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Old 08-23-2009, 07:37 AM
 
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So, we drove around Chapel Hill yesterday and walked around a bit. As luck would have it, it was move-in weekend LOL. So I did feel a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of students everywhere. Granted, we started off near the campus and surrounding area, including Franklin Street. Then we drove off further out and around, and into Carrboro.

The thing is: on my other thread about college students, people mentioned that Franklin Street was where the college students hung out (and many said they avoid it), but as we went to visit, Franklin Street actually was the main strip with restaurants, coffee shops and basically looked like the main street of the town itself. If this is mostly frequented by college students .... where do the grown-ups go? Obviously, it's not like there's total segregation, but I remember people saying that that area is more focused on college students, so I'm confused because everything else that I saw were residential neighborhoods that would require driving somewhere in order to find the center of town with bars, coffee shots, outdoor cafes, etc (I'm NOT talking about malls or things like that BTW). As for Carrboro, honestly, I couldn't tell where it begun or started, I saw that it had a milder main strip to town but otherwise, it just seems like it's a part of Chapel Hill with a different name.

Could someone clarify this confusion for me? And what kinds of neighborhoods are walking distance to the center of town (are they college rentals also since it's so close to campus?)

Honestly, the place came across as much more of a college town than I expected (I know, I know, I totally got messed up by move-in weekend LOL) with the kids having the run of the actual town and the grown-ups off in the woods. But that my very ignorant impression of a few hours observation ... I need enlightenment from the locals. Thanks.

BTW, we're going to Carrboro today to hear some outdoor music at Weaver Street Market - hopefully we'll get a better feel for things.
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:56 AM
 
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Students are not entirely segregated from the rest of the population in Chapel Hill, simply because it's a fairly urban campus that brushes right up against downtown. There are certainly bars and restaurants that cater more to students, but they're not geographically isolated.

Top of the Hill, right on the corner of Columbia and Franklin, is certainly enjoyed by people other than students (it's too expensive to cater exclusively to students!). There are lots of other high end bars and clubs.

Carrboro begins where Franklin turns into E. Main Street. In some ways it's a continuation of Chapel Hill, in other ways it's very different culturally. For some reason I have a hard time imagining Cat's Cradle (a popular club for a lot of up and coming musicians) in Chapel Hill. Same with the Spotted Dog, Weaver Street and Panzanella - those are uniquely Carrboro institutions and cater to locals as much as students (probably much more so). There are some students who live in Carrboro, but aside from the Harris Teeter late at night, I wouldn't say they're a majority anywhere in the town.

As for your impression of it being an overwhelming college town, it probably had a lot to do with this being a move-in week. Once things get settled a bit, it will a little less like a college town, although that atmosphere certainly doesn't go away, even during the summer when there are noticeably fewer people and significantly less traffic. The university makes Chapel Hill what it is - without it it'd be a pretty sad place in my opinion...
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:59 AM
 
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Can't judge by move-in-weekend. Chapel Hill and Carrboro, though separate towns in of themselves, are just one town running into another, at least geographically. So where do adults go? Depends what adults want to do, no? Downtown is college students AND adults for coffee shops, restaurants, stores/shopping, etc..., if you want music there is Cats Cradle in Carrboro, the Blue Bayou in Hillsborough, lots of music and theater through Duke, NC State and UNC, sports through the colleges, the Durham Bulls, Hockey through the Hurricanes, tons of trails for walking, and so much more. What specifically are you looking for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minier View Post
So, we drove around Chapel Hill yesterday and walked around a bit. As luck would have it, it was move-in weekend LOL. So I did feel a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of students everywhere. Granted, we started off near the campus and surrounding area, including Franklin Street. Then we drove off further out and around, and into Carrboro.

The thing is: on my other thread about college students, people mentioned that Franklin Street was where the college students hung out (and many said they avoid it), but as we went to visit, Franklin Street actually was the main strip with restaurants, coffee shops and basically looked like the main street of the town itself. If this is mostly frequented by college students .... where do the grown-ups go? Obviously, it's not like there's total segregation, but I remember people saying that that area is more focused on college students, so I'm confused because everything else that I saw were residential neighborhoods that would require driving somewhere in order to find the center of town with bars, coffee shots, outdoor cafes, etc (I'm NOT talking about malls or things like that BTW). As for Carrboro, honestly, I couldn't tell where it begun or started, I saw that it had a milder main strip to town but otherwise, it just seems like it's a part of Chapel Hill with a different name.

