If you’ve been following along on my blog for a while, you’ll remember that I’m pretty new to the Durham area. My husband and I (plus Povi and still-in-my-tummy-Aidas) moved here just over a year ago from Chicago. While I actually lived in Asheville, NC for ten years back in high school and college, I had never gotten the opportunity to explore Eastern Carolina before, so this entire area has been new to me. As a photographer, one of the very first things that came to mind when I arrived was, of course, “HOLY GUACAMOLE, I need to find all the best portrait session locations in Durham NOW!” I’ve been happily exploring ever since, especially during my morning outings with the boys. Now that I’m officially back to photographing clients, I’m finally putting together an official list of all my favorite spots in town. Here are FIVE of my favorite spots so far:
1. Angel of Spring Mural off of 9th Street
This mural is such a fun pop of color and shapes! It’s right in front of a sidewalk and a semi-slow street, too, so there’s just enough room to get a good wide photo of the mural, although you might have to wait a few minutes for a passing pedestrian or two to finish taking a selfie. Bonus: there are several other fun walls and doorways nearby, not to mention the delicious ice cream shop, Pincho Loco, which makes for a perfect end-of-shoot treat.
2. American Tobacco Campus
Nestled in the heart of downtown Durham, the American Tobacco Campus has everything from fun restaurants and twinkly outdoor seating, to a small lawn for outdoor concerts and events, a bubbling creek that leads to a sheltered waterworks, multiple hammocks for lazy evenings, a giant chessboard, the original Burt’s Bees shop, and of course the historic Lucky Strike Water Tower keeping watch over it all. Parking is pretty easy – free across the street in the unpaved lots, or just drive into the neighboring parking garage for pretty cheap. Downside is that this entire area becomes absolute chaos whenever there’s a Bulls game, since the stadium is next door!
3. West Point on the Eno
The Eno River State Park is much bigger than I originally realized and holds a treasure trove of hiking paths, swimming holes, and hungry mosquitoes, but West Point on the Eno is usually where I head. Free parking, a neat mill and bridge, and another longer bridge just a few minutes down the path. Make sure to spray yourself down with bug repellent and plan for an earlier drop in light, since the foliage is thick and lush!
4. Northgate Park
If you have multiple kids and feel like someplace easy is your best bet, Northgate Park is the perfect option! Tucked away in North Durham, this gem of a park has wide open fields, lush foliage, a bridge, walking paths, and even two playgrounds to use as a bribe for your children’s best behavior. Best of all? Few people and free and easy parking. Win/win.
5. Downtown Durham
Why not wander the streets and find more than one neat backdrop for your photos? Parking around downtown tends to be pretty easy to find, unless there’s a major event happening, and there are so many interesting nooks, crannies, murals, and side streets to be found.
What neat spots have you discovered around Durham? I’d love to add them to my list of places to check out!