Often cited as one of America’s best college towns, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of our nation’s oldest public universities, chartered in 1789. Located in what is commonly referred to as “The Triangle”, a geographical area that also includes nearby Raleigh and Durham. Franklin Street is the main drag downtown, a classic Americana street with an array of restaurants, bars, shops and live music. Franklin Street flows into neighboring Carrboro, with more than 30 restaurants, coffee shops, bars and shops all within a few blocks. The University of North Carolina athletic teams are known as the Tar Heels as well as the students, alumni and fans who have long worn the name with pride.
Stay: The iconic Carolina Inn has been the place to stay at UNC for 90 years, with an ideal location right on campus. Modeled after George Washington’s Mount Vernon house, the inn is an antebellum southern gem with a lovely Pavilion Terrace and fire pits, perfect for afternoon tea or an evening cocktail. The university’s history and traditions are on display in photographs and stories that line the walls of the inn, a charming and informative touch. Every Friday evening (from April – October) the Carolina Inn is the place to be for “Fridays on the Front Porch” with live music and food provided by local food trucks. Another convenient option, the Franklin Hotel is right on lively Franklin Street, just a few blocks from campus. The Siena, a Marriott Signature hotel, is a quick car ride, only a mile down the road from UNC. In nearby Carrboro, check in to the Hampton Inn and Suites.
Coffee: Provisions, a take away cafe at the Carolina Inn opens bright and early at 6am, enjoy a coffee on the terrace even if you’re not staying at the inn. Right on Franklin Street is a Starbucks, and the UNC bookstore has a small café around back that also serves Starbucks brews. Over in Carrboro, start your day with an espresso at popular Open Eye Café.
Breakfast: Have a biscuit breakfast—a Southern tradition! Enjoy biscuits and gravy at the Carolina Coffee Shop, a UNC tradition for over 85 years. It’s drive thru only at Sun Rise Biscuit Kitchen, good for a fast egg and cheese on a biscuit. Root Cellar is another popular spot, order at the counter and enjoy your meal in their cozy outdoor seating area. In Carrboro, Neal's Deli is the place for a Southern take on a delicatessen. No fancy food here, but just what may be the best buttermilk biscuits in the South. For a more traditional sit down morning meal, Crossroads in the Carolina Inn is a good spot before your tour.
Lunch: While you're in the south, you MUST indulge in some BBQ! Two great places to get your Southern BBQ fix are Allen and Sons and The Pig. (Attention Vegetarians! there's amazing BBQ tofu and tempeh at The Pig). Merritt’s Store and Grill has a great selection of soups, salads and sandwiches, students say the BLT is a must! On Franklin Street head to Al's Burger, a popular favorite serving what Garden and Gun Magazine calls some of the best burgers in the south. We loved Mediterranean Deli, a large casual all day restaurant, take away and gourmet market all in one. There’s a large array of salads, falafels or Middle Eastern pizzas called fatayer. Don’t miss their pickle, olive and sauce bar to load up on toppings for your platters or sandwiches. In Carrboro, it’s hard to decide between the biscuits or the donuts at Rise, but we’re partial to the chicken biscuit with a smear of pimento cheese.
Casual: For typical college fare and atmosphere, located right on Franklin Street is Spanky’s Restaurant and Bar. Spanky's is the perfect place for ordering some wings, burgers or ribs and watching a Carolina basketball game. If you're in the mood for authentic Greek food, go to Kipos. Chef Bill Smith’s shrimp and grits are famous at Crook’s Corner, considered the birthplace of this iconic Southern dish. The eclectic diner décor is fun, and the large outdoor patio is a nice spot for brunch on the weekend. Another Chapel Hill institution is Mama Dip’s Kitchen for Southern specialties—locals we talked to swear by Mama’s fried chicken. Acme in Carrboro features a menu of soups, salads and entrees with a Southern touch.
A Step Up: Students love to bring their parents to Top of the Hill, fondly referred to as TOPO, known for good food, homemade micro brew beers and a panoramic view from the outdoor deck over the downtown. We loved our meal at Asian-inspired Lantern, from James Beard Award-Winning Chef Andrea Reusing, it’s on everybody’s hit list when talking about their top meals in Chapel Hill. Don’t be upset if you can’t get a reservation--Lantern has a very cool, hidden bar in the back that serves the same menu alongside killer cocktails. Another popular spot is steakhouse Bin 54.
Student Spotting: The Old Well is a treasured landmark and visual symbol of UNC located right on the main quad. Legend has it that if you drink from the water fountain as a freshman you’ll get a 4.0. Students pose for pictures here in their caps and gowns and it’s a great spot to stop and watch university life go by.
Late Night Snack: Open 24/7, Time Out Restaurant delivers its signature items, including: fried chicken biscuits, mac & cheese, sweet potato pie, and biscuit pudding. Benny Cappella’s is a great spot for a large slice of pizza (the slices are so big they can’t fit on one plate)! If you’re craving Mexican, stop by Cosmic Cantina and try one of their famous burritos.
Local Attractions: With the Tar Heels Basketball team fresh off winning the 2017 NCAA Championship, now’s a perfect time to visit the Carolina Basketball Museum. Basketball fans will surely enjoy reading the letter the late coach Dean Smith wrote to a young player named Michael Jordan. The Morehead Planetarium is one of the largest planetariums in the U.S, located right on Franklin Street. If you’re in town on a Saturday, don’t miss the charming Farmers Market in Carrboro. There’s more than just produce, we guarantee you leave with a homemade tincture or two from one of the local farmers. Over in nearby Durham, home to Duke University, visit the impressive Nasher Museum of Art or the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. For more on what to do in Durham click here.
— QUOTES FROM CAMPUS —
UNC FAST FACTS
White & Carolina Blue
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-2200
(p) (919) 966-3621
(f) (919) 962-3045
Stephen Farmer, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions
NCAA Division I
+ UNC CHEAT SHEET +
Merritt’s Store and Grill
Open Eye Café
Carolina Coffee Shop
Sun Rise Biscuit Kitchen
Allen and Sons
Spanky’s Restaurant and Bar
Mama Dip’s Kitchen
Lime and Basil
Top of the Hill
Time Out Restaurant
+ LOCAL ATTRACTIONS
UNC CHAPEL HILL
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