The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Column: A first year's guide to weekending in Chapel Hill and Carrboro

Huxley Templeton plays with cats at the Cat Tales Cafe on June 15, 2022.

It can be difficult to make weekend plans as a first-year student. If you’re not road tripping home for the weekend, you may be wondering how to occupy your time outside of the classroom.

Here are some tried-and-true venues for spending the weekend in and around Chapel Hill:

North Carolina Botanical Garden

With over half a century of rich history and even richer flora, the North Carolina Botanical Garden is a beautiful getaway close to campus.

Beyond wandering around the acres of flowers, paying a visit can also be an educational experience. The garden offers learning opportunities for children and adults alike. Programs for adults include botanical art classes, home gardening workshops and yoga. Certificate programs in Native Plant Studies, Botanical Art & Illustration and Therapeutic Horticulture are also offered.

Display garden hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Carolina Basketball Museum

You can’t call yourself a true Tar Heel fan if you haven’t been to the Carolina Basketball Museum.

Located on the ground floor of the Ernie Williamson Athletic Center at 450 Skipper Bowles Drive, the museum tells the story of the UNC Men’s Basketball program through artifacts and interactive displays.

The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Cat Tales Cat Cafe

At Cat Tales Cat Cafe, you can play with cats while enjoying coffee, drinks and desserts. The cafe is two stories tall. The bottom floor houses the cafe and leads into a small play area under the stairs for the cats. The top floor is exclusively for the cats, lined with various couches and chairs to lounge on and filled with toys for the cats to play with.

The best part about the cafe is that all of the furry friends you see are adoptable through Beautiful Together Animal Sanctuary. While you may not be able to keep a cat in a dorm room, it is something to keep in mind if you end up moving into a pet-friendly house or apartment in the future.

Reservations to visit the cafe must be made in advance on their website.

Carrboro Farmer’s Market

The Carrboro Farmer’s Market is open year-round on Saturdays and Wednesdays seasonally at 301 W. Main St. Market-goers can buy locally-grown produce, pasture-raised meats, cheeses, eggs, pastries and breads.

If your dorm needs decorations, pottery, baskets, woven rugs, woodwork and metalwork can also be purchased there. All goods are produced within 50 miles of the market.

Cash is accepted everywhere, and credit is accepted by many vendors for bigger purchases. An ATM is located on-site, and a portion of proceeds from the ATM surcharge goes towards the market’s food outreach programs.

Cat’s Cradle

Located just a mile away from UNC’s campus at 300 E. Main St. in Carrboro, live music venue Cat’s Cradle hosts a variety of performances featuring both established and up-and-coming artists.

The venue has hosted artists such as Nirvana, John Mayer and Public Enemy. With its capacity of 750 people, all of its concerts feel larger-than-life in the intimate setting.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

Tickets are priced reasonably and can either be bought in advance or on the day of most showings.

Maple View Farm

Just a few minutes out of town, Maple View Farm is a feast for both the eyes and the mouth. Aside from offering a stunning view of the countryside, the farm serves delicious ice cream in its country store, open from noon to 9 p.m. every day. There are 12 ice cream flavors available year-round and seasonal flavors that change every month.

Maple View is a great place to bring a blanket, have dessert and watch the sunset!

No matter how you decide to spend your off-time, Orange County is full of relaxing and exciting activities. Grab a friend and see what your new college community has to offer. 

Welcome home, Tar Heels!