As much as the students love Duke, there are some shortcomings that simply cannot be overlooked. A local, college-town atmosphere definitely makes that list. While East Campus is not situated near the nicest part of Durham, there are a few nice, quiet, little residential areas around East Campus, as well as some adequate shopping centers and nice restaurants within driving distance. Ninth Street and Brightleaf Square, just off of East Campus (within a short walking distance), are where most students choose to go for off-campus restaurants and some shops. West Campus is much more isolated from Durham, so students won’t really sense the Durham atmosphere, unless they go looking for it.
If you’re looking for a college town, Chapel Hill lives up to that description quite nicely and is no more than 20 minutes away. Duke and UNC provide a free bus back and forth every day, which many students take advantage of.