The Ultimate Orange County and Chatham County Bucket List

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Whether you’re a born-and-bred Chapel Hillian or found your way here, consider this your must-do bucket list

The Ultimate Orange County and Chatham County Bucket List – Carolina Basketball Museum
The Carolina Basketball Museum includes a new section dedicated to head coach Hubert Davis.

Photography by John Michael Simpson

1 Relax on the lawn of Weaver Street Market in Carrboro

2 Kiss your sweetheart below the Davie Poplar tree on UNC’s campus

3 Enjoy a relaxing turn down Poet’s Walk at Ayr Mount in Hillsborough

4 Nibble on a nutty fruitcake at Southern Supreme Fruitcake & More

5 Enjoy a cone at Whit’s Frozen Custard and head to Gold Park with a blanket

6 Order a hot dog during the UNC baseball season opener at Boshamer Stadium

7 Join a guided tour at the Historic Chatham County Courthouse and Chatham Historical Museum

8 Learn about the historic Alexander Dickson House, which also serves as the Hillsborough Visitors Center

9 Choose among different tasty salsas at Carrburritos

The Ultimate Orange County and Chatham County Bucket List – Breadmans
Peggy Hollingsworth and Tom Hollingsworth have lived in Chapel Hill since 1966 and been going to Breadman’s since 1995. They visit the restaurant three to four times a week.

10 Start the day off right with a big breakfast at Breadman’s or Virlie’s Grill

11 Look sharp in a Carolina blue tie from Julian’s

12 Catch a show performed by the Bouncing Bulldogs, a youth jump rope team of international acclaim

13 Order a single, double, or, if you dare, a triple BLT at Merritt’s Grill

14 Down a pint, buy some art and enjoy a local band at ODDCO

15 Dig into a North Carolina-inspired plate of poutine or a sky-high sandwich at Breakaway Cafe

16 Enjoy a pickup game of mahjong or pingpong at the Seymour Center

17 Rush Franklin Street after a UNC victory over Duke

18 Explore the great presents at This & That Gift Gallery or Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts

19 Satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of cake at Nantucket Grill or a creative confection at Glasshalfull

20 Get your work clothes and see where Charlie Daniels played his first paying gig at JR Moore & Son in Gulf

21 See the Belted Galloway cows and stroll the walkable Fearrington Village

22 Try a Bell Tower Blueberry Wheat beer at Top of the Hill

23 Have a picnic in the Coker Arboretum

24 Visit the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on UNC’s campus

25 Beat your friends in a round of pool at Zog’s Art Bar & Pool Hall or play your favorite old-school arcade game at The Baxter

26 Go on a burger tour with stops at Johnson’s Drive-In in Siler City and Buns and Al’s Burger Shack in Chapel Hill

The Ultimate Orange County and Chatham County Bucket List – French Connections
Photo by Beth Mann

27 Check out all the funky sculptures and international goods at French Connections

28 Finish a blue cup at He’s Not Here

29 Take a step back in Chapel Hill town history at the Horace Williams House, home to Preservation Chapel Hill

30 Walk or bike along the banks of the Eno River on the Riverwalk

31 Dance through an evening of music outside at Fridays on the Front Porch at The Carolina Inn (April-October)

32 Learn about Tar Heel hoops history at the Carolina Basketball Museum

33 Better yet, cheer on UNC during a game at the Dean E. Smith Center or watch it at Four Corners

34 Pick up a six-pack at Beer Study or The Casual Pint

35 Take a nature walk at the North Carolina Botanical Garden

36 Feel like family as you’re greeted by Vincenzo Marrone and Angelo Marrone at Italian Pizzeria III

The Ultimate Orange County and Chatham County Bucket List – Morehead Planetarium & Science Center
Aspyn Attucks can see herself as an astronaut in Morehead Planetarium & Science Center’s Apollo 11 exhibit, which is just one addition included in the more than 5,000 square feet of exhibit space added to the planetarium in 2020.

37 Catch an afternoon show at Morehead Planetarium & Science Center or go stargazing at Jordan Lake

38 Try every vendor at the Blue Dogwood Public Market food hall

39 Catch an independent film at the newly renovated Chelsea Theater

40 Walk the sidewalks and gallery hop during Last Fridays in Hillsborough or 2nd Friday ArtWalk in Carrboro and Chapel Hill

41 Sip a cocktail at The Crunkleton

42 Go antiquing at Countryside Collectibles Antique Mall

43 Hike the trails in the Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area

44 Gobble down late-night cheese fries or loaded sweet potato tots at Linda’s Bar & Grill

45 Shop for trendy pieces at Uniquities, Monkee’s, Whilden or Dovecote

46 Sip different flavors of honey wine at Starrlight Mead

47 Explore the hottest food and drink spots with a guided Taste Carolina tour

48 Drink from the Old Well

49 Paddle in a kayak or canoe out on the waters of Jordan Lake and the Haw River

The Ultimate Orange County and Chatham County Bucket List – Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe
Idli sambar, a southern Indian dish from Vimala’s, features rice-and-bean-fermented-batter dumplings in a lentil and vegetable stew.

