A Brief Guide to Durham’s Alleyways

Alley. A narrow passage between or behind buildings.

This definition is too vague. I prefer (my own):

Alley. A narrow passage between or behind buildings that provides auxiliary access.

With this definition in mind, what follows is a list of Durham’s alleys. This list is by no means exhaustive; we’d love to hear about those you’ve explored that didn’t make it on this list.

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Alley 26. Photo Credit: Rachel Wexler.

Right at the nexus of downtown, this beaut is hard to miss. This repurposed and highly intentional spot is so quaint that you kind of hate it.

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Between 101 W. Chapel Hill Street and 353 W. Main Street. Photo Credit: Rachel Wexler.

Take a trip down this brand new red brick road to your downtown delights, or your parked car (depending on the direction you’re heading). Connecting a large parking complex to downtown amenities, this auto-to-foot gateway primes you for your culinary, commercial, banking, musical, or pharmaceutical adventures in Durham.

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At the corner of Fuller and W. Corporation. Photo Credit: Rachel Wexler.

While not technically an alley, this botanically-endowed stretch of train tracks is where you’ll find the next pony express to Narnia. So it is indeed an alternative route considering that one would generally look to a wardrobe to reach such a destination.

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8 Alley. Photo Credit: Rachel Wexler.

Minimal yet whimsical. Ignore the dumpsters to your right and the crunch of gravel beneath your feet will transport you to pre-pavement yesteryear. This alternative route gives you access to the bustling Ninth Street commercial corridor or the wacky businesses tucked behind the street-front stores.

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Extension of 2 Alley. Photo Credit: Rachel Wexler.

The grand finale!

What!? Yes. Though not on public property, this Peter Pan dream is free for the looking. A mini ropes course that ends in the best club house around is located off of an unpresuming alley in Trinity Park. While not legitimized by Google maps, this alley is an extension of “2 Alley.” Access this focal point behind White Star Laundry.

What have we missed and what have you urban wanderers found?

About the Author: Rachel Wexler is the co-editor of the Carolina Planning Journal and pursuing her master’s degree in City and Regional Planning. Her bachelor’s is in english from UC Berkeley; prior to beginning her master’s she worked as an editor, cook, and musician. Her academic work focuses on economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and placemaking. Her non-academic work focuses on playing in general and playing cello in particular. She also thinks frequently about Oakland, California and Berlin, Germany, both of which she calls home. These are also the urban spaces that brought her to this charming small town to study planning.