Could someone clarify this confusion for me? And what kinds of neighborhoods are walking distance to the center of town (are they college rentals also since it's so close to campus?)

Honestly, the place came across as much more of a college town than I expected (I know, I know, I totally got messed up by move-in weekend LOL) with the kids having the run of the actual town and the grown-ups off in the woods. But that my very ignorant impression of a few hours observation ... I need enlightenment from the locals. Thanks.

BTW, we're going to Carrboro today to hear some outdoor music at Weaver Street Market - hopefully we'll get a better feel for things.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:02 AM
 
Location: RTP area, NC
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You have to go to Foster's Market while you are there. Great food. Right off MLK blvd IIRC
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:15 AM
 
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It's going to feel like a "college town" when you stay within a few blocks of campus.

Some folks here refer to the "grown up end of Franklin Street." It might be hard to discern on move-in weekend, but there are several fine restaurants as you move just a little west on W. Franklin Street that are not frequented by many college students - including places like Elaines, Lantern, and, further west, Crooks Corner.

And there are many other parts of Chapel Hill too beyond just the area immediately adjacent to campus. There's E. Franklin Street and the 15/501 area to the northeast; the Timberlyne area to the north/northwest; the NC 54/Meadowmont corridor to the east; the Southern Village area to the south ...
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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I just moved to Raleigh a few months ago and went to Chapel Hill for the first time recently just to check it out. I agree (and not saying that this is a bad thing- we all have our preferences) that it definitely has a college type feel to it. I just went through undergrad and grad, so I wasn't crazy about the vibe I got because I'm ready to be in a more professional/less college feeling area. Raleigh provides that for me because, even though NC State is right down the street, Raleigh seems like a town with a college in it, where CH seems like a college (ok, university) that makes the town what it is. If you really want to move there, I'd suggest going back at a different time to see what it feels like once students are all moved in. Having said all that, it was a very pretty area for sure.
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:54 AM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
13,546 posts, read 22,033,164 times
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To me, Chapel Hill is the consummate American college town. Now, whether or not you like "that" will determine if you feel comfortable there. So, it's not a judgment call on my part but rather just my observation and opinion.
If you are neither looking for a true college town experience nor a driveable suburban life, Sowk09's recent experience gives you a good option. Between NC State and DT Raleigh might be a good place to research. This would include many areas just north of NC State's Campus and around Cameron Village. It's surprising how this community is adjacent to the state's largest university yet doesn't feel overrun by it.
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Old 08-23-2009, 10:35 AM
 
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When I lived in Chapel Hill, I didn't really go to Franklin Street very often to be honest. I drove through it on occasion, but there are many other parts to Chapel Hill, and with the college kids and the homeless on Franklin, it just wasn't somewhere I went a whole lot (except the Med. Grill--I went there a LOT. Great food!!). I don't think it's really a place where most CH families spend a lot of time unless they live right off of Franklin.
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Old 08-23-2009, 10:37 AM
 
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Okay, this is very simple, and I can clarify the confusion very quickly. Chapel Hill IS a college town. Where do the adults go, the same places the college students go, depending on what you like to do. And, Carrboro IS basically an extension of Chapel Hill. FWIW, I moved there in third grade, and went to college there.
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Old 08-23-2009, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Yes, to reiterate others, Move-In weekend is probably the MOST atypical time all year to see what the area is like, other than graduation. Franklin St is walking distance from the main part of campus, so on a typical weekday during the school year, students will be hanging around, having lunch at mostly the cheaper restaurants, but their presence will certainly be everywhere. There are plenty of beer joints that will be full of students on weekends and Thursday nights. The "high-end" places in the core "Student" part of the street (which is pretty much east of University Square/Columbia St) won't be quite as overrun but students still do go there. It's hard to have a car at UNC, so many do not, and thus places that are walking distance from campus are where they will be (which is a good thing, if they are drinking).

There is a lot more to Chapel hill than downtown, even if it is the most charming and stereotypical. I used to run a bookstore at University Mall and was surprised how small the student portion of our customer base was.
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