Embracing Life in Durham, NC: A Guide for Duke University College Professors


Congratulations on your new position at Duke University! As a college professor joining the esteemed Duke faculty, you’ll not only have access to world-class resources, but you’ll also be living in the vibrant and thriving city of Durham, North Carolina. This guide aims to provide a warm welcome and a comprehensive introduction to all that Durham has to offer as you settle into your new home.

  1. Discover the City’s Rich History

Durham boasts a rich and storied past that has left a lasting impression on the city’s landscape. As a professor at Duke University, you’ll want to explore Durham’s historical roots, which are deeply intertwined with the African American community, the Civil Rights Movement, and the tobacco and textile industries. Key sites to visit include the American Tobacco Campus, Duke Homestead, the Museum of Durham History, and the Hayti Heritage Center.

  1. Revel in Nature’s Beauty

Durham offers an array of natural attractions for those who appreciate the outdoors. The Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Eno River State Park, and Duke Forest provide ideal settings for leisurely strolls, hiking, and even kayaking or canoeing. Plus, the city is home to numerous greenways and parks, such as the American Tobacco Trail and Al Buehler Cross Country Trail, perfect for cycling, jogging, or simply taking in the scenery.

  1. Savor the Culinary Scene

Durham is known for its dynamic and diverse food culture, offering everything from casual eateries to award-winning restaurants. The city’s culinary landscape is heavily influenced by Southern, Asian, and Latin American flavors, ensuring a delightful dining experience. Don’t miss out on the vibrant food truck scene or the Durham Farmers’ Market for fresh, local produce.

  1. Experience the Arts and Culture

As a Duke professor, you’ll find no shortage of arts and culture in Durham. The city is home to the renowned Nasher Museum of Art, the Carolina Theatre, and the Durham Performing Arts Center, which regularly host exhibitions, performances, and events. You’ll also discover a thriving local music scene, with venues like Motorco Music Hall and The Pinhook showcasing an eclectic mix of genres.

  1. Connect with Your Academic Community

Duke University is an integral part of the Durham community, and you’ll find ample opportunities to connect with your colleagues and fellow academics. Attend university-sponsored events, seminars, and workshops to build your network and collaborate on research projects. Additionally, consider joining the Duke Faculty Club, which offers social events, fitness facilities, and other resources to enrich your experience as a college professor.

  1. Embrace the Sports Scene

Durham’s passionate sports culture is another aspect of life you’ll want to embrace. Duke University is known for its competitive athletics, particularly basketball. Attend a Blue Devils game at the iconic Cameron Indoor Stadium and become part of the renowned Cameron Crazies. The city is also home to the Durham Bulls, a Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, with games held at the charming Durham Bulls Athletic Park.


Durham, North Carolina, offers a vibrant and enriching environment for college professors at Duke University. From its rich history and natural beauty to its diverse culinary scene and thriving arts and culture, Durham has something for everyone. As you settle into your new role at Duke, take the time to explore and embrace the city’s many offerings, and you’ll soon find yourself feeling right at home in this welcoming Southern community.

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