The Town of Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is a University town that is home to UNC-Chapel Hill and has a resident population of 59,000. Chapel Hill residents enjoy our town’s vitality, diversity, good schools, natural beauty and college town character. It’s a trend-setting playground full of sights, sounds and tastes that make it the kind of place that authors, musicians, and artists call home.


chapel hill Situated in the beautiful college town of Chapel Hill, N.C., UNC has earned a reputation as one of the best universities in the world. UNC Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service.

The University offers 78 bachelor’s, 112 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. More than 29,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students learn from a faculty of 3,600. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in all 100 counties.

franklin street chapel hillFRANKLIN STREET

Franklin Street is the main street in downtown Chapel Hill and is considered the center of social life for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as the town of Chapel Hill. Named after Benjamin Franklin, it is home to numerous coffee shops, restaurants, museums, bookshops, music stores and bars.


Chapel Hill was, in fact, created to serve the University. When the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees chose the area around New Hope Chapel as the site for the first State University in 1793, they also named a committee to lay out a town adjacent to the site. Present day reminders of Chapel Hill’s history are cherished by its citizens and admired by its visitors; quiet winding streets, wooded home sites, stone walls, and small shops surrounding the University add to the charm, mystique, and “small-town” atmosphere.


museumSince 1958, The Ackland Art Museum at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been one of North Carolina’s most important cultural resources. The Ackland is located on S. Columbia Street, near the Franklin Street intersection in downtown Chapel Hill.

The Museum’s permanent collection consists of more than 17,000 works of art, featuring North Carolina’s premier collections of Asian art and works of art on paper (drawings, prints, and photographs), as well as significant collections of European masterworks, twentieth-century and contemporary art, and North Carolina pottery. The Ackland organizes more than a dozen special exhibitions each year.


The Visitors’ Center in the west end of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center provides maps, guides, non-admissions tours of a general nature and information. Enthusiastic, knowledgeable guides provide a true Carolina Experience, sharing information about landmarks, legends and campus life on a one-hour walking tour of campus. Open Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm.


libraryThe North Carolina Collection, located in historic Wilson Library on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, traces its origins to the founding of the North Carolina Historical Society in 1844. Since then, the North Carolina Collection’s Research Library has grown to become the largest collection of printed materials related to a single state.

Wilson Library is free and open to all students, scholars, and the public for research. Wilson Library is open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, 9am to 1pm on Saturdays, and 1pm to 5pm on Sundays. More information on hours, closures, directions, and parking can be found on UNC Libraries hours and locations page.


The North Carolina Botanical Garden is operated by UNC as a “conservation garden” with an educational mission. In addition to the main gardens, NCBG operates Coker Arboretum, Forest Theater and Battle Park. Featured are habitat display gardens that interpret the plants and vegetation of North Carolina, a Garden of Flowering Plant Families, the Piedmont Nature Trails, a green Education Center with exhibits and certificate programs.


Sports fans will enjoy a visit to the Carolina Basketball Museum, adjacent to the Dean E. Smith Center. Exhibits include trophies and memorabilia from the UNC Tar Heels’ five NCAA basketball championships.


unc basketballCarolina basketball plays its home games at the Smith Center, one of the most recognized athletic venues in America. The Smith Center became the home of the Tar Heels in 1986 and has since become an honored symbol of Carolina basketball.

The Tar Heels have been in the top five in the national attendance leaders every year but one since the Smith Center hosted its first full season in 1986-87. The first game in the Smith Center featured No. 1 Carolina defeating No. 3 Duke, 95-92, in a battle of unbeaten teams on Jan. 18, 1986. The Tar Heels have a 143-18 record in the Smith Center in Roy Williams’ nine years as head coach. Dean Smith led the Tar Heels to a 133-17 record in the building that bears his name.

The Smith Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on event days and during basketball practices. Guided tours are not provided but visitors are allowed on the concourse level only and may view the banners and playing court from the seating area.

More About Chapel Hill


Designed for young children (ages birth-8), Kidzu Children’s Museum is a hands-on museum dedicated to inspiring young children and the adults in their lives to learn through creative play. The launch pad at University Place offers an 8,500 sq. ft. space that acts as our current location. This bright and airy location allows Kidzu to expand creative design-thinking, create new programming including maker workshops and STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Math) education. New exhibit elements, expanded programming, more field trips, better birthday parties and much more are always in the works. Learn more at Kidzu.


The mission of Carolina Performing Arts is to enrich lives by creating and presenting exceptional arts experiences and connecting them to the UNC community and beyond.

Carolina Performing Arts offers challenging, inspiring and transformative performances to audiences in the area and strives to integrate the arts into the life of the University, embracing its mission of teaching, research, and public service.

Learn more about the Carolina Performing Arts performance season.


Frequently Asked Questions about curriculum, instruction, and academics at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.


unc hospitalUNC Health Care is a not-for-profit medical system owned by the State of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It provides services throughout the Triangle and North Carolina.

UNC Healthcare leads the way when it comes to caring for people across the state of North Carolina. Through 10 hospitals their physicians networks and the affiliation with the UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill they are one of the nation’s leading academic medical systems.

The UNC School of Medicine, provides UNC Healthcare with the opportunity to train the next generation of health care providers. Forty percent of UNC School of Medicine graduates go on to practice in North Carolina. Additionally, the School of Medicine gives UNC Health Care a powerful pathway for moving the results of biomedical research from medical school laboratories to patient care settings. Offering the highest quality care is the most important part of UNC Healthcare’s responsibility to the state of North Carolina. From the mountains to the coast, UNC Health Care is there.


