17 Best Neighborhoods in Durham, NC - Best Place to Live Durham

August 15th, 2023

Life in Raleigh
17 Best Neighborhoods in Durham, NC - Best Place to Live Durham

Best Places to Live in Durham

Are you searching for the best neighborhoods in Durham, NC? Check out these 17 great places to live in Durham! 

Durham is the fourth most populated city in North Carolina and is one of the best places to live in North Carolina, which is no surprise to the folks living here. If you are moving to Durham, read on to find out about Durham's best neighborhoods and beautiful real estate

Are you looking for more information on top neighborhoods in Durham, NC? Attracting many families, young professionals, and retirees to the area, there are great subdivisions in Durham for everyone and anyone. Aside from its neighboring city, Cary, Durham is the fastest-growing city in North Carolina by percentage, ahead of Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro. 

Durham is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States and is one of our focus areas. We love Durham and the future outlook of the city. 

Want to search for Homes for Sale in Durham, NC? Click here!

Many people are moving to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina for great reasons too. There is a high quality of life in the Triangle area, a direct result of the people, the affordability of the homes for sale, the weather, and the great communities. 

A Little History of Durham, NC

Old Durham Bull - Economic Growth in Durham, NC

With an estimated population of 285,527+ (2023), Durham is the county seat of Durham County and makes up a large part of the Triangle area.

After the Civil War, Durham's growth began to explode on the heels of the fast-growing tobacco industry. The armies that had passed through Durham fell in love with their milder tobacco and started placing orders via the mail. John Ruffin Green, the owner of the Tobacco company, partnered with W.T. Blackwell, and together they renamed the company the "Bull Durham Tobacco Factory."

The rise of Durham's economic growth began with the tobacco industry as the Bull Durham Tobacco Company and the W. Duke and Sons Tobacco Company began to thrive and prosper.

Washington Duke, the owner of W. Duke and Sons Tobacco Company, raised sons who became excellent businesspeople in Durham. They formed a monopoly on the smoking and tobacco industry by 1900. By 1910 the Federal Government had to step in and break them up under antitrust laws.

You are probably familiar with Duke University, and if you live in Durham, you know Duke Energy. Both are connected to Duke, critical players in Durham's early economic growth.

Duke Power (now known as Duke Energy) made the Dukes far more money than tobacco. In 1924, John Duke honored his Father with a philanthropic foundation to support Trinity College. Trinity College then changed its name to what is known today as Duke University.

The Triangle area comprises Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill and supports great universities like Duke University, University of North Carolina, NC State University, and more. The Durham area is known as one of the country's most educated cities, after a Forbes study shows Raleigh and Durham at #2 and #3, respectively.

Located northwest of Raleigh and the fast-growing cities of Apex, Cary, Holly Springs, and Fuquay-Varina, as well as northeast of Chapel Hill, Durham is surrounded by economic success. Plus, only about a 20-minute drive to Hillsborough, Durham is in a great location. 

Largely thanks to RTP (Research Triangle Park) and the healthcare system that is now the area's best-known industry. Companies are flocking to the Durham area thanks to the combination of affordability and talent produced by the local universities.

Here Are the Best Neighborhoods in Durham, NC 

In alphabetical order, here are some great subdivisions in the city of Durham:

Brightleaf at the Park

Brightleaf Homes for sale in Durham, NC

Not to be confused with Downtown Durham's popular Brightleaf Square, Brightleaf at the Park neighborhood is a new master community that is being built on the Raleigh-Durham line, with quick access to RTP, Downtown Durham, and Downtown Raleigh. The community will include hundreds of homes, a community pool, a clubhouse, a playground, and many more sought-after amenities. 

The best thing about this Durham neighborhood is its convenient location to everything the Triangle offers. You can't beat this area right off Glenwood Avenue and on the Raleigh-Durham border.

Local Favorites: 

Brigs at the Park Restaurant serves all-day breakfast and delicious comfort food. 

Visit the Refectory Cafe for vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based options. 

Carolina Arbors

One of the top communities in Durham is Carolina Arbors.

