Carrboro is a charming and laid-back town, conveniently located just a short distance from Chapel Hill, the home of the prestigious University of North Carolina (UNC). Exploring Carrboro reveals an array of iconic shopping opportunities and elegant cathedrals, embodying the essence of a quintessential Southern small town. Visiting Carrboro, North Carolina, firsthand, I would like to share the aspects that truly captivated me about this delightful and amiable destination.

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Attractive Accommodations in Carrboro

The Carrboro/Chapel Hill area boasts several chain hotels, such as the Hampton Inn & Suites and Hyatt Place Chapel Hill. For a truly distinctive experience, however, consider staying at the Franklin Hotel, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton.

Along with complimentary Wi-Fi and parking, the Franklin Hotel also offers convenient local shuttle service.

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The Carolina Inn, an iconic luxury property in the area, exudes Southern charm with its elegant decor and warm, inviting atmosphere. Boasting nearly a century of history, this renowned hotel offers both indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

Among the delightful amenities at the inn, one of my personal favorites is the afternoon tea. Indulge in a delightful selection of tea sandwiches, delectable sweets, freshly baked scones, and a wide variety of teas, all of which can be enjoyed in the lobby, dining room, or on the garden terrace.

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Photo from The Carolina Inn IG page.

Delightful Dining Spots

Although technically located in Chapel Hill, visiting Sutton’s Drug Store is an absolute must. Just a short drive away, this classic soda fountain, established in 1923, offers an array of hand-crafted burgers, deli sandwiches, Campbell’s soups, hot dogs, and an exceptional breakfast menu. Indulge in a creamy shake or their delectable ice cream, the perfect accompaniment to your meal.

Sutton’s Drug Store is closed on Mondays.

Carrboro is renowned for its impressive array of independently owned restaurants, which pride themselves on using delicious farm-to-table ingredients. For a truly spectacular dining experience, I highly recommend Tandem Restaurant. This establishment boasts a charming and inviting decor, and its menu offers an assortment of delectable options. 

Start off your culinary adventure by trying the intriguing Strawberry Gazpacho, followed by their succulent tagine entree featuring tantalizing ingredients such as short ribs, peas, artichokes, and turmeric.

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If you’re in the mood for some California-style taqueria delights, Carrburitos is the place to be. Their imaginative burrito selection includes grilled fish, tofu, spicy pork sausage, and pure de papas (sweet potatoes). Take advantage of their award-winning margaritas, available for $5 on Thursdays. 

Additionally, their horchata and assortment of Mexican beers will surely please your palate. It’s worth noting that Carrburitos is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Things to Do in Carrboro

Indulge in the unique charms of Carrboro, where food, music, and entertainment converge to create an unforgettable experience for visitors and residents alike.

Carrboro Farmers’ Market

The Carrboro Farmers’ Market is a must-visit for those seeking a delightful array of prepared foods, locally grown produce, charming crafts, and beautiful flowers, all sourced within a 50-mile radius. Widely recognized as one of the top markets in the southern region, it offers a unique opportunity to support local vendors and embrace the spirit of the community.

Seasonal days are Saturday and Wednesday.

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Carr Mill Mall

Art plays a vital role in the vibrant Carrboro community, fostering appreciation for the craftsmanship of local artisans at the esteemed North Carolina Crafts Gallery. Explore the diverse regional artwork and indulge in upscale shopping at the Carr Mill Mall, home to numerous boutiques offering toys, jewelry, gifts, and outdoor apparel.

Notably, this historic site holds a prestigious spot on the National Register of Historic Sites.

ArtsCenter

For a captivating cultural experience, look no further than the renowned ArtsCenter. Serving as Carrboro’s premier venue for concerts, theater performances, and family programs, the ArtsCenter also provides an enriching classroom environment for art, crafts, and children’s camps.

Boasting a remarkable legacy spanning over 40 years, the ArtsCenter continues to be a dynamic force within the community.

North Carolina Botanical Garden

The North Carolina Botanical Garden is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. It boasts a remarkable collection of regional plants, showcasing the beauty and diversity of the entire state. Make sure not to overlook the charming Carolina Birds-in-a-Nest and Pitcher Plants, two exquisite plant species that captured my attention despite my initial unfamiliarity with them.

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Additionally, you can observe the native Venus Fly Traps, a truly unique sight in this botanical garden. As you stroll through its grounds, revel in the breathtaking vistas and meticulously manicured themed gardens.

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Cat’s Cradle

Carrboro’s vibrant music scene will captivate you. At Cat’s Cradle, a renowned venue with a capacity of 750, you can immerse yourself in the rich musical heritage that Carrboro and Chapel Hill have cherished for over four decades. This intimate space has hosted legendary artists, including Joan Baez, John Mayer, and the unforgettable Nirvana.

Baxter Arcade

For an after-hours experience like no other, the Baxter Arcade awaits. This one-of-a-kind establishment offers a distinctive blend of sophistication and nostalgic charm, with an enticing selection of adult libations to complement its eclectic collection of pinball machines, arcade games, and dartboards.

Take a trip down memory lane with classics such as Frogger, Donkey Kong, Pole Position, and Centipede, or engage in a thrilling Game of Thrones pinball game.

Carrboro: A Town You’ll Be Excited to Explore

Carrboro is a unique North Carolina town with 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.

This article was written by Melody Pittman of Wherever I May Roam.

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