A few weeks ago, Newsies played Durham, NC for the second time. I didn’t think much of the city on the first visit but developed an affinity for it this time. I’m so glad I gave it a second chance.
Durham reminded me of a mix of Brooklyn and Atlanta. It was industrial cool with non-chain stores and restaurants (not even a Starbucks downtown). Condos are going up everywhere and seems very livable. I envy all the workers at the American Tobacco Campus with their refurbished factory offices and parks for lunchtime.
Here’s some factors that can affect your first impression of a new city:
Where You’re Staying
The first time, we stayed at a hotel at driving distance with not much around it. I’d drive in to the downtown area for shows at the DPAC but didn’t venture much further than a few blocks. This time, I stayed at the 21C Museum Hotel just a few blocks from the theater.
Being close made a huge difference. It allowed me to go for morning walks, check out the Saturday morning farmer’s market, and really get a sense of the city. I loved being close to everything.
If the weather stinks on your trip, there’s no way you’re going to be able to get out and see the city. The weather was so-so the first time and this time it was summer, so I was happy to be out and about. The American Tobacco Campus is a cool area with grass, tables and a man-made river which was an awesome place to hang out. If I came in the winter, I would be less likely to hang out there.
Lack of Planning
One of my favorite things to do is research. I love to check out what to do and where to eat ahead of time, even down to the closest Trader Joe’s or Starbucks. If you don’t plan, you won’t know about the cool things to do in a city or even if there’s something special going on. For example, I didn’t know about the Saturday Farmers Market the first go around. I’m so glad I went the second time. Bruno loved smelling all the stalls and especially the abundance of dogs and children. We had a great time checking it out but easily could’ve missed it if we hadn’t done our research this go around.
Have you ever given a city a second chance?