This adult community allows 55+-year-old people to a great neighborhood with beautiful homes for sale to enjoy. Although I am a millennial, I can quickly tell that there is something special about this place. Many of the folks we work with are older than 55, and they LOVE Carolina Arbors. 

Carolina Arbors is one you MUST look at if you're looking for retirement communities. You can drive through the neighborhood between Raleigh and Durham and see for yourself. 

Local Favorites: 

Littler offers tasty seasonal dishes, wine, and cocktails. 

Visit Backyard BBQ Pit for old-school BBQ and sides. 

Chancellor's Ridge

Chancellor's Ridge Homes for sale in Durham NC

The Chancellor's Ridge neighborhood in Durham, NC, is located in southwest Durham close to Southpoint Mall and includes 455 homesites. It is a beautiful neighborhood in a quiet country setting, with a short commute to local amenities, Duke University, RTP, downtown Durham, and Jordan Lake.

With a beautiful swimming pool and clubhouse, Chancellor's Ridge is one of the best neighborhoods in Durham. 

Local Favorites: 

Harvest 18 is serving locally sourced southern food in a modern setting. 

Order breakfast and dinner favorites at William's Gourmet Kitchen

Downtown Durham

Homes for sale in Downtown Durham, NC

Exploding with economic growth, Downtown Durham is the backbone of the city. Homes have appreciated a considerable amount in Durham's Downtown area, largely thanks to the city's development.

Many people are relocating to Durham from the northeast United States and California. Many professionals, young families, and older adults call Downtown Durham home.

If you're a baseball fan, you'll love life in Durham, as the Durham Bulls have a massive fanbase for Triple-A baseball.

Downtown Durham, NC Skyline at Twilight

Local Favorites: 

Watch a baseball game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park

Buy tickets to a performance at the Durham Performing Arts Center

Duke Park

Look no further than the Duke Park neighborhood for those who desire a family-oriented Durham, North Carolina community. This became one of Durham's first popular residential areas when it began to evolve rapidly in the 1920s.

Older homes, apartment complexes, new builds, and townhomes are spread throughout Duke Park. Many families have remained in the area for decades, giving visitors and new residents a welcoming small-town feel. Its location directly off of I-85 allows residents easy travel to work, dining, shopping, and entertainment.

Within the Duke Park neighborhood is a community park with the same name as the area. Duke Park is a popular gathering spot for residents of all ages and is said to have the best children's playground in Durham.

The park's charming hardwood-filled property offers a soccer field, dog park, picnic shelter, walking trails, gardens, and swings. Events held in the park include fundraisers, celebrations, cookouts, and the Annual Beaver Queen Pageant.

Local Favorites: 

Bring the family to Duke Park for a day full of outdoor fun. 

Explore the beautiful Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Fairfield

Fairfield Homes for sale in Durham, NC

The Durham neighborhood, Fairfield, is a great place to live. You can learn more about the community on their neighborhood web page here. Fairfield offers homeowners larger lots, giving you space to move around and a community pool and clubhouse.

The rural setting offers some peace from the hustle and bustle of downtown Durham. Yet, its location makes it an easy commute to anyone working in RTP, Downtown Durham, Chapel Hill, or the Raleigh-Cary area.

Local Favorites: 

Durham Food Hall features multiple eateries, cafes, and bars.

Order high-quality seafood and sushi at M Sushi

Forest Hills

Another well-known Durham neighborhood is Forest Hills. This community is perfect for buyers looking for a quiet neighborhood with nearby city amenities. Most homes sat on larger lots built between the 1920s and 1990s. 

The neighborhood has achieved a prestigious and historic charm with many properties following the Colonial, Tudor, and English Cottage home styles. Forest Hills is a desirable community, as listings generally only stay on the market for a short time. 

The Forest Hills Park includes a playground, picnic shelter, tennis courts, swing sets, and walking trails. Residents can also enjoy cooling off at the neighborhood's playground and pool during the warm summer. The Forest Hills Clubhouse is a popular community venue for celebrations, birthday parties, meetings, and family reunions.

Local Favorites: 

Enjoy Indian fusion dishes at Viceroy

The Original Q Shack specializes in Western Carolina and Texas-style BBQ. 

