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'A nice little pocket of art': Chapel Hill and Carrboro house arts and culture spaces

People attend the Wolf Alice concert at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro on March 22, 2022.

"We try to be more than just a store — more like a hub of music," Gabriel Garrity, an employee of Schoolkids Records, said. 

The Franklin Street record shop is just one of a wide range of live music venues, stores and galleries within walking distance of UNC's campus. Here are some must-visit arts and culture spaces in Orange County.

Schoolkids Records 

Though Schoolkids Records has operated in the Triangle for nearly 50 years, its Chapel Hill location opened in 2016.

As a founding member of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores, Schoolkids Records' website claims to help local bands, including Archers of Loaf and Superchunk, gain traction among listeners. 

The store has worked with Merge Records, an independent record label based in Durham. Merge Records' roster includes artists such as Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel and the Mountain Goats. 

Schoolkids Records also has its own record label with over twenty signed artists.

“I think that we really make an effort to try to keep the culture alive,” Garrity said. “(We are) constantly partnering with local artists, doing shows here, selling their stuff and giving back to the culture.” 

Schoolkids Records is located at 405-C W. Franklin St.

Cat’s Cradle

Cat’s Cradle – named after Kurt Vonnegut’s 1963 novel of the same name – has been a staple of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro music scene for over 50 years, hosting  Nirvana, John Mayer and Sonic Youth. 

Originally a basement venue on West Rosemary Street, Cat's Cradle has occupied many different spaces across downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro. 

Its current home in downtown Carrboro makes it a popular venue for a night out. Cat’s Cradle has a capacity of just 750 people, making it a more intimate venue. The space hosts artists in its main venue and smaller back room. 

Upcoming concerts include Indigo De Souza, Joyce Manor and Wednesday.

Cat’s Cradle is located at 300 E. Main St. in Carrboro.


Peel is an art gallery, community event space, digital photography lab and retail space promoting contemporary art, according to its website. 

“It's becoming kind of a nice little pocket of art between all of us,” Lindsay Metivier, gallery owner, said.

She said that Peel is the only place in the Triangle where artists can come, print, scan and edit their own work.

“We do have workshops, but we also allow people to come and just use the facilities,” she said.

Peel hosts workshops on book binding and basket weaving, along with gallery opening and closing receptions, clothing swaps and more.

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“Because we opened during the pandemic, it was pretty slow growing with events,” Metivier said. “But we are now renting the space out and giving it to groups to do critique nights and collage nights.”

Peel is located at 708 W. Rosemary St. in Carrboro.

Local 506

The Local 506 has been an intimate and lively rock venue for over 30 years. The space has a capacity of approximately 250 people and showcases a variety of musicians, from up-and-coming local bands to well-established artists. 

Upcoming events include new local artist showcases, album release parties and throwback dance parties. 

Local 506 is located at 506 W. Franklin St.

“We’re here for everyone,” Rob Walsh, co-owner and production manager of Local 506, said. “Everyone is welcome.” 


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