No matter how much you plan and organize a trip, some things are just out of your control. You can check the weather every day, but there is still good chance it will change before your adventure is over. This is no different when visiting the beautiful city of Durham, North Carolina. We visited Durham for three days and it ended up raining and a rare snowfall for two of the days. But, to take full advantage of our time there, we have several rainy day alternatives to explore Durham.
What to do in Durham, North Carolina
21c Museum Hotel
At the heart of downtown Durham is the 21c Museum Hotel. This contemporary art museum has a wide range of inspiring art, all in a boutique hotel and it is free and open to the public. Even if it is not a rainy day, this makes for a perfect stop when walking the downtown area. It is the perfect place to grab a delicious breakfast.
Take a picture with the iconic 1,300 seat Duke Chapel. Do not let the name chapel fool you with this grand gothic building towering over the campus. It is stunning inside. The Chapel is open daily from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM, except on some university holidays when it closes at 5:00 PM.
** The Chapel is currently closed to the public until further notice. **
Nasher Museum of Art
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University is more than your regular university art museum. With galleries ranging from contemporary art to historic antiques, you will find such icons as Andy Warhol and Ai WeiWei.
** The museum is currently closed to the public until further notice. **
The Scrap Exchange
It is time to take art into your own hands at The Scrap Exchange creative reuse art center. Take leftover materials from a variety of industries and turn it into a work of art, with all the supplies provided in house. This is a fun and creative way to fill the afternoon and promote sustainable reuse and waste management. You also end up with a one of a kind souvenir from Durham!
Churros and chocolate at Cocoa Cinnamon
Started as a bike coffee station, Cocoa Cinnamon used a crowdfunding campaign to open up their first cafe. To build the menu the owners used a historic take on the coffee and chocolate trade using ancient product and cultural connections to build the flavors. We enjoyed the classic handmade churros dipped in cinnamon and sugar along with an ice cream dish with a churro bowl. The store uses designs and motifs from the owners native Mexico to create a truly subversive experience.
Durham Performing Arts Center
The Durham Performing Arts Center is a 2,700 seat theater with one of the highest attendance numbers in the whole country. It is no surprise that they bring in many famous performing artists and some of the greatest Broadway shows. Spend a rainy evening full of music and whimsy at the grand DPAC.
Barley Labs (Permanently closed)
Barley Labs is a brand new dog friendly taproom that opened up in the spring of 2018. More than just dog friendly, they make the whole experience focused around dogs. There are beds for each dog when they walk in and of course some delicious treats and plenty of water bowls. Each table has a clip for the dog leash so you can enjoy some local beers from Durham, while your dog enjoys their treats.
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