Once home to the American Tobacco Company, the American Tobacco Historic District's revitalized warehouses now accommodate sophisticated shops and restaurants. (©Scott Faber Photography)
Downtown Durham’s entertainment district flourishes throughout revitalized warehouses that once accommodated The American Tobacco Company, which was created during the 1890s. After acquiring a wide range of nontobacco products during the 1970s and 1980s, the company renamed itself American Brands in 1986 and has since been renamed Fortune Brands.
Today we know this area as the American Tobacco Historic District. Warehouse bays now accommodate sophisticated shops and restaurants, and serve as venues for weddings and conferences.
Visitors can experience a little of everything: ice skating in the winter, Durham Bulls minor league baseball in the spring, outdoor concerts in the summer, and festivals of every kind in the fall. Restaurateurs serve up cuisine ranging from Peruvian to American so visitors can experience for themselves why Durham was named the South’s Tastiest Town by Southern Living magazine in 2013.
From Broadway to modern dance, enjoy theatrical performances at acclaimed venues like the Durham Performing Arts Center and historic Carolina Theater. Men can even indulge in an old-fashioned straight-edge shave or hair cut at the American Tobacco Men’s Barber Shop, located in the Crowe Building lobby
While you’re in the area, pay homage to the Civil Rights movement at the S.H. Kress & Co. building, which served as the site of lunch counter sit-ins in 1960. The building was also Durham’s first air-conditioned structure.