Durham, North Carolina, is a city with a lot going on. It is the home of the Research Triangle Park, one of the most prominent high-tech research and development centers in the US. The downtown area has been revitalized and the Tobacco Historic District has been transformed to a center for restaurants, entertainment, and the arts. The city also hosts some of the top festivals in the country, including the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the American Dance Festival, meaning that you’ll find plenty of things to do in Durham throughout the year.
Taste of Durham
The Taste of Durham Food Festival includes craft beer and wine tasting, live music, dance demonstrations, arts and culture activities, and special family entertainment. The food is provided by local restaurants with different styles and cuisines. It’s a chance for the local food providers to showcase their recipes and give locals and visitors a taste of the different dining options that one can find when living in Durham. The festival takes place in October and there is a general admission fee for everyone over 12 years of age.
In early October, Durham presents the Phoenix Fest, which is a cultural legacy of Durham’s Hayti community. Fayetteville Street is blocked off and magically becomes a bustling bazaar with vendors serving delicious food and unique local arts and crafts. There’s an early morning parade and live music all day from 9AM until 6PM. Admission is free, and you can bring your lawn chairs and blankets and spend the day watching more than 20 performances of reggae, R&B, gospel, blues, hip-hop, and jazz.
Durham Craft Market
Every Saturday from April through November, Durham hosts the Durham Craft Market. Each week there is something unique and new, and residents make it a point to visit throughout the summer and fall. You’ll see original arts and crafts as well as special celebrations. Children enjoy face painting and body art. The crafts range in price from a few dollars to a few hundred. In December, the Durham Craft Market sponsors a Holiday Show with live music and prizes. The Market takes place in Central Park from 8AM until 12PM.
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
One of the top film festivals in the country, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is dedicated to non-fiction cinema. It usually takes place in April in the historic downtown district for four days. More than 100 films are shown from morning to midnight for four days. There are also discussion panels and the chance to converse with filmmakers and film professionals. It is a qualifying festival for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. The festival offers several prizes each year including, but not limited to, the best short, the audience award, and the best student film. Passes can be bought for admission to 20 films, 15 films, and 10 films. Student passes and last-minute passes are also available.
Durham has a full range of events throughout the year to keep locals entertained no matter the month or season.