If I am honest, I am somewhat biased in my opinion of all things Duke. I've worked part time in athletics for fourteen years. My husband holds a master's degree from the Pratt School of Engineering. He has worked on the campus for the past thirteen years and there is the small detail of getting engaged at half court in Cameron. So yes, I have a connection to Duke and hold it in high esteem but lest you think I am simply trying to sway you...
You should probably know my allegiance is to The University of Virginia;) "Wahoowa"
For our 13th anniversary, we were able to snag a room at the luxurious and award-winning Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club located right on campus and this year was voted the top college hotel. The inn sits on 300 beautiful acres and the rooms are elegant and welcoming. The staff is top notch and goes above and beyond to ensure you have a lovely stay. Washington Duke Inn has received the prestigious AAA Four Diamond award for sixteen consecutive years and their restaurant, Fairview Dining Room is one of only two in the state of North Carolina that boasts AAA Four Diamond award. I cannot recommend a stay at this fabulous inn enough.
For your trip, I am including multiple Duke sights and a few eateries that may not be on campus, but they are very close and delicious!
Possible Weekend Itinerary
4pm: Check In
Order libations at Bull Durham Bar. If the weather is still nice, slip onto the veranda and sip your cocktails with a view of the stunning golf course.
You can head down to 9th street. If you want a steak dinner; check out Metro 8 Steakhouse. It is an intimate Argentian steakhouse. I love their chimichurri steak but my favorite thing on their menu is their Proveleta. Grilled provolone topped with tomatoes, oil, and spices.
if you are looking for something a little more casual but without losing a thing on service or taste, hop across the street and check out Juju. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Durham. Amazing cocktails and entrees but you must save room for dessert because their chocolate mousse peanut cup is divine!
Catch a production at the Duke University theater or if nothing is showing while you are on your visit, head over to Bright Leaf Square and walk around, perhaps stop into Satisfaction and grab a cocktail.
Golf on the grand course or if you are not a golfer, stroll around campus enjoying the gorgeous buildings. Or, if you are like me, find yourself watching some tv and being lackadaisical in the comfy beds.
Start your day off in the Fairview Dining Room and enjoy their spectacular brunch. I am a lover of french toast and they serve up one of the best versions I have ever had the opportunity to indulge in: Challah Bread dredged in crushed cornflakes served with an SC peach compote and your choice of bacon or sausage. I am finding myself drooling just thinking about how scrumptious it was. I have it on authority ( just trust me;) that the eggs benedict (prosciutto, tomato, asparagus, and local goat cheese) will also have your mouth watering.
Duke's Nasher Museum of Art
The Museum is located on campus and houses more than 13,000 works of art. The collection contains more than 3,000 Pre-Columbian pieces.
Monuts. Located on 9th street, Monuts is home to some of the most delectable donuts you will ever have the pleasure to eat. The donuts change every day but they usually offer around 8 varieties. This is the perfect afternoon snack and break before heading back to campus.
Sarah P Duke Gardens One of my favorite places on campus ( and actually one of my favorite in all of The Triangle) The flowers are so lovely and a visit to these enchanting gardens are a must. The gardens are approximately 55 acres and are divided into four areas.
Dinner. Once you have stopped back at the hotel to freshen up, enjoy dinner in the Fairview Dining Room or pop back over to 9th St/Main St and have dinner at the delicious Parazide. Their food is excellent, but I am partial to their cocktails and dessert.
Relax back at the hotel or see if you can catch a movie at the Carolina Theater, completed in 1926. They may also have a theater production going on. We were lucky enough to catch Aziz Anzari doing stand up a few years ago.
On Central Campus, you can grab some chicken & waffles at Dames Express. They're almost famous;) Or, if the line is too busy, head over to Elmo's Diner off of 9th street, just be prepared for a wait at either place.
noon: Check out of Washington Duke Inn
The Duke Lemur Center is a must. The DLC is an 85-acre sanctuary for Prosimian Primates and is the largest of its kind in the world. They offer daily tours and each tour lasts approximately an hour. The current colony consists of between 250-300 primates, representing 25 species. The tour is very informative although I do suggest that you purchase the bug repellent wipes they offer! This was a very neat experience and one I fully endorse checking out.
Head back over and meander your way around West Campus. Check out the newly renovated Wallace Wade Stadium where the football team plays before making your way to the famed Cameron Indoor Stadium. Take a few photos out front and walk around to Krzyzewskiville where the students tent before games.
Tour Duke Chapel or stay for one of their musical performances. This is one of the most impressive sites on campus and is the center of West Campus. The Chapel is in collegiate gothic style and stands 210 feet high. It was completed in 1935 and was restored last year before reopening in May. There are three pipe organs, one consisting of more than 5,000 pipes!
There truly is so much to do and see on your visit to Duke!