Welcome to the southern part of heaven! Chapel Hill is THE quintessential college town, featuring UNC-Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university. From Franklin Street to the Dean Dome, Chapel Hill is one of the best places to live in North Carolina. But, Chapel Hill isn’t just for college kids. Chapel Hill one of the most progressive towns in the south, is filled with art, culture, a vibrant music scene, and is home to an excellent school system.
Franklin Street is the main drag, and borders the northern edge of the University. It literally is “the street of Chapel Hill" and is filled with thousands of people on Halloween, after beating Duke in basketball, or after winning a championship game such as the ACC Championship or the NCAA National Championship,
The 100 block of Franklin St. is the hub of Chapel Hill and is home to many restaurants and shops, many specializing in UNC-themed merchandise. While the legendary Rathskeller closed its doors recently, East Franklin is still full of culinary notables, including Top of the Hill, Spanky’s, Cosmic Cantina, Ye Old Waffle Shop, Pepper’s Pizza, East End and mainstays like Sutton’s Drugstore and the Carolina Coffee Shop. The Varsity Theatre is an icon of Chapel Hill, and its marquee can be seen in pictures and paintings of Franklin Street from the early 1950s. For UNC fans, the Shrunken Head and Johnny T-Shirts are the places to go to turn themselves Carolina Blue. By day, Franklin Street is a parade of students, residents and visitors walking to class, eating, shopping, or just enjoying the scenery. At night, the scene changes and Franklin Street is filled with young people on their way to restaurants, bars, cafes, and clubs.
While not quite as lively as East Franklin, West Franklin, which starts when you cross South Columbia Street, is home to many restaurants and boutique stores. Crooks Corner has been serving southern gourmet food for over twenty years, while the Carolina Brewery serves up local beer at its famed concrete bar. Down the street are Telluhlah’s, a Turkish restaurant and nightclub, Uniquities, an upscale contemporary clothing store, and the Cave, one of the last holdouts of the seventies.Across the street is Patio Loco, serving Latin cuisine, music and drinks and 411 West, known for its Italian pasta dishes,brick-oven pizza and Its Monday night half-price wines. Also on West Franklin is Mediterranean Deli, Italian Pizzeria 3,better known as IP3, Tandoor Indian Restaurant, Internationalist Books, Modern Times, and Local 506. University Square is home to restaurants and boutiques, including Time-Out, a popular 24-hour eatery, and Bon’s Barbecue, where the daughter of Mama Dip serves home-style southern food.
Rosemary Street is second to Franklin Street for people, restaurants and nightlife. Breadman’s, is Chapel Hill’s original 24-hour restaurant, serving tasty breakfast all day. Breadman’s also features a large menu of sandwiches and other items. Just down the street from Breadman’s is Mama Dip’s, a nationally acclaimed restaurant. Mama Dip’s is one of the best restaurants in the south for southern home-cooking. Also on Rosemary Street is La Residence, a popular restaurant and even more popular bar; Los Potrillos is great for Mexican food and margaritas; Pantana Bob’s, is a bar with a porch that is very popular with UNC students. Some other great restaurants in Chapel Hill include: The Flying Burrito, located on Airport Road,(about a mile north of downtown); Captain John’s Dockside Restaurant and Mariakakis, a Greek restaurant-deli and international gourmet supermarket.
There are a few places you just cannot miss when you go to Chapel Hill. First is the Old Well, the visual symbol of the UNC Chapel Hill campus. Modeled after The Temple of Love in the Garden of Versailles, you’ll often find students, runners and bikers stopping to take a sip from its fountain, especially on the first day of classes, when a sip is supposed to bring good luck in the following semester. The Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower, Coker Arboretum, Morehead Planetarium, Old East, Kenan Stadium, Davie Poplar, Silent Sam, the Pitt, and the Carolina Inn are all sites to see on UNC’s campus.
The Carolina Inn is a historic hotel located on the corner of Pittsboro Street and Cameron Avenue in downtown Chapel Hill.With historic charm, and modern amenities, this inn features great service and food. The Carolina Inn’s Fridays on the Front Porch, is a popular weekly music series and makes the Carolina Inn the perfect place to stay in Chapel Hill. Other places to stay in Chapel Hill include: The Franklin Hotel, a brand-new boutique hotel with a plush bar, The Siena Hotel, and the Fearrington Inn.
Basketball is king in Chapel Hill, and UNC’s fierce rivalry with nearby Duke University and other ACC schools provides much fun in Chapel Hill during basketball season. The Dean E. Smith Center, otherwise known as the Smith Center or the Dean Dome, is named after UNC’s famed coach, Dean Smith, who coached such all-time greats as Michael Jordan, Phil Ford, James Worthy, and Sam Perkins. Even though the Dean Dome is one of the largest college basketball arenas in the US, tickets are hard to come by and season tickets are like gold. Roy Williams is the current coach and, with a National Championship already under his belt, he is loved by students, alumni, and fans alike. After a big win, (beating Duke, winning a National Championship, etc) throngs of fans rush to the corner of Franklin and Columbia Street in fervor to cheer and chant, and for the brave ones, to jump over bonfires started in the street.