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Chapel Hill vs. Durham

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Miami Beach, Florida
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Chapel Hill vs. Durham

Passing through on a Sunday and looking to spend evening/night in either location.

Not looking for any major sightseeing but just curious what would be more traveler friendly, interesting and cooler to go grab a drink somewhere between the 2 cities?

Any input is appreciated!


Richmond, Virginia
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1. Re: Chapel Hill vs. Durham

My vote is for Chapel Hill! Can't beat Franklin Street.

Charlotte, NC
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2. Re: Chapel Hill vs. Durham

The same here, Chapel Hill/Carrboro; going there tomorrow for the w/end...

Very walkable..good pubs, restaurants.

Chapel Hill, North...
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3. Re: Chapel Hill vs. Durham

They're both great towns. I think a case could be made for either one. Chapel Hill and Carrboro are a good bit smaller than Durham and more centered around the university.

Durham is undergoing a resurgence from its blue collar tobacco past and is a vibrant mid-sized city and, of course, home to Duke (much smaller than UNC) and also NC Central University (historically black college).

They both boast excellent restaurants and arts-centered activities. What kind of place are you looking to grab a drink and maybe we could recommend a place in either town. They're also close enough together that if you really wanted a feel for both you could eat in one and grab a drink in the other.

Raleigh, NC
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4. Re: Chapel Hill vs. Durham

Both are great but I tend to think Durham is more grown-up while Chapel Hill is still very college-oriented.

I think an important question is, which highway are you "passing through" on? If it's I-85, then Durham is the obvious choice. Chapel Hill would be off the path, but downtown Durham is literally a few blocks off the interstate.

If it's I-40, then Chapel Hill would probably make much more sense. The part of Durham along 40 is the southern suburban area, and nothing there but malls, subdivisions and such.

Edited: 12 August 2011, 13:38
north carolina
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5. Re: Chapel Hill vs. Durham

Rob, above, is right on.

Both cities offer a great variety of restaurants and bars, but Durham is going to be much more cosmopolitan. Lots of jazz and good shows - more of what you might expect in a city. In Chapel Hill and neighboring Carrboro the restaurants are very nice but the bars are, IMHO, kid-stuff.

Charlotte, North...
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6. Re: Chapel Hill vs. Durham

Here's one almost 50 year old "kid" who loves Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill is a charming and unique historic town, with a beautiful historic University. A very special place, with nice places for eats and drinks/live music entertainment for both college kids and adults. I was in Chapel Hill Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, on Franklin st. during the evening; I saw plenty of other adults enjoying themselves. Carrboro right beside Chapel Hill only adds to the dining and entertainment opportunities.

Durham, while it's come a long way from days not too long ago when it was totally not safe to visit many areas especially after-dark, and it does have a few interesting venues; overall it is a city just like many other cities in the U.S. When I'm traveling I try to visit places which are unique/have character and charm, not just another generic mid-size U.S. city.

7. Re: Chapel Hill vs. Durham

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Charlotte, NC
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8. Re: Chapel Hill vs. Durham

I am with you Ballasalla, there are some really neat pubs & clubs (e.g. Pinhook http://thepinhook.com/) in Durham... I don't share UNC Mickey's view either...

Well, it would be nice to know where the OP went....

Durham, North...
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9. Re: Chapel Hill vs. Durham

Whiskey, very cool place

Miami, Florida
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10. Re: Chapel Hill vs. Durham

I was surprised by the description of Durham as cosmopolitan. I spent a day there last year and was sad by the lack of ....looked like a depressed city, not quite charmining but no revitalized. I tried driving around to find nicer areas. I would like to find out more about the cute parts of town.

That being said I'm trying to select a hotel either Durham, Chapel Hill or Research Triangle to meet up with an old friend. I'm going to be suite hotel and we'll go out for dinner.

Any suggestions?