Scenic and regularly decked out in "Carolina blue", Chapel Hill is a lovely college town in North Carolina that makes up the westernmost point of the Research Triangle. The town is the smallest of the Triangle's three cities, with an influence and pull that belies its size. Based around the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the town caters heavily to the local student population, with plenty of bars and restaurants near the university's beautiful campus. Immediately to the west of Chapel Hill is the adjacent town of Carrboro, an old mill town now known for its local shops, restaurants and nightlife.
The town was originally a small village of a thousand 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, which 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 (UNC) at Chapel Hill and later was incorporated in 1851. The adjacent town of Carrboro was settled in the 1880s around a spur rail line built to serve the university; the town is named for Julian Carr, who purchased a local cotton mill and installed electricity in the town. Today, Carrboro is where many UNC students live, owing to its cheaper rents, and is home to the Weaver Street Market (a local co-op), a popular farmers' market, plenty of bars and restaurants, and a bunch of festivals.
Like much of the rest of the Piedmont, the landscape is hilly and heavily wooded, becoming very lush and green in the summer months. 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 campus for various liberal causes, with the traditional locus of this being the square in front of the post office on Franklin Street across from the campus.
Interstate 40 passes along the north and east side of Chapel Hill, with three exits: NC 86 (Exit 266), US 15/501 (Exit 270), and NC 54 (Exit 273). From the west, NC 86 (which becomes Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Chapel Hill) is the best exit. Be warned that Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd is a notorious speed trap through Chapel Hill, where the speed limit is only 35 MPH despite the road being designed to handle much faster speeds. From the east (say, Raleigh or the Research Triangle Park), NC 54 (which becomes Raleigh Road) is a good option. Coming from Durham, US 15/501 is the most direct route.
The nearest commercial airport is Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU IATA), a 20 minute drive to the east in Morrisville, just off I-40. RDU has two terminals; Terminal 1 services budget carrier Southwest, while the more modern and architecturally impressive Terminal 2 services American Airlines/American Eagle, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, and United. 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. If taking public transit, Triangle Transit route #100 takes you from the airport to the Regional Transit Center, where you can then transfer to #800 or #805 to Chapel Hill.
The nearest Amtrak stop is in Durham, which is served by the New York City-Charlotte Carolinian line and the Raleigh-Charlotte Piedmont line. The station is across the train tracks from the Durham Station Transportation Center, where you can take Triangle Transit #400 or #405 to Chapel Hill.
Triangle Transit, ☏ . Routes between Chapel Hill and Durham (routes #400 and #405), and the Research Triangle Park and Regional Transit Center (#800 and #805), where you can transfer to Raleigh and RDU. There is also direct service to and from Raleigh during commuter hours (route CRX). Stops are marked by signs bearing the TTA logo. Service is fairly reliable, with buses running all day on the weekdays and weekends, but there is no service on some holidays. Fares cost $2.25 per trip, with $4.50 for a day pass.
The UNC campus and the downtown area are very pleasantly walkable, but going further afield largely requires transportation by car. Anything outside the immediate Franklin Street downtown area can be frustrating on foot, with long distances and fast-moving car traffic. Grocery stores are a fairly long walk from downtown Chapel Hill, although downtown Carrboro is served by the Weaver Street Market and a Harris Teeter. Limited public transit service around town is provided by the fare-free Chapel Hill Transit bus system.
Curb parking in the downtown area is available but often full, especially while school is in session, making it hard to find a spot. Paid lots and garages are available along Rosemary Street, just north of Franklin Street. Outside of the downtown area, parking is very easy to find.
Chapel Hill Transit, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Routes go through Chapel Hill, Carrboro and the UNC campus. Buses run on weekdays, with limited service on Saturdays and virtually no service on Sundays save for two routes circulating around the UNC campus. Service tends to be less reliable at night, on weekends and times when there is a football or men’s basketball game. For those particular home games, many Chapel Hill Transit buses are used for the Tar Heel Express, a park-and-ride service to UNC football and men's basketball games. Fares are free, except the Tar Heel Express (though pay attention—Chapel Hill Transit buses are blue and routes are labeled with letters; the green buses, including most bus routes labeled with numbers and the CRX to Raleigh, belong to Triangle Transit, the Research Triangle regional transit system, which is not free).
Chapel Hill is a great location for recreational biking, with local mountain biking trails and scenic road riding through local farmland. Commuting by bike is popular in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. 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.