Grandale

Grandale Homes for sale in Durham, NC

Grandale Place is one of the premier Durham neighborhoods and consists of 135 single-family homes. Located in south Durham, NC, Grandale Place is located in Durham County.

Two entrance gates lead visitors and residents into the community. Grandale Place is conveniently located 10 minutes from the Research Triangle Park, Interstate 40, NC-55/54, and Southpoint Mall.

The community has many features, including a playground for kids and an active Homeowner's Association that maintains a walk-friendly community.

Local Favorites: 

True Flavors Diner is a must-visit for breakfast and southern homestyle fare. 

Benetis Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner favorites all day. 

Hope Valley Farms

Hope Valley Farms Homes for sale in Durham, NC

One of the top neighborhoods in Durham is Hope Valley Farms. The rural setting gives Hope Valley the nature-y feel many homeowners seek. It's close to lakes and creeks, and the neighborhood is filled with trees, giving it a peaceful and relaxing neighborhood ambiance.

The Hope Valley Farms is a great subdivision. Their HOA website works with other neighborhoods like Eagle Ridge, Chowning's Place, Greenbriar, Heatherwood, Oakbrook, and Windsor Oaks.

Local Favorites: 

Hope Valley Diner is family-friendly and features a huge menu. 

Order sandwiches, soups, and made-from-scratch items at Foster's Market

Northgate Park

Northgate Park is an affordable neighborhood with beautiful properties. Popular home styles in this area include bungalows, cottages, mid-century modern, and contemporary. The older homes give Northgate Park a southern charm, and the tree-filled yards offer residents privacy in a peaceful neighborhood.

The 30-acre Northgate Park features a dog park, picnic shelter, swings, tennis courts, and playgrounds. Another popular family destination in the neighborhood is the Museum of Life and Science.

This education center includes a butterfly house, a dinosaur trail, and a launch lab where visitors can test flying objects. The museum also has massive treehouse playgrounds and a cooling stream. More Museum activities and exhibit information can be found here.

Local Favorites: 

Order great sub sandwiches at American Hero Restaurant Durham

Take your dog on a walk at Northgate Park

Old North Durham

Old North Durham is a historical neighborhood that maintains its close-knit community while it evolves. While driving through the area, you will notice that popular home styles are bungalows, colonials, and craftsman styles. Houses in this area can range from smaller modest homes to lavish mansions.

Old North Durham Park is home to Durham's annual Strawberry Festival. This event brings the community together to enjoy a day of live music, games, delicious treats, art, and a 5k run.

The park also offers the neighborhood children a playground, while Fullsteam Brewery is where adults unwind and have a good time. Residents can relax with a refreshing craft beer while enjoying the Brewery's entertainment.

Popular events include live music, trivia, and yoga. For more information on the Brewery's menu and calendar, you can check out Fullsteam's website.

City of Durham traintracks, cars, and buildings

Local Favorites: 

Check out Dame's Chicken and Waffles for classic waffle combinations. 

Order beer and cocktails at Geer Street Garden

Parkwood

Parkwood is one of Durham's oldest neighborhoods, consisting of nearly 3,000 residents and 100 acres of beautiful tree-lined properties. The cul-de-sacs also bring quiet and private characteristics to the area.

Housing options include single-family residences, apartment complexes, townhomes, and condominiums. With the Research Triangle just a few miles away and easy access to I-40 and the freeway, Parkwood residents have excellent job opportunities nearby.

The community is also the perfect area for families. The neighborhood includes four playgrounds, an elementary school, a swim club, walking trails, and several parks.

The Parkwood Sports Association also allows community children to play in baseball, softball, and t-ball leagues. Parkwood also holds 2 of Durham's popular events throughout the year.

Residents can attend the Annual SummerFest in June and the Annual Holiday Festival in December to enjoy food trucks, live music, inflatables, carnival games, beer on tap, shopping, and craft markets!

Local Favorites: 

El Dorado Mexican Restaurant offers authentic Mexican cuisine and cocktails. 

Sushioki is best known for its rice bowls and sushi burritos. 

