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Chapel Hill

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Chapel Hill [21] is in North Carolina and makes up the western-most point of the Research Triangle, commonly known as the Triangle and not to be confused with the group of North Carolina cities known as the Piedmont Triad (Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem). It is 28 miles northwest from Raleigh, 12 miles southwest from Durham and 115 miles from Charlotte. The town was originally a small village of 1000 people consisting of mostly Scottish and English immigrants arriving in the area during the 1700s; the village took its name from the New Hope Chapel east of the settlement. The church happened to be situated on a hill. (The Carolina Inn of Chapel Hill now stands where the chapel once was.) The town was founded in 1819 to support the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The town was incorporated in 1851. Its population is currently 52,440.


While much of North Carolina is conservative, Chapel Hill is fairly liberal in comparison. Although legend says that the town became liberal when a Union general married former UNC President Swain’s daughter, Chapel Hill’s liberal politics are similar to many US college towns and are bolstered by nearby Carrboro, which is known for being a bastion of liberalism in the state. It is not uncommon to see a protest in Chapel Hill and/or on the university’s campus for various liberal causes. The traditional locus of this is the Post Office on Franklin Street. Most protests in Chapel Hill are peaceful and pose no threat to visitors that do not want to participate in them.

Town Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt is Chapel Hill's first openly gay mayor. Nearby Carrboro and Durham are home to a growing LGBTQ population, though the 2012 passing of NC Amendment 1 undoes much of the progress made towards gay rights in the area (as a state university, UNC at Chapel Hill will be forced to revoke the numerous benefits that were available to LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty, for example).

Chapel Hill's government has sometimes had an adversarial relationship with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).

The Carrboro area is somewhat bike-friendly, while Chapel Hill is spotted by steep hills and poorly lit stretches of road. Some roads have bike lanes or wide shoulders, and there are also several bike-only paths; however, these tend to be short and do not tend to serve as transportation routes, but rather as exercise areas.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The nearest commercial airport is Raleigh-Durham International Airport (ICAO: KRDU, IATA: RDU), [22]. 20 minutes away in Morrisville. RDU has two terminals. Terminal 1 currently services only one airline, Southwest. Terminal 2 is brand new, modern, and as pleasurable as an airport can be, and services most major US airlines including American Airlines/American Eagle, Continental, Delta and United Airlines. Both terminals have restaurants, newsstands and smaller versions of North Carolinian stores such as A Southern Season and the ACC Store. RDU also has rental car services and overnight car parking.

By bus[edit]

  • Triangle Transit Authority, +1 919 549-9999, [1]. Routes between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill as well as Research Triangle Park and RDU. Stops are marked by signs bearing the TTA logo. Fares cost $2.25 per trip, a day pass is $6.  edit
  • The Robertson Scholars Bus [23] offers non-stop rides between Morehead Planetarium and the West Campus bus stop at Duke University in Durham. Rides are technically limited to students and faculty at UNC and Duke but bus drivers do not check riders' IDs before boarding.

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

  • Chapel Hill Transit Authority, 6900 Millhouse Road, +1 919 969-4900 (, fax: +1 919 969-2003), [2]. Routes go through Chapel Hill, Carrboro and the UNC campus. Buses run on weekdays and weekends but tend to be less reliable at night, on weekends and times when there is a football or men’s basketball game on the UNC campus. For those particular home games, Chapel Hill Transit buses are used for the Tar Heel Express, buses used to transport patrons to and from Kenan Stadium or Dean E. Smith Center. Other than fees used for tickets for the Tar Heel Express, Chapel Hill Transit buses are FREE.  edit

By bike[edit]

Chapel Hill is a great location for biking, with local mountain biking trails and scenic road riding through local farmland. Commuting by bike is popular in in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area.

