Looking for a fun weekend getaway idea? Look no further than Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Rick and I flew East for a long-weekend trip and wedding earlier this fall, and fell in love with the area. We had one day free before we flew back to Texas so we decided to check out Chapel Hill in 24 hours. And boy, we weren’t disappointed!
This charming college town is obviously known as home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one amazing collegiate basketball team and their school color, baby blue. But Chapel Hill is so much more. Our quick trip wasn’t long enough to experience the burgeoning food scene and the quaint surrounding area, but we were able to fit in enough to make us know we wanted to visit again.
We walked around the college campus, made it to some local restaurants and drove through some historic neighborhoods. We loved our quick visit to Chapel Hill in 24 hours and hope to make it back soon.
We flew into Raleigh Durham airport (RDU) and picked up our ride for the trip, a 2017 RAV-4 thanks to our friends at Toyota. Let me tell you, this little SUV has some pep in its step and features some seriously comfortable seats and trunk space. It was the perfect vehicle for our North Carolina road trip.
Not only did it handle well on the highways, but also kept me feeling safe with its handling and lane assist when we were driving in from the airport late at night.
We hope to make it back to Chapel Hill for a longer stay in the future, but for now, here’s my guide to Chapel Hill in 24 hours. Happy traveling!
Where to Stay
The Carolina Inn // We called this absolutely charming Inn home for our overnight stay in Chapel Hill. Built in 1924, the Inn was gifted to the University and is still owned by UNC today. To say I fell in love with this hotel would be an absolute understatement. I was ready to move in! Situated right on campus, the hotel is home to 185 guest rooms and suites that are equally as charming as the overall building that houses them. Not only was the attention to detail superb, fresh cookies upon check-in (#yum), but the interior design is #goals! We loved sitting along the veranda in the lacquered rocking chairs, grabbing drinks in the well-appointed bar and of course, I personally loved the soaker bathtub and gorgeous bathroom in our room. My favorite part: the black and white tiling along the floors in parts of the hotel. Seeing it transported me back to days or grand balls and weddings, yet it still felt timeless in the space. If you’re looking for a hotel that has both charm and class, then this is it. The Caroline Inn did not disappoint and we most definitely will be back soon!
Where to Eat
The Purple Bowl (Breakfast) // Tucked along the main drag of UNC, West Franklin Street, the Purple Bowl was an awesome and easy breakfast find for the hubby and I. We are addicted to Acai bowls and toast as of late, so this spot was perfect for satisfying our cravings. The bowls are made with love and the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. I had the traditional Acai bowl and added Almond Butter on top for a little more protein, #yum.
Crossroads Chapel Hill (Lunch) // Located inside the Carolina Inn, this spot is bright and delicious. We loved the drink selection and the open space to dine. The food selections are ample and easy to navigate. Definitely recommend if you’re staying at the Inn or just need a spot to rest your feet after walking around campus.
Kitchen at Chapel Hill (Dinner) // We absolutely loved our Sunday-night dinner at the Kitchen. A quaint little spot, tucked into a small shopping center, Kitchen is a serious surprise. The French cuisine is delicious and we were treated to some delicious and heart-warming food for the cold evening. It’s an intimate setting more fit for dinner as a couple or a small family, best suited for adults. We loved the neighborhood feel, with the intimate bar and chalkboards featuring the wine selections – we toasted with glasses of Italian wine called Tenuta L’Armonia Rossa Vento, it was delicious! The tuna with Ratatouille and Polenta was out of this world delicious as was the traditional steak and frittes. Be sure to add this local spot to your list, you won’t be disappointed.
Other notable restaurants: Top of the Hill; West End Wine Bar; Elaine’s On Franklin; Bread & Butter
Carolina Basketball museum // Whether you’re a Tarheel, a college basketball fan or just a regular old sports fan (probably your hubby!), then this is the museum to visit. Loaded with memorabilia to the brim and admission is free!
Chapel Hill Farmers Market // Open Saturdays from 9am-Noon, I always recommend visiting local farmers markets to get a taste of the local flavor, both literally and figuratively!
Coker Arboretum // Walk through this nature arboretum, right on the UNC campus. We drove by, but didn’t have time to stop; it looked like a beautiful and peaceful spot.
Enjoy UNC campus // Whether it be just walking the gorgeous University grounds or heading to a sporting event like a Tarheel football game in the fall or catch a basketball game during the winter and early spring at the Smith center, there are plenty of things to do around the UNC campus.