Below is a list of neighborhoods that are closest to campus where a number of Duke students live. Neighborhoods with an asterisk denote proximity to a Duke bus line.
There are certainly many more great neighborhoods in the City of Durham than are listed here, and many students also choose to live in nearby towns such as Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Cary, Apex, or the city of Raleigh.
NearDukeGuide also has great resources on neighborhoods.
Closer to West Campus
The Erwin/LaSalle neighborhood is the closest neighborhood to West Campus and consists entirely of apartment complexes, many of whom cater directly to Duke students. There are many restaurants nearby, but retail amenities such as grocery stores are farther away. Some apartment complexes in the neighborhood are more affordable, but some students have been victims of crime in the area. A Duke bus provides service to the neighborhood, the LL. The area is also home to the historic Crest Street Neighborhood.
Duke Forest consists of single-family homes and is walkable and bikeable to campus, but there are few amenities close by.
Watts-Hillandale is a large neighborhood with single-family homes and some duplexes. It is bikeable to campus (or a bit longer walk), especially from the southern third of the neighborhood, but is closer to Duke hospital than to the university campus. A large city park sits in the middle of the neighborhood. There are many amenities nearby, but most of the neighborhood is surrounded by major roads.
Equal distance between East & West
Old West Durham is a little bit closer to East Campus than West Campus, but not by much. There are single family homes in the neighborhood with some duplexes as well. It is walkable and bikeable to amenities and to campus.
Tuscaloosa-Lakewood (most just call the neighborhood Lakewood) is a little farther out than some of the other neighborhoods, but still has a fair number of students who live there. It is about a 2-mile bike ride to both East and West Campus. There are many amenities close by including coffee shops, grocery stores, and restaurants.
Closer to East Campus
Burch Avenue is the closest neighborhood to the south side of East Campus and is close to downtown Durham. It is a relatively small neighborhood with mostly single-family homes and some duplexes. The neighborhood has a reputation as one of Durham’s “crunchier” neighborhoods. Amenities including a grocery store and restaurants are within walking and biking distance.
Trinity Heights is the closest neighborhood to the north side of East Campus. The neighborhood is only a few blocks and has historically had several student rental homes. Amenities including a grocery store and restaurants are within walking and biking distance.
Walltown is just north of Trinity Heights and is a historically Black neighborhood that consists mostly of single-family homes and duplexes. Amenities including a grocery store and restaurants are within walking and biking distance.
Trinity Park is the closest neighborhood to the east side of East Campus. It has many larger single-family homes, but also has some duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes. It is also close to downtown Durham.
The 9th Street area is the closest neighborhood to the west side of East Campus and consists almost entirely of apartment complexes, with some single family houses and duplexes to the north. It is popular with students because of the number apartment complexes so close together and its proximity to amenities including a grocery store and pharmacy, retail, and nightlife. The area is walkable to a Duke bus line, the H1.
Old North Durham is farther out than the previous neighborhoods but is popular because of its proximity to downtown Durham and to nightlife. The neighborhood is bikeable to East Campus, but many students who live in the neighborhood also drive.
Duke Park is just north of Old North Durham and is centered around a city park, Duke Park. The neighborhood is popular with families and consists of single family homes and duplexes. It is about 2 miles to East Campus.
Northgate Park has single-family homes and duplexes and is also farther out than other neighborhoods like Burch, Trinity Heights, Walltown, and Trinity Park. The neighborhood is popular with families and young professionals and is centered around a city park, Northgate Park. It is about 2 miles to East Campus.
Other popular areas of Durham for Duke students
Downtown Durham is a little over 1 mile from East Campus and about 2 miles from West Campus. There are many new apartment complexes that are often a little more expensive but offer proximity to nightlife and restaurants.
The highway that connects Durham and Chapel Hill is called 15-501, and there are many apartment complexes along the highway that house Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill students. The area is designed for cars rather than pedestrians or cyclists, though some students do take the bus to campus as there are so many amenities close by. This area is popular with some students who are partnered with or live with UNC-Chapel Hill students.
There are a number of apartment complexes and townhomes around Southpoint Mall; people in Durham often refer to this part of town as the Southpoint area. Amenities including retail, restaurants, and grocery stores are plentiful. Access to the American Tobacco Trail is close by. Students who live near Southpoint most often have cars, as it is about 10 miles from campus.
The Croasdaile area is anchored by a large residential neighborhood, but there are a number of apartment complexes and townhomes nearby. While only 3 miles away, the roads are not easily bikeable and many students in this area have cars. Amenities are plentiful, but mostly accessible by car because of the infrastructure in the area.