Durham is a city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is the county seat of Durham County, though sections also expand into Wake County in the east and Orange County in the west.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city’s population to be 251,893 as of July 1, 2014 Durham is the key of the four-county Durham-Chapel Hill Metropolitan Area.
Durham is located in the east-central part of the Piedmont region. Like much of the area, its topography is generally flat with a few rolling hills.
The soil is mainly clay, rendering it very poor for agriculture. The Eno River, a tributary of the Neuse River, goes through the northern part of Durham, in addition to several other small creeks. The center of Durham is on a ridge that forms the divide between the Neuse River watershed, flowing east to Pamlico Sound, and the Cape Fear River watershed, flowing south to the Atlantic near Wilmington.
Durham is the venue for the annual Bull Durham Blues Festival. Other events include jazz festivals, plays, symphony concerts, art exhibitions, and a large number of cultural expositions, including the American Dance Festival and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. A center of Durham’s culture is its Carolina Theatre, which presents concerts, comedy and arts in historic Fletcher Hall and Independent and repertory film in its cinemas. Notable dining establishments are primarily focused in the Ninth Street, Brightleaf, and University Drive areas. There is a revival of restaurants in and around the downtown area, including a number of new restaurants in the American Tobacco District. The Nasher Museum of Artopened in October 2005 and has produced nationally-recognized traveling exhibitions of global, contemporary art.
In recent years the city of Durham has stepped up revitalization of its downtown and undergone an economic and cultural renaissance of sorts. Partnering with developers from around the world, the city continues to promote the redevelopment of many of its former tobacco districts, projects supplemented by the earlier construction of the Durham Performing Arts Center and new Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The American Tobacco Historic District, adjacent to both the athletic park and performing arts center, is one such project, having successfully lured a number of restaurants, entertainment venues, and office space geared toward hi-tech entrepreneurs, investors, and startups. The American Underground section of the American Tobacco Campus, home to a number of successful small software firms including Red Hat, was recently selected by Google to host its launch of the Google Glass Road show in October 2013. The district is also slated for expansion featuring 158,000 square feet of offices, retail, residential or hotel space. The Durham County Justice Center, a major addition to downtown Durham, was completed in early 2013.
Durham is classified as a humid subtropical climate in accordance with the Köppen classification, with hot and humid summers, cool winters, and warm to mild spring and autumn. Durham receives abundant precipitation, with thunderstorms common in the summer and temperatures from 80 to 100 degrees F. The area sees an average of 6.8 inches of snow per year, which usually melts within a few days.
Durham’s professional sports team is the Durham Bulls International League baseball team. A movie involving an earlier Carolina League team of that name, Bull Durham, was produced in 1988. Today’s Bulls play in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, on the southern end of downtown, constructed in 1994. Now with one of the newest stadiums in the minor leagues, the Bulls usually generate an annual attendance of around 500,000. Previously the Durham Athletic Park, located on the northern end of downtown, had served as the Bull’s home base. Historically, many players for the current and former Durham Bulls teams have transferred to the big leagues after several years in the minor leagues. The DAP has been preserved for the use of other teams as well as for concerts sponsored by the City of Durham and other events. The Durham Dragons, a women’s fast pitch softball team, played in the Durham Athletic Park from 1998-2000. The DAP recently went through a $5 million renovation.
Durham, North Carolina is a city on the rise. For those looking to experience its great history and bustling rejuvenation, the city will surely impress.