The Chronicle’s guide to relaxing during your fall break in Durham

As fall break begins and the usual bustle of campus subsides, here are plenty of activities to fill the time if you plan on staying on campus during fall break.

Parts of this story are adapted from The Chronicle's 2022 guide to fall break in Durham.

For the foodie

While Brodhead Center has many dining options, take the opportunity to venture out beyond Duke’s campus to grab a taste of Ninth Street and downtown Durham. 

Conveniently located by East Campus and the Swift apartments, Ninth Street offers a wide range of cuisines. Some long-time student favorites include Lime and Lemon Indian Grill, Alpaca Peruvian Charcoal Chicken and Happy and Hale, a healthy bowl, smoothie and salad stop. Some newer locations include Playa Bowls, a spot for açai bowls, and Szechuan Mansion Hotpot, the  place to bring a group of friends to explore a staple of Chinese cuisine.

If you’re willing to make the 30-minute walk from East Campus to Downtown Durham, grabbing dinner at Taberna Tapas or Pizzeria Toro could be a flavorful way to start exploring Durham’s renowned food scene. For dessert, grab an ice cream from The Parlour or a popsicle from LocoPops

For the art lovers

Have you always wanted to see Michael Jackson perform live? This might be the closest you’ll ever get: MJ the Musical, which has won multiple Tony Awards, is playing at the Durham Performing Arts Center and will be running at various times throughout fall break. The show centers around Michael Jackson’s life and offers a “rare look at the creative mind and collaborative spirit” of the King of Pop.

Looking for some new fall-themed dorm room decor? Try attending the Festifall arts festival in Chapel Hill, which takes place Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on 140 West Franklin Street. The festival will feature vendors selling fine arts, crafts, jewelry and candles. You can easily access through the Robertson Express Bus, which provides direct transport between Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

If you haven’t had the chance already, you could kick off your weekend with a trip to the Durham Farmers’ Market, which is open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Grab a bite, listen to some live music and explore the countless local vendors selling everything from colorful rocks to handmade artwork. 

For the outdoorsy

To immerse yourself in what Southern culture is all about, make the 30-minute drive to Raleigh to attend the North Carolina State Fair. The annual 11-day attraction dates back to 1853 and has consistently been ranked among the top 25 fairs in North America. Activities include pig races, live music, blue ribbon competitions, rides and plenty of deep-fried food. 

One can also opt for a day trip to the Eno River State Park, a quick 15-minute drive from Duke for hiking, birdwatching, photography or just enjoying a change in scenery. The park features over 30 miles of trails, and could be a spot to catch the leaves changing color as the fall season arrives.


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