Visit Chapel Hill/Orange County, NC: The Best Only Gets Better

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Sept. 29, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- We have good news: Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough, North Carolina are much like they were last you visited. The only difference?

They're better now.

Time ages these towns like fine wine – no accidental simile there. Because there's a lot more fine wine (and beer!) in these parts now. And some amazing food. New restaurants are opening everywhere: Bella's International Cuisine on Main Street in Carrboro is getting some much deserved attention, as it should: the chef used to cook at the iconic Magnolia Grill. A new restaurant is opening in Carr Mill Mall called Café Symmetry, operated by the pros at Elmo's. For sport's fanatics, Hickory Tavern is here. Mill Town, Acme and Glasshalfull haven't lost their touch. With the addition of these new restaurants, Carrboro is quickly becoming a go-to spot for the culinary adventurer. Weaver Street Market is bigger now and even better. As Fall cools the lawn out front, one of the hardest things you'll do all week is getting off your blanket to go home.

Chapel Hill is eternal: it's one of those rare southern towns that lets the modern world in and loses nothing of its historic charm. Rosemary Street, which has always felt like Franklin Street's little brother, is growing up: shops and restaurants and condos flourish down this revitalized stretch of town. But the old Franklin Street favorites remain: Sutton's, Spanky's, Top of the Hill, Ye Olde Waffle Shop. Time Out is here but in a new place, at the intersection of Henderson and Franklin. There is a new tasty restaurant every few feet; it feels like, from sushi to Mexican to Thai. Chapel Hill is like New York without the skyscrapers and taxi cabs (although we do have Uber now).

University Mall, just off East Franklin, is very much alive and in the process of becoming one of the finest boutique malls around. New leases signed at University Mall this year total 67,500 square feet. William Travis Jewelry, Fine Feathers, Peacock Alley, TrySports and Kidzu Children's Museum are open or slated to open soon. Plaza Azteca, a contemporary Mexican restaurant, will join the restaurant line-up in winter 2014, and Silverspot -- a 13-screen luxury movie theater -- will follow in early 2015. Silverspot at University Mall will be the fifth domestic location for the company, a division of Cines Unidos – one of the largest theater companies in South America. The theater will be joined at the mall by four new boutiques, a high end sporting goods store and a new fine dining option – all part of University Mall's redevelopment plan. World famous Southern Season, of course, continues as an anchor in the mall, and is worth a long shopping visit, punctuated by a restful lunch at Weathervane. Resume shopping.

Orange County's northern jewel, Hillsborough, is a small town big enough to hold onto to its past while living resolutely in the present. In addition to local restaurants, Hillsborough also sports its own locally roasted coffee, a local brewery, locally made chocolates, and baked goods. And of course, no small southern town would be complete without a local BBQ favorite hangout. Hillsborough BBQ is a funky local haunt, located on South Nash Street. Cup A Joe is now recognizing five years of existence. And since early 2012, Nash Street's Mystery Brewing Company's mission has been to create outstanding beer. Antonia's and Panciuto, both located on Churton Street, have been winning- over diners with their distinctly Italian menus and visitors love delicious treats from Matthew's Chocolates.

LaPlace on Churton serves Cajun food and Saratoga Grill still packs them in with their distinctly southern warmth and menu.

So, yes: there is a lot to eat in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough: and all of it is good. ONE, in Meadowmont, has become a destination restaurant like Lantern, Elaine's and Crook's Corner. There is a new chef at Il Palio and a new menu at Carolina Crossroads. It seems like a lot to eat and it is, but you'll need your energy: there are over 40 annual events here, from music to food to film festivals to some of the best basketball played on the planet.

Come back soon. There is a lot here you're missing. For a complete list of events, travel information and accommodations, visit As the official destination marketing organization of Chapel Hill and Orange County, the mission of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau is to develop and coordinate visitor services in Orange County, NC and to implement marketing programs that will enhance the economic activity and quality of life in the community.

A photo accompanying this release is available at:

CONTACT: Patty Griffin Communications Director Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau Direct Line -9192454321Source:Chapel Hill Orange County Visitors Bureau