About Duke and Durham

Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina. Our city is a wonderful place to live, learn and train, and it is commonly recognized for its availability of jobs, relatively low cost of living, affordable housing, safe streets, a mild climate, culture, and recreation. In 2019, U.S. World & News Report ranked Raleigh and Durham one as of its Best Places to Live.

Visit Duke University's comprehensive website on living in Durham.

Watch this video to hear what our residents and medical students have to say about living in Durham:

Duke University

Duke University is home to some 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-class faculty helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both near its North Carolina campus and around the world.

Duke University was created in 1924 by James Buchanan Duke as a memorial to his father, Washington Duke. The Dukes, a Durham family that built a worldwide financial empire in the manufacture of tobacco products and developed electricity production in the Carolinas, long had been interested in Trinity College. Trinity traced its roots to 1838 in nearby Randolph County when local Methodist and Quaker communities opened Union Institute. The school, then named Trinity College, moved to Durham in 1892, where Benjamin Newton Duke served as a primary benefactor and link with the Duke family until his death in 1929. In December 1924, the provisions of indenture by Benjamin’s brother, James B. Duke, created the family philanthropic foundation, The Duke Endowment, which provided for the expansion of Trinity College into Duke University.

Read more about Duke University.

Duke Health

Duke Health conceptually integrates the Duke University Health System, the Duke University School of Medicine, and the Duke University School of Nursing. It is the combination of research, clinical care, and education that takes place through the efforts of our faculty, staff, students, and trainees at many different sites throughout our region and worldwide.

As a world-class academic and health care system, Duke Medicine strives to transform medicine and health locally and globally through innovative scientific research, rapid translation of breakthrough discoveries, educating future clinical and scientific leaders, advocating and practicing evidence-based medicine to improve community health, and leading efforts to eliminate health inequalities.

Durham and RTP

Durham is at the apex of North Carolina's famed Research Triangle, an area formed by Duke UniversityNorth Carolina State University in Raleigh (20 miles from Duke), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (11 miles from Duke). Durham is also close to the coast and the mountains.

In the heart of the triangle, the Research Triangle Park covers 6,500 acres of rolling woodland dotted with some of the most sophisticated research facilities to be found anywhere. As a reporter for The Wall Street Journal once observed, the park is known for "pine trees and PhDs."

There are many diverse activities within 30 minutes of Durham. The range and level of cultural attractions found here rival those in much larger (and more crowded and expensive) cities. The $20 million downtown Durham Performing Arts Center has become a national model for community arts programs. Other attractions include:

  • The highly acclaimed American Dance Festival
  • Outstanding art exhibits, libraries and concerts in the park
  • Performances by renowned symphonies, opera, and ballet companies 
  • Emanuel Azenburg's pre-Broadway productions at Duke, described by one New York critic as "some of the best theater in America, at about half the price of a Broadway show." 

Durham is well known from the movie Bull Durham, which featured our popular minor league baseball team, the Durham Bulls — a Class AAA farm club for the Tampa Bay Rays. The hot dogs always taste better at the ballpark, and rooting for the Bulls in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is among the joys of summer. The term "bull pen" was coined here by a sportswriter to describe the area where relief pitchers warm up, because their activity was overseen by a snorting, locomotive-size bull on a Bull Durham Tobacco billboard.

Durham has become a national trendsetter for its food scene. Durham was recently ranked as The South's Tastiest Town by Southern Living and America's Foodiest Small Town by Bon Appétit. Gourmet Magazine, the New York Times, and other publications have written about Durham's locally produced food, traditional Southern cooking, and food trucks.