Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Best Places to Retire in North Carolina


Chapel Hill (population 50,000) is located in the Raleigh-Durham area in the north-central part of the state.  It is also home to North Carolina University (24,000 students), which is the oldest and largest of the stateís 16 institutions of higher learning.  Duke University is only about 10 miles away in Durham, and North Carolina State University, which is east of the city of Raleigh, is only 30 minutes away.  These three great universities and their outstanding medical schools and research programs, combine to give the area its reputation as a remarkable center of higher learning, and one of the most advanced areas of the country for medical care.

The one square mile UNC campus is the dominant feature of this cosmopolitan community.

One national publication referred to Chapel Hill as ìthe best college town in America.î The downtown area has more than 250 businesses.  It includes numerous college-style and upscale restaurants, shops, galleries, boutiques, bars, nightclubs and taverns.  There are a great many cultural activities in the area, and the visitorís bureau publishes details on more than one thousand festivals, events and activities throughout Orange County during the year.  In addition to all of the amenities in Chapel Hill, it takes just minutes to get to a Broadway show or symphony concert in Raleigh.  The quality of healthcare in this area is rarely matched anywhere in the country.

The Research Triangle area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) continues to attract high technology businesses and has been one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. since the 1990s.  The only drawback is that there is some highway congestion at times.

Chapel Hill and nearby Carrboro have many benefits and opportunities for retirees.  From the cultural, educational, recreational and medical facilities, to the mild climate and atmosphere, the area is becoming one of the most sought after locations for retirement.

Arts & Culture

Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina has a collection of 15,000 objects that broadly covers the history of European painting and sculpture, including the works of several of the masters.

UNC Libraries –

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center –

North Carolina Botanical Garden is a consortium of 30 gardens that hold the National Collection of Endangered Species.  It also feature revolving exhibits of paintings, quilts, and other media.

Durham Symphony is a community orchestra for Durham.

North Carolina Symphony is a full-time professional orchestra with 65 members.  Its home is Meymandi Concert Hall.  The symphony performs about 60 concerts a year in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary metropolitan area.

Raleigh Little Theatre (Community Theater) –

Raleigh Dance Theatre –

The ArtsCenter in Carrboro presents jazz, folk-traditional and world music, plus theater and childrenís programs.

Carolina Union Performing Arts Series brings first-class national and international performers to the UNC campus.

Playmakers Repertory Company is a professional theatre company.  Five or six plays are performed annually in the Paul Green Theatre.


Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation Department manages a broad range of recreational, cultural and educational programs and services.  It includes community centers, art facilities, athletic fields, walking trails, a swimming pool, a batting cage, a skate park, and more.

North Carolina is known for its good golf courses, and Orange County is no exception, with a number of fine course layouts in the area.

UNC Athletics program –
N.C. State Athletics program –
Duke Athletics program –

Nearby Carrboro has one of the most extensive bikeway systems in the state.


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (24,000 students) –

Duke University, Durham, NC (6,600 students) –

N.C. State University, Raleigh, NC (30,000 students) –

Senior Programs

Chapel Hill Senior Center is managed by Orange County Department on Aging with support of Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation Department.  The center has a wide-ranging program that includes wellness programs and regularly scheduled travel and tour programs. There are three Senior Centers and two Community Centers.

Senior Times is published every two months by a division of the Herald-Sun newspaper.  Editorial and content is provided by the Orange County Department on Aging.  It also contains calendars with a full list of events available to seniors of Orange County.

Duke University Continuing Education Program –


UNC Healthcare is a 688-bed acute care teaching hospital.

Rex Healthcare, Raleigh, is a 394-bed acute care hospital.

Durham Regional Hospital is a 369-bed acute care hospital.

WakeMed Medical Center is a physical rehab, cardiovascular, trauma, neurosciences, HMO teaching and nursing services hospital.


Raleigh-Durham International Airport –


The average temperatures for January are a high of 49 degrees and low of 29 degrees.  The July averages are 88 degrees and 68 degrees.


News & Observer –

Property Taxes

Orange County taxes –

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

Chapel Hill-Carborro Chamber of Commerce –

State Aging Agency


Durham – 11 miles
Cary – 22 miles
Raleigh – 31 miles
Winston Salem – 77 miles
New Bern – 140 miles
Atlantic Beach (on the Ocean) – 175 miles
Asheville – 220 miles

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