Answers from Our Experts (3)
You’d almost have to have your eyes closed to not figure out where the best places to watch sports in Raleigh-Durham are: the sports venues, of course. The Cameron Crazies (of Duke) and the diehard Tarheels clash like few other basketball teams in history, meeting several times a year to battle it out over the ACC and NCAA championships. That’s just the college stuff; don’t forget about the Durham Bulls, a minor league baseball team, or the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, winners of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.
Short of an actual game, your best bar bet (not an actual wager) is Tobacco Road Sports Cafe in both Durham and Raleigh. Snag an upholstered chair in the bar, where you’ll be surrounded by wall-to-wall television screens. At the Durham location, a patio table will put you just beyond the outfield at the Durham Bulls stadium. You say you don’t care about the Bulls? That’s the thing about minor league baseball: You don’t have to care. Most people in the stands have no idea who most of the players are. The players are either on the way up to the major leagues or drifting their way back down. None of that matters, though, as people come to cheer for the team and soak up the small-town feel and fun you’ll find throughout minor league baseball.
College sports may be seen at both UNC in Chapel Hill and Duke University in Durham. You can travel a little farther east to Raleigh and see sports at North Carolina State University, as well. Raleigh is also home to the Carolina Hurricanes, a professional ice hockey team; the Carolina Mudcats, a minor league baseball team; and the Carolina RailHawks, a professional soccer team. Sports venues include Carter-Finley Stadium, Five County Stadium, RBC Center and WakeMed Soccer Park.
Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill are all superb sporting event destinations. The area has a well-earned national reputation as a collegiate sports capital. Not only do six colleges, including North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina play exciting home schedules in a myriad of sports, but Raleigh-Durham is also a regular host of the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference championship events, especially in basketball, soccer, baseball, softball and tennis. In addition, the RBC Center in Raleigh is home to the Carolina Hurricanes Hockey Team and Durham’s minor-league baseball team, the Durham Bulls.