Welcome to the Research Triangle! There’s a reason this area attracts about 80 new residents a day, according to recent analytics. The Triangle — made up of Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh — is booming with job growth, new restaurants, affordable living, and a growing arts community. Explore the areas our residents often live in, and some of the chief attractions of the triangle.
Chapel Hill and Carrboro
The University of North Carolina is located in the city of Chapel Hill, a charming place charged with the culture, spirit and excitement that are unique to a college town. The city is a mix of a quiet, small town feel and a vibrant college atmosphere.
However, there is much more to this gem of a city than just its college campus. A walk down Franklin Street can take you to:
- Fine restaurants such as the Lantern, named one of America’s top 50 restaurants
- Classic nightlife venues like Top of the Hill and West End Wine Bar
There is also a plethora of opportunity for shopping, art (Ackland Art Museum is just off of Franklin), and music (live music can be found at a number of venues). There is a sense of community in this college town that incorporates all comers. Fridays on the Front Porch is a great example; happening every Friday May-October, all generations join on the lawn of the Carolina Inn for live bluegrass.
Carrboro offers a more small-town feel to the Chapel Hill area. From its free annual music concert that spans multiple stages, to delicious local restaurants, Carrboro provides a fun, relaxing area for residents and their families to enjoy time away from work.
Many residents from all specialties live in the nearby city of Durham. Durham is a great place to call home. The city itself has undergone a revival over the last decade. Its downtown now holds some of the most exciting venues in the area, including:
- The American Tobacco District, built from refurbished tobacco warehouses, is a frequent locale for resident fun.
- The ATD is the home of the DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center) which hosts Broadway productions, various musical and comedic acts, as well as the yearly American Dance Festival.
- Brightleaf Square, a downtown hub for restaurants and shopping.
- Saturday mornings year round, Durham hosts a quaint locally grown farmer’s market. The same venue hosts Food Truck Rodeos every 2-3 month
- Several breweries have inhabited the area (FullSteam, for instance)
- Countless fabulous restaurants (including but certainly not limited to Dos Perros, Mother and Sons, Mateo, Parker & Otis, and Q-shack) call Durham their home.
Only a half hour drive down the road, Durham is a great place to live, shop, and eat!
- Its name was unofficially shortened to “Hillsboro” during the 19th century. In the late 1960s, residents voted to change the name back to its original, historic spelling.
- Occaneechi Mountain is the highest point in Orange County (867 feet above sea level and 345 feet above the Eno River below), the original settlement of the Occaneechi People, and the only home of the Brown Elfin Butterfly in the piedmont (restricted to the Appalachian mountains 100 miles west after the Ice Age)
- The architecture of Duke almost exclusively incorporates the stone from the local Hillsborough Quarry.
Local Places to Eat:
- Wooden Nickel Pub: Great pub with classic fried bar food and local brews.
- Antonia’s: Upscale Italian dinning good for a nice night out. Their Pasta is all homemade and the vibe at the corner of downtown is perfect
- Ixtapa: Authentic, homemade Mexican fare served without fuss by the river. Go here before Banditos Café in downtown.
- Nomad: The Viceroy in Durham is expanding to Historic Hillsborough in the former Osbunn Theatre with an Indian/Mexican/Korean fusion tapas restaurant
- Radius Pizza: Townie pizza place with a bicycling theme started by a husband and wife from Ireland.
- Volume Records and Beer: Laid back, hipster bar and record shop where you can hang out, listen to tunes and even buy/sell/trade vinyl’s.
- Weaver Street Market
- Hillsborough BBQ Company: The who’s who of BBQ. Be sure to go to Whit’s Custard after for dessert and walk down to Gold’s Park.
- The Village Diner: Not right in downtown, and not the fanciest, but perfect for classic dinner eats.
Things to do:
- Occaneechi Mountain State Natural Area: Good 2 hour hike in town that offers a nice view of the river/quarry below and chance to see the rare Brown Elfin Butterfly
- The Riverwalk: a greenway along the Eno River that is part of the N.C. Mountains-to-Sea Trail. You’ll find free parking by Weaver Street and plenty of walkers/runners and events (Hog Day 5k, Historic Half Marathon, Running of the Elves, and Occaneechi 10 mile Challenge).
- Local Galleries: The Hillsborough Arts Council sponsors Last Friday’s Art Walks where you can tour all the galleries on offer including: C3, Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, Skylight Gallery, Yonder, Thomas Stevens Gallery, Bakova Gallery, Margaret Lane Gallery.
- The Speedway: See the original grandstands and dirt track. There are a couple cars left on the course. Get there by taking the Riverwalk east or park at the outside.
- SportsPlex: Head to the Orange County Sportsplex for ice skating and local sports leagues.
- History Tour: See the history including Ayr Mount, Burwell School, Orange County Historical Museum, and Margaret Lane Cemetery.
Nearby Raleigh offers the feel of a city without quite as much traffic! The town offers:
- Even more fine dining options. The Pit is an exceptional BBQ spot, for one.
- Theatres, such as The Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts
- Art, including the North Carolina Museum of Art
- Athletics such as NC state and occasional professional sports team events
- Frequent festivals such as the St Patrick’s Day parade.
Raleigh is a great place to be. It continues to grow and expand and was recently named America’s best city by Newsweek.
The entire area is an exceptional place for outdoor activities. Though we certainly see all four seasons, it is rarely too cold to be outside.
- Jordan Lake offers residents a nearby place to rent a boat, go to the beach, or go for a swim.
- Eno River State Park and William B. Umstead State Park, both less than a 20 minute drive from Chapel Hill are outstanding locations for a hike.
- The Chapel Hill Botanical Gardens and the Duke Gardens allow nature lovers a great venue for a stroll.
- Wrightsville Beach is just a short 2- 2 ½ hour drive to your east and the mountains are just three hours to the west.
As you can see, there are a number of things to do and explore in our little piece of paradise!