Southpoint

Southpoint Homes for sale in Durham, NC

Southpoint is one of the top areas in Durham, NC. The Southpoint Mall is one of the main attractions in the area, and the location is second to none. Check out the map below to see how central the Southpoint location is; we have highlighted some main areas.

Southpoint Neighborhood in Durham, NC Location

While the Southpoint area isn't a subdivision listed in the local MLS, we have created a 2-mile radius around the area for those who would like to find homes for sale in the Southpoint area of Durham, NC. There are a lot of great surrounding neighborhoods!

Local Favorites: 

Order classic Italian fare at Maggiano's Little Italy

Visit Ted's Montana Grill for bison burgers and an old-west-style atmosphere. 

Treyburn

Treyburn Homes for sale in Durham, NC

Voted Durham's best neighborhood by Durham Magazine in August 2015.

The community of Treyburn has a lot to offer its residents. If you're a golfer, you will love the Treyburn Country Club, and if you love a great pool and clubhouse, you will enjoy everything Treyburn has to offer. To the right, you will see an image of the Treyburn Club pool taken from the clubhouse.

The Treyburn neighborhood offers much-needed R&R for those seeking a peaceful and quiet setting in far North Durham. As well as the amenities to keep you engaged and entertained! Many folks who are moving to the area and looking for a more rural setting will love checking out the Treyburn neighborhood.

Local Favorites: 

Bring the family to Silver Spoon Restaurant for a great meal. 

Local 22 Kitchen and Bar is a relaxed neighborhood restaurant that serves comfort food. 

Trinity Park

Trinity Park is a stunning 40-block neighborhood in Durham where community residents are passionate about its historic preservation. Over the last 40 years, residents have worked diligently to purchase property to build a playground, protect historical homes from getting demolished, and achieve their goal of placing the area on the National Register of Historic Places. All who admire the historic properties and tree-lined streets feel the passion in this neighborhood.

Trinity Park is the heart of the area. Residents gather here to enjoy the playgrounds, swing sets, picnic shelters, and community events. The neighborhood also has a perfect location for those who desire nearby amenities. Trinity Park is within walking distance of Northgate Mall, Duke East Campus, delicious restaurants, and downtown entertainment!

Local Favorites: 

Enjoy excellent service and food at Rose's Noodles, Dumplings, and Sweets

Order a pint of Guinness at James Joyce Irish Pub and Restaurant

Woodcroft

Woodcroft Homes for sale in Durham, NC

Woodcroft is another one of the Durham neighborhoods people love. 

The Woodcroft community is over 2,000 homes designed to live harmoniously with nature. The goal is to create extensive hiking, biking, and jogging trails and acres of common areas. The six miles of trails connect all neighborhoods inside Woodcroft.

Golfers will enjoy the Woodcroft Club golf course, and if you're looking for a community pool complete with a cool water slide, check out the Woodcroft Club

Local Favorites: 

Grab a slice of pizza at Pulcinella's Italian Restaurant

Order authentic Mexican tacos at Chubby's Tacos Durham

Woodlake

Woodlake Homes for sale in Durham, NC

Another great community in Durham, NC, is Woodlake. With over 600 homes located between Fayetteville and Barbee roads in the southwest region of Durham, NC, Woodlake has the DNA makeup of a great neighborhood! 

A rural setting among mother nature gives residents and visitors a quiet, comfortable life in a great community. Woodlake has a swimming pool, a clubhouse, walking trails, playground and is within walking distance of Piney Wood Park, which has tennis courts, soccer and softball fields, and a dog park.

Local Favorites: 

Bua Thai Cuisine features a traditional Thai menu and a full bar. 

Stop by Dolce Cafe for espresso drinks, pastries, and ice cream. 

Durham, North Carolina

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! Nice to 'meet' you and thanks for visiting our Raleigh Real Estate Blog! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I'm a REALTOR® in Raleigh-Durham, NC, the owner of Raleigh Realty. I work alongside some of the best Realtors in Raleigh. You can find more of my real estate content on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and more. Realtor Magazine named me a top 30 under 30 Realtor in the country (it was a long time ago haha). Any way, that's enough about me. I'd love to learn more about you if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram or connect with our team at Raleigh Realty. Looking forward to connecting!

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