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Old 12-19-2007, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,545 posts, read 2,788,187 times
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In terms of housing, the feel, things to do, appearance, the people who live there, greenspace, highrises/urban development, etc. etc.
i know durham has the colleges, but beyond that.

i'm 25 and liberal and gonna be married (i dont care about the schools right now), looking for a small city feel, like portland, OR or worcester, MA sized, i guess.

thanks a lot for any help!
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
2,461 posts, read 5,510,104 times
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Without getting into the differences between the two cities (there are MANY), I will say that based on the limited things you've said above, Durham would likely be the better fit for you.

Do a few searches for posts on this forum and you should get a pretty good feel for the two towns and some of the major differences. Even with that, your best bet will be a trip to the area to compare the two towns first-hand.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,545 posts, read 2,788,187 times
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we plan on visiting both in may, and i did search, but the stuff posted under those names together seem to mostly deal with raleigh-durham vs. something else, or the schools...
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:15 PM
 
3,021 posts, read 7,615,650 times
Reputation: 1565
This is kinda funny, Gucci, because at first I thought, "This will be easy to answer," but then I realized that maybe it isn't quite so easy afterall. That's because, from my point of view, Raleigh and Durham are both part of the same metropolitan area. They bleed into one another and feed off of one another. Granted, they are technically seperate towns and should be respected as such, but when I drive through them they honestly don't feel that different to me.

Raleigh's population (as of July 1st 2007): 367,995
Link to more info: http://www.raleigh-nc.org/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_306_202_0_43/http;/pt03/DIG_Web_Content/category/Resident/Raleigh_At_A_Glance/Cat-1C-20051006-152447-Raleigh_Demographics.html (broken link)

Durham's population (as of February 2005): 187,035
Link to more info: http://www.durhamnc.gov/departments/...mographics.pdf
Sorry I couldn't find more up-to-date info.

Although Durham's population has certainly grown in the last few years, I'd wager that it remains about 35-40% smaller than Raleigh. Both towns continue to grow at a steady pace, as does the rest of the Triangle.

Of the two, Raleigh has a slightly more impressive skyline (a few more tall buildings will be built there in the next decade or so). Check out the following website to see some great photos of Raleigh's downtown: http://raleighskyline.com/
Many of the buildings in downtown Durham are old brick tobacco warehouses that have been converted into office buildings and condominums. Most of the downtown area is called the American Tobacco Historic District.
http://www.americantobaccohistoricdistrict.com/index.asp (broken link)
The Durham Bulls stadium is also in downtown, which gives the whole area a more laid-back feel IMHO.

Surrounding the downtown areas of both cities, you'll find some lovely older neighborhoods. Durham's downtown neighborhoods go by various names (Trinity Park, Watts-Hillandale, etc.). In Raleigh, that area is generally known as Inside The Beltline - or ITB - because it lies within the ringroad that circles downtown Raleigh. Some of the most expensive real estate in the Triangle is located ITB.

There's a lot of greenspace to be found in both towns. Check out the Triangle Greenways Council for more in-depth info: http://www.trianglegreenways.org/wheregwys.htm (broken link)
As you'll see, there's a good amount of greenspace and paved trails here. It's very green 'round these parts. Oodles of tall trees. There are some great parks, too, whether you're looking for something formal like the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on Durham or something a little more natural like Umstead Park in Raleigh.
http://www.hr.duke.edu/dukegardens/
http://ils.unc.edu/parkproject/visit/wium/home.html (broken link)
Here's a website that lists some parks and hiking trails in the Durham area: http://www.bikewalkdurham.org/hiking/index.html
Some other Triangle parks are listed on that page, too.

As for other things to do, both cities have art museums & science museums. Raleigh also has a history museum and, of course, the state capitol.
Raleigh museums: http://www.visitraleigh.com/visitors...s_to_do/museum
Durham museums: http://www.durham-nc.worldweb.com/Si...tions/Museums/
If you enjoy art, both Raleigh and Durham have monthly art walks through most of the year.
http://www.thirdfridaydurham.com/fridays/view
http://www.godowntownraleigh.com/eve...e-first-friday
There are plenty of restaurants sprinkled around both towns (for in-depth info on the foodie scene, check out the forums on Chowhound.com). If you like live music and art exhibits and other local events, check out The Indy - the Triangle's local free press newspaper.
http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/

Generally speaking, housing is a bit more expensive in Raleigh. A real estate professional could do a better job of explaining why, but I think it comes down to two things.
1. Crime: The crime rate is a bit higher in Durham than in Raleigh. It's true that there are a number of towns in North Carolina that have higher crime rates (Charlotte, Fayetteville, etc.), but even so, Durham has the higher crime rate of the two major Triangle cities. Most of the areas of both of these cities are quite nice and family friendly, but like all cities, Raleigh and Durham each have pockets that aren't so nice.
2. Schools: This is where it gets tricky. If you look at the break down of test scores, you'll see that children in Durham schools test just as well as their counterparts in Wake County schools (the school district in Raleigh). But that's if you break the students down by, say, race or economic background. Durham County has more black students than Wake. And unfortunately, in the United States black students do not test as well as white students generally-speaking. It's a terrible, nation-wide problem that many experts are studying and trying to address. In the mean time, the racial diversity of Durham's schools result in lower over-all test scores.

