Duke University Campus (across the street)
Well known as one of the nation’s top academic and research institutions, visitors to Duke are often surprised by the physical beauty, serenity and diversity of its campus. Nestled within its 8,600 acres is the Duke Forest, one of the largest continually managed woodlands in the United States with over 30 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. The Sarah P. Duke Gardens’ five miles of walkways and allées wind gracefully among 55 acres of indigenous and non-native flora. The 210-foot tall Duke Chapel, with its gothic-inspired pointed arches and ribbed vaults rises majestically over West Campus. For a truly unique experience (unless you live in Madagascar), visit the Duke Lemur Center, the world’s largest sanctuary for rare and endangered prosimian primates. Art lovers may want to survey the Nasher Museum of Art’s 13,000+ piece collection including original works by Warhol, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso. All of this within minutes of the King’s Daughters Inn. Duke University, Durham, NC 27708. (919) 684-8111, www.duke.edu.
Ninth Street (short walk across Duke’s East Campus)
Indy spirit lives on Ninth St., a four block commercial district known for its vibrant street life and conspicuous lack of national chains. Though its proximity to Duke might suggest a student-centered focus, it caters equally, if not more, to local Durhamites. This eclectic collection of shops and restaurants has something for everyone – from tattoos and comic books, to specialty athletic shoes, to fine jewelry and clothing. It also offers a wide variety of ethnic cuisines.
Brightleaf Square (3 blocks)
Named for the golden-yellow tobacco which for nearly 75 years was aged, cured and fermented within its walls, these two converted brick warehouses and central courtyard are now home to a mix of Durham’s finest eateries and shops. Renovated in 2004, visitors can eat, browse and meander leisurely through the twinkle lit courtyard. Situated between downtown and Duke University, Brightleaf Square is a culinary and commercial centerpiece of Durham’s downtown district. Brightleaf Square, 905 West Main Street, Durham, NC 27701. (919) 682-9229, Brightleaf Square.
Durham Bulls Athletic Park (1 mile)
In 1988, “Bull Durham” instantly transformed the Durham Bulls into a national sensation, but Bulls baseball has been part of Durham’s summer landscape for nearly a century. In 1995, the Bulls, now the Triple-A affiliate for the Tampa Bay Rays, moved into this beautiful new stadium. Designed by the same architects as Camden Yards in Baltimore, its brick façade, manual scoreboard and intimate layout evoke that same classic, old-time ballpark ambience. $10 will get you a seat at field level, but feel free to roam the playground and picnic pavilions, test your skills on the climbing wall, or gauge your pitch speed on radar. The “DBAP” also hosts corporate events and group outings with full catering service; call or visit their website for details. See you at the ballpark! Durham Bulls Athletic Park, 409 Blackwell Street, Durham, NC 27701. (919) 956-BULL, www.dbulls.com.
American Tobacco Historic District (1 mile)
From its formation in 1890, for the American Tobacco Company was for decades the economic engine powering Durham’s economy and a dominant force in the worldwide tobacco industry. With dwindling market share, diversification and a branching out of its operations, American Tobacco finally abandoned its Durham campus in 1987 and the one million square foot property fell into disrepair and decay. Purchased by the Capitol Broadcasting Company in 1998, this National Historic Landmark has undergone a remarkable and inspired transformation into the mixed-use development that stands today. Restored tobacco warehouses are now home to restaurants, bars and businesses which frame a multi-purpose central courtyard and lawn. A ¼ mile stepped waterway bisects the courtyard while above, the iconic Lucky Strike smokestack and water tower punctuate the Durham skyline as they have for decades. This award-winning reclamation project has served as a catalyst for the downtown revival that’s still ongoing, and is a must see for visitors to the “Bull City.” American Tobacco Historic District, 318 Blackwell Street, Durham, NC 27701. (919) 433-1566, www.americantobaccohistoricdistrict.com.
Durham Performing Arts Center (1 mile)
On November 30, 2008, B.B. King opened this magnificent new facility, now the largest performing arts center in the Carolinas. Already receiving accolades for its architecture and acoustics, the 2,700 seat DPAC hosts a variety of cultural events including Broadway musicals, concerts and comedy shows. The performing arts center offers special group programs as well, including pre- and post-show events, priority seating and discount tickets. Within easy walking distance of the American Tobacco Historic District and downtown restaurants, the DPAC has become the crown jewel of Durham’s downtown renaissance. The King’s Daughters Inn is the official Bed & Breakfast of the Durham Performing Arts Center. Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian Street, Durham, NC 27701. (919) 680-2787, www.dpacnc.com.