UNC Bike Share is available for visitors to use. Once you create an account, you can ride bikes from hubs around campus and the downtown area. You can use them up to an hour a day for free; extra time costs $5 per hour.
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Often considered one of the best public schools in the United States, UNC is also one of three schools that claim to be the oldest public university in the US. While it was the second public university to receive a state charter (in 1789), after the University of Georgia, it was the first public university to start classes (in 1795) and graduate students (1798). The campus is divided into three sections: North (between Franklin Street and South Road), Middle (between South Road and the UNC Hospital and Manning Drive) and South (from Manning Drive south, including the UNC Hospital). The North campus, the oldest, is quite scenic, with plenty of brick buildings and beautifully landscaped. The main quad runs north-south through the North campus and is lined with lovely academic buildings, and is home to the 1 Old Well, a small rotunda modeled after the Temple of Love of the Palace of Versailles, and 2 Old East, built in 1793 and the oldest building on the campus (now a highly in-demand residence hall).
- 3 The Pit. The center of activity on campus is a small plaza between the bookstore, the student union, a dining hall, and a library. On school days, The Pit becomes crowded with tables for student organizations, activists and demonstrators giving speeches, or performers making use of the sunken courtyard in the middle of the space.
- 4 Morehead–Patterson Bell Tower, South Road. An impressive brick clock tower which chimes on the quarter-hour.
- 5 Coker Arboretum (near the northeastern corner of the campus, at the intersection of Raleigh St and Cameron Ave). A beautiful garden with a wonderful vine pergola along Cameron Avenue.
- 6 Old Chapel Hill Cemetery (On the southeast corner of the North campus, at the intersection of South Road and Country Club Road). Has many gravestones from throughout the history of Chapel Hill, some of which are nearly 200 years old.
- 7 Ackland Art Museum, 101 S Columbia Street (just south of Franklin), ☏ . W F Sa 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-8PM, Su 1PM-5PM, M Tu closed. A local art museum with art from all over the world, including a great Asian art collection, as well as a lot of space devoted to traveling exhibits, which have hosted some surprisingly big names in art. Free.
- 8 Carolina Basketball Museum, 450 Skipper Bowles Drive, ☏ . Tu-F 10AM-4PM, Sa 9AM-1PM. Located next to the Dean Dome, this museum chronicles the history of Tar Heel basketball. Be sure to check out Michael Jordan's letter to archrival Coach K, which informed the Duke basketball coach that young Jordan would be taking his talents to rival institution UNC Chapel Hill. Free.
- 9 Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, 250 E Franklin St (west of Raleigh St), ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-3:30PM, Su 1-4:30PM. One of the oldest and largest planetariums in the United States, and the first ever built on a U.S. college campus. Traditional planetarium star shows, original multimedia productions, live science demonstration shows and more. In front of the building is a large sundial surrounded by a lovely rose garden. Exhibits free; planetarium shows $7.25 adults, $6 children/students/seniors.
- 10 North Carolina Collection Gallery, Wilson Library (on South Road, across from the Bell Tower), ☏ . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-1PM, Su 1-5PM. Inside the prominent reference library building on campus, the gallery is home to changing exhibits on the history of the university, showcasing artifacts from the library's collection. Free.
- 11 NC Botanical Garden, 100 Old Mason Farm Road, ☏ . M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM. A set of lovely display gardens, with a great native plant collection arranged to illustrate the plant habitats of North Carolina. Free.
- 12 Battle Park, east of the UNC north campus, between Franklin St and Raleigh Rd. A local park which preserves a natural wooded canyon and a small creek east of campus that makes for a lovely retreat from the town. Walking trails run along the creek at the bottom of the canyon and up the hills into the residential neighborhoods lining the park. There are also a couple of historic structures in the park. Free.
- 1 Varsity Theater, 123 E Franklin Street, ☏ . Historic movie theater that opened in 1927 on Franklin Street and was recently renovated. The two-screen theater now plays second-runs of major Hollywood hits along with classic features at the low price of $3. Concessions remain reasonably priced and, much to UNC students' delight, the new ownership began serving craft beer to go along with their flicks.
- 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. Although not an officially sponsored event by the Town of Chapel Hill, Franklin Street is closed to all vehicular traffic and restaurants and bars stay open late in order to accommodate the huge crowd of revelers.
- 2 Tar Heels Basketball, Dean Smith Center (on the south end of UNC Chapel Hill's campus, off Manning Drive), ☏ . 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. 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, including that of Michael Jordan, a sports legend.
