When it comes to lifestyle, Orange County really and truly offers the perfect mix. Of its 400 square miles, only 10% are developed, making the county a vast playground for lovers of the great outdoors. At the same time, the county encompasses three major East Coast cities, and borders North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. Which means that, when residents tire of hiking, kayaking and cycling, they can easily take advantage of the educational, cultural and professional opportunities offered by these nearby metropolitan centers. Additionally, for all of its rustic, rural appeal, Orange County’s location, along with a network of interstate highways, makes travel in any direction both quick and easy.
Culturally, the county is shaped largely by its world-renowned university system, as well as the forward-thinking companies that have made their homes here. These companies are attracted by the county’s pro-entrepreneur leadership, along with its abundant supply of highly educated, highly skilled workers. The climate here is conducive not only to business, but to a thriving arts community too, as evidenced in the county’s numerous public art displays, commercial galleries, arts & crafts studios, performing arts events, concerts and movie showings.
Call the Orange County area home and you’ll discover that perfect mix of rural rustic charm and metropolitan amenities. Orange County’s numerous residential living opportunities offers its residents just about every kind of lifestyle imaginable. From estate homes, luxury planned and golfing communities to historic districts and urban low-maintenance living, there is certainly a lifestyle in Orange County that can suit your needs.
Orange County offers excellent educational opportunities for a variety of needs:
Public, private, primary, secondary and community college.
Orange County is a great place to live and work — and it’s also a great place to learn.
Our public education program provides parents and students access to 18 high schools, 7 middle schools, 6 elementary and 2 alternative schools. Our public schools reflect a diverse mix of cultures, ranging from a city environment (Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools) to a suburban and rural district (Orange County Schools).
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School system serves more than 12,000 students and consistently ranks at or near the top of school districts in North Carolina in many academic measures (including test performance, graduation rates and SAT/ACT scores). The Orange County School system serves more than 7,400 students and is committed to providing challenging and engaging educational experiences that will develop responsible, knowledgeable and resourceful citizens prepared to contribute in our global society.
Orange County offers access to a truly outstanding community college as well as proximity to several of the country’s finest research universities.
Durham Technical Community College is a public two-year accredited institution of higher education and technical training school with its main campus located in Durham, North Carolina. The college serves Orange County at its Orange County Campus completed in 2008. The campus in Orange County is willing to work collaboratively to develop training programs to meet the needs of specific industries, as well as specific company training or re-training needs.
The Orange County Campus is a 20-acre campus centrally located in the Waterstone Development outside of Hillsborough. The first phase of the campus includes a 40,000-square-foot brick structure which houses 22 instructional spaces, including classrooms, computer and science labs, a library, flexible use space, instructional and student support services areas and faculty and student lounges.
Durham Tech serves over 26,000 students with credit, non-credit, adult and continuing education offerings and offers career programs leading to over 100 degrees, certificates and diplomas and university transfer programs.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the nation’s oldest state university, with a rich history of more than two centuries. The campus covers approximately 730 acres and provides education to about 29,000 students. Situated in the beautiful town of Chapel Hill, N.C., UNC has earned a reputation as one of the best universities in the world.
Orange County residents have access to top quality medical services. According to the UNC Sheps Center for Health Services Research, there are more than 1,600 physicians in Orange County (119 physicians per 10,000/population).
The county is served by UNC Hospitals, a public, academic medical center operated by and for the people of North Carolina. The Hospitals’ mission is to provide high quality patient care, to educate health care professionals, to advance research and to provide community service.
UNC Hospitals opened in September 1952 under the name North Carolina Memorial Hospital. In May 1989, the N.C. General Assembly created the University of North Carolina Hospitals entity as a unifying organization to govern constituent hospitals and to project a modern and accurate identity for the hospitals of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
UNC Hospitals includes:
Events and Activities
Orange County also offers the perfect mix of events and experiences, all year long. Indie films your thing? Try Chapel Hill’s Blue Sky Film Festival. Music and the Arts? There’s the Carolina Jazz Festival, the Carrboro Music Festival, the West End Poetry Festival and the Artists Open Studio Tour. If you’re looking for something a bit more, well, rustic, there’s Hillsborough Hog Day (real hogs, not Harleys), the Efland Ruritan Rodeo and just a stone’s throw away, the granddaddy of all state fairs, the North Carolina State Fair.
Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau
The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau is the official Destination Marketing Organization for Chapel Hill and Orange County, and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of the Destination Marketing Association International.
The Visitors Bureau’s (a division of Orange County Economic Development) mission is to develop and coordinate visitor services in Orange County and to implement marketing programs that will enhance the economic activity and quality of life in the community.
The Visitors Bureau Visitors Center is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (closed on major holidays).
Visit Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau to plan your next visit or experience in Orange County.
DEAPR-Recreation Division exists to provide Orange County residents of all ages, backgrounds, abilities and interests with a wide variety of affordable recreation programming, open access to recreation facilities and opportunities for all people to gather, celebrate and engage in activities that promote healthy lifestyles, teach important life skills and build a stronger community.
Orange County Recreation offers over 100 programs per year intended to engage and enrich both the individual and the community. The program guides above provide information regarding current and up-coming programs.
Orange County Interactive Trails and Greenways map
Getting outside and enjoying the many beautiful trails in Orange County has been made easier. Orange County, in collaboration with the Towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough, North Carolina State Parks, North Carolina Botanical Garden, the University of North Carolina, Classic American Homes, Eno River Association, and Triangle Land Conservancy, has created an interactive trails and greenway map.
Arts & Entertainment
Thanks to the Orange County Arts Commission, an agency of Orange County Economic Development, the residents of Orange County enjoy a robust and thriving arts community. Stroll any downtown street in one of the county’s incorporated cities and you’ll find a quaint gallery to browse, a museum to explore… even a festival that perhaps features local films or wines. Orange County will treat you to an arts and culture scene that boasts a diverse array of public art displays, commercial galleries, arts/crafts studios, as well as numerous performing arts events and festivals. The area’s universities too, of which there are many, offer a burgeoning schedule of theatrical events, performances and art exhibits.
The Orange County Arts Commission and the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau have joined together to create a new events marketing network that will increase visibility for tourism and for Orange County’s artists.
The Arts Calendar in Orange County allows residents to post their community events online with photos and links.
The Orange County Visitors Bureau has also teamed up with Durham and Wake County to launch a Triangle-wide arts collaboration.