You are currently viewing 18 Free Things to Do in Durham NC

18 Free Things to Do in Durham NC

If you’re looking for a fun day out in Durham, North Carolina, plenty of free activities keep you entertained. From exploring the picturesque Sarah P. Duke Gardens and Duke University Chapel to discovering the history at Bennett Place Historic Site and Stagville State Historic Site, there’s something for everyone in Durham. Get active outdoors with a hike along the Al Buehler Hiking Trails, or take a stroll around West Point on the Eno. For some retail therapy, check out Streets at Southpoint or Brightleaf Square, then quench your thirst with some cider from Bull City Ciderworks. For a more rural experience, visit Waller Family Farm and Hi-Wire Brewing – Durham. Finish your day by shopping at the Durham Farmers’ Market or an evening of trivia at Pour Taproom. No matter what you choose to do in Durham, you’ll surely have a great time!

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens are a great place to explore Durham, NC, for free. Located on the campus of Duke University, this 55-acre public botanical garden is home to over 4,000 varieties of plants and flowers from around the world. From lush green spaces to blooming flower beds, there’s something for everyone here. Visitors can take leisurely strolls through the gardens or take part in educational programs like horticultural classes. The grounds are well-maintained and carefully manicured, so you’ll always find something new to look at each time you visit. Whether looking for a peaceful escape or an interactive experience with nature, Sarah P. Duke Gardens is perfect for both!

Duke University

Duke University is a vibrant and beautiful university in Durham, North Carolina. With its impressive campus and stunning grounds, Duke offers a variety of free activities to do. From visiting the iconic Duke Chapel to exploring the nearby Eno River State Park, there’s something for everyone!

Take a stroll through the picturesque Sarah P. Duke Gardens, featuring hundreds of varieties of plants and trees. Admire the beautiful architecture of Duke Chapel, one of the most recognizable landmarks on campus. Visit the historic Bennett Place Historic Site to learn more about the Civil War history of Durham. Spend an afternoon outdoors at Eno River State Park, where you can hike along trails or cast a line in the river for some fishing.

Explore other historical sites like Stagville State Historic Site or Duke Homestead. Experience downtown Durham by visiting Brightleaf Square or shopping at Streets at Southpoint Mall. Sample craft ciders from Bull City Ciderworks, or check out Hi-Wire Brewing’s latest creations. Stop by Waller Family Farm for fresh produce or spend Saturday morning browsing at Durham Farmers’ Market. Get a glimpse into Durham’s past at the Museum of Durham History, or try your luck with a game night at Pour Taproom. With so many things to do, you will enjoy exploring all Duke University offers!

Duke University Chapel

Duke University Chapel is a magnificent, awe-inspiring structure that stands proudly on the Duke University campus. This breathtaking Chapel was designed by the architect Julian Abele and completed in 1932. It is an iconic landmark of the Durham skyline and one of the most popular places to visit in Durham. The Chapel has been featured in many movies and television shows and is a must-see for visitors to the city.

The interior of Duke University Chapel features remarkable stained glass windows, a grand organ with over 6,000 pipes, ornate wood carvings, marble floors and walls, and exquisite works of art from around the world. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or attend one of many daily services. The Chapel also hosts several concerts throughout the year featuring renowned musicians from across the globe.

The grounds surrounding Duke University Chapel are perfect for strolling around while admiring its majestic architecture or sitting down to enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner on the grassy lawns. There’s also plenty of parking available for those who choose to drive in for their visit. Whether you’re looking for a place to pray or want to explore one of Durham’s most beloved landmarks, Duke University Chapel is sure to provide a memorable experience!

Also Read: Fall Things to Do in Charlotte

Bennett Place Historic Site

Bennett Place Historic Site offers an educational and immersive experience for all ages. Located about a ten-minute drive from downtown Durham, it is the site of the largest Confederate surrender of the Civil War. You can explore the historic buildings and grounds at your own pace and learn about the lives of those who lived here during that time. The site also features a museum with interactive exhibits to help you better understand what happened here in April 1865. There are also special events throughout the year, such as living history demonstrations, military reenactments, lectures, etc. Be sure to check out their calendar for upcoming programs and activities.

Eno River State Park

Eno River State Park is a great place to experience nature, peace and tranquility in Durham, NC. Located just a few miles from downtown, the park is home to over 30 miles of trails that wind along the Eno River and the surrounding forests. From easy family hikes to more challenging treks for experienced hikers, Eno River State Park has something for everyone. Visitors can also enjoy canoeing and fishing on the river or relax on its many bankside beaches. For those wanting a little extra adventure, guided tours orient visitors to the park’s unique habitats, such as wetlands and old-growth forests. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful walk in nature or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, Eno River State Park has something for you!

