Downtown Chapel Hill
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Events & Celebrations

Downtown Celebrations

Downtown Chapl Hill hosts festivals, special events, and celebrations all year long. Please check event websites to confrm dates and all information. 

2nd Friday ArtWalk

6 pm to 9 pm 

The 2nd Friday ArtWalk features galleries, retail shops, studios, and venues throughout Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Experience the creative arts scene in our community, explore venues and businesses, and socialize with other art lovers! Many of the venues have live music, food, activities, and other art related entertainment. Free.

NC Comedy Arts Festival

February 2017

Showcasing sketch acts, standup comics, and improv teams from all over North America throughout the month of February. The NC Comedy Arts Festival is presented by DSI Comedy and is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the country, a model for other comedy events, and recognized across the state of North Carolina as a cultural institution. 

Downtown Pop Up Farmers' Market

Products will include summer fruits and vegetables such as peaches, berries, melons, heirloom tomatoes, okra, peppers, squash, eggplant, greens, garlic, and fresh herbs as well as locally and sustainably raised pork, chicken and beef, eggs, and cut flowers, baked goods, breads, cheeses, chocolate, tea and coffee, all produced within 60 miles of Chapel Hill.  

Go Chapel Hill’s
Switching Gears Bike Night

May 5, 2017
6 pm to 9 pm

Celebrate Bike Month on the 140 West Plaza. Bike in for family-friendly activities like slow ride races, show & tell bike area, bike jeopardy, freak bike contest, bike blender, children's bike decorating tent, and more! Free.

4th of July Celebration & Fireworks

July 4, 2017
7 pm

Celebrate our nation’s rich history of freedom and independence with live music, fireworks, and all sorts of family fun activities like a watermelon eating contest!  Held in Kenan Stadium on UNC's campus. Free.

TerraVITA Food and Wine Event

October 18 - 21, 2017

 Renowned North Carolina chefs, artisans and makers of top sustainable wines, microbrews, spirits and coffee will unite for a series of events, including the Grand Tasting on the Green at Southern Village.  The TerraVITA Small Plate Crawl at restaurants and bars in downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro, brings you a 100% locally sourced small plate or cocktail to enjoy!

Downtown Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

Sunday, November 26, 2017
6 pm to 7 pm

Usher in the holiday season at the Community Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Memorial Garden of University Baptist Church; 100 S. Columbia Street.  Free and open to all! Enjoy caroling with the church choir. Bring your camera - children can meet Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus! 

Holiday House Tour


Explore the beautiful neighborhoods of Chapel Hill on the annual Holiday House Tour, held in December every year. Presented by Preservation Chapel Hill.  

Night Lights
A Family New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2017
4 pm to 6 pm

Celebrate a family New Year's Eve at Morehead Planetarium & Science Center. Family-friendly activities, performances, and a kids' countdown under the stars to ring in the new year! 

Fridays on the Front Porch

Weekly, April to October
 5 pm

The Carolina Inn offers live music, a picnic menu with beer, wine and drink specials, and plenty of comfortable seating under the shady trees on the Inn's front lawn. No cover charge or reservations for the event.  

Live & Local 

Weekly, Spring & Fall
6 pm to 9 pm

The Plaza @ 140 West Franklin Street is downtown Chapel Hill's newest music and arts venue that features  live music, dance, and interactive arts each Friday during the spring and fall. All are welcome and encouraged to bring a lawn chair to the Plaza, relax and enjoy the free entertainment.

UNC Science Expo

Saturday, April 22, 2017
11 am to 4 pm

Experience science demonstrations, hands-on activities, behind-the-scenes tours of research labs, exhibits, stage presentations and science-related arts and crafts at the UNC Science Expo! Learn about 3-D printing, Google Glass, giant waves, virtual reality, robotics, DNA, fossils and much more! This free event with activities for all ages takes place on UNC’s campus along Cameron Avenue. 

Movies Under The Stars

June - August
On top of Wallace Parking Deck, 150 East Rosemary Street

The stars will be  your guide at this year’s Sci-Fi  themed, rooftop film series. Bring your lawn chairs and  blankets and get ready to revisit some all-time family favorites, play games and activities, and enjoy free popcorn! All Ages, Free. List of movies at

Paperhand Puppet Intervention Summer Show

August 2016 

 Now in its 16th year, Paperhand Puppet Intervention brings it’s summer show to Forest Theatre on UNC’s Campus. Using giant puppets, masks, stilts, painted flats, junk, and paper-cut shadows, Paperhand tells stories that reflect our humanity back to us, hoping to inspire people of all ages toward a better world. Bring a blanket, lawn chair, a picnic, and enjoy this magical setting. 

Tar Heel Downtown

Friday, September 1, 2017

Downtown Chapel Hill will be buzzing with activity with a pep-rally atmosphere at Tar Heel Downtown. Come downtown and cheer on the Heels before the first home game of the 2016 football season! Enjoy a live concert with Big Fat Gap, watch Tar Heel Cheerleaders & Marching Tar Heels perform, kids can play games and get their faces painted. And of Ramses! Free

Festifall Arts Festival

Sunday, October 1, 2017
12 pm to 6 pm

Chapel Hill’s annual celebration of the arts transforms West Franklin Street into a diverse artist market, with live entertainment, hands-on activities, and local food. Free.

Chapel Hill – Carrboro Holiday Parade

December 2017
10 am to 12 pm  

 The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Holiday Parade, presented by The Jaycees, starts at the Morehead Planetarium and runs the entire length of Franklin Street to Carrboro Town Hall. Stake out your curbside spot and enjoy a great community tradition!  Free.

The Twelve Days of Christmas


Now in its fifteenth year, The Carolina Inn celebrates the Christmas season inspired by the traditional holiday song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. A vision of seasonal wonder will be displayed throughout the Inn including magnificently decorated trees, beautifully appointed holiday décor, and events to keep you and your little one's entertained.