Chapel Hill is a small town located in Durham and Orange counties, making up one of the points of the Triangle area. It is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the 16th-largest municipality in North Carolina, as well as North Carolina’s most educated city (based on the holding of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree). It is located only a short distance from Durham and RTP, and easily accessible from US 64 and I-40.
Chapel Hill is probably best-known for its collegiate affiliation, however, the town also prides itself on maintaining a close-knit, environmentally-friendly community. Residents can also enjoy an active social calendar with local music festivals and popular dining spots. Pictured is the UNC campus provided by Travel Guide of America.
Today’s Chapel Hill started as a 585-acre land grant by William Barbee. His son, Christopher Barbee, continued to develop the area and also contributed to the development of the University of North Carolina. The growth of the town surrounded the growth of the university, and officially chartered in 1851. The town received its name from a small “chapel of ease” that sat atop a hill in the area. The Carolina Inn now sits on the original site.
For more than 30 years, the town has sponsored Festifall, an annual street fair. Artists, craftsmakers, nonprofits and food vendors are all welcome, as well as musicians and other groups. Chapel Hill has been named as a “Uniquely American” town by Newsmax, and is one of America’s “Foodiest Small Towns” according to Bon Appétit.
The town leads the Triangle in developing better transportation systems. As of 2002, legislation was passed to make local buses free of fares to riders, financially backed by taxes, grants, and UNC student fees. Each bus carries a GPS to update its location in real time. These buses are also bicycle- and wheelchair-friendly.
Population: 57,233 (2010 Census)
> Density: 2,687 / sq. mi (1,037 / km2)
Area: 21.3 square miles (55 kilometers squared)
Elevation: 486 ft (148 m)
Zip Codes: 27514-27517
Area Code: 919
Median Household Income: $51,690
Median Family Income: $91,049
- 2015: One of Four Slam Dunk College Towns
- 2014: No. 36, Best Places to Live from MONEY Magazine
- 2014: No. 10, America’s Best Towns for July 4
- 2014: No. 1 in 10 Best Small Cities for Education in America (Movoto)
- 2014: No. 1 in 10 Most Exciting Places in North Carolina (Movoto)
- 2014: No. 6 Best City for Staying Young (RealAge)
- 2013: Traffic Safe Community Award (AAA Carolinas)
For a full list of accolades provided by the town, click here.