco Empire Driving Tour.
Historic Durham & Tobacco Empire Driving Tour
Discover Historic Durham and hear about the rise of the great Tobacco Empire on a comfortable, motorized vehicle. The 2.5-hour tour includes sights such as the American Tobacco Campus, the downtown business district, Ninth Street, and Brightleaf Square.
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours
Eat or drink your way through the "tastiest town in the South" (thank you for the name Southern Living) with these delicious foodie tour options!
The Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours take you around Durham and introduce you to the restaurants and people that are making Durham one of the nation’s hotspots. These tours include food tastings at five to six different restaurants and food shops, with splashes of wine and tastes of beer here and there. (Schedules and menus are subject to change on a week-to-week basis based on restaurant availability.)
Duke & NCCU Campus Tours
North Carolina Central University (NCCU) and Duke University make Durham an epicenter of collegiate brilliance. Whether you have a few hours or a few days, many discoveries await.
Visitors can explore campus remotely with a virtual campus tour, and people are welcome to use the map of campus to tour the campus.
NCCU is offering student, family, and campus walking tours on select Mondays through Fridays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., as well as Saturdays at 11:00 a.m.
Escape the hustle and bustle for a taste of the outdoors on a bicycle, canoe, or kayak nature tour, with guides from Carolina Tarwheels, Two Sister's Adventure Company, and Frog Hollow Outdoors.