Downtown Chapel Hill

Downtown Blog

What To Do & See Downtown This Holiday Season!

Tree Lighting, Parade, Concerts, Sales, & More!
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Enjoy a season full of family-friendly activities, shopping sales, and traditional holiday events in downtown Chapel Hill. 

Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony

Sunday, Nov 29 | 6 pm

Join us in welcoming the holiday season at the Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Memorial Garden of University Baptist Church; 100 S. Columbia Street. Enjoy caroling with the church choir.  Bring your camera - children can meet Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus! Free. 

Celebrate Thanksgiving 

Thursday, Nov 26

Talulla's Restaurant will be serving a Turkish-Inspired Thanksgiving Feast. For more information call (919) 933-1177 or visit
The Carolina Inn is serving a Thanksgiving Day Brunch. For more information call (919) 918-2735 or visit
The Baxter Arcade is hosing the 1st Annual Baxter-Giving for all to eat, dance, play games and give thanks! For more information visit

Holiday Window Contest

Downtown Chapel Hill businesses will be creating a vibrant holiday atmosphere as part of a Window Decorating Contest. Explore Franklin Street, see the windows, and then vote for your favorite at 

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Holiday Parade

Saturday, Dec 12 | 10 am-noon

Presented by The Jaycees, the parade starts at the Morehead Planetarium at 250 East Franklin Street and runs the entire length of Franklin Street to Carrboro Town Hall. Stake out your curbside spot and enjoy a great community tradition! 

2nd Friday ArtWalk

Friday, Dec 11 | 6 - 9 pm

Shop local art this holiday season for everyone on your list! Featuring galleries, retail shops, studios, and venues throughout Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Venues offer live music, food, activities, and more! 

The Giving Season

Only $25 helps the Inter-faith Council for Social Services offer a holiday meal to an entire family. Consider sharing a holiday meal with someone who might not otherwise get one.
The Orange County Toy Chest provides an opportunity for low income parents to shop for toys, books, and games for their children for the holidays. Donations and volunteers are needed. Great opportunity for businesses, organizations, or groups to get involved! For details, click here. 
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DSI Comedy Theater

Friday, Nov 27 | 12 pm - 12 am

Support Local ‪Chapel Hill‬ and ‪Carrboro‬ retail business and laugh for FREE at DSI Comedy Theater. Spend $10 at a local business, bring your receipt to the Theater, and admission is free! New shows every hour, on the hour. Family-friendly, interactive improv at noon and 3 pm. 

Shop Small This Season

Saturday, Nov 28 | All Day

Start your holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday right here in your hometown. Support local shops and our local economy. There are many unique locally-owned, locally-operated businesses in downtown Chapel Hill with gift buying options for all on your list. Even that uncle you swear has everything!

Outdoor Holiday Concert

Saturday, Dec 5 | 6 pm

Enjoy a festive outdoor concert of holiday music performed by local musicians from the Gathering Church. They will perform new takes on traditional Christmas songs from their album Christmas Nights. The concert will be in the Memorial Garden at University Baptist Church; 100 S. Columbia Street. Free. For more information call 919-967-9440.

2015 Holiday House Tour 

 Dec 12 & Dec 13

Preservation Chapel Hill presents this annual tradition with a tour of featuring five homes, as well as the Chapel of the Cross and the Horace Williams House (home of Preservation Chapel Hill). Advance tickets are $22 for members and $27 for the general public. For tickets visit


Thursday, Dec 31 | 3 - 6 pm

Now kids can enjoy ringing in the new year too at NIGHT LIGHTS in downtown Chapel Hill at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. NIGHT LIGHTS offers activities, interactive games, refreshments, and a kids' countdown under the stars in the fulldome theater to ring in the new year! Register at

Free Weekend Public Parking

Shop local and shop downtown Chapel Hill for the holidays! The Town of Chapel Hill's parking specials begin for Thanksgiving, with metered parking and Town-owned lots being free on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 26-27.  Free parking continues throughout December during Saturday daytimes at all Town-owned parking lots and metered parking.  After 5 p.m. normal rates will be charged.  Public parking is always free on Sundays! Visit for a map and list of downtown parking options.
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