Downtown Chapel Hill

Downtown Blog

What to Do & See Downtown This HOLIDAY SEASON!

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FREE Saturday Parking 
Parking is always FREE on Sundays in downtown Chapel Hill, but this holiday season parking will be FREE on Saturdays as well! The Town of Chapel Hill will be offering downtown patrons and visitors FREE parking on Saturdays in December (3, 10, 17, & 24) at all municipal lots, the Wallace Parking Deck, and at on-street meters. At 5PM on Saturdays, the Wallace Deck and Rosemary/Columbia Lot will begin charging at their normal rate. Visit 
Franklin Hotel
West End Open House

Join the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau and neighbors - Guardian ad Litum, Terra Dotta, and Job Skills Development Center for a holiday block party on Thursday, December 1 from 3PM to 6PM. Mingle with leaders in technology, court services, social services and visitor services while listening to steel drum music and sampling local food, desserts and beverages on the 500 block West Franklin Street. 


Lighting the Franklin 

OSaturday, December 3 at 8PM the Franklin Hotel will unveil a Christmas art installation in the picture windows that face onto Franklin Street. The hotel has commissioned the creation of a beautiful, one of kind 3D holiday scene by local agency Sprocket House for the entire community to enjoy. Be a guest in Robert's Lounge and enjoy tasty appetizers and holiday libations, then experience the unveiling on the red carpet. Free and open to all. Visit  

Downtown Holiday Parade

Saturday, December 10, 2011 from 10AM to 12PM. The parade starts at the Morehead Planetarium and winds the entire length of Franklin Street to Carrboro Town Hall.Visit


Holiday Gift Show at FRANK Gallery
Consider a unique work of art for those on your holiday list this year! FRANK's Gallery is host to the works of local artists works with items varying in price, size, and medium. The current show "Works on Paper, Intimate Objects and Grand Gestures" runs until January 8 and offers some incredibly unique and thoughtful items for loved ones. Visit    

Holiday House Tour
Every year the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill gives us a chance to get inside our town's historic homes - each with a fascinating story to tell. This year's tour, December 10 & 11 from 1PM to 5PM, is through the celebrated Greenwood neighborhood. The tour includes eight historic homes as well as a 19th century, historic African-American cemetery.  Ticket are $25 in advance and $30 weekend of the event. To purchase advanced tickets via PayPal, please click here. Visit    
Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony
Join the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership in kicking off the holiday season at the Community Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Memorial Garden of University Baptist Church; 100 S. Columbia Street, on Sunday, November 27 at 6PM. Enjoy caroling by the church choir and Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt will be the guest tree lighter. Bring your camera - children can meet Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus! Parking is FREE  on Sundays in all municipal lots & on-street meters. 
    Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony   
Music from the Gathering Church:
FREE Outdoor Holiday Concert

On Saturday, December 3 at 6PM enjoy a free outdoor concert of holiday music performed by artists associated with the Gathering Church's album Christmas Nights. Musicians include members of Mandolin Orange, The Tomahawks, Skylar Gudasz, and Brett Harris. They will perform new takes on traditional Christmas songs. The concert will be in the Memorial Garden at University Baptist Church; 100 S. Columbia Street. Presented by The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.  

It's a Wonderful Life at The Varsity

Community Home Trust  & Harrington Bank have partnered to show It's a Wonderful Life on Friday, December 2 at 6:45PM at Varsity Theatre. Doors open at 6:15M. Tickets are FREE! All are invited to this community event; while tickets last. For tickets call 967-1545 xt. 310. Visit 

Holiday Parade  
Nightlight Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair    
Nightlight Bar & Club is hosting it's annual fair on Saturday, December 10 from 2PM to 6PM. That is going to be an exciting day downtown -see the parade in the morning, have lunch, then go shopping at the arts & crafts fair! The fair offers an amazing array of items including vintage clothing, records, baked goods, plants, and stunning hand-made crafts for all ages. Visit

Holiday Concert Series at Planetarium
Morehead introduces its Holiday Stars Concert Series, with unique musical performances for three weekends in December. Performances will be in the fulldome theater under a sky of stars! Bring your family and friends or plan a special date with your favorite person. Advance tickets are on sale now. Performers include UNC's Clef Hangers and Loreleis, The Sandbox Band, and the handbell choir of St. Thomas More Church - The Chelsea Chimes. Visit  





The Twelve Days of Christmas 

The Carolina Inn's month-long series of holiday events is a must-see stop for everyone this season. Festive decorations and family-friendly events based on the holiday song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" set the tone for the entire holiday season. The Carolina Inn encourages folks to do a self-guided tour of the decorations. Besides the tours there are numerous holiday activities, including special meals, breakfast with Santa, cookie decorating, holiday teas and a display of wonderful gingerbread houses. Activities run Dec.3-31. Complete information about all of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" events at The Carolina Inn including dates, times and cost, if any, is online at 
Holiday Meals for Those in Need
Only $25 helps the Inter-faith Council for Social Services offer a holiday meal to an entire family-a turkey or ham, stuffing, vegetables, bread & dessert. DONATE TODAY!
CHDP Logo 2011
The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership leads and manages the downtown through partnership efforts; marketing and promotions; improving the visual appeal of downtown; and rebuilding downtown as a mixed use center of retail, service, professional, governmental, institutional, and residential uses.
 Contact us at 967-9440 or