People tend to say that Durham has a more urban feel than Raleigh, but I don't quite understand why! Then again, I live in southern Durham which has a very suburban feel to it. I imagine the "urban" feel comes from the diverse population. Maybe events like the annual Gay & Lesbian Film Festival help Durham earn that reputation, too.
http://festivals.carolinatheatre.org/ncglff/index (broken link)

Most people tell the self-professed liberals that they will be happier living on the western side of the Triangle (Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, etc.). This may be true. However, I know liberals who live all over the Triangle & they each seem very happy with where they've made their respective homes. Basically, you just need to come down here & feel the place out.

I could go on for ages pointing out what each city has to offer, but it's getting late. I hope that this will give you a tast of each city & encourage you to examine each of them further.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:45 PM
 
460 posts, read 1,239,036 times
Reputation: 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSteel View Post
...from my point of view, Raleigh and Durham are both part of the same metropolitan area. They bleed into one another and feed off of one another. Granted, they are technically seperate towns and should be respected as such, but when I drive through them they honestly don't feel that different to me. .
I feel the same way.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:49 AM
 
Location: SW Durham, NC (27713)
1,040 posts, read 2,382,362 times
Reputation: 524
Lightbulb What a post...

Damn, GREAT post! Unfortunately...

"You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to MrsSteel again."



Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSteel View Post
This is kinda funny, Gucci, because at first I thought, "This will be easy to answer," but then I realized that maybe it isn't quite so easy afterall. That's because, from my point of view, Raleigh and Durham are both part of the same metropolitan area. They bleed into one another and feed off of one another. Granted, they are technically seperate towns and should be respected as such, but when I drive through them they honestly don't feel that different to me.

Raleigh's population (as of July 1st 2007): 367,995
Link to more info: http://www.raleigh-nc.org/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_306_202_0_43/http;/pt03/DIG_Web_Content/category/Resident/Raleigh_At_A_Glance/Cat-1C-20051006-152447-Raleigh_Demographics.html (broken link)

Durham's population (as of February 2005): 187,035
Link to more info: http://www.durhamnc.gov/departments/...mographics.pdf
Sorry I couldn't find more up-to-date info.

Although Durham's population has certainly grown in the last few years, I'd wager that it remains about 35-40% smaller than Raleigh. Both towns continue to grow at a steady pace, as does the rest of the Triangle.

Of the two, Raleigh has a slightly more impressive skyline (a few more tall buildings will be built there in the next decade or so). Check out the following website to see some great photos of Raleigh's downtown: http://raleighskyline.com/
Many of the buildings in downtown Durham are old brick tobacco warehouses that have been converted into office buildings and condominums. Most of the downtown area is called the American Tobacco Historic District.
http://www.americantobaccohistoricdistrict.com/index.asp (broken link)
The Durham Bulls stadium is also in downtown, which gives the whole area a more laid-back feel IMHO.

Surrounding the downtown areas of both cities, you'll find some lovely older neighborhoods. Durham's downtown neighborhoods go by various names (Trinity Park, Watts-Hillandale, etc.). In Raleigh, that area is generally known as Inside The Beltline - or ITB - because it lies within the ringroad that circles downtown Raleigh. Some of the most expensive real estate in the Triangle is located ITB.

There's a lot of greenspace to be found in both towns. Check out the Triangle Greenways Council for more in-depth info: http://www.trianglegreenways.org/wheregwys.htm (broken link)
As you'll see, there's a good amount of greenspace and paved trails here. It's very green 'round these parts. Oodles of tall trees. There are some great parks, too, whether you're looking for something formal like the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on Durham or something a little more natural like Umstead Park in Raleigh.
http://www.hr.duke.edu/dukegardens/
http://ils.unc.edu/parkproject/visit/wium/home.html (broken link)
Here's a website that lists some parks and hiking trails in the Durham area: http://www.bikewalkdurham.org/hiking/index.html
Some other Triangle parks are listed on that page, too.

