Living in Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill is a great town, especially for students. The town has a population of 45,000, and UNC students (64 percent undergrads, 29 percent grads, 7 percent professional programs) account for 24,000 of that total. Because of the predominant student presence, the social and cultural life reflects the tastes of those students. There are numerous inexpensive and fun eateries in downtown Chapel Hill and the surrounding area. There are 9 bookstores in Chapel Hill for browsing. Chapel Hill is considered very “livable”, meaning that finding information and getting places is relatively easy. Public transportation is free, and connects the campus with other parts of town and the nearby cities of Durham and Raleigh.
Where to Live
Most students live off-campus, and the options are numerous. There are a wide range of nearby apartments and townhouses located on bus lines into campus that are well within most students’ budgets. Glen Lennox Cottages are a very popular place for graduate students. (http://www.grubbproperties.com/apartments/index.cfm) Some students decide to begin their stay in University housing. There are several dorms for graduate students and on-campus married student housing. Others rent townhouses or houses, and there are rentals in the surrounding countryside that provide rural living options. Below you will find links to campus maps as well as a housing guide compiled current Biology graduate students.
What to Do
After a long stretch of work in the lab, it’s always refreshing to walk up to Franklin Street to find an interesting place to enjoy some food and drink. Several places feature live music with a small cover charge or a “pass the hat” policy. Also located in downtown Chapel Hill are the Morehead Planetarium and the Ackland Art Museum. The ArtsCenter, also in Carrboro, showcases local companies or national touring groups in a 350-seat theater. The PlayMakers Repertory Company is a full-season theater group right in Chapel Hill with exciting performances. Further down the road, Walnut Creek is a major amphitheater with top name performers and several festivals. Just outside town is the N.C. Botanical Garden with extensive walking paths, and Duke Forest is a large area north of Chapel Hill with lots of trails. There are many local farmer’s and flea markets, including a large farmer’s market on Saturday mornings in nearby Carrboro.
The college spectator sports here are world-class. Student tickets are available for our exciting UNC Tar Heel men’s basketball and football games. Admission to most other games, such as men’s and women’s soccer, women’s basketball, lacrosse, and baseball, is free to students. Down the road the Durham Bulls provide great baseball entertainment on warm summer nights. The Carolina Hurricanes are a professional hockey team that play at their new stadium only 20 minutes from Chapel Hill. Local biking clubs provide strenuous activity as they explore the surrounding countryside. In short, it is likely that whatever your tastes and life-style, you will be able to find stimulating activities that are accessible in Chapel Hill.
And when it’s time to hit the road for a trip, you are only three hours by car from the North Carolina coast with its lovely and historic beaches, including Kitty Hawk, the site of the first heavier-than-air plane flight in the world. You are also only three hours east of the majestic Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian range. Smoky Mountain National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway in the western part of the state offer truly stunning views of some of the oldest mountains in the world. And the large metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, DC are only 4-5 hours by car. Raleigh Durham International Airport is ever-expanding to accommodate more travelers, and it is easy to fly almost anywhere from here. Chapel Hill has a moderate climate, with mild winters (snow is rare) and warm summers.
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