Most known for its university and one of the best collegiate basketball teams in the U.S., Chapel Hill is the ultimate college town, filled with charm, history and southern hospitality. It’s no wonder that it consistently makes lists of best places to live in the United States.
1. Franklin Street
How can you beat a street named after Benjamin Franklin? The iconic downtown thoroughfare of Chapel Hill is pedestrian-friendly with more than 200 restaurants, shops, bars, and other boutique businesses, most of which are locally owned. Some tourist favorites are the historic Sutton’s Drug Store with its wall of customer’s photos, and a little eatery called Sup Dogs.
2. Street Art
Walking through the grid of downtown around the University, you’ll be sure to see some fun, quirky, and creative street art. See how many you can find!
3. Valhalla Barn
The Valhalla Barn property covers rolling hills, meadows, and a small lake. There’s the unique barn used for events, a lovely accommodations lodge, and a gazebo that can host exhibits.
4. Top of the Hill Distillery
Known to locals as TOPO, the philosophy of the brewery is to produce sustainable, organic spirits which protect our environment, and at the same time produce a delicious unique flavored spirits. TOPO is the only certified organic distillery in the deep South.
5. North Carolina Botanical Garden
The gardens span more than 1,000 acres, with a plethora of indigenous plants. The property includes walking trails, children’s areas, perennial gardens, a green Education Center with exhibits and more.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the focal point of the town, which grew up around the college and developed the southern hospitality seen today. UNC is ranked #12 in the Top 20 Most Beautiful College campuses in America by Conde Naste. Boasting that was the nation’s first public university, the school is nationally recognized for their innovative curriculum and encouragement for critical thinking.
7. Crook’s Corner
The New York Times called Crook’s Corner “sacred ground for Southern foodies” and The James Beard Foundation named it an “America’s Classic” meaning it has “timeless appeal, beloved for quality of food that reflects the character of their community.” Outside, you can’t miss their mascot of a flying pig, and inside the restaurant and in the courtyard, the décor is cozy, quirky, and casual. Mouth-watering southern favorites include fried oysters, shrimp and grits, jalapeno-cheddar hushpuppies, and honeysuckle sorbet.
Chapel Hill loves their Tar Heels — and who can blame them? The Tar Heels have won over 40 NCAA team championships in seven different sports. The iconic Carolina Inn (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) created a drink to toast their heroes called a “TarHeeltini” – an alcoholic drink in the team’s baby blue color, made with vodka, Triple Sec and with a dash of Blue Curacao, over ice.