Moving to Durham: Not just a college town

Duke University campus building

The fourth-largest city in North Carolina, Durham is one of the three cities that form the Research Triangle. Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh boast some of the best research and development centers in the country. However, there's more to Durham, NC, making it a great place to live and work. A city rich in historical heritage, it’s a haven for art and music lovers. Several beautiful outdoor parks and scenic waterways around Durham give you plenty to do and see. Moving to Durham comes with several perks, including access to high-quality schools, an affordable lifestyle, a flourishing economy, and diverse neighborhoods. The Durham Bulls are the city's baseball team that plays its home games at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in downtown Durham. CubeSmart storage facilities have self-storage units of various sizes that can accommodate your goods during the move.

City Overview

Also known as Bull City, Durham has a decent public transportation system, with GoDurham being the primary public transit network of the city. For a quick and easy commute within the city, having your vehicle is the best choice. Durham is not the most walkable city in the country, with walking paths being mostly available only in downtown Durham and the university area. Walkability reduces as you move toward the suburbs. Getting around certain parts of the city on a bike is easy, thanks to the fair number of bike routes throughout Durham. Most biking routes are in the downtown area, but the city is working toward creating more bike paths across Durham.

One of the best things about moving to Durham is the lower cost of living compared to other cities in North Carolina and similar-sized cities in the country. The cost of living here is 11 percent lower than the national average, which means you can afford a better lifestyle and accrue savings for the future.

If spending long hours on the road navigating traffic snarls gives you heartburn, Durham’s shorter commute times than the national average will have you jumping for joy! The average commute time within Durham is between 13 and 20 minutes. Travel time to neighboring cities, such as Chapel Hill or Raleigh, is around 25 to 40 minutes.

Real Estate Outlook

Buying a new home in the Durham area is affordable since the average cost of a home here is around $250,000, matching the national average. Durham is within a convenient commutable distance to neighboring Raleigh and Chapel Hill, which makes it one of the best places to invest in a new home. Durham is a tech city with affordable real estate when compared to the other tech cities in the country, including San Francisco, San Jose, and Austin.

The average rent price for a one-bedroom apartment in Durham is around $1,160, with costs varying depending on the choice of neighborhood. For budget-friendly apartment rentals, opt for neighborhoods like Colonial Village, Crown Point, and Glennstone.

Durham Communities

Durham has many subdistricts and neighborhoods to cater to your needs. Whether you're looking for a quieter area with parks and family-friendly activities or an urban district with upscale dining, shopping, and entertainment, there are several areas from which to choose.

Duke Campus

Duke University is one of the top universities in the nation, attracting brilliant minds from all around the world. The Duke University campus neighborhood is the city's epicenter for education, arts, and culture. Ideal for young professionals, students, researchers, and growing families, this neighborhood has beautiful walkways and manicured lawns, making it one of the most scenic neighborhoods in the city.

Research Triangle Park

Durham's technology and research hub, Research Triangle Park is centrally located, offering easy access to downtown Durham and the neighboring cities. Home to researchers and technology professionals, this neighborhood has a lovely cosmopolitan appeal, ideal for raising a young family.


One of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Durham, Southpoint is close to several attractions like the Streets at Southpoint walking mall and Jordan Lake. This is a family-friendly neighborhood with tons of affordable housing options. Residents love this suburb for its high safety ratings, top schools, and amenities.

American Tobacco District

For easy access to Durham's upscale shopping outlets, restaurants, and entertainment options, choose the American Tobacco District area. This neighborhood is quickly transforming itself into a highly sought-after area, holding immense investment potential, allowing your home value to appreciate significantly in years to come.

Things to Do

There are plenty of entertainment options in Durham to make it a fun destination. If you love the outdoors, you’ll love the fact that the city has more than 68 outdoor parks, which means you can enjoy the outdoors without leaving the city limits. Check out the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, featuring more than 55 acres of landscaped lawns and wooded areas. The park has five miles of trails for enjoying a brisk walk or a leisurely stroll surrounded by lush foliage and colorful blooms.

For lovers of art, culture, and history, Durham has plenty to feed your appetite. Enjoy the festiveness with friends and family at live music concerts and annual fests. The Durham Performing Arts Center is one of the most attended theaters in the country. For history buffs and art lovers, Durham is home to heritage museums offering a glimpse into the past. The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University includes an incredible collection of more than 13,000 pieces of modern art as well as ancient art; it’s a must-visit for lovers of art and sculpture. The Museum of Life and Science is a great attraction for all. It features a butterfly house, dinosaur trail, farmyard, and outdoor exhibits that make it a delightful experience for curious minds – big and little.

Escaping the city bustle is easy with several enchanting landscapes outside the city, ideal for spending a relaxing day in the lap of nature. The picturesque Eno River State Park is a lush area with pretty streams of the Eno River, crisscrossing the landscape. It's a terrific getaway that makes for a rejuvenating day trip. You’ll enjoy several outdoor activities here, including hiking, camping, and bird watching.

For food connoisseurs, Durham’s local eateries and upscale restaurants make it a delight for food lovers. Southern Living previously listed Durham as one of the tastiest cities in the South. From quaint coffee shops serving delectable bakery items and desserts to local joints dishing out soul-soothing Southern comfort food. You’ll find spicy barbecue, casual American, Asian, ethnic foods, and food trucks, too. The culinary scene in Durham is brimming with fantastic choices that are sure to satisfy most cravings.

Reasons to Move There

One of the top reasons many young people are moving to Durham is the job market. Duke University employs more than 8,000 people, offering jobs in research, education, teaching, and technology. The Research Park Triangle is the largest science park in the country, attracting top-notch talent in science, technology, information technology, and engineering. For those looking to make their mark in technology, science, and engineering, Durham offers excellent opportunities. There are also plenty of jobs in other sectors, including retail, hospitality, and health care.

For families with school-aged kids, Durham has impressive primary schools, with more than half of the public schools in the area designated as magnet schools. There are also several stellar charter and private schools from which to choose. Duke University and the University of North Carolina draw young people from all over the country who are looking for a top-notch education to start their careers.

Durham has a temperate climate that enjoys all four seasons. It’s comfortable weather compared to parts of the country. Summer here is warm, perfect for outdoor activities. Winters are cold, with little snowfall scattered in between. Durham experiences pleasant fall and spring, with moderate temperatures.

You'll love the vibe of this city since it offers a nice blend of a college town feel with a suave urban experience, reflecting rich diversity and vibrant culture.

Moving to Durham is a smart decision since it's an affordable city with plenty of jobs in the technology sector. More and more people are flocking to the city for its desirable lifestyle. It can be hard to find to be flexible during relocation but having a place to store belongings helps! At CubeSmart, you’ll find climate-controlled storage units that can hold your items at ambient temperature with flexible, month-to-month leasing options. Amenities like 24-hour video recording and a well-maintained building give you added peace of mind when renting with us. Visit a CubeSmart facility today and talk to our friendly teammates, who are happy to answer your questions.

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