Cold water soaks through your hoodie as beads of rain drip from the umbrella. The wind is biting, and people pass one another with heads down — everyone trying to get to the next place without stepping into a puddle. The bricks are slick, the air is chilly and the sky is a puffy, dense gray.
That is February in Chapel Hill.
A dog bounds up to you, attempting to prolong the constant stream of attention it’s gotten in the last 15 minutes of class change. Friends walk in groups, skateboards whiz past and the quad is one large conglomeration of blankets pulled out from car trunks and closets. The sun is beaming, the air is warm and the sky is — you guessed it — Carolina Blue.
The thing is, that too is February in Chapel Hill.
It's a widely-known reality: North Carolina weather is unpredictable and moody. One day it feels like the dead of winter and the next, it’s a warm summer day. No need to harp on that.
However, unseasonably warm days bring a new life to the UNC campus and beyond, meaning the quad gets full and the search for a spot outdoors feels like a game that’s hard to win.
It’s only February, and at this rate, spring will be quickly upon us. For those that want to soak up the sun and enjoy the warm weather, here are some alternative locations when you’ve been pushed to the quad's overflow seating.
Upper Quad (McCorkle Place)
It’s a little removed, but with a view of the Old Well, quick access to Franklin Street if you need a snack and plenty of grass to sprawl out on, it’s a perfect main quad (Polk Place) substitute. It doesn’t hurt that there’s no white tent in sight, either.
Graham Memorial Hall porch
For those that prefer a table and chairs to spread out and get work done on, check out the porch of Graham Memorial Hall, located near Morehead Planetarium. There are always spots open, and it’s a little quieter than the tables and chairs you might find around the Pit, the Student Union and nearby.
Weaver Street Market — Carrboro
An off-campus location, but Weaver Street Market is a great spot nonetheless. Its outdoor seating is the ideal place to enjoy a sunny day in Chapel Hill, and a great spot for a UNC student to get a feel for the larger community we live in. The Town of Carrboro has free public Wi-Fi and fresh pastries are baked daily inside, so it’s honestly a win-win.
More formally known as the Coker Arboretum, here’s another spot for the blanket-on-the-grass folks. There are plenty of paths to walk on if you’re in need of a study break and plenty of trees providing ample shade. It’s a picturesque location whether you’re doing homework or just enjoying the weather, especially in spring when the arboretum is in full bloom.
The truth is, you can’t go wrong finding a place around campus or beyond to experience the frequent sunny-and-75 days we’ve been having. Let us know your own personal favorites and happy sunbathing!
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.