Which neighborhood is most ideal in the Triangle, NC?
May 7, 2012 4:05 PM   Subscribe

I am moving to the Triangle in North Carolina but work from home so a commute is not an issue. Recommend the best neighborhood(s) in the entire region!

My wife and I will be moving to the Triangle later this year. We're in our late-20s. I primarily work from home so my location is not dependent on a commute. She is a teacher so it's pretty easy to find jobs anywhere. Here is what I'm looking for:

- Dense, walkable, residential neighborhood
- Places to actually walk to! (restaurants, music venues, shops, etc...)
- Nearby parks/recreation
- Midsize houses, around 2000 SF
- My housing budget is around $300k
- I'm an historic house nerd, but it is not a must
- I probably won't have school-age children for another 7-8 years, but good school system is a plus
- Relatively safe (see note below)

I currently live in an historic neighborhood in Birmingham, AL (South Avondale, if anyone is familiar). I absolutely love it. Lots of craftsmen houses squeezed about 15 feet apart from one another. Although my neighborhood mainly experiences just petty crime, itis pretty bad in general in Birmingham, so I doubt anywhere in the Triangle that fits the criteria above would be much worse than what we currently live in (even in :gasp: Durham).

A couple people have recommended Carrboro, but I also like the idea of being in more dense area in Durham (if that exists). However, I'm having a hard time finding specific neighborhoods in either places. So, please recommend me the best neighborhoods in the region!
posted by JacksonEsquire to Travel & Transportation around Durham, NC (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The "hipper" parts of Durham aren't really that dense. Carrboro and Chapel Hill are neat places with lots of things going on, but they are (in lots of ways) little southern college towns. You shouldn't have much trouble finding a craftsman bungalow or similar there. Duke Forest is a really nice area, but it's more secluded and not as walkable to fun stuff, though there are extensive bike paths all over that lead to bigger stuff.

I'm a North Carolinian but I grew up in Greensboro, which is 45-60 minutes away. I have a friend who just moved to Raleigh who could possible help more. Maybe post a throwaway address and I can have her send you some more tips?

Good luck! I love and miss that part of the world. North Carolina (marriage amendments aside) can be a cool, progressive place to live.
posted by littlerobothead at 4:24 PM on May 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Carrboro for sure. Carrboro is small enough that there aren't really 'neighborhoods' per se, more like 'areas' and a few subdivisions. But some of the houses around Oak Ave or between N Greensboro and W Main St are pretty cute and close to things. Though you will get more bang for your buck (in terms of square footage) in Durham around the areas near Duke's East Campus (Trinity Park neighborhood and north-ish). But you'll be missing out on some of the better aspects of Carrboro (more of a young people professional/academic feel than Durham, IMHO).
posted by greta simone at 4:24 PM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Searching previous threads on this topic will show that the correct answer to this question is Old West Durham. It meets all of your requirements and already contains a good Metafilter contingent. If you want somewhat bigger houses, the neighboring Watts-Hillandale or Trinity Park are also worth checking out.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:29 PM on May 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far guys. On a cursory search, Old West Durham seems similar to what I picture in my head as an ideal neighborhood. That being said, I need to get up there and actually experience some of the neighborhoods and having a shortlist to pick from will definitely help (it's a huge region up there!). Carrboro will definitely be on that list.

(Also, I realize this topic has somewhat been covered before, but it's usually like "I'll be going to Duke, give me a neighborhood in walking distance." I thought this question was open-ended enough to warrant a new topic!)
posted by JacksonEsquire at 4:52 PM on May 7, 2012

Carrboro is pretty sterile. It's not the suburbs, but its reputation tends towards the yuppie/hippie/hipster vibe. Way too white-southern for my tastes. Durham is much more vibrant and has an amazing energy these days.
posted by barnone at 4:54 PM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're interested in Raleigh, Oakwood, Five Points, or Boyle Heights will fit the bill.
posted by something something at 5:08 PM on May 7, 2012

Sorry, BoyLAN Heights. I used to live in LA, too.
posted by something something at 5:10 PM on May 7, 2012

I've lived in Durham for the last six years while attending Duke. The closest thing I know of to what you want is indeed Old West Durham, a historic neighborhood which has parks nearby and is walkable to shops and restaurants on 9th Street.
posted by gerryblog at 6:06 PM on May 7, 2012

A question for those recommending Old West Durham - what are the public schools like in the area? I have heard good things about the Chapel Hill / Carrboro school system and also Wake County schools, but what I've heard about Durham County schools is more mixed.
posted by research monkey at 6:57 PM on May 7, 2012

Downtown Durham is so up and coming! Lots of really hip restaurants, bars, and start-ups. Check out stuff near the warehouse district apartments.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:11 PM on May 7, 2012

The kids in OWD go to EK Powe elementary, which is a fantastic neighborhood school. Everybody I knew with kids at Powe, or Brogden Middle, or Riverside High was perfectly happy with them. There is also a great magnet system in Durham, including popular Montessori elementary and middle schools and an arts middle/high school.

My feeling, as somebody who grew up in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools and then lived in Durham for 7 years, is that whenever white people talk about "bad" and "good" schools in NC, they're talking about race, not education. Durham is majority minority, around 30% each white, black, and Latino. Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Cary, Raleigh, etc are majority white. Make of that what you will.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:51 AM on May 8, 2012

Yes, Old West Durham is the answer. No other walk able place in the area has the schools. I live in Duke Park (East of OWD) and our neighborhood is hip and walk able, but we are zoned for the worst schools in the county. You can use the magnet system, but you aren't guaranteed a place, so if your kid doesn't get in, your only option is private school. We are going to be moving soon with for size and school district needs, and OWD is one of the places we are thinking of. Chapel Hill is tempting, just because the schools are so good, but for the extra cost, we could probably send our kids to private school. I have also lived in Carrboro, and if you live near downtown, it is wonderful and walk able. But it's also very college town-esque, and I'm not sure you want that.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 5:11 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

OP, if you're still checking this thread, you might also want to look at the discussion in another AskMe.
posted by research monkey at 3:34 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Money issues with family   |   Am I overreacting to my neighbor's behavior? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.