Tucked in the western edge of the Triangle, picturesque Chapel Hill combines small town charm and cosmopolitan chic -- living up to its reputation as "the southern part of heaven." Founded in 1819 to serve the University of North Carolina, the nation's first state university (1795), Chapel Hill's epicenter is tree-lined Franklin Street where day and night the sidewalks are filled with pedestrian traffic. Here you'll find the best in upscale shopping,dining, and late night options alongside the more casual college hangouts and stores. For a first-hand look at the city, take "A Walk Down Franklin Street" Fact and Folklore Tour the second Sunday of each Month, starting at the historic 19th century Horace Williams House. Known for its creative community of artists, authors and musicians, Chapel Hill is also home to an impressive performing and visual arts scene. The PlayMakers Repertory Company celebrates over 35 years of outstanding theatre at the Center for Dramatic Art. World clas live performances are showcased at the Carolina Performing Arts in UNC's Memorial Hall. Over 16,000 objects of Asian, African, European and American art are housed at the Ackland Art Museum. And you can reach for the stars at the Morehead Planetarium and Sciences Center, the frist planetarium to be built on a U.S. college campus. Just outside downtown a newer addition to Chapel Hill is East 54, an urban village of luxury condos, shops and dining. Neighboring the city is Carrboro, a former railroad and mill town that offers a well established arts community, The ArtsCenter with concerts and theater, and historic Carr Mill Mall, a restored textile mill (built in 1899) now home to shops and restaurants. Just north of Chapel Hill, Hillsborough's historic downtown district features over 100 late 18th and 19th century homes, churches, schools and other structures, several of which are open to the public.
Picture courtesy of Chapel Hill Convention and Visitor's Bureau.