Chapel Hill, NC aerial shot of downtown

2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 79
Demographics 44
Economy 53
Education 62
Health 69
Housing 42
Infrastructure 43

#63. Chapel Hill, NC

Home to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC is part of a “research triangle” that also includes nearby Duke University and North Carolina State University. Because of this, a lot of innovation and collaboration happens in this highly educated region. In addition, residents here enjoy a legendary basketball rivalry, a delicious food scene and beautiful amenities like the North Carolina Botanical Garden.  

Top Colleges/Universities: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Top Industries & Employers: Health care, science, manufacturing and education are powerhouse industries. The University of North Carolina, Advanced Sports Enterprises and Armacell are the top three employers in Chapel Hill. 

Weekend Plans: Practice yoga under the stars in the full-dome theater at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. For families, the Kidzu Children’s Museum is a multisensory, play-centered museum with exhibits like an outdoor learning garden.

Favorite Place to Feast: Hawthorn & Wood, a neighborhood eatery with seasonal menus and an impressive wine list.

Beloved Beverage: Coffee cocktails from Carolina Coffee Shop, the oldest restaurant in North Carolina.

Outdoorsy Activity: Go for a bike ride or hike in the 613-acre Brumley Forest Nature Preserve.

Rooftop Bar: Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery. Order the lizard chips, which are sliced dill pickle and jalapeño chips crispy-fried in-house beer batter.

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: Spend time with adoptable cats and enjoy coffee and beer at Cat Tales Cat Café.

Remote Work Perk: The North Carolina Botanical Garden has daily plant sales so that you can bring lots of greenery to your home office and yard.

One More Thing … The Tar Heel state’s pride runs deep, even firetrucks here are painted Carolina blue. 

– Brittany Anas

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