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10 Things to know before moving to Durham, NC

10 Things to know before moving to Durham NC Written by Adam Berns

Durham is a well-known city that is a part of Research Triangle Park, situated just north of Chapel Hill and west of Raleigh.

A lot of people are moving to Durham, and for good reason. With a population of over 275,000, this city boasts of a vibrant economy, low unemployment rate, and warm, welcoming people. But what is life really like in Bull City? Here are 10 things to know before moving to Durham, NC!

1. Affordable cost of living

A growing number of people are relocating to Durham as a result of its lower cost of living, while offering many of the same conveniences and advantages found in larger cities.

The cost of living is 11% lower than the national average, at an index of 95.5. You spend about $160 a month on electricity and $175 on phone bills.

Housing costs are also significantly lower, with a median rent of $951 and a median home price of about $310,600.

The reasonable cost of living in this city makes it an attractive option for many singles, couples, and families looking to set up a business or start their lives together. 

2. A vibrant job market

 Durham has a flourishing job market and economy, which is good news for anyone hoping to get a job. The city’s unemployment rate is 3.2%, which is lower than the national average, and it is the perfect place for individuals interested in tech, research, and innovation.

Lots of job opportunities are available in Durham, thanks to its Research Triangle Park; the biggest science park in the U.S, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions. The city has quickly become a global leader in both the tech and medical sectors, with major corporations like Amazon and Google moving their distribution centers and corporate headquarters to the Triangle. 

And since Durham has a large pool of talented young people, it is consistently ranked as one of the top places to start a business.

3. A strong educational system

Durham places a lot of value on education, which is partly why it is close to some of the best colleges and universities in the state and country. It’s no wonder that the city is often listed among the most educated cities in the country.

The city is home to Duke University, which has a workforce of over 8000 people, and it is also close to other schools like the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Meredith College, Watts College of Nursing, Durham Technical Community College North Carolina State University, and Peace College. No matter what your educational preferences are, there’s something for you in Durham.

And while Durham is undoubtedly a city that values higher education, its public schools are also among the best in the country, so you can be sure of your kids getting quality education here.

4. Traffic could get bad

A vibrant economy, affordable living costs, great schools? Of course, there’s bound to be a catch!

As the state’s fifth-largest city, Durham is a thriving city on the rise. There are several schools, research institutions, and businesses in this city, so Durham’s traffic issues are hardly surprising, given the city’s size and rapid expansion.

 Parking in the city can sometimes be a hassle due to the heavy traffic, and there is also a lack of developed public transportation infrastructure which makes it hard for locals to move around without a vehicle.

As frustrating as it might be, traffic can’t be avoided in a major city like Durham.

5. An amazing health care system

Durham’s healthcare facilities are among the best in the country, which is not surprising, considering the city’s title as “The City of Medicine.”

Institutions like the City of Medicine Academy are devoted to introducing high school students to the medical field to better prepare them for successful medical careers. The city is home to over 300 healthcare-related businesses, along with distinctive graduate programs that emphasize hands-on, quick learning.

6. The weather is fantastic

As a result of its pleasant climate and distinct four seasons, Durham is attracting an increasing number of new residents. The winters are not as cold as in the north. When it does snow, it usually melts within a day, and there isn’t much of it, to begin with.

However, from about the middle of May to around the middle of September, Durham experiences hot, humid summers with daily highs that typically exceed 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. A rich history and culture

If you’re a history buff, you’re gonna love Durham. Let’s take a short history lesson so you can see what we mean.

Since its establishment as a town on April 10, 1869, by the General Assembly, Durham has grown into a major city in the Triangle area and the county seat of Durham County.

Originally a railroad station and hamlet named after Dr. Bartlett Snipes Durham, who donated land to the North Carolina Railroad Company, Durham saw a rapid growth in population and importance in the decades following the Civil War.

To learn more about the history of this city, visit the Museum of Durham History, which is home to different artifacts that tell stories of how far this city has come.

Likewise, Durham places high importance on its arts and culture, which is something you’ll notice right away if you settle there. Visit Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) to see concerts and comedy shows. Nasher Art Museum showcases art from all over the world and across various moments in history. Go to the Durham Bulls stadium to see a baseball game. 

With such a rich cultural scene, never a day goes by without something exciting happening in this city.

8. Sports is a big deal here

Although there are no professional sports teams in Durham, The Durham Bulls, a minor league baseball team, has garnered lots of supporters.

And since there are so many schools around the city, college sports are a big deal. Blue Devil Men’s Basketball is a major team at Duke University, with over 100 former players enlisted into the NBA. 

9. Many places to eat to your heart’s content

It’s no news that Durham has an excellent food scene, one of the most interesting and diverse restaurant scenes in the Southeast, in fact. Their restaurants have everything from biscuits and gravy to chicken and waffles, and there’s always something you’ll like on the menu.

 If you’re in the mood for something exclusive, check out Nana’s Restaurant. Pizzeria Toro has the best pizza. Dame’s Chicken & Waffles, Foster’s Market, Bleu Olive, and Mediterranean Bistro are some other great restaurants in the city. Not to mention the tons of food trucks at every corner of town.

10. Enjoy the great outdoors

There are many scenic outdoor areas in and around Durham, perfect for enjoying some quiet time in the fresh air.

American Tobacco Trail is a former rail line that was turned into a 22-mile paved greenway for pedestrians, cyclists, and runners. Visit Duke Forest for some alone time in the woods. Forest Hills Park, Sandy Creek Park, and Rockwood Park are just some of the numerous parks in the city where families can have a fun time. The Sarah P. Duke Gardens is home to various species of flowers, animals, and birds. Bask in the stunning scenery at Historic Gardens.

You can find just about every kind of activity in Durham, no matter where your interests lie. 


With all of the amazing benefits that come with living in Durham, it’s no wonder the city was ranked on Livability among the Top 100 Best Places to live in the United States.

From the thriving economy to the affordable living expenses, one or two things are sure to perk your interest on this list. And if you choose to move to Durham, you’ll find that it’s a splendid city to call home.

Learn More About Living in Durham, NC

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