Just outside your door

Between large canopies for groups, dozens of benches and even a rock garden, Carolina has plenty of outdoor spaces to work, meet or get some fresh air.

Woman sitting on balcony of Student Stores.
Woman sitting on balcony of Student Stores. (Photo by Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Fresh air, sunshine and a cool breeze.

You may have taken such things for granted in the past. Now, as Carolina’s faculty and staff return to work on campus, those fine qualities of outdoor spaces have become quite important.

Jill Coleman, facilities planning landscape architect in Facilities Planning & Design, has coordinated many of the gardens and seating areas on campus.

Coleman helped The Well identify 36 sites across campus, which you can find on the map below. The map includes 11 designated Carolina Together areas with seats under canopies, plus descriptions and photos of tables, benches and other areas ready for you.

“We’re blessed with a campus that is nationally known for its beauty,” Coleman said. “It has a lot of green space and many places for people to go and sit throughout campus from north to south, east to west.”

Click the top right to enlarge the map


On McCorkle Place, you’ll find benches along the edges of the University’s original quad. Don’t forget the stone bench at the base of Davie Poplar. Look for benches tucked between the hedges by Old East and Old West and in front of buildings such as Graham Memorial and Alumni Hall. The wall along Franklin Street is a favorite, but it can be noisy.

West of McCorkle Place and behind New West, you’ll find some Carolina Together seating under a tent.

East of McCorkle Place, just north of Cameron Avenue, look for the Sarah Lee Gifford Memorial Garden. This shady, cool courtyard lies behind Davie Hall. Immediately east of Davie Hall, the Coker Arboretum offers its benches, open spaces and paths.


Forest Theatre and Battle Park offer plenty of shade. From the park, an eastward trail through Battle Forest to the Chapel Hill Community Center provides a route for long meetings on foot. “It’s a lovely walk,” Coleman said. “The North Carolina Botanical Garden manages Forest Theatre and Battle Park, so depending on the time of year you’ll see different perennials and wildflowers.”

South of Forest Theatre, there’s canopied seating on the east side of the Paul Green Theatre.

South of the theatre and just east of Hooker Fields, the School of Government offers a courtyard with tables and umbrellas and the Nanette Vonnegut Mengel Memorial Garden.

In the quad east of Ruffin Residence Hall, you’ll find Carolina Together canopied seating.


Polk Place includes not only the Carolina Together canopied seating in the middle, but also benches near South Building, stone walls and the steps of Wilson Library.

In that same area, Carolina Hall’s west corner is home of the Richard J. Richardson Memorial Garden, honoring the former political science professor, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Just east of Polk Place, in front of Bynum Hall, a courtyard named for former Chancellor Christopher C. Fordham offers amphitheater seating and a chance to cool off in the Bynum Circle fountain’s mist.

To the south, at Murphey Hall’s southeast corner, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial features benches near a bronze relief of an angel and the inscription “O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again” from “Look Homeward, Angel.” Nearby Greenlaw Hall has seating on a shaded concrete wall.

On that same side of Polk Place at Murphey Hall’s southwest corner, the Wellstone Memorial Garden honors Paul Wellstone ’65, a Minnesota senator, who died in a 2002 plane crash with his wife, Sheila, their daughter, campaign staffers and two pilots.

Over at the Pit, Davis Library and Carolina Union, you’ll find several spaces. Share a meal or sip a drink while sitting by Lenoir, or settle in outside Davis Library. At the Carolina Union breezeway, sit and take in “The Gift,” the brick walkway designed by Senora Lynch of North Carolina’s Haliwa-Saponi tribe. Student Stores, on the Pit’s south side, also has benches on a balcony overlooking Raleigh Road.

On Polk Place’s western side just south of the Campus Y, you’ll find the Eve Carson Memorial Garden, named for the Carolina study body president who was killed in 2008. The garden memorializes students who died while enrolled at Carolina. A butterfly bench installed in Carson’s memory sits nearby.

North of the Campus Y, several benches are lined up between Gerrard Hall and South Building.


West of Polk Place, the Millholland Azalea Garden tucked behind Carroll Hall features benches under pergolas. Southwest of Carroll Hall, near the intersection of Pittsboro Street and McCauley Street, you’ll see the Global FedEx Education Center’s benches, tables and chairs on a ground-level plaza. The center has a fourth-floor rooftop garden with limited seating.

South of Global FedEx, just off Columbia Street, canopied seating is outside the Kerr Hall entrance. Across the street, Carrington Hall’s fourth-floor garden is near the elevators.


South of Wilson Library, the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower lawn and steps provide a nice view, Coleman said, while the interior of the bell tower’s base offers shade and a beautiful blue-tiled ceiling.

Head west to the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History to find a first-floor balcony with three tables overlooking a wooded area. West of the Stone Center, on a hill between Mitchell Hall and Wilson Hall, you’ll find the Wheeler Rock Garden, a teaching garden for geology faculty. Southeast of the rock garden, a plaza at the Genome Sciences Building offers seats in the sun or shade. In front of that plaza, you’ll see the terraced Bell Tower Amphitheater, which Coleman said is especially good for colder days because it gets lots of sunlight.

If, instead, you head east from the bell tower toward Fetzer Hall, you’ll find the Mueller Gathering Place and a circular edible garden planter with seating on its shaped walls at Fetzer’s landscaped eastern exit. A small wall at the nearby Stallings Evans Sports Medicine Center provides more seating.

Behind Fetzer and in the Kenan Woods along Stadium Drive, the 9/11 Memorial Garden honors Carolina alumni who died during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. It’s a quiet place amidst the campus hustle and bustle.

Southwest of the 9/11 Garden, at the eastern corner of Kenan Stadium, benches line the concourse outside the Loudermilk Center for Excellence. From Loudermilk, walk south across the Ram’s Head Parking Deck plaza, which provides limited seating, including tables for Carolina Dining patrons.

Moving west just under half a mile to South Columbia Street, you’ll find canopied seating in front of the Hooker Research Center and outside the Koury Oral Health Sciences Building.

Farther south, the Mary Ellen Jones Building breezeway provides access to tables, low walls and a fountain by the Thurston Bowles Building. Nearby, lots of shaded benches and some tables with umbrellas are sprinkled throughout the area behind the Bowles Building, outside the Medical Biomolecular Research Building and along the walkway by Marsico Hall. Canopied seating is available across Mason Farm Road at the Genetic Medicine Building.

With this geographic cross-section, The Well hopes you’ll find a place that helps you adjust to the new normal. What have we missed? What’s your favorite place to be outdoors on campus to work? Send us a note at thewell@unc.edu and let us know.