When I got admitted to Duke, my only doubt was Durham. I had never heard of this city. I thought it was a small town with few things to do, and a place where I would get bored. Everything changed when I came to visit Duke and stayed a couple of extra days here to explore.

I realized that Durham was actually an awesome city and not the ‘small town in the middle of nowhere where nothing ever happens’ that I had in mind. Of course, it’s not a big city like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. But after living in Durham 2 years, I have discovered many things that have made me love this place. I can say that there is something new going on every week, and I’m confident that you would like it here.

Too Many Good Restaurants

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Ponysaurus brewery just outside of downtown Durham

The restaurant scene in Durham is amazing! There are always new restaurants opening that I want to try and for all budgets. Whatever food you like, Durham has it: Mexican, Italian, Thai, Chinese, even Peruvian (my favorite!). When you visit Durham, here are my top 5 restaurant recommendations: Mateo, Pizzeria Toro, Lucia, Local 22, and Mi Peru (maybe you noticed by now that I’m Peruvian).

Awesome Bars and Breweries

I’ve been surprised by how many good bars you can find in downtown Durham—Alivia’s, Devine’s, James Joyce, Bull McCabe’s, Social, and Skewers. If you are interested in trying breweries and new artisanal beers, Ponysaurus and Fullsteam are amazing. For wine lovers, Alley 26 and West End are my favorites. But every month I hear of new places popping up so be on the lookout!

Nightlife is Great

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Riding the mechanical bull at Shooters is a tradition

You will learn to love Shooters, our favorite college bar complete with a mechanical bull. However, if after several nights at Shooters you want to try something different and more upscale, you can always explore Chapel Hill or Raleigh, which are 20 to 30 minutes away from Durham. Chapel Hill has great bars such as Top of the Hill, The Library, Goodfellas, and Pantana Bobs, that are popular with the college students and locals there. Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, is a larger city than Durham where you could go to The Architect or Alchemy, which are very nice clubs. However, Shooters will always be my favorite and when you come here you’ll see why.

Hiking? Outdoors? You Got It.

My two favorite trails close to campus are the American Tobacco Trail and the Al Buehler Cross Country trail. If you are part of the Fuqua Running and Triathlon Club you’ll run here often! If you want to try something farther out (but still only 10 miles away) the Eno River State Park is beautiful for a hike, run, or even fishing and tubing.

Other Activities You Can Try

There are plenty of other things you can enjoy doing in Durham. Shopping? Visit The Streets at Southpoint mall. Concerts? I’ve seen Taylor Swift, Kings of Leon, Zac Brown Band and many others in the area. Running? There are races happening every week but the Tar Heel 10 Miler in April is a must. You like painting while drinking wine? Try Wine & Design.

Anything you like doing you’ll probably find it here. Who would have thought—after 2 years of living in Durham, now I don’t want to leave!