Cultural Activities in Durham: Arts, Music, and Entertainment

Durham, North Carolina, has a thriving arts and cultural scene. You will find massive performance stages, abundant art galleries, and lively entertainment venues from one end of the city to the other. Whether you're looking for a formal event, a family-friendly festival, or a wild night with your friends, there's something for everyone.

At Spotlight Realty, we love to show off the best that Durham has to offer. Fortunately, that's easy to do because Durham is such a wonderful place. Let us take you on a tour of fun and enriching cultural activities throughout Durham, N.C.

Durham's art galleries and museums

Durham has many beautiful and fascinating sights in the hallowed halls of art galleries and local museums. You might be surprised to discover Durham's vibrant arts scene, or you might already have a few cool museums on your must-see list.

Art galleries

Downtown Durham has quite a few art galleries showcasing different styles, eras, and themes. If you're taking a tour, be sure to stop by 5 Points Gallery, the Liberty Warehouse Mural, the Louise Jones Brown Gallery, and the exquisite Durham Art Guild.


The variety of museums in Durham is quite an adventure to explore. Many people visit the Duke Basketball Museum or the Nasher Museum of Arts. You might also enjoy the V & E Simons Historic Tuba Collection or the Museum of Durham History. If you're up for an adventure, check out the Museum of Life and Science with its fun interactive exhibits.

Explore the performing arts in Durham

Live performances offer a quality of entertainment that goes beyond what you can capture on film. If you're looking to discover Durham's performing arts, you will be delighted to learn that Durham has the largest performance stage between DC and Atlanta.

Theaters and venues for performances

The most iconic stages in Durham can be found at The Carolina Theater and the Durham Performing Arts Center and the Durham Performing Arts Center (also known as DPAC). Here, you will discover show-stopping performances throughout the year, including plays, concerts, and ballet. Smaller theaters include the PSI Theater, Brody Theater, and Bartlett Theater.

Where to find Durham's live music

Durham is a truly musical city. You can find live music in every corner, nook, and cranny. There's live music in the gardens and parks, in the bars and clubs, and in the theaters and performing arts centers. You can find free live music, formal concerts, and everything in between.

Popular music venues and concert halls in Durham

Looking for a music venue, you won't have to look far. Some of the top venues and concert halls include the Motorco Music Hall, the Duke Coffee House, Pinhook, and the Huron Stage Music Venue.

Music festivals and events

Durham is known for its enthusiastic annual music festivals. The Durham Blues Brews festival celebrates craft beer and music, the Festival for the Eno celebrates the Eno River with 70 bands across four stages, and the Art of Cool Festival features jazz, hip-hop, funk, and soul music at West Point on the Eno - only 15 minutes from downtown Durham..

Cinemas and film festivals in Durham

Whether you're a film enthusiast or just want a cool place to hang out, there are a few spots in Durham where you can enjoy a film outside of the usual cinemas playing today's blockbusters.

Independent movie theaters and film festivals

For independent movie theaters, check out the Carolina Theater and the Full Frame Theater, which often play art pieces and independent films in addition to the hottest movies. There are also a few Film Festivals to attend throughout the year, such as the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival or the Nevermore Film Festival at the Carolina Theater.

Durham's cultural events and festivals

Durham has a fantastic calendar of cultural and annual events all year. If you want to celebrate the many cultures present within the city, simply check your calendar and bring a water bottle. There will be music, food, and fun in every possible flavor.

Annual cultural events and celebrations 

Durham celebrates its rich cultural tapestry of residents with annual festivals and events. Join the Kwanzaa Celebration or the Hayti Heritage Film Festival in the winter. In Spring, discover the Bimbe Cultural Arts Festival or the American Dance Festival. In the warm summer and fall, join the community for the Festival for the Eno and the legendary CenterFest Arts Festival.

Art and craft fairs of Durham

If you love crafts, you'll love Durham. There are crafts events all year, including the Durham Craft Market Holiday Fair, the Spring Daze Arts and Crafts Festival, and the Handmade Market. You can even find crafts at the weekly Durham Farmer’s Market at Durham Central Park.

Explore art classes and workshops in Durham

Hands-on artistic activities are fun solo, in groups, or with the whole family. Durham's love of art can be seen in the many studios offering lessons and workshops.

Classes and art workshops for all levels

Durham has a rich tapestry of art studios, schools, and art supply stores that offer classes for artists of all ages and skill levels. There are classes for children and families, but there are also plenty of "wine and paint" opportunities for adult evening painting experiences. The Art Post at Happymess Supplies offers art classes in their upstairs loft. Crafts and Drafts, right outside downtown Durham, offers opportunities to enjoy local craft beer while doing different seasonal crafts like ornament making, wood burning, and creating and planting succulent gardens! The Lucy Cardiner Art Studiom, Painter's Garden, and Jule Berkowitz Ceramics also offer classes and workshops.

Durham's cultural activities for the whole family

The wonderful thing about Durham is that all public cultural events are family-friendly. You will also find specific days and programs designed to be especially fun for children. The Museum of Life and Science has interactive exhibits, while CenterFest is an event many Durham youth grow up loving to attend each year. You can check out the lemurs at the Duke Lemur Center or discover interactive music at the Notasium.

Cultural events for kids with interactive activities

Some of Durham's best festivals and events for children include Hillsborough Hog Day, Movie Night at Durham Central Park, CenterFest, and Festival for the Eno. Each big day has something for parents and kids, with activities that children will remember for a lifetime.

Dive into Durham's rich cultural calendar

Durham is a great place to live if you love festivals, performing arts, and cultural celebrations. At Spotlight Realty, we love helping new residents discover how much fun Durham locals can have by suggesting upcoming festivals and spectacular local venues to explore. Whether you're looking for live music, art galleries, or fun activities to do with the whole family, Durham has it all. Contact us today to learn more about Durham or to find a home near your favorite attractions.

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