Things to go, see and do in Durham: Part 3

December 14, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Dec. 14, 2015

Recently, I was asked about things to visit and do in Durham, where I’ve lived for about seven and a half years. I’ve split my response, which has been lightly edited, into three blog posts. The first one was about Duke-related places; the second was about Durham’s non-Duke stuff; and finally this one covers a few miscellaneous items. Enjoy!


The website of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau should be your first stop when you have questions about visiting the city and county of Durham or any of its attractions, restaurants or events.

Durham has some excellent coffee shops, about which I could write many many words. One of the coolest is Cocoa Cinnamon, which has a lovely outdoor seating area. Unfortunately, the limited indoor seating means that the shop can be very crowded when rain or cold temperatures prevail. Cocoa Cinnamon is located in a relatively new entertainment district north of Durham Central Park, which itself is north of downtown. (This part of town lacks a widely agreed-upon name, to the best of my knowledge.) The owners of Cocoa Cinnamon are preparing to open a second location in Western Durham. I also highly recommend Respite Cafe near the Brightleaf Square shopping and dining complex, which is between downtown Durham and East Campus.

The Streets at Southpoint at 6910 Fayetteville Road (919-572-8808) is arguably the Triangle’s biggest and nicest shopping mall. (I suppose the folks at the Triangle Town Center on the north side of Raleigh might argue with this. So might the people at Crabtree Valley Mall in northwest Raleigh — but they would be wrong.) The mall has both outdoor and indoor concourses.

There are plenty of things to do and see in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Raleigh, the best-known communities elsewhere in the Triangle, but allow me to recommend one place on the fringes of the region.

Carolina Tiger Rescue, a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary, is located on the extremely rurals outskirts of the small town of Pittsboro. Visitors can only proceed past Carolina Tiger Rescue’s offices as part of a scheduled tour. (Book your tickets in advance.) The facility houses tigers, lions and a variety of other wildcats, many of which were inappropriately kept as pets. Carolina Tiger Rescue is at least a half-hour drive from pretty much anywhere in the Triangle, and there are few restaurants and gas stations nearby, so take that into consideration before you make the trip. Also, make sure your young visitors are mature enough to handle a lengthy walking tour that can run from 90 minutes to two hours.

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