- 3 Tar Heels Football, Kenan Memorial Stadium (in South campus, on Stadium Drive off of South Road). Tucked away amongst the pine trees near the bell tower is the home of UNC's football team, which commands an intensely loyal following locally. Each home game is a big event in town. Tickets $35-$60, depending on game; UNC students free.
- 4 Tar Heels Baseball, Boshamer Stadium (in South campus, along Ridge Road). Though not as popular as the local basketball and football teams, the UNC baseball program is one of the most renowned in college baseball, graduating many players into the major leagues. Their stadium is a little gem of a ballpark, with red brick and green steel architecture. Tickets $5-$10, depending on game.
- 5 Finley Golf Course, Old Mason Farm Road (southeast of the Fordham Blvd/Raleigh Rd intersection), ☏ . Golf shop, winter: daily 8:30AM-5PM; summer: daily 7:30AM-7PM. The course, belonging to the University, was once named the 11th best collegiate course in the nation. Try to play during the week as prices can get fairly high on the weekends. $45 weekdays, $73 weekends; discounts for students/alumni.
- 6 Memorial Hall, 114 E Cameron Ave, ☏ . One of the main performance spaces at the University of North Carolina. Located in the heart of campus, the remodeled 44,640 ft² (4,147 m2) hall is home to the Carolina Performing Arts productions, visiting artists, speakers and many other events.
- 7 Playmakers, Paul Green Theatre, 250 Country Club Rd, ☏ . The residence theater company for the university, performing classic and new works.
- 8 Cat's Cradle, 300 E Main St, Carrboro, ☏ . Local indie music venue featuring regional and national artists.
- 9 Local 506, 506 W. Franklin St, ☏ . Another popular local music venue. Membership required; $3.
There are an assortment of local shops along Franklin/Main Street through Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The only sizeable mall in town would be the 1 University Mall on Estes Drive off of Fordham Blvd on the northern side of town, with a small selection of shops and restaurants, including the popular A Southern Season store. However, a much wider selection of shops can be found at 2 The Streets at Southpoint (off I-40 past the eastern edge of town in Durham), an upscale mall with indoor and outdoor shopping and dining.
- 3 Chapel Hill Sportswear, 119 E. Franklin St, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. The widest selection of UNC gear and clothing you're going to find anywhere. Immediately recognizable from the shock of Carolina blue in the windows facing the street.
- 4 Frank, 109 East Franklin Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu W F Sa 11AM-6PM, Th 11AM-8PM (closes at 6PM on Th evenings with no salon or activity), Su 1PM-5PM. An art gallery on Franklin Street. See the events page for a full list of upcoming salons.
- 5 North Carolina Crafts Gallery, 212 W. Main St, Carrboro, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa 10AM–6PM, Su 1PM–4PM. Friendly little shop selling a variety of North Carolina handicrafts. Particularly appealing is the large selection of ceramic and wooden dishes, but offerings also include artwork, jewelry, accessories, cards, birdhouses, soap.... A great place for authentic, high-quality local souvenirs.
- 6 PTA Thrift Shop, 125 W. Main St, Carrboro, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM–6PM, Su 1PM–6PM. Good for books, clothing, everything! All profits go to local public schools.
- 7 Really Really Free Market, Carrboro Community Space (where the Farmers Market is held). First Sa of every month 2:30PM-5:30PM. Bring stuff to give away and take stuff for free!
- 8 Chapel Hill Comics, 316 W Franklin St, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-6PM. An independent comic book store with an excellent selection of new comics and very knowledgeable staff. Regularly hosts launch parties and local artist signings, as well as the occasional big name in comics.
- 9 Flyleaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 10AM-5PM. Local, independent new and used bookstore with frequent events, including local authors and musicians.
- 10 UNC Student Stores, 207 South Rd (on the UNC campus), ☏ . M 7:30AM-8PM, Tu-F 7:30AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM. The official bookstore of UNC, where many students pick up their textbooks. Also has a large selection of UNC merchandise.
- 11 CD Alley, 405 W Franklin St, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-8PM. Great selection of new and used CDs, though a little pricey.
- 12 All Day Records, 112A E Main St, Carrboro, ☏ . M-Th noon-6PM, F Sa noon-8PM, Su 2-6PM. Vinyl and cassette-only shop in Carrboro (save a small collection of used CDs), with a great selection of collector-aimed gems.
