Explore Carrboro: Chapel Hill’s Artsy Orange County Neighbor

By: TLP's Partners

Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street melds seamlessly into Carrboro’s Main Street without much fanfare. Like the progressive college town to its west, Carrboro, North Carolina, supports a thriving music, art, and culinary scene. It’s a culturally rich small town, hyper-focused on supporting local with a decidedly bohemian vibe.

Pizzeria Mercato Food Spready by Kate Medley
Pizzeria Mercato, Image Courtesy of Kate Medley

Carrboro walks the walk when it comes to locavore dining. Case in point: Weaver Street Market. Day to night this community-owned grocery filled with sustainably sourced local products hums with shoppers and guests enjoying drinks and bites in the outdoor dining area or relaxing on the expansive lawn. For a more intimate look at the local restaurant scene, Taste Carolina hosts guided walking tours, where food enthusiasts can sample flavor and connect with the artisans and chefs behind some of Carrboro’s favorite spots.

Currently, in its 45th season, Carrboro Farmers’ Market, recognized by both The New York Times and Southern Living magazine, is another food-centric place to spend the morning. All items are produced within 50 miles of the market, and the growers and artisans operate the market themselves, offering local produce and meat, woven rugs, baskets, and more.

Frank Art Gallery now open Carrboro
FRANK Art Gallery, Image Courtesy of Laurie Paolicelli

The pedestrian-friendly downtown is a shopper’s dream. Like the food scene, the focus is local; locally owned, and often, locally made. For hand-crafted colorful art and gifts, North Carolina Crafts Gallery has a selection of pottery and wares handcrafted by hundreds of different artists and creators from across the state. Womancraft Gifts is another unique gift shop that boasts a variety of handmade items. It operates as a co-op where member artists create the products and also run the shop day-to-day. Carrboro’s newest gallery, FRANK is both a fine art gallery representing the best of local artists and a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the community through the arts.

Alberta Mill, a former textile mill built in 1899, has been reimagined as Carr Mill Mall. The storied brick building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is now a hub of office space, boutiques, specialty stores, galleries, and restaurants. And what progressive small town would be complete without an Indie record store or bookstore? Carrboro is lucky to have both: All Day Records and Golden Figs Books.

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