American Tobacco Historic District

Explore the past at the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham, NC! This charming area was once an industrial center but has now been transformed into a vibrant hub of shopping, dining and entertainment. Learn more about the city’s history and culture as you walk among brick-lined streets filled with art galleries, restaurants, boutiques and other attractions. Discover one-of-a-kind shops like Humble Pies, where you can try their award-winning hand pies; Five Points Bottle Shop for craft beer; or The Cookery for a delicious farm-to-table meal. Stroll by historic buildings such as the old Lucky Strike Factory and Imperial Tobacco Building, or take a tour of nearby venues like DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center) or Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Remember to pick up some local goods from places like Ninth Street Bakery or Hope Valley Bottle Shop before you go – there’s something for everyone in this unique section of Durham!

Streets at Southpoint

Streets at Southpoint is the perfect destination for a day of fun and free activities in Durham! From shopping to dining to outdoor recreation, there’s something here to suit every taste. The mall features over 170 stores and restaurants, including popular national brands such as Apple, Sephora, and H&M. Take a break from shopping and explore the outdoor plaza featuring a carousel, splash pad, and theater for special events. Bring your appetite for delicious food options ranging from quick-service favorites to upscale fine-dining establishments. Relax with a movie at the onsite AMC Theatre or discover an exciting lineup of special events throughout the year—from live music performances to holiday celebrations. Enjoy a stroll along the winding paths that lead through landscaped gardens, or take advantage of Streets at Southpoint’s convenient bike rental program for an enjoyable ride around the mall. However you choose to spend your time here, you’re sure to create lasting memories!

Stagville State Historic Site

Stagville State Historic Site is one of Durham’s most unique attractions. It’s home to the remains of a former plantation, which dates back to the early 1800s. From its humble beginnings as a tobacco farm, Stagville has evolved over the years into one of the city’s most historically significant sites. Visitors can view 19th-century ruins, learn about local history and participate in interactive programs such as guided tours, living history demonstrations and candlelight walks. Located on a 700-acre stretch of land, Stagville offers plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching and picnicking. Whether you’re looking for an educational experience or a leisurely afternoon in nature, Stagville State Historic Site is sure to be an unforgettable experience!

Duke Homestead

Duke Homestead is an interesting and historic place in Durham, North Carolina. It’s the home of Washington Duke, a tobacco farmer who pioneered the commercialization of tobacco production in the latter half of the 19th century. Visitors can explore the grounds and learn about the history and life of Washington Duke and his family. The site includes:

  • A recreated farmhouse.
  • A log tobacco barn.
  • A visitor center.
  • Four acres of gardens with period plants used in agricultural production.

Visitors can also view an outdoor exhibit that presents various aspects of tobacco farming, including planting, curing, storage, and sales.

West Point on the Eno

West Point on the Eno is a great spot for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Located in Durham, North Carolina, it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring the Eno River and its natural beauty. The park offers several trails that meander along the river, allowing visitors to observe birds and other wildlife. There are also three historic sites within West Point on the Eno, including an old mill site, a cotton gin and a log cabin.

Fishing is available at West Point on the Eno but requires an NC fishing license. Visitors can also participate in canoeing and kayaking activities, with rentals available from nearby businesses. For those looking for some relaxation, there are plenty of spots to set up a picnic or enjoy the view from one of two observation decks overlooking the river. A theater also hosts events throughout the year, like concerts, plays and movie screenings.

The park also has restrooms, drinking water fountains and grills for public use, and a visitor center that offers information about local history and ecology. Whether looking for a relaxing day outdoors or near nature, West Point on the Eno will provide something for everyone!

Read More Places: Free Things to Do in Anaheim

Brightleaf Square

Brightleaf Square is an outdoor mall located in the heart of Durham, NC. This popular destination offers plenty of free things to do during your visit. Brightleaf Square has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll, some shopping or a bite to eat.

The square has many walking paths and benches to relax on as you take in the sights and sounds of the area. Visitors can enjoy live music from local bands playing in the courtyard during the warmer months. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants to browse through. A few highlights include Bull City Ciderworks, Pour Taproom and Streets at Southpoint Mall.

For those seeking an educational experience, Brightleaf Square also houses several historical sites, such as Bennett Place Historic Site and Duke Homestead. At Bennett Place Historic Site, you can learn about the largest surrender of Confederate troops during the Civil War in 1865. Meanwhile, Duke Homestead preserves artifacts related to Washington Duke’s tobacco business which launched North Carolina’s tobacco industry in 1852.

In addition to these attractions, Brightleaf Square also hosts several special events throughout the year, such as farmers’ markets and holiday celebrations like Christmas caroling and fireworks shows. So if you’re looking for free things to do in Durham, NC, check out Brightleaf Square!

Bull City Ciderworks

Bull City Ciderworks is a must-see for anyone visiting Durham, NC. Located in the historic Brightleaf Square neighborhood, this cidery offers a wide selection of delicious ciders and hard drinks for all to enjoy. They offer ciders made from local apples, craft beer, and house-made cocktails.

The atmosphere at Bull City Ciderworks is festive and fun. With an outdoor patio area and plenty of seating, visitors can relax while sipping their favorite drinks. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable about all of their products, so you can be sure you’re getting the best drink possible. During the warmer months, you can bring your food to enjoy while taking in the sights of downtown Durham.