- 13 A Southern Season, University Mall, 201 S. Estes Drive, toll-free: . M-Th 8AM-8PM, F Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 10AM-7PM. Chapel Hill's well-known, large gourmet retailer. While there, sample delightful gourmet food items for free, or browse through the extensive collection of unique local and regional food, candy, and drinks. Cooking classes are also available most days in the in-store cooking school, lasting on average 2.5 hours and ranging in price from $20-65. Classes include recipe packets, sample tastings, and demonstrations of technique, with wine included most evenings. Adult classes are open to students 16+ years old; a few other classes are open to children as young at 9. Be sure to book early online, as classes can fill up quickly.
- 14 Weaver Street Market, 101 East Weaver Street, ☏ . M-F 7:30AM-9PM, Sa Su 8AM-9PM. Co-op and local hangout with indoor and outdoor seating, free wifi (courtesy of the Town of Carrboro), and a friendly atmosphere.
- 15 Carrboro Farmers' Market, Carrboro Community Space. W 3:30PM-6:30PM, Sa 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.
- For groceries, Harris Teeter has locations on North Greensboro St in Carrboro and at the University Mall, and Food Lion at the western end of Main St in Carrboro and on the north side of Chapel Hill at Fordham Blvd and Ephesus Church Rd. There's a 16 Whole Foods on the north side of town at Franklin St and Elliott Rd, and a 17 Trader Joe's nearby at Fordham Blvd and Ephesus Church Rd.
Many restaurants in Chapel Hill are on Franklin Street and the roads nearby Franklin Street, but some restaurants are 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).
- 1 Buns, 107 N. Columbia Street, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-3AM, Su 11AM-9PM. The perfect place to have delicious burger and fries. All the food is prepared everyday to guarantee the freshness, the portions are big, and the huge basket of large fries is one of the better (and more affordable) group meals in town. The dipping sauces are fantastic; their chipotle mayo is a favorite.
- 2 Cosmic Cantina, 128 East Franklin Street (at the back of a shopping center, tucked down a narrow walkway), ☏ . Daily 11AM-4AM. A small burrito joint that's the sister location to the original in Durham. The veggie burrito is quite affordable. The restaurant often prints discount coupons in magazines such as The Independent Weekly and also has alcoholic drink specials.
- 3 The Pig, 630 Weaver Dairy Rd, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-9PM. A small, unassuming local place in a strip mall at the northern edge of town, The Pig has developed a local following given its great North Carolinian barbecue, which is some of the best in town.
- 4 Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen, 1305 E Franklin St, ☏ . M-Sa 6:30AM-2:30PM, Su 7AM-2:30PM. Southern fast food at its best; a small, bare-bones drive-thru on the way into town that serves excellent biscuits (perhaps the best in Chapel Hill). Get a chicken biscuit and a cinnamon roll.
- 5 Sutton's, 159 E Franklin St, ☏ . M-Sa 7AM-6PM, Su 9AM-5PM. A classic lunch counter at the back of a pharmacy that has been on Franklin Street for ages, as evidenced by the photos on the walls. Serves great burgers.
- 6 Time-Out Restaurant, 201 E Franklin St (at Henderson St), ☏ . Open 24/7. A popular student eatery, this is a greasy fast food place noted for its delicious chicken cheddar biscuit. The rest of the food is rather "meh", but the biscuits are great. It's open all the time, so it's a popular stop for students after drinks.
- 7 Carolina Coffee Shop, 138 E Franklin St, ☏ . Tu Th-Sa 9AM-2AM, W 9AM-9:30PM, Su 9AM-2PM. Despite the name, this place is not a coffee shop, but a small restaurant/bar that has been a student hangout on Franklin Street longer than anyone can remember. Decent lunch/brunch offerings by day and a fairly calm, casual bar by night.
- 8 Elmo's Diner, 200 N Greensboro St, Carrboro, ☏ . Su-Th 6:30AM-10PM, F Sa 6:30AM-10PM. Great local diner in Carrboro. Breakfast anytime and lots of kids and families.
- 9 Mama Dip's, 408 West Rosemary Street, ☏ . M–Sa 8AM–9:30PM, Su 8AM–9PM. Authentic, down-home Southern cooking.
- 10 Lime & Basil, 200 W. Franklin St., ☏ . Lunch M–F 11:30AM–2:30PM, dinner M–Sa 5PM–9:30PM. Vietnamese restaurant right downtown. Lots of vegetarian options.