  • Back Alley Bikes, 100 Boyd St, Carrboro, NC, 919 967-7777, [3]. M-F 9a-1p and 3p-7p (closed 1-3 for lunch), Sat 11a-6p, Sun Closed. Back Alley Bikes does good bike repair and maintenance for cheap and also sells bikes - some new, mostly used.  edit

By car[edit]

Chapel Hill is an area which largely requires transportation by car outside of the immediate Franklin St. downtown area. Grocery stores are not within walking distance.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Ackland Art Museum, [24].
  • Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, [25]. The first planetarium ever built on a U.S. college campus. Traditional planetarium star shows, original multimedia productions, live science demonstration shows and more. Check out the new "Zoom In" exhibit.
  • The Carolina Basketball Museum, [26]. Located in close proximity to the Dean Dome, this museum chronicles over 100 years of Tar Heel basketball. Admission is free and doors are open Tuesday-Friday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm and 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday. Be sure to check out Michael Jordan's letter to archrival Coach K, which informed the head coach of men's basketball at Duke that young Jordan would be taking his talents to rival institution UNC Chapel Hill.
  • The NC Botanical Garden[27] is located about 2 miles from the main stretch of Franklin Street.
  • Horace Williams House (Preservation Chapel Hill), 610 E. Rosemary St., 919-942-7818, [4]. The Horace Williams House is a historic landmark run by ​Preservation Chapel Hill. This organization dedicates its efforts to the protection of the character and heritage of the Town of Chapel Hill, and the surrounding community. Art exhibits, concerts, walking tours and other events are frequent at the venue and are usually free. A must-see for history enthusiast! Open Tuesday-Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Free.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Finley Golf Course, [28]. The course, belonging to the University, was recently named the 11th best collegiate course in the nation. Try to play during the week as prices can get fairly high on the weekends.
  • The Lumina Theatre, [29].
  • Kenan Memorial Stadium. Located in a cluster of pine trees near the center of campus, next to the Bell Tower. Kenan Stadium is the home field of the North Carolina Tar Heels and it is primarily used for football. Kenan Memorial Stadium opened in 1927 and holds 62,980 people.
  • Carmichael Arena, Located on main campus, it is a multi-purpose arena and home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tar Heels women's basketball team.
  • Dean E. Smith Center, Located on the south end of UNC Chapel Hill's campus, it is the home to the national powerhouse in men's college basketball - the Tar Heels. The arena is named for basketball legend and former head coach Dean Smith but is lovingly referred to by students and residents of Chapel Hill simply as "the Dean Dome". The arena is open to the public and a must for any sports-lover. If you can find a clearing in the rafters for future banners, you may want to inform the staff. With over 100 years of basketball in Chapel Hill, six national championship banners proudly hang from the rafters, along with endless NCAA honors and retired jerseys - the stadium boasts an impressive collection.
  • Really Really Free Market, Carrboro Community Space (where the Farmers Market is held), [5]. First Sat of every month 2:30PM-5:30PM. Bring stuff to give away and take stuff for free!  edit
  • Carrboro Community Garden Coalition, [6]. Sat 9AM-2PM. Community gardening.  edit
  • Varsity Theater, 123 E Franklin Street, 919-967-8665, [7]. Historic movie theater that opened in 1927 on Franklin Street. The theater shut it's doors in in 2009 to the dismay of residents. Shortly thereafter, it was re-opened and re-vamped. The two screen theater now plays second-runs of major Hollywood hits along with classic features in the two-screen theater at the low price of $4. Concessions remain reasonably priced and, much to UNC students' delight, the new ownership began serving craft beer to go along with their flicks.  edit


  • Cat's Cradle, [8]. Local indie music venue.  edit
  • Local 506, [9]. Local venue  edit


  • Halloween on Franklin Street. On Halloween night, Chapel Hill hosts a huge street party with thousands dressing in costume and hanging out on Franklin Street. Restaurants and bars stay open late for revelers.


  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, +1 919 966-3621 (). The University is one of the best public universities in the United States. UNC is also the oldest public university in the US; it was chartered in 1789, the cornerstone for the oldest building on campus, Old East (now a highly in-demand resident hall) was laid in 1793 and the school was finally opened two years later. Undergraduate and graduate programs in the General College of Arts and Sciences, journalism and business are offered along with pre-med and pre-law tracks for undergrads and medicine, law and government for grad students. Student population (including commuter students) is around 25,000 with a largely female (around 60%) population. The campus is divided into three sections: North (between Franklin and Columbia Streets and Country Club Drive [the latter two share the same road]), Middle (between Columbia Street and Country Club Drive and just before you reach Manning Drive) and South (from around Ehringhaus and Morrison dorms to US 15-501). Inside you can see the Old Well, modeled after the Temple of Love of the Palace of Versailles, near Paris.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]


