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If you're not a college basketball fan, you should slink out of the area as quietly as possible. Unless you have a UNC or Duke sweatshirt on, or at least have some ability to discuss last night's game, you probably shouldn't be here. OK, that's stretching it a bit, but... The three towns of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill joined forever as a sort of triad of brilliance upon the creation of the Research Triangle Park in 1959. Some of the most brilliant minds in science and biotech come to work in the research park offices or at one of the three universities that sit at the points of the triangle: NC State (Raleigh); Duke (Durham); and UNC ...

If you're not a college basketball fan, you should slink out of the area as quietly as possible. Unless you have a UNC or Duke sweatshirt on, or at least have some ability to discuss last night's game, you probably shouldn't be here. OK, that's stretching it a bit, but... The three towns of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill joined forever as a sort of triad of brilliance upon the creation of the Research Triangle Park in 1959. Some of the most brilliant minds in science and biotech come to work in the research park offices or at one of the three universities that sit at the points of the triangle: NC State (Raleigh); Duke (Durham); and UNC (Chapel Hill). Each city supports a vibrant, college-town energy in a unique way. Raleigh is more sophisticated, with lots of historic buildings and the state capitol; Durham is younger, hipper and more laid-back; while Chapel Hill has a fun mix of the two. Regardless, it's a fun area to explore and you'll soon be a basketball fan too.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year-round, but the energy's better during the school year