Stroll Through the Duke University Campus

Stroll Through the Duke University Campus

Tourism officials will tell you: If you've only got an afternoon in Durham, a trip to Duke is probably your best bet. No matter your ACC allegiance, the school's campus is quite a sight to behold. This is particularly true on the West Campus, where the towering hardwoods and neo-Gothic architecture make you fed like you've stepped right into a Harry Potter novel. At the center of the Gothic wonderland is the astonishing Duke Chapel, a 210-foot tower that seems to scrape the sky. Poke your head into the cavernous 1,800-seat interior for a glance at the limestone carvings and stained glass windows.


A few hundred feet from the chapel is the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 55-acre jewel that's said to be one of the country's premier public gardens. It’s filled with wooded trails, blossoming flowerbeds, Asian gardens, rolling streams and a stunning terrace area. We can't think of a better time to visit than spring, when the blooming wisteria bursts with an impossibly rich shade of purple. Admission is free, though you might have to shell out a few bucks to park (several metered parking areas exist nearby, though they can get pretty cramped on weekends).

Duke is also home to the prestigious Nastier Museum of Art, which houses multiple galleries, sculpture gardens, a museum store and cafe. Built in 2005, the museum presents a number of cutting- edge contemporary artworks from around the world. It's open six days a week (closed Monday), typically till 5 p.m. Admission is $5 (free for kids) and parking is available on-site.

Then there's the most universally loved (or hated) building on campus: Cameron Indoor Stadium. The stadium serves as the sacred home of Duke basketball, and it was recently ranked as the fourth best sporting venue of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated. Outside the entrance, visitors can see the strip of grass affectionately dubbed Krzyzewskiville (named after Coach Mike Krzyzewski), which becomes a city of tents during basketball season. The stadium sits next to the Duke Sports Hall of fame, which chronicles the basketball team's unprecedented success with trophy displays, interactive videos and plenty of memorabilia. Its open weekdays from 9am.-5pm and operates around home football and basketball games during the weekends. Admission is free.

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