Durham area - recommendations on where to live?


Hi there. My hubby is applying for a position at Duke (as a professor) to hopefully start this fall. I was just wondering if anyone has any recommendations for where to live in the Durham area? We have 2 small kids (ages 2 and 4) so we want an area with good schools, nice quiet strees. We currently live on a cul-de-sac and LOVE it...a main reason we bought this house! Right now his commute is 1 mile from his office, so we don't expect to have that commute again but we would like to avoid as much traffic congestion as possible. I am applying at our local schools in Oregon right now, just in case he doesn't get a job offer. If he does, I'll be looking at Durham Tech for nursing school.

We were both born and raised in the Greensboro/Mebane areas, but we haven't lived in NC for about 10+years, and we're not familiar with Durham or Chapel Hill.

Thanks for any help or advice!


I would be very careful with what area of Durham you pick. Durham is an interesting place, with "pockets" of good neighborhoods that are sometimes encapsulated with not so good areas. Overall, I would stick to the border of Orange Co. (Chapel Hill). Forest View Elementary school has a good reputation, but many of the schools in Durham are just plain bad.

Really though, please be sure you visit any place that you might live. You never know what kind of neighborhood you might be getting into, and Durham has a reputation for being significantly less safe then the other towns/cities in the area. You may find it worthwhile to commute from Hillsborough, which is a nice little town only a few mins. away.

Good luck to you. I myself moved from Oregon to NC right before I started high school ;)


706 Posts

Are there any affordable apartments in the Durham area that are in good neighborhoods? If I get accepted to school there it will be just my 8 y.o. and myself.

I would look on Craigslist. That is how my husband and I found our duplex apartment, and our landlord is fabulous. He even gave us a $50 gift card when we got married! Honestly, I think it far exceeds apartment living, and is also cheaper by comparison.


91 Posts

Thanks, WantAccel! My mom has also been warning me about living right in Durham and said pretty much all the schools are bad. I'm sure Chapel Hill is much more pricey in cost of living, but I guess it would be worth it to be in a good area. We do have some friends that live in Chapel Hill, right off Hwy 54 and one of them works for Duke Hospital. We have another friend that lives in another area near Durham so once we have something final, I'm sure we'll be contacting them for some reccomendations, too. I don't know what the traffic would be like, but my in-laws live close to 85/40 in Mebane and said a lot of people are living there and commuting in. Since DH grew up there, he doesn't think the Alamance County schools are all that great either so who knows. I guess I really shouldn't worry too much about it yet. He's got to get a job offer first!!

gal220RN, BSN, RN

1 Article; 79 Posts

Specializes in peds critical care, peds GI, peds ED.

We live on the Durham/Orange County boarder- but technically in Durham Co. The schools are a problem, I am sad to say. However, Chapel Hill is much more expensive, so you will get less house or apartment for the money. There are some great neighborhoods in Durham, near the Cary/Apex line. Overall, it's not a bad place to be, but I would tend to steer clear from downtown Durham- it is getting better, but not there yet.

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