Best Places to Live 2022
Honeysuckle Tea House / Visit NC
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Chapel Hill, North Carolina

  • County: Orange
  • Nearest Big City: Durham

Thanks to a host of redevelopment projects, Chapel Hill is shedding the vestiges of its “college town” status.

Of course, that’s an ongoing effort. After all, the quaint North Carolina city is still best known as the home of the nation’s first public university: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (No. 2 on Money’s Best Colleges ranking this year). But while about a third of Chapel Hill’s population are enrolled in college, there’s much to do besides studying.

Chapel Hill is located about 10 miles southwest of Durham and 30 miles northwest of Raleigh. Together, the three cities make up North Carolina’s prestigious “Research Triangle,” an area flush with big-name employers, especially in tech and biotech.

Leisure-wise, Carolina North Forest offers up 750 acres of playground for outdoorsy types, with plenty of hiking and biking trails, and lush vistas abound.

Foodies find themselves with several delicious options, such as Squid’s for seafood and newcomer Que Chula for Mexican and Tex-Mex staples. There’s no shortage of deep-fried Southern comfort options, either.

Chapel Hill caters to music lovers, too, whether they prefer a family-friendly atmosphere (the historic Carolina Inn hosts free shows on Fridays) or a more alternative scene (the Local 506 is a mainstay for indie and up-and-coming musicians). — Adam Hardy

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

  • Population
  • Median Household Income
  • Median Home Price
  • Unemployment Rate
Sources: Population and median household income provided by Synergos Technologies Inc.; unemployment rate (by county) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and median home price provided by ATTOM Data Solutions.