As for other things to do, both cities have art museums & science museums. Raleigh also has a history museum and, of course, the state capitol.
Raleigh museums: http://www.visitraleigh.com/visitors...s_to_do/museum
Durham museums: http://www.durham-nc.worldweb.com/Si...tions/Museums/
If you enjoy art, both Raleigh and Durham have monthly art walks through most of the year.
http://www.thirdfridaydurham.com/fridays/view
http://www.godowntownraleigh.com/eve...e-first-friday
There are plenty of restaurants sprinkled around both towns (for in-depth info on the foodie scene, check out the forums on Chowhound.com). If you like live music and art exhibits and other local events, check out The Indy - the Triangle's local free press newspaper.
http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/

Generally speaking, housing is a bit more expensive in Raleigh. A real estate professional could do a better job of explaining why, but I think it comes down to two things.
1. Crime: The crime rate is a bit higher in Durham than in Raleigh. It's true that there are a number of towns in North Carolina that have higher crime rates (Charlotte, Fayetteville, etc.), but even so, Durham has the higher crime rate of the two major Triangle cities. Most of the areas of both of these cities are quite nice and family friendly, but like all cities, Raleigh and Durham each have pockets that aren't so nice.
2. Schools: This is where it gets tricky. If you look at the break down of test scores, you'll see that children in Durham schools test just as well as their counterparts in Wake County schools (the school district in Raleigh). But that's if you break the students down by, say, race or economic background. Durham County has more black students than Wake. And unfortunately, in the United States black students do not test as well as white students generally-speaking. It's a terrible, nation-wide problem that many experts are studying and trying to address. In the mean time, the racial diversity of Durham's schools result in lower over-all test scores.

People tend to say that Durham has a more urban feel than Raleigh, but I don't quite understand why! Then again, I live in southern Durham which has a very suburban feel to it. I imagine the "urban" feel comes from the diverse population. Maybe events like the annual Gay & Lesbian Film Festival help Durham earn that reputation, too.
http://festivals.carolinatheatre.org/ncglff/index (broken link)

Most people tell the self-professed liberals that they will be happier living on the western side of the Triangle (Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, etc.). This may be true. However, I know liberals who live all over the Triangle & they each seem very happy with where they've made their respective homes. Basically, you just need to come down here & feel the place out.

I could go on for ages pointing out what each city has to offer, but it's getting late. I hope that this will give you a tast of each city & encourage you to examine each of them further.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:18 AM
 
296 posts, read 539,903 times
Reputation: 249
I think Durham is seen as more urban by some due to the way it looks as well. It appears an older city, and I believe at one time it was a bit larger than Raleigh, actually. It's not as attractive as Raleigh (to some--I personally love it), and has an edgier urban look to it due to some of the old tobacco warehouses that are being renovated as living and office space. Similar in some ways to a Baltimore in appearance I guess. Raleigh, on the other hand is growing downtown with many new condos and towers. It is growing in a "new south" kind of way, which also includes a good amount of sprawl.

I agree w/ MrsSteel though--many locals act is if they're on different planets. They're different but not that different. They're pretty close together and even touch in some places. I'm of the opinion that the area is much more interconnected than some say. If you live in one city--it doesn't matter..you'll end up needing to go to another for a restaurant, entertainment, musuem, a park, etc.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:36 AM
 
906 posts, read 1,440,647 times
Reputation: 413
Quote:
Damn, GREAT post! Unfortunately...

"You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to MrsSteel again."
I had the same problem. lol

As for the op, I agree with mdp_az that it sounds like Durham might be a better fit. Raleigh is neat too so you really can't go wrong and like other said, R-D are very interconnected.

I don't know what housing is like in Durham, but buying a house in the older parts of Raleigh is expensive. I imagine that you would want to live closer to downtown, in the older parts of town rather than in the family centric 'suburbs'.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:39 AM
 
906 posts, read 1,440,647 times
Reputation: 413
Oh, forgot to say that i also think of Durham being more urban. I think it has to do with it being more industrial, or at least it used to be with the tobacco industry. To me, Durham seems more like larger cities up north than Raleigh does. Even the more 'urban core' of Raleigh doesn't seem very urban to me.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:43 AM
 
460 posts, read 1,239,036 times
Reputation: 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by raleighjayne View Post
Oh, forgot to say that i also think of Durham being more urban. I think it has to do with it being more industrial, or at least it used to be with the tobacco industry. To me, Durham seems more like larger cities up north than Raleigh does. .
Are you speaking about downtown Durham?

IMO, the areas radiating outward from SouthPoint mall are quite suburban. Nothing like Baltimore, or similar cities.
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