Durham, once famous as the home of Bull Durham Tobacco, is now a global center for biotechnology, medicine and information technology. The Duke University campus, former tobacco warehouses and restored mills provide distinctive meeting venues in Durham.
Halfway between the Atlantic and the Great Smokies, this city of 262,715 is just an hour's flying time for half the U.S. population. Raleigh-Durham International Airport is served by 10 major and 17 regional carriers, and cab fare to Durham is roughly $20. The free Bull City Connector links downtown to Duke University and the Green Belt District, providing a convenient option for getting to and from several meeting venues in Durham.
The Durham Convention Center Complex consists of the Convention Center and eight additional halls and theatres. The Durham Convention Center, the largest of the downtown Durham event venues, has 44,000 square feet, including a 14,000-square-foot ballroom, breakout rooms and an exhibit hall. Adjacent to the convention center is Carolina Theatre, a renovated Beaux-Arts facility that has a 1,016-seat auditorium, a 1,050-square-foot ballroom for 128, two cinemas (one seating 276, the other 76) and pre-function areas. Next door, the Durham Arts Council Building offers just under 12,000 square feet of event space, including an intimate theatre for 90 and galleries suitable for banquets of up to 350. Across the street, the venerable Durham Armory offers 9,600 square feet with a ballroom for 500 and two meeting rooms.
The 189-room Durham Marriott City Center is attached to the Durham Convention Center. Washington Duke Inn, on the Duke campus, hosts up to 600 in 20 elegant meeting rooms and a 7,600-square-foot ballroom. The Millennium Hotel Durham features two ballrooms, meeting rooms and eight conference suites covering more than 16,000 square feet.
One of the most striking Durham event venues, the Durham Performing Arts Center features a three-story glass atrium that can host up to 1,000. LEED-certified Golden Belt, a renovated textile mill, offers the 11,000-square-foot Cotton Room and a 3.5-acre plaza. The American Tobacco Campus, a National Historic Landmark, features popular Bay 7, a 10,000-square-foot weathered brick space that accommodates 400.
More intimate event venues in Durham include historic Four Square Restaurant, which has private dining rooms for 100. Don Peros, a former speakeasy, specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine and offers private dining for 70; Nana's Restaurant serves world-class cuisine in a private room for 40; and in the private rooms at Chamas Churrascaria, gauchos serve guests amazing Brazilian fare.
While visiting Durham, don't miss the Brightleaf District, where turn-of-the-century tobacco warehouses now house outdoor dining and specialty shops. The former American Tobacco Campus has also been converted into a trendy entertainment destination worth visiting, near Durham Performing Arts Center and Durham Bulls Athletic Park.