Flights to Raleigh-Durham, NC (RDU)

The Raleigh-Durham area located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina has a unique history steeped in the prodigious cultivation of tobacco and the production of cigarettes. The Duke family of Durham was particularly successful at the endeavor, and their name is emblazoned on the many institutions they founded in the area, including Duke University.

But in the mid-1950s, a move was made to attract high-tech companies to the area, so Research Triangle Park was established. The effort was so successful, the geographic area that encompasses North Carolina State University in Raleigh, Duke University in Durham, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has come to be called Research Triangle or, more commonly, the Triangle.

That concentration of colleges has greatly influenced the Raleigh-Durham area in many significant ways. For one thing, collegiate sports – particularly basketball – are hugely popular attractions. In addition, the affection for beer runs so deep, more than 25 craft breweries call the area home. And where there’s craft, there is an excellent foodie scene.

The Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) has two terminals serving nine international, domestic, and regional airlines, including Delta Air Lines. More than 400 flights arrive and depart daily, providing non-stop service to 57 domestic and international destinations.

Both terminals have a selection of restaurants and shops, but Terminal 2 has the largest variety. Shopping outlets include Marshall-Rousso, Ruby Blue, Brighton, Brookstone, Hudson News, PGA Tour Shop, Benefit, and Best Buy Express.

Dining options include Char-Grill, La Tapenade, Starbucks, 42nd Street Oyster Bar, California Pizza Kitchen, Carolina Ale House, Gordon Biersch, and Jason’s Deli.

Take a taste test of craft beers on the Raleigh Beer Trail. More than 25 craft breweries are located in the area, including Big Boss Brewing Company, Compass Rose Brewery, Fainting Goat Brewing Company, Crank Arm Brewing Company, and Lynwood Brewing Concern. Or just visit the Raleigh Beer Garden, a two-level establishment with a rooftop deck and 366 beers on tap.

The food scene is on fire in Raleigh. Check out Brewery Bhavana, named a top 10 restaurant by Bon Appetit, or one of chef Ashley Christensen’s many restaurants, including Chicken + Honey and Poole’s Diner. She was named Chef of the Year by Eater.

The massive historic redbrick complex in Durham called American Tobacco was formerly the home of an enormous cigarette factory founded and operated by the Duke family. The 1-million-square-foot, multi-use entertainment district features apartments, offices, a theater, and a dozen of restaurants and bars. It’s also the site of concerts, festivals, and other special events throughout the year.

Duke Lemur Center in Durham, home of 250 lemurs represents 21 different species. This is a non-invasive research center, so you have to schedule a tour in advance, or you can sign up to shadow a lemur keeper and observe a research session.

Raleigh-Durham has a subtropical humid climate and experiences four distinct seasons. The hottest months are June, July, and August, when average highs hover in the high-80s with average lows in the mid- to high-60s. The coldest months are December, January, and February with average lows in the low- to mid-30s and average highs in the mid- to low-50s. On average, Raleigh-Durham receives more than 48 inches or precipitation a year, about four inches of that is snow. Between 3 and 4.5 inches of precipitation falls every month on average.