The Morehead Planetarium was, when it opened in 1949 , one of only a handful of planetariums in the nation, and it has remained a notable town landmark. During the Gemini, Mercury , and Apollo programs, astronauts were trained there. One of the town’s hallmark features is the giant sundial, locatedon Frakilin St. in the rose gardens in front of the planetarium .

UNC has been very successful at college basketball and women’s soccer (Mia Hamm played as an undergraduate at UNC), and an obsession with the sports has been one of the mostrecognizable features of the town’s culture, set off by the rivalry among North Carolina’s four ACC teams: the North Carolina Tar Heels, the Duke Blue Devils , the NC State Wolfpack, and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons . More recently, the town has received regional notice as the site of a large annual Halloween street party, with an attendance regularly exceeding 70,000.

For more than 30 years Chapel Hill sponsored two annual street fairs, Apple Chill (which was canceled in 2006) in April and Festifall in October. The fairs offer booths to artists, craftsmakers , food vendors and nonprofits . Performance space is also available for martial artists, musicians and other groups. Both fairs are attended annually by tens of thousands.

Chapel Hill also has some new urbanist village communities, such as Meadowmont Village and Southern Village. Meadowmont and Southern Village both have shopping centers, green space where concerts and movies take place, schools and community pools

 ailed as “America’s Foodiest Small Town” by Bon Appétit Magazine , Chapel Hill is rapidly becoming somewhat of a hot spot for pop American cuisine – which is likely due to the college town’s entrepreneur-friendly business environment, thriving small farms in the area, and national media attention surrounding a few local culinary notables, like Foster’s Market (Martha Stewarts Living), A Southern Season ,Breadmans, Mamas Dip’s , Caffe Driade (Food Network’s $40 a day With Rachel Ray), Crook’s Corner , The Barbecue Joint (Food Network’s “$40 A Day With Rachael Ray”), and The Lantern Restaurant (Food & Wine Magazine, Southern Living Magazine, etc.)

Chapel Hill and Carrboro offer many independently owned bars and coffee shops, such as Joe Van Gogh (formerly known as Cup A Joe), Franklin Sweets (formerly Amelia @ Chapel Hill), Jack Sprat Cafe (formerly known as Strong’s Coffee Shop), Open Eye Cafe, 3 Cups, and Caffe Driade.

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