  • Nice Price Books, 100 Boyd St Carrboro, NC 27510, (919) 929-6222‎. Also sells CDs and records.  edit
  • Flyleaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, (919) 942-7373, [11]. Monday - Saturday: 9-9, Sunday: 10-5. Local, independent new and used bookstore with frequent events, including local authors and musicians (check website)  edit

Music stores[edit]

  • CD Alley, [12]. Great selection of new and used CDs, a little pricey.  edit
  • Carrboro Music, [13]. Musical Instruments  edit
  • The Music Loft, [14]. Musical Instruments  edit


  • Weaver Street Market, [15]. Food Co-op and local hangout.  edit
  • Carrboro Farmers' Market, [16]. Wed 3:30PM-6:30PM, Sat 7AM-12PM. Saturday market is open every week, while Wednesday market is only open from Spring to Fall. The Chapel Hill Creamery sells brilliant cheese and dairy products.  edit

Movie Rental Stores[edit]

  • Visart Video, 300 E Main St Carrboro, NC 27510, (919) 932-1945. Great movie rental place.  edit UPDATE: Visart has permanently closed. Some of the Harris Teeter grocery stores have a RedBox.

Thrift Shops[edit]

  • PTA Thriftshop, [17]. Good for Books, Clothing, everything! All profits go to local public schools.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Many restaurants in Chapel Hill are located on Franklin Street and the roads nearby Franklin Street, but some restaurants are located away from Franklin and others can be found in residential neighborhoods such as Meadowmont and Southern Village within the Chapel Hill city limits.

If you need to use a bathroom on Franklin Street, remember that most restaurants require a food purchase before using their bathroom facilities, even on nights such as Halloween and nights where Franklin Street shuts down for bonfires (i.e. if the UNC men's basketball team wins against Duke University's men's basketball team).


  • Allen and Son Barbecue, 6203 Millhouse Road, +1 919 942-7576. Tu-W 10AM-5PM, Th-Sa 10AM-8PM. A popular barbecue eatery of the locals. The barbecue is pit-roasted and the peach cobbler is worth trying. Only north of Chapel Hill by a few miles.
  • Buns, 107 N. Columbia Street, +1 919 240-4746. Open till 3am from Thu-Sun. The perfect place to have fresh and delicious burger and fries. All food there are prepared everyday to guarantee the quality and freshness. Their chipotle mayo is a all-time favorite. [31].
  • Cosmic Cantina, 128 East Franklin Street (at the back of a shopping center flanked by a hair salon and Johnny T-Shirt, an apparel store), +1 919 960-3955. M-Su 11AM-4AM. The second in a small chain of Mexican restaurants started on Ninth Street in Durham and now extended into New York City. The restaurant often prints discount coupons in magazines such as The Independent Weekly. The Chapel Hill Cantina has also started recently selling alcoholic drink specials.
  • Yogurt Pump , delicious, healthy, and cheap frozen yogurt. They serve home-made waffle cones. [32].


  • Crook's Corner, [33]. 610 West Franklin Street. Open for Dinner Tuesday-Sunday at 5:30PM. 919-929-7643. Featuring seasonal local produce, they change their menu seasonally. They also serve wonderful shrimps and grits. "Sacred ground for Southern foodies." — The New York Times
  • Elmo's Diner, [34]. Great local diner in Carrboro (very very close), breakfast anytime and lots of kids and families.
  • Fuse, 403 West Rosemary Street, +1 919 942-9242. Tu-Sa 6PM-10PM, late night menu until 2AM. Kobe burgers, sweet-potato fries, Asian-inspired tapas.
  • Mama Dip's, 408 West Rosemary Street, +1 919 942-5837. This restaurant serves traditional southern comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Limited parking.
  • Squid's Restaurant, Market and Oyster Bar, 1201 Fordham Boulevard, +1 919 942-8757 (e-mail [email protected], fax +1 919 929-0780), [35]. Su-M 5PM-9PM, Tu-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5PM-10PM (oyster bar open at 4PM). Restaurant serving seafood prepared in a variety of ways. There’s also a patio, an oyster bar and an oyster happy hour starting at 4PM. The restaurant has been named the Best Overall Restaurant in Chapel Hill by the Chapel Hill News and the Best Seafood Restaurant in the Triangle by The Independent Weekly. $5-$22.
  • Weaver Street Market, [36] 101 East Weaver Street, Carrboro, NC 27510, +1 919 929-0010, open M-F 7:30AM-9PM, Sa-Su 8AM-9PM. Co-op with indoor and outdoor seating, free wifi (courtesy of the Town of Carrboro), and a friendly atmosphere.
  • Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe, [37] 431 West Franklin Street. Mo-Sa 11AM-9PM. Authentic South Indian cuisine using local ingredients.


