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Visiting Chapel Hill/Carrboro
Even hard-core Duke basketball fans should venture into enemy territory from time to time. Unfortunately, most people who visit the Chapel Hill area stick close to the University, hang out at a few undergrad bars, and then go home. Outings to Chapel Hill organized by GPSC follow the same script, usually. But most grad students find that the farther they venture away from campus down Franklin St. (towards Carrboro), the more fun they have. And for liberal, crunchy, enviro grad students, Carrboro -- a mini town immediately adjacent to Chapel Hill -- is a gold mine.
If you're going during the day, take the Robertson Bus. And all Chapel Hill and Carrboro buses are free. The F and J buses run between Chapel Hill and Carrboro. On weekends and at night, there's pretty much no bus service within CH.
Robertson Bus riders should take advantage of the GREAT waiting space inside the Graham Memorial Building, which is the closest building to where the bus picks up and drops off (not the planetarium itself). Quiet, comfy chairs make for the perfect spot to get some reading (or sleeping) done.
Chapel Hill: Near the University
- Top of the Hill ("Top O'") - The classic UNC bar located in the heart of Chapel Hill (aka. where they burn stuff when they win big basketball games). Bring your polor shirt or your sun dresses and pearls. Or, better yet, go when school is out of session.
- Buns - good, cheap burgers (a Tim Chung favorite)
- Sugarland - Great place for coffee, baked good, or a pricey gelato (unlike the neighboring Carolina Coffee Shop that is not actually a coffee shop...go figure.)
- Varsity Theater - Classic theater showing 2 movies at a time (often an indie feature or two); snacks are even reasonably priced!
- Bluegrass on the Porch of the Carolina Inn - Fridays during the summer season
- Other classic stops along Franklin St: Ye Olde Waffle Shop, Sutton's Pharmacy (lunch grill in back)...
Chapel Hill: Harder to Reach (closer to Durham, not walkable from UNC)
- Caffe Driade - An incredible coffee shop tucked into the woods on E. Franklin St. (behind a nursery just before you climb the hill to get to downtown CH and easy to miss); beautiful outdoor seating opportunities and live music many nights
- Spice Street - I think this is where a lot of people go for salsa dancing
- Evos - Healthy and environmentally sound fast food chain, featuring soy, veggie, turkey, and salmon burgers, baked fries, and fruit smoothies. Oh yeah, and great milkshakes www.evos.com
Chapel Hill: West End of Franklin St.
- West End Wine Bar - good rooftop bar, gets crowded most nights
- Carolina Brewery - good place to catch a game
- Lantern - a hands-down favorite for good eats in Chapel Hill; local-food guru Andrea Reusing is considered one of the best chefs in the Triangle; unique, pan asian food, but not cheap
- Elaine's - another favorite among foodies; also pricey
- International Pizza 3 (IP3) - an unlikely but popular hang-out, especially for those who enjoy soccer (but basketball too, if you happen to be a Tar Heels fan); across the street from Lantern
- Sandwhich - gourmet sandwich combinations; lunch only, i think
- Local 506 - fun spot to catch local and below-the-radar bands (note: someone in your group may have to get a one-time "membership" for $3)
- Crook's Corner - southern food for the gourmet palate
- Fuse - a hip, yuppie hangout on Rosemary St. with surprisingly good food/appetizers (parallel to Franklin St. but not the nicest walk)
- Mama Dip's - also on Rosemary, it's a famous destination for classic southern comfort food
Carrboro (follow Franklin St. west around the bend and, before you realize it, you're in Carrboro...a mecca for grad students and hippies alike)
- Weaver Street Market - believe it or not, this coop grocery store is the lifeline of Carrboro and the main reason why many people settle here; go on a sunny day to enjoy a beer or baked good at the outdoor picnic tables, catch some live music, and watch the hula hooping locals play; the Weave's lawn is basically the town's favorite public park; or grab a cheap, locally-sourced hot meal before your show at Cat's Cradle
- Carrburritos - Just like it sounds, but more delicious. Try combining the chicken, sweet potato, and guac options... Look up the location before you go, cause it's a bit hard to find.
- Cat's Cradle - best place in the Triangle to catch major (or minor) acts in an intimate setting; non-smoking
- Southern Rail/The Station - a pair of train cars and a revamped train station have quickly become Carrboro's favorite hang out; while the beer selection can't compare to Milltown or Tyler's and the food is unimpressive, the ambience is killer; tons of outdoor seating (there's a hidden beer garden in the back); a fun place to watch a game or a presidential debate on the projection screen
- Milltown - a beer-lovers bar, but a bit heavy on the Belgians and weak on the Americans; wonderful outdoor seating and belgian style fries; across the street from the Cat's Cradle plaza
- Tyler's Taproom - yes, Carrboro has one too
- Open Eye Cafe - one of the best coffee shops in Chapel Hill/Carrboro, especially now that Three Cups moved to a strip mall; can be a good study spot, although music is sometimes loud
- Acme - Carrboro's source of local, delicious, pricey food (but go to Lantern first)
- Glass Half Full - wine bar (I've never been, but it looks like a good place for a glass)
- Arts Center of Carrboro - keep an eye out for good bands and other events