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2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
712
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 42
Demographics 65
Economy 62
Education 60
Health 63
Housing 47
Infrastructure 40
Amenities69
Remote Ready69

#25. Durham, NC

Durham, NC manages to strike the perfect balance between preserving its history and charging forward into the future. With an entrepreneurial and business-friendly economy, a thriving food and beverage scene, and a rich arts and culture community, Durham’s 280,000 residents never run out of things to do in this great place to live. And with world-class research and care underway every day at Duke University and Duke University Health System, Durham residents are always innovating and working to make the world a better place.

Top Colleges/Universities: Duke University, Durham Technical Community College & North Carolina Central University

Top Industries & Employers: Duke University, IBM, Fidelity Investments and Cree Inc. are some of the region’s largest employers. 

Weekend Plans: Hit up the more than 65 vendors at the Durham Farmers Market, then stick around Durham Central Park for a yoga class, children’s event or a free PLAYlist concert. 

Favorite Place to Feast: Saltbox Seafood Joint, helmed by James Beard-nominated chef Ricky Moore. Locals love the “Hush-Honeys,” which are fried, honey-glazed cornmeal fritters.

Beloved Beverage: The gin and tonic at Alley Twenty Six, which makes and bottles its tonic syrup that you can also use to stock your at-home cocktail bar.

Outdoorsy Activity: Explore the American Tobacco Trail, a 22-mile repurposed railroad corridor that’s accessible on foot, on wheels (bikes and rollerblades!) and on horseback.

Rooftop Bar: The Patio at the Unscripted Durham hotel, a ‘grammable rooftop bar with small plates, a pool and epic sunset views.

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: She’ll love being spoiled by the staff at Durham’s many pet boutiques and bakeries (yes, bakeries!), including Oliver’s Collar and Other End of the Leash.

Remote Work Perk: Need a change of scenery and a little creativity boost? Grab your laptop and head to one of Durham’s many craft breweries, like Fullsteam Brewery or Ponysaurus Brewing Company.

One More Thing … Durham earned the nickname “City of Medicine” for more than 300 health and medical businesses and organizations. All told, health care is a massive industry for Durham, providing jobs for thousands of people and paying out roughly $1.2 billion in payroll each year.

– Sarah Kuta

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