  • A Southern Season, [38].
  • Top Of The Hill, [39].

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • He's Not Here. This is where Michael Jordan comes when he's in town, but you'll keep coming back for the 32 oz Blue Cup.
  • Top of the Hill, [40].
  • Tyler's Taproom, [41] is on West Main Street in Carrboro, and hosts a weekly pub quiz and large beer selection.
  • The Cat's Cradle, [42]. (technically in Carrboro, just west of Chapel Hill). Well-known national and international acts play here regularly, along with local bands.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Best Western University Inn, Highway 54 East (Raleigh Road), [43]
  • Days Inn, 1312 N Fordham Blvd, +1 919 929-3090

  • Holiday Inn Express, 6119 Farrington Rd. checkout: noon. Has access to the pool at the (nicer) hotel next door. Free hot breakfast, clean rooms, and good (!) wi-fi.  edit
  • Rizzo Center, 150 DuBose House Lane, 919-913-2098, [19]. checkin: 3:00; checkout: 12:00. Located on UNC’s campus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this conference center hotel is an event venue that offers 120 guestrooms and expansive meeting facilities, totaling 20,000 sq ft of space.  edit


  • Holiday Inn Chapel Hill, 1301 N Fordham Blvd, 919-929-2171, [20]. Known as the Home of the Sports Experience, the hotel is proud to honor UNC athletic teams. Equiped for weddings, catering, business meetings, and social events.  edit
  • Sheraton Chapel Hill, 1 Europa Drive, +1 919 968-4900, [44].
  • Residence Inn Chapel Hill, 101 Erwin Road, +1 919 933-4848 , [45].


  • Cambria Suites Luxury Hotel, 300 Airgate Drive, +1 (919) 361-3311, [46]. New hotel with an atrium-style lobby with club-lounge seating to unwind.
  • The Carolina Inn, 211 Pittsboro St, +1 (919) 933-2001, [47]. Opened in 1924, and donated to the University of North Carolina in 1935, the Carolina Inn is "a cheerful inn for visitors, a town hall for the state, and a home for returning sons and daughters of alma mater." When you're in town for the big game, and not on a tight budget, this is the place to stay. The Carolina Inn is on campus and within easy walking distance to Franklin Street. Oh, and if you plan on staying here when your son or daughter graduates from UNC, go ahead and make your reservation when they are accepted to the university.
  • The Franklin Hotel, 311 West Franklin St, +1 (919) 442-9000, [48]. This brand-new upscale hotel is in the heart of Franklin Street and first opened its doors in 2006. Guestrooms are decorated with black and white pictures of historic Franklin Street. Many rooms have balconies overlooking Franklin Street.
  • The Siena Hotel, 1505 East Franklin St, +1 800 223-7379, [49]. "European-style hotel" home to Il Palio, a AAA four-diamond restaurant specializing in modern Italian cuisine with a seasonal outlook and regional ingredients.


  • Joe Van Gogh, Timberlyne Shopping Center, has Wi-Fi free of charge.
  • Bear Rock Cafe at University Mall has wireless internet access.
  • Walk into any of the libraries on campus, and use a public terminal to access the internet.
  • The Town of Carrboro has free wireless; see [50] for maps and access areas.
  • The Chapel Hill Public Library has Wi-Fi free of charge. Bring your own laptop, unless you are a resident or wish to pay an annual library card fee. You need a library card to use the Library computers.

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

  • Eno River State Park offers miles of hiking trails and is located a short drive from Chapel Hill in Durham.

Routes through Chapel Hill
GreensboroHillsborough  W noframe E  CaryRaleigh

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