The Best of Chapel Hill

The Best of Chapel Hill

Best Study Spot – The Carolina Study Centre 

Chapel Hill is a college town, so there are plenty of great study spaces. My personal favourite is the Carolina Study Centre. This idyllic spot is the perfect alternative the library.

The Centre was opened by a Christian family who converted their beautiful home into a welcoming environment for students to get together and study. Their shaggy dog, Barrie, still lives here too! Playing frisbee with him is the perfect study break. As a bonus, the Study Centre also offers free coffee and snacks to all students.

The Carolina Study Centre
The Carolina Study Centre

Best Chill Out Spot – The Coker Arboretum 

This is a beautiful botanical garden in the heart of the Chapel Hill campus. I love coming here to read and relax with friends. All of the trees and plants are labelled and it’s fun to walk around learning about the different varieties. My personal favourite is the Walter’s Pine, the stump of which you can see in the photo below. The Wisteria walkway (a pathway covered with wisteria, forming a tunnel of vines) is also wonderful.

Coker Arboretum
Coker Arboretum

Best Spot for a Drink – He’s Not Here!

He’s Not Here is the most popular student bar in Chapel Hill, and it is everything you’d imagine an American bar to be. There’s an outdoor patio and plenty of tables for the American classic – beer pong. Wednesday night is “Pint Night”, when all beers are just $4.

Fun and games at He's Not Here!
Fun and games at He’s Not Here!

Best Cheap Eat – Al’s Burger Shack 

The BEST burger I have ever tasted, hand’s down. The line is always out the door, but trust me – it’s worth the wait.

* Honourable mention goes to Cosmic Cantina, a tiny Mexican restaurant tucked away just off of Franklin Street. This is the most authentic Mexican restaurant in Chapel Hill, and burritos are just $3! The staff are so welcoming, and if you become a regular, you’ll probably get some extra chips and salsa with your meal.

The BEST burger you'll ever taste
The BEST burger you’ll ever taste!

Best Post- Study Treat – Insomnia Cookies

Insomnia Cookies is the ultimate way to treat yourself after a late night study session. The cookies are served warm and gooey, alongside a glass of cold milk. The best part? They deliver (until 2am!).

Gooey, warm chocolate chip cookie
Gooey, warm chocolate chip cookie
Insomnia Cookies
Insomnia Cookies

Best Cheap Date – Varsity Theatre 

Head to this old-fashioned movie theatre on Franklin Street to catch the latest blockbuster hits. At only $4 per ticket, this place is great for any student’s budget. My friends and I like to grab a frozen yogurt fromYoPo beforehand to enjoy during the film. Look out for the special student screenings, this week Monsters Inc. is showing for free to celebrate halloween.

The Varsity Theatre
The Varsity Theatre

Best People Watching – The Pit 

“The Pit” is next to the UNC Student Union, right in the middle of campus. There is always so much happening here, from student protests to the weekly farmer’s market. On most days you won’t be able to miss the infamous “Pit Preacher” exercising his first amendment rights. Students often join in to challenge his views, which makes for a very interesting discourse.

Pit Preacher vs. Harmonica dude
Pit Preacher vs. Harmonica dude

Best Place for a Stroll – Gimghoul Street

The most beautiful neighbourhood in Chapel Hill. Apparently, these homes sell for over $3 million, but one can dream… *sigh*. The homes on this pristine street are how I imagine the Finch home in To Kill a Mockingbird to look like; complete with tire swings hanging from giant oak trees and huge verandas with pretty flowers. At the moment, it’s fun to look at the elaborate halloween decorations, some of which are actually very scary!

The beautiful Gimghoul Street
The beautiful Gimghoul Street

Best Weekend Activity – The Carborro Farmer’s Market 

Carborro is Chapel Hill’s very liberal neighbour. The small town is just down the road from Chapel Hill, and it’s a great place with a very relaxed atmosphere. Stop by the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning for the most delicious weekend treats. There are local fruits and veggies such as the Southern classic, okra (a green vegetable, best breaded and fried); beautiful fresh-cut flowers and plants; and yummy baked goods.

Flowers from the farmer's market
Flowers from the farmer’s market

I’m sure that after reading this post you can tell that I am loving it here; Chapel Hill really is a wonderful place! If you have any questions about what life in Chapel Hill is like, please feel free to email me at madeline.rolfe@kcl.ac.uk. I’d love to tell you more!


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