- 11 The Spotted Dog, 111 E Main St, Carrboro (corner of East Main and Weaver Street, across from Weaver Street Market), ☏ . Su–Th 11:30AM–10:45PM, F Sa 11:30AM–midnight. Eclectic menu: a mix of North Carolina classics, international cuisine, trendy dishes, and creative concoctions. Extensive drink menu including eighteen North Carolina beers and ciders. The focus is on vegetarian food, though there's plenty of meat on the menu as well. The staff is very comfortable with dietary restrictions, and the menu includes lots of quality vegan and gluten-free dishes. Children's menu for 12 and under. $12–20.
- 12 Crook's Corner, 610 W Franklin Street, ☏ . Dinner Tu-Su at 5:30PM, brunch Su 10:30AM-2PM. Featuring seasonal local produce, they change their menu seasonally. They also serve wonderful shrimps and grits.
- 13 Squid's, 1201 Fordham Boulevard, ☏ . Su M 5PM-9PM, Tu-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F Sa 5PM-10PM (oyster bar open at 4PM). One of the nicest restaurants in town, serving seafood prepared in a variety of ways. There’s also a patio, an oyster bar and an oyster happy hour starting at 4PM. $5-22.
- 14 Top of the Hill, 100 East Franklin Street #3, ☏ . Daily 11AM-2AM. A very popular local brewery/restaurant that is packed on Thursday and Saturday nights, with a lovely rooftop terrace overlooking the street.
- 15 Yogurt Pump, 106 W Franklin St, ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM-11PM, F Sa 11:30AM-11:30PM, Su noon-11PM. Delicious, healthy, and cheap frozen yogurt. They serve home-made waffle cones.
- 16 Maple View Farm, 6900 Rocky Ridge Rd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Noon–8PM daily. Ice cream shop out in the country with a good view of the farm where the cows are milked and the ice cream is made. Has a porch full of rocking chairs and dozens of flavors of ice cream and sorbet.
Being a college town, Chapel Hill and adjacent Carrboro have more than their fair share of bars. All the nightlife options are sandwiched along Franklin and Rosemary Streets in Chapel Hill and Main Street in Carrboro, with Thursday and Saturday nights being the busiest.
- 1 He's Not Here, 112 West Franklin Street, ☏ . Su-Th 4PM-2AM, F Sa 2PM-2AM. This is where Michael Jordan comes when he's in town, but you'll keep coming back for the 32-oz Blue Cup. Tucked away from the street, with a nice courtyard space big enough for the regular frat parties that occur here.
- 2 Linda's, 203 E Franklin St, ☏ . M 11:30AM-midnight, Tu-F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa 5PM-2AM, Su 5PM-midnight. A bar with a relaxed atmosphere, a good selection of beers on tap, and cheap prices, although the real attraction here is the bar food, which includes fried okra and sweet potato tater tots.
- 3 The Station, 201-C East Main Street, Carrboro (on the train tracks), ☏ . M-F 5PM-2AM, Sa Su noon-2AM. It's housed in the old Carrboro train depot, a fairly bare wooden structure with a lot of space inside, which is often used for live music. There's a good beer selection, although one of the main draws is the lively patio outside.
- 4 Tyler's Taproom, 102 East Main Street, Carrboro, ☏ . Daily 11AM-2AM. Hosts a weekly pub quiz and large beer selection. The adjacent space, Speakeasy at Tyler's, has the same beer selection and a lot of space, with pool tables and couches. It is a good place for large groups, although it is pretty noisy.
- 5 Zog's, 108 Henderson St, ☏ . Daily 5PM-2AM. Cozy place with a good beer selection and an excellent place to play pool. The decor is rather eclectic and there's also board games, darts, and a craft box.
- The most convenient option in Chapel Hill is 6 Starbucks, in the middle of town near the intersection of Franklin Street and Columbia Road and is regularly open. There are other coffee shops in the downtown area and on the UNC campus.
- If on campus, two options sit on the western edge of campus: the 7 Global Cup Cafe in the Fedex Global Education Center at 301 S Pittsboro St, and 8 Friends’ Cafe in the Health Sciences Library at 335 S Columbia St. However, hours are limited once school is out of session.
- 9 Caffe Driade, 1215 E Franklin St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Th 7AM–11PM, F Sa 7AM–midnight, Su 8AM–11PM. Off-campus coffee shop set back in the woods. If coming by foot or by bike, take the Bolin Creek Trail.
