Carrboro is a lovely free-spirited town only five to ten minutes from Chapel Hill, home of the University of North Carolina (UNC). Visiting Carrboro offers iconic shopping, stately cathedrals, and to me, represents a quintessential Southern small town. After visiting Carrboro, here are things that I loved about the cute, friendly destination.
Attractive Accommodations in Carrboro
While there are many chain hotels in the Carrboro/Chapel Hill area (Hampton Inn & Suites and Hyatt Place Chapel Hill), a more unique property is the Franklin Hotel, in the Curio Collection by Hilton. The Franklin offers free Wi-Fi and parking, plus local shuttle service.
The most iconic luxury property in the area is the Carolina Inn. Southern charm abounds at this beautiful hotel elegantly decorated and warm and welcoming. The Carolina Inn is nearly 100 years old and has indoor and outdoor swimming pools. One of my favorite amenities at the inn is the afternoon tea, complete with tea sandwiches, sweets, scones, and assorted teas, that can be taken in the lobby, dining room, or on the garden terrace. Stay for dinner at the Crossroads restaurant, the onsite eatery with indoor and outdoor seating.
Delightful Dining Spots in Carrboro
Carrboro is known for their independently owned restaurants with tasty farm-to-table ingredients. Try Tandem Restaurant for a fabulous meal and lovely decor. Start with Tandem’s interesting Strawberry Gazpacho and go for the tagine entree with short ribs, peas, artichokes, and turmeric.
Cross Ties Barbecue is where you can get your North Carolina barbecue grub on. Along with yummy scratch-made sides (pickled vegetables, smoked gouda macaroni & cheese, and hush puppies to name a few), Cross Ties has a great list of appetizers, too. You can even dine in the restored train cars.
Things to See While Visiting Carrboro
Art is an important part of the Carrboro community. Whether you like art or not, you can’t help but appreciate the workmanship of local artisans at the North Carolina Crafts Gallery. At the Carr Mill Mall, view more local artworks and shop at several upscale boutiques for toys, jewelry, gifts, and outdoor apparel. The mall is even listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
The popular Artscenter is Carrboro’s venue for concerts, theater, and family programs. It also doubles as a classroom setting for art, crafts, and children’s camps. Artscenter has been a powerhouse in the community for over 35 years.
Visit the impressive North Carolina Botanical Garden for one of the best collections of regional plants in the entire state. Don’t miss the darling Carolina Birds-in-a-Nest and Pitcher Plants, two plants I wasn’t familiar with that caught my eye. You can also see Venus Fly Traps in the botanical garden, which is native to North Carolina. Stroll the grounds and enjoy the stunning views and themed gardens.
Things to Do in Carrboro
Pop into the Carrboro Farmers’ Market for prepared foods, flowers, locally grown produce, and crafts, all from within a 50-mile radius. The Carrboro Farmers’ Market is considered one of the top markets in the southern region.
If music is in your arsenal, then you will definitely want to check out Carrboro’s music scene. Cat’s Cradle is the venue to do just that. In fact, the intimate 750 person venue has been both Carrboro and Chapel Hill’s premier music venue for over 40 years. Cat’s Cradle has hosted music giants such as Joan Baez, John Mayer, and even Nirvana have graced their stage at some point.
After hours, head to the unique Baxter Arcade for an adult libation while enjoying pinball, arcade games, and darts in this “nerd-chic”, funky establishment. Some of the favorite games include Frogger, Donkey Kong, Pole Position, Centipede, and Game of Thrones pinball.
Carrboro: A Town You’ll Be Excited to Share
Carrboro is a unique North Carolina town that has a much bigger city feel. From live music to farm-to-table dining options, and all things new and hip, visiting Carrboro will make you glad you did. It is one of North Carolina’s hidden gems, for sure.
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