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Nearby Attractions in Chapel Hill

With a booming arts and science program at UNC and a rich history, Chap Hill has plenty of interesting museums, libraries, galleries and parks to explore.  

Love astronomy? Head over to the Morehead Planetarium Center and explore a live star show of the Carolina night skies, where you’ll see stars, planets and constellations.  More into art? Browse North Carolina’s most important cultural resource, the Ackland Art Museum, for everything from ancient Greek vases, to the works of Andy Warhol.  

Whether you’re looking for a place to go with your UNC student, a family-friendly activity, or simply something to kill a couple hours, here’s five of the best museums, parks and attractions in Chap Hill. 


Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden

Everything is always coming up roses at the Gene Strowd Community Garden. The garden is teeming with vibrant and unique blooms—130 varieties bursting from 350 different bushes, to be exact. A copper fountain lies at the center of the garden, ringed by everything from classic red roses to hybrid teas, miniatures, and climbing bushes. 

Stroll the brick walkways hand-in-hand to see—and smell—more roses than you’ll find almost anywhere else.

Insider Tip

The Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden is a great place to play for both parents and the kiddos. Peruse the garden, then head to the climbing wall or playground, both adjacent to the garden.

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gene strowd community garden statue

Morehead Planetarium

Keep your head in the clouds at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, one of the oldest and largest planetariums in the United States. This Chapel Hill favorite is packed with science-based adventures and experiences, from journeys through the Carolina night sky to space mission simulations. 

Don’t miss special weekend experiences like the Magic Treehouse Mission or Earthquakes, Volcanos, and Tsunamis, which take place in the planetarium’s GSK Fulldome Theater.

Insider Tip

See science from a new point of view at one of Morehead’s live demonstrations. Kids and adults alike will love seeing science in action, from physics in action to the electrical circuit that is the human body.

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Chapel Hill_Morehead-Planetarium

Chapel Hill Public Library

When it comes to free indoor activities, there’s no better choice than local (and beautiful!) public libraries – especially the Chapel Hill Public Library. Located in 32-acre Pritchard Park among nature and walking trails, the Library is in the center of Chapel Hill off Franklin Street.

Hosting an assortment of events, programming and other gatherings, the Library is currently the busiest public library per capita in North Carolina. Head over to spend the day with great views and great reads.  

Insider Tip

The children’s area is a must for the whole family.

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Chapel Hill Public Library

Carolina Basketball Museum

Attention casual hoops fans and die-hard Tar Heels – this one’s for you. The Carolina Basketball Museum, set on the ground floor of the Ernie Williamson Athletic Center, demonstrates and honors the rich history of the University of North Carolina men’s basketball program. 

First opened in 2008 the museum experience includes interactive displays of significant accomplishments and a number of display cases filled with artifacts and tales of the storied UNC basketball program. One extra perk: admission is free for fans of all ages.  

Insider Tip

If you’re in town to catch a game, make sure to visit – the museum is right across from the Dean Dome.

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Carolina Basketball Museum

Ackland Museum

Peek into North Carolina culture at the Ackland Museum, one of the state’s most important cultural resources. The museum has amassed over 19,000 artifacts since it opened in 1958, solidifying its reputation as a must-see for Chapel Hill visitors. Peruse sculptures and paintings and even attend film screenings and panels, each of which speak to the big issues facing the world today. 

Walk through Ackland and you’ll encounter ancient Greek vases, modern Italian paintings, and Andy Warhol, all in one fell swoop.

Insider Tip

 Don’t miss this museum even if you are traveling on a budget. Admission is free for the 12+ exhibits throughout the year.

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