The Ultimate Orange County and Chatham County Checklist

Are you planning a visit to Orange County and/or Chatham County and are wondering what to do during your stay? Or are you a local in search of new and exciting activities to enjoy? Look no further than our Ultimate Checklist, which highlights all the ways to explore the best of these two beautiful North Carolina counties. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, museums or the local nightlife, our checklist has something for everyone, from hidden gems to must-see attractions that you won’t want to miss. So grab your friends and family, and start checking off these unforgettable experiences.

Photography by John Michael Simpson

1 Rush Franklin Street after a UNC victory over Duke

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

3 Watch a movie at the historical Varsity Theatre

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

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

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

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

8 Finish a blue cup at He’s Not Here

9 Release some steam by ax-throwing at Chatham Axes

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

11 Go antiquing at Countryside Collectibles Antique Mall or check out refinished furniture at Gathered Home Decor

12 Catch an independent film at the Chelsea Theater

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

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

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

16 Try a Bell Tower blueberry wheat beer at Top of the Hill

17 Drink from the Old Well

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

Chatham County Historical Society volunteer Allen Wilson speaks with a class of fourth graders visiting the historical county courthouse in downtown Pittsboro.

19 Play a round of golf at the newly renovated UNC Finley Golf Course

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

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

22Get 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

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

24 Take a nature walk at the North Carolina Botanical Garden

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

26 Memorize the lyrics of James Taylor’sCarolina in My Mind

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

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

29 Sip different flavors of honey wine at Starrlight Mead

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

31 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

32 Relax on the lawn of Weaver Street Market in Carrboro

Sophie Chiba (in overalls), Al-Nisa Berry and Sophie Litwin patricipate in a Zumba class at the Seymour Center.

33 Enjoy a pickup game of mahjong or pingpong or take a Zumba class at the Seymour Center

34 Head to Chatham Park‘s Penguin Place for a beer from House of Hops, a sandwich at Café Root Cellar and some freshly made guacamole at Mi Cancun

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

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

37 Hike the trails in the Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area

38 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

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

40 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 for her blend of Asian flavors with North Carolina ingredients

41 Slurp a milkshake at Sutton’s Drug Store

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

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

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

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

46 Bike the 298-mile system of trails in Chatham or take it easy on the Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten Bikeway in Carrboro

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

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

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

50 Walk the sidewalks and gallery hop durning Last Fridays & The Art Walk in Hillsborough or 2nd Friday ArtWalk in Carrboro and Chapel Hill

51 Have a picnic lunch on a blanket in the Coker Arboretum

52 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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t miss fired chicken, mimosas and more during Sunday brunch at The Colonial Inn in Hillsborough.

58 Dig into Sunday brunch by Beau Catering at The Colonial Inn

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

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

Stella Starling and her dad, David Starling, visit the Eno Arts Mill in Hillsborough.

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

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

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

64 Catch an afternoon show at Morehead Planetarium & Science Center or go stargazing at Jordan Lake in the evening

65 Peruse the art at the Eno Arts Mill or take a mosaic-making class

66 Pose in front of a Michael Brown mural

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

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

69 Check out all the funky sculptures and international goods at French Connections and pop by Fragments for unique home decor

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

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

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

73 Dine al fresco in the outdoor garden at Kipos

74 Satisfy your sweet toth with a slice of cake at Nantucket Grill or a creative confection at Glasshalfull

Zack Thomas, the principal bartender at The Crunkleton, makes a cocktail.

75 Learn pottery or drawing in a class at The ArtCenter

76 Try the fried chicken at Bestfood Cafeteria

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

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

79 Sip a cocktail at The Crunkleton

80 Choose a unique piece for your home from Whitehall Antiques

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

82 Order a hot dog during the UNC baseball season opener at Boshamer Stadium under Carolina blue skies

83 Paddle in a kayak or canoe out on the waters of the Haw River or rent a boat to cruise or water-ski on Jordan Lake

84 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

85 Sip and paint at Carrboro’s Steel String Brewery, Haw River Ales/Vecino Brewing Company or Pittsboro’s Carolina Brewery, BMC Brewing and Red Moose Brewing Company

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

87 Check out Mosaic at Chatham Park, a new mixed-used venue with retail stores, restaurants, a coworking space and concert venue

88 Choose among different tasty salsas at Carrburritos

89 Stop by Steel Roots Home Decor for stylish yet functional home goods

90 Celebrate a special occasion with dinner at The Sycamore at Chatham Mills and a nightcap at The Beagle

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

Ava Jane Wilson and Cher Wilson take a boat out on Jordan Lake.

Scroll to Top