Thanks to Durham’s world-class drinking and dining scene, it’s pretty easy to plan a date centered around a night out at a bar or restaurant. Looking for something out of the ordinary? Here are unique date night (or day!) itineraries in four Durham districts.
Duke & Ninth Street
This district features the popular Ninth Street shopping and dining neighborhood along with Duke University’s top attractions. On Thursday evenings, enjoy free admission to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, where you can view artworks from the museum’s permanent collection and rotating exhibits.
Animal lovers will get a kick out of touring the Duke Lemur Center, home to the largest collection of lemurs outside of Madagascar. The 75-minute tour costs $12 per person and introduces participants to 10 different lemur species living at the center.
Afterwards, head to Ninth Street, where you can grab a burger and beer at Dain’s Place, an iconic neighborhood dive. If you’re in the mood for something a little fancier, try Asian fusion tapas and cocktails at Juju.
Nature-loving couples will be thrilled with all the outdoor date options in North Durham. Start the day at Rock Quarry Park and tap into your inner child at the Edison Johnson Sprayground, a playground with water features like misters, water spurts and showers.
Around lunchtime, you’ll probably be starving, so fuel up on fresh tacos, chiles rellenos and agua fresca at Super Taqueria.
Walk off lunch at West Point on the Eno , where there are five miles of scenic trails along the Eno River and the surrounding bluffs. Don’t forget to stop by the West Point Mill for a tour and to pick up mill-ground flour to take home.
South Durham is the place for a date that will get your heart pumping! Start this afternoon date at Defy Gravity trampoline park for an Open Jump session that will burn calories -- from jumping, but also laughing at each other trying to stay on your feet. Tickets start at $8 for a half hour of jump time, and unless you’re very physically fit, a half hour will leave you exhausted and happy.
After all that jumping, it’s time to relax at Tre Forni, a classic Neapolitan pizzeria. The wood-fired ovens, Italy-sourced ingredients and wood-paneled walls give off such romantic aura, you might feel like you’re in Naples.
If you have any energy left post-meal, boost that heart rate one more time at Mission X Escape, an escape room where you and other team members must solve a series of puzzles and clues in order to escape within a set time frame ($30 per person). What better way to exercise some teamwork?
Start your date with an afternoon dip at the rooftop pool at Unscripted Hotel. Order appetizers and enjoy city views while lounging in the sunshine. Or, if you and your boo love old-school arcade games, don’t miss Quarter Horse Arcade on Mangum Street. On Free Play Mondays you can leave your quarters at home while enjoying games like Galaga and Ms. Pac-man.
While you’re downtown, explore The Fence, the largest photography public art exhibit in the world. The exhibit, which runs through November, loops around the Chapel Hill St. parking garage and Black Wall Street Plaza. Durham is one of only seven cities to host the exhibit, so don’t miss this unique opportunity.
Wrap up your date with an ice cream cone and espresso at The Parlour, where seasonal flavors include peach pie and almond stracciatella.