Nestled in the heart of North Carolina's Piedmont region lies Durham, a city with a rich tapestry of history, culture, and opportunity. From its beginnings as a Native American settlement to its role in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and later establishment as a tobacco town, Durham has undergone a remarkable transformation into a center of education, technology, and innovation.

We'll dive into what makes this city so special while addressing the challenges residents may encounter. So, grab a sweet tea and learn about this wonderful city!

The Pros of Living in Durham, NC

“Durham, to me,” shares Amanda MacLaren of Durham Magazine, “feels like a small town within a metropolitan setting: You’re going to randomly run into your neighbors and friends on the street and still take secluded walks along the Eno River, but you’ll also see international superstars or Broadway shows on the stages of our performing arts venues and discover renowned artists within our galleries. It truly is the best of both worlds.”

With the city ranked as the #2 best place to live in the south, and #3 best place to live in the US by U.S. News & World Report, let’s dive into why Durham is such a great place to live!

Vibrant Community

At the core of Durham is its people, comprising a richly diverse community. With a population estimated at 333,292, the city has a mosaic of cultures and backgrounds, where 55% identify as White, 35% as Black or African American, and 14% as Hispanic or Latino. Adding to its richness, Durham has a thriving array of minority-owned businesses, totaling 1,051 establishments, contributing to the city's economic and cultural vibrancy.

Throughout the year, residents and visitors can attend events like the Hayti Heritage Film Festival, the Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival, and the Latin American Film Festival.

Thriving Job Market

With Research Triangle Park and major universities like Duke and North Carolina Central, Durham has a robust job market with opportunities in sectors ranging from technology and healthcare to education and research.

Some of the top employers in Durham, NC include the following:

  • Duke University and Duke University Health System

  • IBM

  • RTI International

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

  • Biogen

  • Fidelity Investments

  • Cree, Inc


  • And much, much more!

Whether you're a recent graduate seeking your first job or a seasoned professional looking to advance your career, Durham offers ample opportunities for growth and development.

Excellent Education

Durham is home to some of the finest educational institutions in the country, including Duke University, a top ten school in National Universities according to U.S. News. In addition to its prestigious universities, Durham is served by an above-average public school system and a variety of private and charter schools, providing families with access to quality education at all levels.

Duke Chapel on Duke University Campus
Duke Chapel on Duke University Campus

Enjoyable Weather

Blessed with a temperate climate, Durham enjoys mild winters and warm summers, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. In January, the average temperature range is between 30°F and 51°F. In July, the average temperature range is between 69°F and 89°F.

Rich History

From its origins as a thriving Native American settlement to its transformation into a bustling tobacco town, Durham's history is rich and multifaceted. Visitors and residents alike can explore historic sites like the Stagville Plantation and the Hayti Heritage Center, gaining a deeper understanding of the city's past and its impact on the present.

To read more about the history of Durham, be sure to check out the Museum of Durham History.

Great Food

Foodies rejoice! Durham's culinary scene is fantastic, with an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and food trucks serving up everything from Southern comfort food to international cuisine. In fact, Southern Living named Durham, “The Tastiest Town in the South.” Whether you're sampling the farm-to-table fare at one of Durham's acclaimed restaurants or browsing the stalls at the Durham Farmers' Market, you're sure to find something you love.

Some of our agent’s favorites are Bennett Pointe Grill, Elmo’s, and Shiki Sushi!

Just some of the many restaurants in Durham
Just some of the many restaurants in Durham

Sports and Entertainment

Sports fans will feel right at home in Durham, home to the iconic Durham Bulls baseball team and the Duke Blue Devils basketball team.

In addition to its sports offerings, Durham has a vibrant arts and entertainment scene, with live music venues, theaters, and galleries showcasing local talent and national acts alike.

Some of our agent’s favorite things to do are catch a performance at the Durham Performing Arts Center, watch a Durham Bulls baseball game, or hike on an Eno River State Park trail!

Minor League Baseball Team, "The Durham Bulls", Athletic Park
Minor League Baseball Team, "The Durham Bulls", Athletic Park

Green Spaces

Despite its urban setting, Durham is home to an abundance of green spaces where residents can escape the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature. Whether you're strolling through the lush trails of Eno River State Park or picnicking in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, there's plenty of room to roam and relax in Durham's outdoor scene.

The Cons of Living in Durham, NC

Despite its many attractions, there are some aspects of life in Durham that may present challenges for residents and visitors alike.

Humid Summers

While Durham's mild winters are a welcome reprieve from the cold, its summers can be sweltering, with high temperatures and humidity levels that can make outdoor activities uncomfortable. Be sure to stay hydrated and seek out air-conditioned spaces during the hottest months of the year. Fortunately, Durham is conveniently situated within a few hours' drive of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and the beautiful beaches to the east, offering refreshing escapes from the summer heat.

Crime Concerns

Like any urban area, Durham experiences its share of crime, particularly in certain neighborhoods. While efforts have been made to improve public safety, residents need to remain vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves and their property.


If you suffer from allergies, Durham's pollen season can be particularly challenging. During the spring months, the city's trees and flowers release pollen into the air, triggering allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Be sure to stock up on allergy medication and avoid spending prolonged periods outdoors during peak pollen times.

Heavy Traffic

With its growing population and expanding infrastructure, Durham has seen an increase in traffic congestion in recent years, especially during peak commute times. Plan your travel routes accordingly and consider alternative modes of transportation, such as biking or public transit, to avoid getting stuck in traffic jams.

Should You Move to Durham, NC?

Life in Durham, NC, offers a unique blend of opportunities and challenges that make it a dynamic and exciting place to call home. From its vibrant community and affordable living to its thriving job market and rich cultural heritage, Durham has something to offer everyone. When considering the pros and cons of living in Durham NC, while its humid summers, crime concerns, pollen season, and traffic congestion may present challenges for some residents, the city's many strengths and amenities more than compensate for these drawbacks. Whether you're drawn to Durham's thriving arts scene, culinary delights, or outdoor adventures, one thing is for sure – life in the Bull City is never dull.

Looking for homes for sale in Durham, NC? Be sure to check out our Durham County home search!