Suppose you’re looking to explore more of what Bull City Ciderworks offers. In that case, regular events like trivia nights and live music performances make for an enjoyable evening out. For those who prefer something more low-key, there’s an invitation-only tasting room where visitors can have a private cider-tasting experience with friends or family.

No matter what the occasion may be, Bull City Ciderworks makes for a perfect stop during your visit to Durham! Explore their great selection of ciders and drinks today!

Waller Family Farm

Experience the unique, family-owned, operated Waller Family Farm in Durham, NC! This farm has been in the Waller family for over 100 years and provides a wonderful glimpse into the past. Visitors can enjoy various activities, from picking strawberries and pumpkins to exploring the petting zoo or taking part in hay rides. There’s even an educational garden where you can learn about organic farming techniques. Plus, you can purchase fresh produce grown on the farm – perfect for making delicious meals at home! The Waller Family Farm is a great way to spend a day out with friends or family while getting back to nature.

Al Buehler Hiking Trails

Explore the great outdoors with a visit to Al Buehler Hiking Trails! These trails are located on Duke University’s campus and offer stunning views of North Carolina’s natural beauty. Enjoy a peaceful hike through lush forests, open meadows and tranquil streams while taking in the sights of wildflowers and rare birds. With over 7 miles of trails, there is something for everyone – whether you are looking for a stroll or an intense workout. The trails also feature a variety of bridges and boardwalks, as well as picnic tables along the way. Whether new to hiking or an experienced hiker, Al Buehler Hiking Trails are sure to provide an enjoyable outdoor experience!

Durham Farmers’ Market

Gathering fresh, locally-sourced produce from Durham Farmers’ Market is the perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday morning. Located at 501 Foster Street, this vibrant community space is full of farmers and vendors offering the best fruits and vegetables in the area. Whether you’re looking for organic produce or freshly caught seafood, there’s something for everyone at Durham Farmers’ Market. You can also enjoy live music from local musicians while you shop and grab a bite to eat from one of the many food trucks that often make an appearance. There’s a kid’s play area, so your little ones can have fun while you pick up groceries! With its wide selection of seasonal offerings, friendly atmosphere and convenient location, Durham Farmers’ Market is sure to be a hit with locals and visitors alike.

Museum of Durham History

The Museum of Durham History is one of the most unique and fascinating places to visit in Durham. It’s an interactive museum that celebrates Durham’s past and present, from its beginnings as a small tobacco-farming town to its modern incarnation as a vibrant, diverse city. Visitors can explore exhibits and collections that tell the stories of the people who lived, worked, and shaped Durham over the years.

The Museum of Durham History has something for everyone, from artifacts and photographs to interactive displays. You can learn about local civil rights activists such as Pauli Murray or explore a recreation of a 1940s storefront street scene complete with vintage signs and cars. The museum also features a variety of educational films and programs on topics ranging from the history of Duke University to African American contributions to North Carolina culture.

If you’re looking for something more hands-on, there are plenty of activities at the Museum of Durham History. You can participate in workshops where you learn about traditional crafts like basket weaving or participate in interactive games that help bring history alive. On your way out, take home some souvenirs from their gift shop featuring locally made products!

Hi-Wire Brewing – Durham

Hi-Wire Brewing: Durham is a great place to experience craft beer without spending money. Located in the historic Brightleaf District of downtown Durham, Hi-Wire Brewing offers a wide selection of beers, from light lagers and hoppy IPAs to barrel-aged stouts and sour ales. With an outdoor patio, 20 rotating taps and plenty of indoor seating, Hi-Wire Brewing has something for everyone.

The brewery also hosts live music events and trivia nights throughout the week. You can bring your food or order delivery on Saturdays to enjoy with your beer! Whether you’re looking for a relaxing night out or want to try some new flavors, Hi-Wire Brewing is sure to provide an enjoyable experience.

Pour Taproom

Pour Taproom in Durham, NC, is a great place to get your craft beer fix. With more than 40 rotating taps and hundreds of bottles, you can explore the world of craft beer without ever leaving the city. The knowledgeable staff is always helpful and willing to answer questions about the beers on tap. They also feature weekly events like trivia nights, pour-your-own special releases, and educational beer tastings. If you’re feeling adventurous, participate in the popular Blind Flight Challenge or join their Mug Club for exclusive discounts. Whether you’re just starting to learn about craft beer or an experienced taster, Pour Taproom has something for everyone!

To sum up, the whole family can enjoy various free things to do in Durham, NC. From visiting the beautiful Sarah P. Duke Gardens and taking in the stunning architecture of Duke University Chapel to exploring historic sites like Bennett Place and Stagville State Historic Site and even enjoying some tasty treats at Bull City Ciderworks or Hi-Wire Brewing – Durham, you’re sure to find something for everyone in Durham. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities like a hike along Al Buehler’s hiking trails, shopping at Street at Southpoint, or indoor fun like visiting the Museum of Durham History or Pour Taproom, Durham has something for everyone!

Leave a Reply