UNC Wellness Centers are a premier medical fitness facility dedicated to helping people achieve optimal health in a safe and supportive environment and are owned and operated by UNC Health Care. UNC Wellness Centers offers members fitness classes (group or individual), personal training, massage therapy, health education and much more! Learn more at UNC Wellness.


chapel hill diningWith over 95 restaurants and bars, of which more than 75% are locally & independently owned, downtown Chapel Hill is one of the finest food towns in the country.


Downtown Business Guide


Chapel Hill is lucky to have the sophisticated Silverspot Cinema at University Place. Silverspot offers large, cushioned leather seats in its theaters for comfort and shows the latest movies as well as operas, ballets and live theater! The concession serves exciting fare including lobster rolls and sliders and also offers a wide selection of alcoholic beverages customers can purchase while viewing their film. You can view upcoming shows and menus.

A luxurious, no hassle movie – going experience where we’ll take care of you, so you can relax, lose yourself, and focus on being creatively inspired

Below is the latest Town Council Meeting Summary:

Council Meeting Summary

The Chapel Hill Town Council met on Monday, May 9, and considered an agenda that includes these highlights.
Post Date: 05/09/2016 10:42 PM

The Chapel Hill Town Council met on Monday, May 9, and considered an agenda,, that includes these highlights.

Council meeting summaries are issued from the Communications and Public Affairs Department following most business meetings. To sign up to receive these by email, please send a request to This brief summary is sent immediately following the public meeting. It should not be viewed as official minutes.

Would you like to view the Council video? ( – this should be ready for online viewing by Tuesday afternoon). It also will be replayed throughout the week on Chapel Hill Gov-TV (

Town Manager Presents Recommended Budget

Town Manager Roger Stancil presented to the Council his recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017. For the third consecutive year, the budget calls for no tax increase, thanks to modest increase in overall revenues and prudent financial planning.

Property taxes now are projected to make up just less than half the Town budget revenues – at 49 percent.  And sales tax revenues are increasing – about a six percent increase. There is a 21 percent increase in State Shared Revenues, which includes a growth in utility sales taxes due to a change in the state’s distribution formula.

Under the spending plan, tax amounts supporting the Town remain unchanged and total 52.4 cents per $100 assessed value. The Town tax bill for the owner of a property valued at $350,000 would remain at $1,834. The total amount Chapel Hill residents pay in property taxes also depends on the actions of the Board of Orange County Commissioners, which set the county tax rate, and the special schools tax for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. The property tax bill that Chapel Hill residents pay is divided among Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (54 percent), the Town of Chapel Hill (33 percent), and Orange County (13 percent). Residents who live in the Durham County portion of Chapel Hill see slightly different tax bills due to the actions of the Durham County Commissioners.

In 2017, the County will conduct a revaluation of all real property in Orange County.  The revaluation will update all property to its current market value.  The new values will be reflected in the Town’s FY18 Budget.

The Town’s proposed $103 million budget for all funds represents a net increase of 0.62 percent to address Council goals – including $688,395 for affordable housing development and preservation and $967,000 for the financing of bus purchases. The budget maintains a 22 percent fund balance, or $11 million. The bond referendum passed in November 2015 will support additional community goals, including $5.9 million for stormwater improvements, $7.8 million for bike and pedestrian safety projects, $2 million for sidewalks, and $5 million for trails and greenways.

There is a 17 percent increase in the cost of employee medical insurance. The budget includes an increase in employee compensation (to be split into two parts, with a 2 percent increase in July and another 1.5 percent increase in January). Another change affects primarily seasonal, part-time and temporary workers in the Parks and Recreation Department. New employees in the effected positions will have a minimum starting wage of $10 per hour.  After 90 days on the job these employees will be subject to a $12.75 per hour minimum pay rate – to comply with the Orange County Living Wage standard.

Town Manager Stancil said: “We continue to live in a time of economic uncertainty and ongoing debate about the vision for the future and the refinement of that vision.  Our unlimited ideas, new projects and initiatives are balanced by limited resources. The process of policy choice is difficult.  As we struggle to meet high expectations with limited resources we are constantly challenged to prioritize new strategic initiatives while maintaining core services at the high level expected in Chapel Hill.  In FY17 we will be working on creating stronger connections between Council Goals and the measures we use to gauge our progress.”

The Council began its discussion about the upcoming budget at its annual retreat in January. A complete list of budget-related materials and meetings are provided at

Weaver Dairy Road Extension Speed Limit Increase

The Council denied an increase to the posted speed limit of 35 mph on Weaver Dairy Road Extension. The Council was petitioned by the Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board on March 21, 2016, to increase the speed limit from 25 to 35 mph.

Award Bid for Rosemary Street Improvements Project

The Council approved the bid for the Rosemary Street curb, gutter and streetscape improvements from Henderson Street to Merritt Mill Road to White Oak Construction Corporation. Information pertaining to this project and other construction projects underway and scheduled for this summer can be found at

Summer 2016 Construction Affecting Traffic Overview

The Council received a report from Town staff of scheduled construction projects that will affect traffic in the summer months. Learn more at

Appointments to Boards and Commissions

The Council made appointments to the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, Community Design Commission, and Planning Commission.

Ready to move to Chapel Hill?