One of the most vibrant, stimulating communities in the Triangle is the college town Chapel Hill, located southwest of Durham and known by the nickname, “Southern Part of Heaven.” The energy within Chapel Hill is undeniable, consistently earning it accolades as one of the best college towns in the United States.
Chapel Hill was founded in 1783 and earned its name from the New Hope Chapel the stood at the crossroads where the community was first built. By 1795, it had become home to the University of North Carolina—the first public university in the United States—and both students and residents first began living there. Today, this community of just 60,000 people brings nearly 30,000 students to UNC thanks to the university’s top-ranked academics and the incredible cultural, educational, and even artistic opportunities that come with it. In fact, the community’s residents are known for their high rates of graduate-level degrees, making it one of the most educated cities in the U.S.
It’s hard to live in Chapel Hill and not be a massive basketball fan. The history of the Tar Heels men’s basketball organization is rich, from storied coaches Dean Smith and Roy Williams to legendary NBA player Michael Jordan to its seven national championships. Yet there’s more to Chapel Hill than basketball alone. With nearly 50 NCAA team championships in everything from soccer to field hockey to lacrosse to basketball, Tar Heels athletics is a major reason to call Chapel Hill home.
At the heart of Chapel Hill are incredible restaurants that recently led to Bon Appetit magazine naming it “America’s Foodiest Small Town.” From the old-fashioned staple of Chapel Hill, Sutton’s Drug Store to Carolina Coffee Shop—the oldest continuously running restaurant in North Carolina—to breweries, fine dining, ethnic flavors, and everything in-between, there’s always something new and delicious to enjoy. Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street is also packed with boutique shops, record and book stores, and so much more.
For outdoorsy types, Chapel Hill is a dream come true, too. The community’s North Carolina Botanical Gardens, the Bolin Creek Trail, and the Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area bring opportunities to walk, run, bike, or simply explore to the heart’s content. In fact, Orange County, where Chapel Hill is located, is home to more than 600 farms that offer agritourism opportunities and products you can pick up at a local farmer’s market.
Chapel Hill is a great city to consider if you’re looking for a community that’s filled with a distinct youthful energy. From new estate homes to historic southern homes, condos and townhomes with low-maintenance living, Chapel Hill offers great options for an outstanding lifestyle.