- 10 Looking Glass Cafe, 601 W Main Street, Carrboro, ☏ . Open daily. Cafe with a wide selection of coffee and big jars of loose-leaf tea, as well as Italian sodas, milkshakes, and seasonal selections of beer and wine. A few pastries, including vegan and gluten-free options. Good wifi and a slightly hippy vibe. Around $3–4 for coffee or tea.
Most accommodations in Chapel Hill are of the chain variety. If you want to stay in the center of town, you have three options, and they tend to be expensive: the Carolina Inn and the Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill, and a newly opened Hampton Inn in Carrboro. There are cheaper accommodations on two of the main roads out of town, Highway 15-501 and Raleigh Road, positioned to take advantage of their proximity to I-40, and driving into town from one of these will be all but necessary as bus service on the edge of town can be inconvenient at best.
- 1 Chapel Hill University Inn, 1301 N Fordham Blvd, ☏ . On-site pool, restaurant, meeting facilities. Pet-friendly rooms. $70-100.
- 2 Days Inn, 1312 N Fordham Blvd, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. More often than not, this is the cheapest place to stay in Chapel Hill if you don't know anyone to crash with. Basic chain accommodations. Near a few grocery stores and stops on the D/F bus lines, although this isn't a very walkable part of town. $70-130.
- 3 Holiday Inn Express, 6119 Farrington Rd (near NC-54 and I-40), toll-free: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Has access to the pool at the (nicer) hotel next door. Free hot breakfast, clean rooms, and good wi-fi. $90-130.
- 4 Hampton Inn & Suites, 370 East Main Street, Carrboro, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A hotel situated near the center of Carrboro, and within easy walking distance of Franklin Street and the UNC campus. Free breakfast, internet fitness center, outdoor pool, meeting space. $150-200.
- 5 Residence Inn Chapel Hill, 101 Erwin Road, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Free breakfast, internet, outdoor pool, pets allowed. $150-170.
- 6 Rizzo Conference Center, 150 DuBose House Lane, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A conference center hotel owned by UNC's business school that offers 120 guestrooms and expansive meeting facilities. $140-$190.
- 7 Sheraton Chapel Hill, 1 Europa Drive, ☏ . Fitness room, outdoor pool, wi-fi, meeting space, on-site restaurant, pet-friendly. $125-200.
- 8 The Carolina Inn, 211 Pittsboro St, ☏ . Opened in 1924 and donated to the University of North Carolina in 1935, the Carolina Inn is the only hotel on the UNC campus. When you're in town for the big game, and not on a tight budget, this is the place to stay. It's within easy walking distance to Franklin Street and every Friday evening hosts a pleasant celebration on the front lawn with bluegrass music and drink specials which is open to the whole town. 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. $150-250.
- 9 The Franklin Hotel, 311 West Franklin St, ☏ . Guestrooms are decorated with black and white pictures of historic Franklin Street. Many rooms have balconies overlooking Franklin Street. $180-250.
- 10 The Siena Hotel, 1505 East Franklin St, toll-free: . "European-style hotel" home to Il Palio, a AAA four-diamond restaurant specializing in modern Italian cuisine with a seasonal outlook and regional ingredients. $150-200.
- Any of the libraries on the UNC campus have public terminals to access the internet. The campus also has guest Wi-Fi, available at certain locations.
- The Town of Carrboro has free wireless; see the website for maps and access areas.
- The 3 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 computers.
- Durham is a short drive northeast of Chapel Hill and home to the prestigious (and rival sports institution) Duke University, a couple of museums, a small historic downtown, a major performing arts center, and trendy bars, cafes, and galleries.
- Eno River State Park offers miles of hiking trails, including some that lead to an old quarry that is now a popular swimming hole, and is outside Durham.
- Raleigh, the state capital, is about a 45-minute drive east and home to the state museums of art, history, and science, the state symphony and ballet, and the campus of the North Carolina State University.
- Hillsborough, the county seat, is a cute historic town a half-hour drive north of Chapel Hill, good for a day trip or to spend a night or two.
|Routes through Chapel Hill|
|Greensboro ← Hillsborough ←||W E||→ Durham → Raleigh|
|Leesburg ← Durham ←||N S||→ Pittsboro → Southern Pines|
|Lynchburg ← Durham ←||N S||→ Pittsboro → Southern Pines|