Welcome to Hillsborough
A historic community with small town charm, scenic beauty and a quiet lifestyle.
Hillsborough, named one of America’s Coolest Small Towns, features everything needed for a comfortable and modern life. Green space and stunning mature trees are found at every turn and are balanced by fabulous restaurants, bars, museums, historic sites, art galleries, and more. A fresh Farmer’s Market and the renovated mill district provide plenty of shopping from small, local businesses.
A flourishing community in Orange County, Hillsborough is known for its smalltown, friendly charm. It is surrounded by hills, rivers, and even it’s own Eno mountain, making it a beautiful community for outdoor adventure and relaxation. Hillsborough is a charming quiet place, with a small bustling but quaint main street. Not to be missed are scenic farms and historical buildings. It has a lot of history, too. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Hillsborough features more than 100 homes, churches, school, and other structures from the late 18th and 19th centuries.The first settlers in the area came through the community and the first textile mills were built in town as well.
Hillsborough homes include historic buildings that have been renovated, condominiums, traditional Southern homes, and modern farmhouses. Its historic architecture has also been the site of several movies and television shows.
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and numerous other exciting towns are just short drives away, perfect for a family day trip, where you can learn more about North Carolina history, the state’s environment, and wildlife, or just explore some more shopping options.
What to Love
- Easy access to the Triangle
- Beautiful town with green space and mature trees
- Amazing healthcare and education nearby
The Triangle may be home to some bustling cities, but Hillsborough offers residents easy access to the urban atmosphere while retaining a quiet day-to-day lifestyle. The historic town has retained its Southern charm and hospitality, and residents find the community to be welcoming and friendly.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Start your day with your favorite coffee blend and a tasty pastry from the quaint and charming Cup-a-joe, an industrial-chic coffee shop that’s a hub for local happenings. The shop often features stunning art from local artists, inspiring you during your morning caffeine hit.
In the evenings, head to the Wooden Nickel, a locally-beloved pub with craft beers, burgers, tacos, and fish and chips. Many of the ingredients used are sourced from their farm in Cedar Grove, meaning patrons can be sure that their food is made using only the highest-quality beef and vegetables. The nearby Colonial Inn, a historic landmark dating back to 1838, is home to Spencer’s Tavern, a charming restaurant with an extensive list of specialty cocktails, as well as a flavorful pecan pesto salmon that will make your mouth water.
For a special treat, hit Hillsborough’s Bake Shop and Pasta Company, Hillsborough Bakeshop a James Beard-nominated chef, that fuses classic Southern flavors with modern day recipes for a fresh take on dishes you thought you knew.
Things to Do
Historical homes abound in North Carolina, and the local Ayr Mount is a wonderful place to tour and learn more about the Antebellum period. Built in 1815 by a Scotsman, the house has been carefully preserved as a showcase for history.
For those who love to spend their free time outside, Occoneechee Mountain State Park offers fishing, picnic areas, and over three miles of trails, along which hikers can catch sight of birds, local wildlife, or beautiful plants growing naturally in the lush forest. The Park Service also offers periodic education talks on conservation, the environment, and the local flora and fauna of North Carolina.
Hillsborough is home to a number of seasonal events designed to bring the community together, two of which stand out above the rest. The last Friday of every month hosts the Art Walk when businesses and art galleries remain open for extended hours so that residents can view pieces from local artists, participate in crafts and activities, browse goods from local vendors, and more. No two Art Walks are exactly the same, and they are family-friendly, so it’s always a fun and unique way to spend the evening.
In December, welcome the holidays with the Solstice Walk. See houses lit up in beautiful and creative ways, enjoy a warm mug of hot chocolate, and try tasty small dishes from popular local restaurants. A live band adds a soundtrack, making the entire evening seem as picture-perfect as a movie - there’s no better way to get in the holiday mood.
Hillsborough is served by the Orange Country School District, a highly ranked district in the state.