50 Savor vegetarian-friendly dishes at Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe, Sage Vegetarian Cafe and The Spotted Dog

51 Use your Italian dinnerware purchased at the VIETRI outlet store in Hillsborough

52 Wait in line on a weekend morning at Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen or have a late-night chicken biscuit at Time-Out

53 Play a round of golf at UNC Finley Golf Course

54 Pose in front of a Michael Brown mural

55 Learn and explore with your kids at Kidzu Children’s Museum

56 Learn about Eastern Carolina-style barbecue at Allen & Son Bar-B-Que or Hillsborough BBQ Company

57 Don’t miss the Southern fixins at Mama Dip’s Kitchen

58 Jam with live, local bands at Nash Street Tavern or Hot Tin Roof in Hillsborough or The City Tap in Pittsboro

59 Root for your local high school team at Cedar Ridge High School, Orange High School, Chapel Hill High School, East Chapel Hill High School, Carrboro High School or, in Chatham County, Northwood High School, Jordan-Matthews High School, Chatham Central High School or Seaforth High School

The Ultimate Orange County and Chatham County Bucket List – Carolina Tiger Rescue
Tour the Carolina Tiger Rescue at dusk, the time of day when tigers and lions are most active.

60 Go see and learn about the wild cats at Carolina Tiger Rescue

61 Choose a unique piece for your home from Whitehall Antiques or SOUTH

62 Buy a cut of meat from Cliff’s Meat Market

63 Tour Top of the Hill Distillery and sample locally made spirits

64 Pile a cone high with Carolina Crunch from Maple View Farm

65 Bike the 198-mile system of trails in Chatham or take it easy on the Elizabeth ‘Libba’ Cotten Bikeway in Carrboro

66 Learn pottery or drawing at The ArtsCenter

67 Memorize the lyrics of James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind”

68 Enjoy one of the rotating exhibits featuring local and regional artists at the NC Arts Incubator in Siler City

69 Tour the Civil War-era Burwell School Historic Site, and learn about the bravery of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, who escaped life as a slave to become a close confidant of first lady Mary Todd Lincoln

70 Belly up to the Lantern bar – or sit outside – for creative dishes from Andrea Reusing, who previously won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast

71 Get a book signed by an author at Purple Crow Books, Flyleaf Books, McIntyre’s Books or Circle City Books & Music

72 Head to Chatham Park’s Penguin Place for a beer from House of Hops, a sandwich at The Root Cellar Cafe & Catering and some freshly made guacamole at Mi Cancun

Waitress Cassey Carnes serves Shamar Wilson and his mom, Shamekia Brown, at Carolina Brewery’s newly renovated outdoor dining area.

73 Sip a pint at Carrboro’s Steel String Brewery, Vecino Brewing Co. and Dingo Dog Brewing Company or Pittsboro’s Carolina Brewery, bmc brewing and Red Moose Brewing Company

74 Get local produce from the Carrboro Farmers Market, the Chapel Hill Farmers Market, the Eno River Farmers Market, the Fearrington Farmers Market, the Pittsboro Farmers Market or the Chatham Mills Farmers Market

75 Greet the UNC football team and cheerleaders as they make their way to Kenan Stadium during the pregame Victory Walk

76 Visit Chapel Hill’s most perfect sunset spot – Merritt’s Pasture

77 Explore a historic residential neighborhood like the Franklin-Rosemary Historic District or Gimghoul and admire the distinct architecture

78 See a Carolina Performing Arts show at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio or Memorial Hall

79 Slurp a milkshake at Sutton’s Drug Store

80 Have brunch under the sun in the Rosé Garden at Oakleaf

81 Order a coffee and a treat at The Chatham Rabbit in Siler City or at Aromatic Roasters in Pittsboro

82 Watch a movie at the 70-year-old Varsity Theatre

83 Try the fried chicken at Bestfood Cafeteria

Photo by Beth Mann

84 Stroll on one of our many beautiful greenways, like the Tanyard Branch Trail, where metalwork art is on display by local artist Leo Gaev

85 Dine al fresco in the outdoor garden at Kipos

86 Sip award-winning chambourcin at FireClay Cellars, the only commercial vineyard in Chatham County

87 Enjoy the latest exhibition at the Ackland Art Museum or stroll through the artist-owned FRANK Gallery in University Place

88 Groove to a favorite band at Cat’s Cradle or catch an up-and-coming hiphop artist at Local 506

89 Try some classic Calabash-style popcorn shrimp and fish at Dry Dock Seafood

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