Where to live in Chapel Hill?
February 1, 2006 5:53 AM   Subscribe

I know there have been previous threads on living in the Chapel Hill / Research Triangle area, but I'm writing with slightly more specific question. I'm going to be spending a year at UNC CH and I need to find (unfurnished) housing nearby. Any suggestions?

Ideally I would like to be able to bike to the school, but I'm willing to sacrifice that possibility if there is a particularly pretty (and/or affordable) area further from campus. Also, we're thinking of getting a dog, so an area that is dog-friendly would be nice. Any recommendations for particular neighborhoods, streets, or even buildings? Any places I should definitely avoid? (I'll be there from July 06 to July 07.)
posted by chrisgrau to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoy Carrboro--about 2.5 miles from campus, not horrendously expensive compared to Chapel Hill itself, with a farmer's market, co-op grocery, free buses to Chapel Hill. It's kind of a grad student ghetto, for better or worse. I've heard to avoid the Royal Park, Kingswood and Carolina apartments (and there are a couple others owned by the same company)--I live in Berkshire Manor, and they've treated me pretty well.
posted by Jeanne at 6:16 AM on February 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

(Also: biking in Carrboro and west Chapel Hill is fine. East of campus the highways are bigger and it gets a little sketchier).
posted by Jeanne at 6:19 AM on February 1, 2006

Areas won't be dog-friendly or -hostile, only renters.

My knowledge of the area is several years out of date, but:

Most complexes aren't dog-friendly. The exception is the Foxcroft complex on the east side of town.

Individual landlords with condos or houses might or might not be. Look in the Village Advocate.

Chapel Hill / Carrboro is fine, but you might also look into the northern Chatham County area between CH/C and Pittsboro. It'll appear in the Village Advocate too. Biking in from there might mean a 5--15 mile ride.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:34 AM on February 1, 2006

Yes, Carrboro, Carrboro, Carrboro! It's much more of a little town than Chapel Hill is, with most everything you'd need in a relatively compact downtown. In fact, it's the Paris of the Piedmont! I lived for several years just south of downtown Carrboro and walked to campus, taking maybe 25 minutes. Biking it would have been 10. There's a dedicated bike path (not on a street) for much of it, and most of the rest on a street with the on-street parking lanes emptied to make bike lanes during commuting hours. Also, the Chapel Hill/Carrboro buses are now free and run a lot more frequently than they once did, so there's that option if you end up a little further out.

I can't really recommend any of the apartment complexes I lived in or visited. I don't know what you're living situation is, but I had the best luck when I stayed in a small house with one or two other people. Searching from out of town you might start with the classifieds from the Chapel Hill News/Village Advocate.
posted by nflorin at 7:37 AM on February 1, 2006

I have to agree that Carrboro is the place to be. Granted, I haven't lived there since 1997, but I remember it fondly as afforable and friendly. You'll notice wood sculptures all over Carrboro by Clyde Jones-- be sure not to miss a visit to Bynum, home to Mr. Jones, in your travels around the area.

Incidentally, nflorin, your third link led me to a photo of my old house. Thanks for that!
posted by idest at 9:06 AM on February 1, 2006

I, too, have lived in Carrboro, and I found it an ideal place to reside. If you stay anywhere near Main St., you should have no problem biking to Chapel Hill, although buses are free and convenient too. Depending on your price range, some of the mill houses are quite nice and semi-affordable.
posted by matkline at 9:31 AM on February 1, 2006

I never found Carrboro to be quite all that, though being in waddling-distance of Elmo's is never a bad idea.

The Estes Rd and Elliot Rd areas of Chapel Hill are similarly convenient to stuff and walkable to stuff, except that you'll be in an apartment complex, not a house, and walking to one of a couple small malls instead of a converted mill.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:29 AM on February 1, 2006

When I went to school in Chapel Hill, I wrote news stories on the Carrboro cops for a semester, and they of course knew where all the seedy places were (seedy for Carrboro and Chapel Hill at any rate). And everyone at the police station was really nice. If you're worried about a location, I would just walk in there and chat. This was in 1999 or 2000, but they always had time for me. Also, a lot of them are longtime residents and just know the towns (the good parts, too) really well. There was one apartment complex that was notoriously bad, and of course I can't remember the name of it. I think it started with an "A." Anyone else?
posted by Airhen at 4:11 PM on February 1, 2006

Another vote for Carrboro. In my opinion, the apartment complexes geared to students in Carrboro are somewhat nicer than similar complexes in Chapel Hill.

I live in Berkshire Manor West right now (across the street from Jeanne), and I like it a lot. It's nice-looking, comes with free broadband and cable, a washer and dryer in the apartment (hard to find!), and is close to UNC. Free buses run to campus from here about once an hour (during ~6am-8am and ~3:30pm-8pm, they are more frequent). My husband and I get the student rate for rent, so we only pay $600/month for a two-bedroom.

For the price, you can't beat Carrboro...you might be able to live closer to campus in Chapel Hill, but you'll pay a lot more and probably won't get as many of the perks.
posted by feathermeat at 4:16 AM on February 2, 2006

Oh, I forgot to mention...Berkshire Manor West is pet-friendly. Lots of people have dogs. I think there is a small extra deposit associated with pets.
posted by feathermeat at 4:18 AM on February 2, 2006

I'll be checking out Carrboro, and perhaps Berkshire Manor West in particular. Thanks to everyone for the help!
posted by chrisgrau at 6:57 AM on February 3, 2006

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