Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Chapel Hill, a city guide for meeting professionals. This town, nicknamed “the Southern Part of Heaven,” features big-time fun in a welcoming, scenic package. Set in central North Carolina and part of the respected Research Triangle Region, Chapel Hill is quickly becoming a hot spot for New American cuisine and was even named “America's Foodiest Small Town” by Bon Appetit magazine; many of its restaurants even feature group dining space. A place of authors, musicians and artists, Chapel Hill is also a place of youth and vibrancy, thanks to its resident UNC Chapel Hill campus, home to a renowned athletic program and dynamic campus life. The heart of Chapel Hill is found along Franklin Street, which runs through downtown and, with its coffee shops, restaurants, museums, bookshops, music stores and bars, is considered the center of town and campus social life.
Chapel Hill is conveniently located about 18 miles away from the Raleigh/Durham International Airport (RDU), the major air travel provider for the entire Research Triangle Region. RDU was recently ranked # 9 for Best Airports in the country by Conde Nast. Serving nine million passengers each year and 400 departing flights each day, RDU offers service to dozens of destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and more. Passengers can hop on Triangle Transit's Route 100 bus service, which takes passengers from the airport to connecting bus routes at its Regional Transit Center. In addition to Triangle Transit, Chapel Hill features bus service aboard its free Chapel Hill Transit buses, as well as Tar Heel Express town-campus transportation and Orange Public Transportation service between northern Orange County and downtown Hillsborough and Chapel Hill.
Set on quiet landscaped grounds about a five-minute drive from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, the university's William & Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education serves as the largest stand-alone meeting facility in Chapel Hill. Spanning 25,000 square feet of meeting space and offering such spaces as a 420-seat auditorium, the Friday Center hosts more than 700 events and approximately 73,000 participants each year. Chapel Hill Transit offers bus service to and from the center.
In addition to the sprawling Friday Center, Chapel Hill is home to a variety of unique venues perfect for hosting group gatherings. Groups can hold events at several UNC Chapel Hill-affiliated sites, including The Carolina Club with 9,500 square feet of space and Kenan Center. Also affiliated with the university, the North Carolina Botanical Garden features indoor and outdoor event spaces throughout its 800 acres of preserved land, nature trails and LEED Platinum Education Center. Groups can tour the Carolina Basketball Museum, which chronicles the history of UNC basketball through an extremely comprehensive collection of artifacts, photographs and videos, as well as join a culinary walking tour of Chapel Hill. Groups can also rent out theater space at nearby Carrboro's The ArtsCenter, hold a golf outing at the Fazio-designed UNC Finley Golf Club or try their hand at comedy with a team building session or comedy class at the respected DSI Comedy Theater.