You can't talk about Chapel Hill without talking about The University of North Carolina; the two are synonymous. The University opened its doors in 1795 and is the nation's oldest public university and one of its most beautiful. Over the years many newcomers, who first arrived as students, choose never to leave and the area has grown to accommodate the increased population without ever losing its identity. The school and medical center are still the town's largest employers, and Chapel Hill, at its core, will be always a college town; but national spotlights focused on the Triangle area's diversity and special attributes continue to draw residents from around the world.
While you may find that the university is the heart of Chapel Hill you will quickly learn that the soul of the town is Franklin Street. Bordered by the campus on one side, beautiful historic homes on the other, and Carrboro at the western end, downtown Franklin Street is filled with unique shops, restaurants, and a flourishing local art and music scene. Every night on Franklin Street you can enjoy a wonderful dining experience, you can take in a movie, or just hang out at one of the breweries, clubs, and bars where you can listen to live music or just kick back for a little conversation amongst friends. On game days, any time UNC wins the street is absolutely flooded with fans. On just a few special days of the year the downtown area of Franklin is closed off for festivals. In April, Franklin Street turns into Apple Chill; several blocks become stages for performances; live music and ethnic foods are all around to taste and experience. In October, Franklin Street is home to Festifall, another annual event with artisan displays and food; and on Halloween night, the street is closed for over 40,000 partyers.