Locations

Top 5 Reasons People Are Moving to Durham, NC

Taylor Fisher | 12/23/20

Top 5 Reasons People Are Moving to Durham, NC

Durham, NC is among the fastest growing and most exciting cities in the country. Once known for its booming tobacco production, Durham has transformed itself into an up and coming city with numerous James Beard awarded restaurants and an ever-growing tech scene. Being home to Duke University and part of the Research Triangle Park, one of the most prominent high-tech research and development centers in the U.S., Durham has easily attracted thousands of new residents looking for a fresh start. Still unsure if this could be your new home? Here are the top 5 reasons people are moving to Durham and loving it.

1. Jobs

Durham is a dream for those who love research and cutting-edge innovation. Home to Duke University, a prestigious university with high national rankings, as well as being part of the Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the United States, Durham is a hot spot for new research and development. The university and research park attracts a lot of people and is part of the reason why they end up moving to Durham.

The city is also home to many doctors and medical researchers as it's evolved into a global center for medicine. Considered the "City of Medicine", healthcare is a major industry in Durham. According to durhamnc.gov, the city has over 300 medical and health-related companies with a combined payroll of $1.5 billion annually. This lucrative industry in Durham makes it a great place for medical professionals to travel, study, and live.

If you are more of an innovator yourself and looking for a city that supports small businesses and entrepreneurs, look no further. According to researchtriangle.org, Durham and its neighboring city Raleigh, is ranked #10 among 50 metros in the US, as a hub for tech talent. With lots of co-working options between the American Underground, Durham-Venture X, and WeWork, Durham provides a full network of support for entrepreneurs looking to move to their city.

The job market and economy within the city are growing fast as it's filled with successful companies and highly-educated people, making it perfect for anyone on the job hunt.
So whether you're an artist, techie, researcher, or confused about your career, Durham is your oyster.

2. Bars and Restaurants

Durham has a wide variety of food options to serve many different palates. In recent years, the city has attracted world-renowned chefs, bringing numerous prestigious James Beard awards (the Oscars of food) to the small southern city and delicious cuisine into the mouths of locals.

Whether you're looking for some seafood from the 2020 nominated chef Ricky Moore at Saltbox Seafood Joint; locally sourced and sustainably produced food at The Durham from the award-winning Andrea Reusing; or a fusion of Spanish and southern tapas at Mateo from a 4-time James Beard semifinalist Matt Kelly (just to name a few), Durham has a wide variety of cuisine attracting a lot of foodies to the area.

Downtown Durham even limits the number of chain restaurants to favor local pizzerias, bakeries, delis, ice cream parlors, and more. As soon as you step on Main Street you are surrounded by family-owned restaurants with endless options. Maybe you just want to enjoy a cocktail from The Durham's rooftop bar or sip on a glass of wine while exploring art in the 21C art museum. Or perhaps alcohol isn't your thing, and you want a nice cup of coffee, there is a bit of something for everyone in Durham. Get our full list of the best restaurants in Durham.

3. Nature Scene

Durham is a city for nature lovers. Surrounded by parks, gardens, and protected forests, it's easy for one to escape the hustle of city life and catch a breath of fresh air. Right in the city's back yard is the American Tobacco Trail, a 22 mile abandoned railroad corridor that was converted into a paved greenway for walkers, bikers, and runners to enjoy.

If 22 miles of trail isn't enough check out Duke Forest. The University manages much of the forest in the surrounding areas for research, teaching, and recreation. Go just 10 minutes outside of downtown and you'll find yourself near Duke Forest. The forest is filled with trails for local hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and even horseback riders.

If the woods aren't your thing, the Duke Lemur Center is a great option for animal lovers. The lemur center is the world leader in the study, care, and protection of lemurs (and just a few minutes from downtown Durham). They house more than 200 animals, carrying the world's largest and most diverse population of lemurs, outside Madagascar.

Or perhaps you just want to get out to stop and smell the roses. Duke Gardens has more than 400,000 visitors from all over the world annually and is free to anyone who wants to explore their 55-acre botanic garden. The ease of access from the city to the sanctuary of nature makes living in Durham very appealing to those who want the best of both worlds.

4. Cost of Living

Looking for a city to comfortably live in without burning through your savings? According to Duke, the cost of living in Durham is about 23% lower than the national average. With a low cost of living but a high quality of life, Durham is a great place to move to.

Here is a closer look at the average cost of rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Durham compared to other cities around the U.S.

  • Durham, NC - $919

  • Raleigh, NC- $975

  • Atlanta, GA- $1086

  • Washington, DC- $1469

  • New York City- $1291

  • Denver, CO- $1265

  • Houston, TX- $992

  • San Francisco- $2639

  • Los Angeles- $1545

Zillow suggests that the typical home value in Durham, NC is around $269,287 and projected to rise by 9.7% in the next year. With its ever-increasing population (19.1% increase from 2010-2019), and historically low mortgage rates, the Durham real estate market is surging and shows no indication of slowing down.

Besides the amazing restaurants and endless job opportunities, the cost of living is high on the list of reasons to move to Durham. You not only get more space for your dollar but also get to live in a vibrant growing city.

5. CultureĀ 

If you're visiting or moving to Durham, you'll quickly realize how much the city values the arts and their creative community. Here are just a few of the cultural experiences the city has to offer:

Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)- DPAC brings Broadway, concerts, and even stand-up comedians, right into the heart of downtown Durham. Ranked annually, DPAC is among the top-10 theaters in America and attracts over half a million guests to its shows per year. It truly has something for everyone as it hosts over 200 performances a year.

Moogfest- Moogfest is an annual music festival hosted all over downtown Durham. People travel internationally to come together for 4 days to celebrate the intersection of music and technology. Ticket holders get to enjoy cutting-edge performances by early pioneers in electronic music, while also attend conferences that bridge the gap between engineering and artistry.

Third Friday- Every third Friday of the month the city of Durham hosts an art walk and gallery crawl, bringing locals and visitors to shop for artwork amidst a lively crowd. Third Friday is a free event, with artwork displayed in venues across the city. So people not only get to interact with art but also local businesses.

Nasher Art Museum- Perhaps you aren't in the market for art, but want to experience art that has traveled worldwide. The Nasher Art museum has been dedicated to developing a groundbreaking collection of contemporary work that represents African art, European medieval art, classical antiquities, and ancient American art. Much of the museum's collection emphasizes work from artists that have been historically underrepresented or even excluded from mainstream art institutions.

Durham Bulls- Sitting right downtown is the Durham Bulls Minor League Baseball stadium. Named after Bull Durham tobacco company, the Bulls has offered affordable entertainment to fans of all ages since 1902. The stadium is just a hop, skip, jump away from Durham's best restaurants, so you can easily make a whole evening of fun.

Between the museums, festivals, art galleries, and theaters, the city of Durham is rich with diverse activities and experiences. When living in the city there is never a dull night. You can always walk out into the buzzing streets of downtown Durham and find fun experiences to enjoy. Learn more about the thriving arts and culture in Durham.


Overall, Durham, NC is a great place to live for people who love arts, culture, and a great cost of living. It's no wonder people are moving to Durham, the city is among the fastest-growing and most exciting cities in the country, with tons to see and do.

Want to know if Raleigh, NC is the right city for you? Find out: https://alcoverooms.com/blog/post/moving-or-relocating-to-raleigh