Best Places to Live

Durham, NC

Population: 246,084
LIV
SCORE
640

Located in the heart of North Carolina’s Piedmont region, Durham is best known for being part of the “Research Triangle,” an area home to three major research universities, including Duke University.

Durham is also home to several parks and waterfronts, as well as a great music scene and a downtown urban redevelopment that has led to an influx of new businesses and residents.

With a population just over 270,000, Durham boasts a lot of big-city perks while maintaining a tight-knit, small-town vibe.

The city scored high in the amenities, demographics and infrastructure categories to earn its place on this year’s Top 100 Best Places to Live list. Durham’s was also recently named one of our 2018 10 Best College Towns. Additionally, Durham’s iconic baseball team, the Durham Bulls, helped earn the city the title of one of the best minor league sports cities in the nation.

Local Obsession: From November to April, Duke University’s men’s basketball team

Climate Described in 6 Words or Less: Thank goodness for all four seasons!

Top Industries: Medical research, health care, education and tech — it’s not part of the ‘Research Triangle’ for nothing!

Local Dream Job: Researcher at the Duke Lemur Center, the world’s largest sanctuary for lemurs, lorises and bush babies.

Quintessential Meal: The “Everyday I’m Bursselin’” breakfast sandwich from Monuts

Favorite Weekend Activity: Browse the Durham Farmers Market every Saturday for locally sourced products and fresh food.

After-Work Meetup Spot: Alley Twenty Six is the perfect spot to wet your whistle after a long day at the office. Be sure to try the ‘Fresh Start.’

Best Brewery/Local Beer: Don’t Be Mean to People: A Golden Rule Saison from Ponysaurus Brewing Co.

Beloved Bookstore: The Regulator Bookshop is a one-stop shop for the entire family and houses both mainstream and indie picks for every reading age and phase.

Free Way to Have Fun: Take in any of the exhibits at The Carrack, a zero-commission community art space.

- Cara Sanders

Read More:

8 Reasons to Move to Durham, NC Right Now

Why Durham is One of America's Up-and-Coming Tech Hotspots

Best Places to Live in North Carolina

“I love Durham for the community and diversity. I love the culture — the people are incredible and so friendly … and I feel like you can have the best of all worlds living here. I couldn’t imagine raising my family anywhere else!”

- Molly Stillman, founder of still being [molly] and host of the ‘Business with Purpose’ podcast

Durham, NC Ranking Data

Civic
49
Demographics
72
Economy
70
Education
46
Health
58
Housing
64
Infrastructure
72