Of the three cities that make up North Carolina's Research Triangle, Durham has traditionally been the grittier, more working-class one. A city of just over 200,000, Durham's early wealth was built on tobacco and textiles, with a vibrant African-American community that once made the city a center for Black culture.
These days, the tobacco warehouses and textile mills sit empty or have been converted to other uses, as Durham has taken on a different identity; best known now as the home of Duke University, a thriving health care and high tech industry has taken root in Durham. The city has also emerged as a cultural center for the region, with a lively theater scene and a trendy arts community that has begun to change Durham's gritty image. And while the city lacks the political clout of Raleigh or the college town atmosphere of Chapel Hill, some of the Triangle's most interesting and exciting attractions are to be found here.