What is a must see while visiting Chapel Hill and Orange County? We're glad you asked!
University of North Carolina
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) is the first state-supported university in America to open its doors and graduate students in the 18th century. Guided tours are available. Also, music, plays and more at Memorial Hall and PlayMakers Repertory Company.
Historic Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill is home to more than 200 restaurants, bars, retail shops and service businesses. Enjoy festivals, special events, nightlife and cultural destinations including DSI Comedy Theater. Coming in 2017, the new Carolina Square and Blue Dogwood Public Market.
Ackland Art Museum
The Ackland holds North Carolina’s premier collection of Asian art, as well as European and American paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and photographs. The Ackland is the first public university art museum in the U.S. to own a collection of drawings by Rembrandt van Rijn. Free (Rembrandt from the Peck Collection) – photo caption
Morehead Planetarium & Science Center
The largest fulldome planetarium in the southeastern United States reaches more than 150,000 visitors each year with its science programs. See its GlaxoSmithKline Fulldome Theater, exhibits and Science Stage, including live science demonstrations. Minimal fee for planetarium shows. Photo courtesy of Morehead Planetarium & Science Center
North Carolina Botanical Garden
Comprises more than 1,000 acres, including 10 acres of display gardens and a number of natural areas. See North Carolina plants and vegetation, perennial borders, a Garden of Flowering Plant Families, the Piedmont Nature Trails, a green Education Center with exhibits and more. Free.
Carolina Basketball Museum
The Carolina Basketball Museum chronicles the history of UNC Basketball and includes nearly 500 authentic artifacts, hundreds of photographs, and videos of various players, coaches, championships and historic moments. The interactive museum is open Monday–Saturday. Free.
A food lover’s paradise with exciting and innovative products from local to international vendors, Southern Season offers over 70,000 items sold in-store and online. Known as a “culinary Mecca,”, the store features specialty food products, chocolate and candy, wine & beer, coffee & tea, prepared foods, kitchen tools, home items, gifts and much more. Take a class at its cooking school.
Carr Mill Mall and Weaver Street Market
Carrboro is home to the historic Carr Mill Mall, a former textile mill, listed in the National Register of Historic Places under its original name, The Alberta Complex. Find specialty, outdoor and home décor shops, a Coffee/Tea bar, and local favorite Elmo’s Diner. Weaver Street Market is a community gathering place as well as a food co-op store. Its large open front lawn is where residents and visitors gather for coffee, food, music and other events.
Whether searching for on-trend fashion, priceless art, the perfect unique gift or, mouth-watering cuisine, University Place features some of the region’s best locally owned and national retailers and restau¬rants. Home to Silverspot Cinema/Trilogy, Kidzu Children’s Museum, Peacock Alley and William Travis Jewelry. New dining coming in 2017 includes Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill.
The music scene in the area is rocking with Carrboro’s famous Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill’s Local 506 and The Cave and Hillsborough’s Hot Tin Roof. Come hear local, regional and national bands just about every night of the week.
Hillsborough's historic downtown at 260 years old is on the National Register for Historic Places. Just a short drive from Chapel Hill, Hillsborough's Churton Street is filled with art, jewelry, wine and chocolate shops. Find an historic museum, an antebellum school, and Hillsborough's newest attraction, Patrick Dougherty's A Sight to Behold stickwork sculpture along the Riverwalk, a 1.8 mile stretch along the Eno River.
Local Food & Farm Markets
Local Food & Markets Hailed as “America’s Foodiest Small Town” by Bon Appétit magazine, Chapel Hill is a hot spot for local farm to table cuisine. Among the restaurants noted nationally are Crook’s Corner (Garden & Gun), Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen (The Splendid Table), and Lantern Restaurant (Food & Wine magazine, etc.). Stop by Il Palio and Crossroads Chapel Hill, both AAA four-diamond delicious! In Carrboro, Bon Appétit magazine named Neal’s Deli a top ten sandwich shop in the country and the new Pizzeria Mercato (photo) is one of AFAR magazine’s 10 favorite Neapolitan Pizzerias in the U.S. Aaron Vandemark, chef of Panciuto in Hillsborough is a six–time James Beard nominee. Visit five county farmers’ markets to see where many local chefs shop. Try our multiple craft beer breweries and spirits distillery. Don’t forget the new Blue Dogwood Public Market on West Franklin Street. Photo credit Kate Medley