Life in Chapel Hill

The downtown patchwork of storefronts along historic Franklin Street — interrupted by churches and museums — attest to Chapel Hill’s rich culture and diverse opportunities for recreation and entertainment.

Chapel Hill was ranked #10 on Money magazine’s “Best Places to Live in America” 2012 list and #8 on Thrillist‘s 2015 list of college towns with great food. Our town is walkable, eclectic, safe, affordable, diverse and green. Our students love the temperate weather and the easy access to activities in the Triangle, on the coast and in the mountains.

Learn more about Off Campus Student Life on the campus website dedicated to assisting students in becoming responsible tenants of Chapel Hill, NC.

Watch The New York Times  36 hours in Chapel Hill-Carrboro Travel Video. It doesn’t show everything this city has to offer, but it’s a good start!

Learn More

Off Campus Student Life

A woman purchases apples at a farmers' market.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are available at award-winning farmers’ markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

It’s a breeze to get around.

Ride the bus anywhere — it’s free! One will deliver you near your Chapel Hill or Carrboro home or even to other locations around town and campus. Find out when to catch the next bus here.

Get on your bike and go anywhere. Fourteen miles of greenways take you to campus, libraries, coffee shops, Franklin Street, the Dean Dome, grocery stores and 350 acres of parks.

Chapel Hill offers a variety of food.

Renowned restaurants, bistros, cafes and food trucks are right around the corner from campus. Looking for traditional Southern food, ethnic food, eclectic cuisines or down-home cooking? It’s all here.

Health behavior alumna Anne Cabel (right) conducts a beekeeping workshop at the Carolina Campus Community Garden.

Health behavior alumna Anne Cabel (right) conducts a beekeeping workshop at the Carolina Campus Community Garden.

Want to plant your own garden? Volunteer at the Carolina Campus Community Garden.

It’s a land of opportunity.

The famed Research Triangle Park (RTP) is 10 miles away with more than 170 research and development organizations, research institutes and companies.

Gillings School faculty members and alumni can connect you to a world of work and research opportunities.

For a closer look at Chapel Hill and all it has to offer, visit or


UNC’s world-class hospital system is just across the street.

Entertainment and Culture

Spend a casual evening sipping a latte on an outdoor patio, listening to live music, wandering through eclectic shopping districts or screaming and bouncing in a crowd of people as you cheer on your favorite team. Get involved in intramural sports or join a service group.
If you are inspired by history, science or art, visit one of the area’s museums. Study local flora and botanicals at the North Carolina Botanical Garden or treat yourself to a concert at Memorial Hall. Whatever your preference, UNC and the Triangle area offer plenty of social, entertainment and cultural opportunities to keep you busy, happy, and constantly making new discoveries.

Across North Carolina


The Blue Ridge Mountains, which is about a three hour drive, offers dozens of outdoor activities.

North Carolina’s mountains
Mountains-to-Sea Trail
Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway

Downtown Raleigh skyline at night

The Piedmont region offers a thriving live music scene, award-winning restaurants, film festivals, art galleries, museums and a rich history of college basketball.

North Carolina’s piedmont area
Hopscotch Music Festival
North Carolina Zoo


Beaches around Wilmington, N.C., are an easy drive away. Worth a little longer drive are North Carolina’s Outer Banks — secluded, beautiful and rich in history.

North Carolina’s coast
The Outer Banks
Wilmington and the surrounding area

The Culture of Health interactive map displays recreation locations around the Triangle area (trails, parks, fitness centers, etc.) and throughout the state. View in Google Maps.

Ready for a visit?

Our Visit Us page provides information about campus tours, parking and accommodations. Fill out a Prospective Student Inquiry Form if you are interested in hearing more from your degree program(s) of interest.