While we all have our personal favorite things we did in Durham in 2018 (mine is a tie between eating ALL THE THINGS at the Neomonde opening and exploring bizarre finds at The Scrap Exchange), the data doesn't lie when it comes to figuring out the most popular spots. We crunched the numbers, punched the computer keys and did some unnecessary stuff with a calculator just to look smart, all in the name of gathering the top 25 spots y'all just couldn't stop loving on this year.
If you've done all these things, revel in the nostalgia (and use this as a reminder to go visit your faves). And if some of these are new to you? Think of this as the perfect start to your 2019 bucket list. (Also if you're just in it for the noms, check out our list of the best new restaurant openings in the Triangle in 2018.)
Did we miss your favorite experience of 2018? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know about the top things you did in Durham this year!
Trendy Thai rolled ice cream has finally come to Durham! Check out Snow Factory on 9th Street for 26 flavors and endless combinations.
Dare to dip into the quarry and take a swim. This legendary spot attracts adventurers and daredevils for its secluded location and 40ft cliff.
Minutes from Durham and Chapel Hill, the Eno River State Park offers secluded wilderness trails with the serenity and sounds of the river. Take a break from civilization and march into the wild.
The owner of Black Twig Cider House has opened County Fare in Lakewood. The 150 capacity barn unites four Triangle food trucks with 30 beer taps, wine and cider.
Get ready to have your concept of sushi rocked. Not only is everything at Rockin' Rolls Sushi Express all-you-can-eat, but it's all delivered to you via rotating conveyor belt.
Dog lovers of Durham rejoice! The Bull City's first pup-focused bar is now open in BB&T Plaza. Customers (human and K-9) can stop by for dog treats and toys, craft brews, adoption events and more!
Hutchins Garage is the newest addition to Durham's DIY/Warehouse District, serving beer, wine and pizza out of the renovated Hutchins Automotive car dealership.
Durham's Barrel Culture is dishin' out beer slushies that would make the rainbow jealous.
The Al Buehler Trail is the perfect place to escape from the chaos of work—one loop on the 2.91 mile wooded trail will put a smile on even the most stressed out face.
Raleigh wine shop and bar, The Wine Feed has just opened their second location bringing the wine pros to Bull City. The new space includes an expanded bar, retail and a comfy wine lounge.
Augmentality Labs features six fully-immersive virtual reality stations, retro games, and plenty of space to host an out-of-this-world shindig.
Eastcut is now open, bringing #sandwichutopia to the University Drive area. Check out the wide variety of east coast sandwiches, plus coffee, beer, wine, limited cocktails and a stellar patio.
Cocoa Cinnamon has expanded its business with a 3rd location in Lakewood, but there's a twist—in addition to roasting their own signature coffee, they also serve up made-to-order churros!
Check out Asheville's circus-themed brewery at their first taproom in the Triangle, touting previously hard-to-access brews, soccer pool courts, an incredible wrap-around mural and more.
Shop Durham's largest flea market where you will find an amazing assortment of merchants selling unique items alongside authentic taquerias. Shop from the best while you tame your taco cravings.
A local paradise for naturalists, Honeysuckle Tea House invites you to rediscover all the wonderful things nature can do for your body and mind.
Be amazed by over 10 different species of lemurs. Come out with your friends and be sure to bring a camera on your private tour. Don't forget you have to call ahead to reserve your spot!
Even art un-enthusiasts will become fans of all the incredible and unconventional art when Third Friday takes over the Bull City.
Visit this Durham spot to see head chef Melina and her crew at work, making fresh pasta daily or hit up one of their wildly popular classes to master the art of authentic pasta-making for yourself.
Often spoken of as "the crown jewel of Duke University," Duke Gardens are pure, natural bliss. Come take a stroll, revel in its beauty and appreciate gorgeous grounds.
Newly opened in the former Respite Café space, Kaffeinate is bringing comfort, community and great coffee to Durham. Stop in for monthly specials, like a black sesame latte or a honeysuckle cold brew.
Take a self-guided tour of Durham's best and most vibrant murals and behold the beauty and wonder of these large scale works of public art and the awesome creative energy they share with the city.
Finding ultra-fresh, local seafood is easier than ever because Saltbox has opened a second location! Stop by for catch of the day on a platter or roll. Don't forget a side of the famous Hush-Honeys!
The owners of Pizzeria Toro and Littler have opened their third restaurant, Jack Tar, on the ground floor of Unscripted in downtown Durham. The menu features classic diner fare with a modern twist.
Shop tent after tent filled with local, hand-made treasures! Then hit up some of the food trucks for delicious treats all morning long.