Things That Are (Surprisingly) More Expensive in Chapel Hill Than NYC

Chapel Hill, North Carolina is a lot of things. It is a South-Eastern foodie hub; it has a beautiful downtown; and it is livable. Whether you are looking for an urban apartment with shops and restaurants at your doorstep or a home in a beautiful neighborhood, you can find what you are looking for. While Chapel Hill is more expensive then surrounding areas thanks to a killer school system, many of its residents move in from cities elsewhere, so real estate is reasonable comparatively.

Flash to the busy streets of New York City. Chapel Hill’s food scene, while good, does not compare. In contrast, the beauty of New York can be challenging to see past the trash, and livable is not the first descriptor for the city that comes to mind thanks to incredibly high real estate prices. New York was recently rated the ninth most expensive city to live in in the world by Market Watch. Meanwhile, Chapel Hill is surprisingly the only town in the triangle to be ranked among the ten most expensive cities in North Carolina to buy a home according to,. but that is quite a stark difference in price points. $1 million buys you a mansion in North Carolina, while it buys you a 1 bedroom apartment in Manhattan.
What many do not know though, is that there are certain things that are in fact, cheaper to purchase or do in Manhattan than they are in Chapel Hill! Below let’s take a look at some of these things.

1.Getting your nails done

A mani-pedi in Chapel Hill is a special occasion or a once a month kind of thing depending on your finances. The average manicure is about $15 dollars while the average pedicure is about $20 dollars. In contrast, getting your nails done in New York is truly doable in $22. Most spas have a bundle deal where a mani-pedi is $22 with the option to just do a manicure for $10 or to just do a pedicure for $15. The $22 dollar deal is not something you will only find in the worst areas of town or at the most downtrodden places. This is truly the standard price for getting your nails done in New York City.

2. Clothing for going out

Cheap clothing for a Saturday night (advisable to wear these things until 25 and not a day afterwards) can be found at far more places than just Forever21 in New York City. Because clothing at every price point is available in such abundance, there are boutiques, chains, and department stores alike to give you ample affordable clothing options. In Chapel Hill, there are boutiques on Franklin Street that don’t offer much for under $40 dollars. Southpoint is an easy drive away, but it only has a few major clothing stores for a fun Saturday night out. Because of the lack of options, stores are able to sell their clothing for a slightly higher price point in Chapel Hill than you could find at a low-priced Boutique in Soho.

3. Pizza

Pizza in New York City is not a luxury- it is a right. You arguably cannot walk for ten minutes in any direction in New York without stumbling into a dollar pizza joint. When I say that the pizza is one dollar, I am not talking about the 7-11 food that looks like decaying garbage. I am talking about a large and warm well-made slice of pizza comparable to say, Alfredo’s pizza. These killer pizza deals in New York are the best and worst thing for its inhabitants because 2 am me never has to worry about whether it is worth spending more money at the end of the night. A dollar isn’t breaking anyone’s bank.

4. Sushi

A good sushi restaurant in Chapel Hill is hard to find namely because there are approximately two total sushi places and only one of them is good. The beauty of New York’s food culture strikes again with sushi because Japanese restaurants line the streets and they do not stay open long if the food is bad. Because sushi is such a special cuisine in Chapel Hill, I have never found it to be an affordable going out to eat option if you are looking to grab a casual dinner with friends. In New York, sushi is the epitome of a quick and relatively cheap eat because there are sushi restaurants everywhere. A roll that would cost around $16-18 in Chapel Hill can usually be purchased for around $12 in New York.

Ultimately, the cheaper nails, clothing, pizza, and sushi certainly do not outweigh the expenses of living in New York city compared to Chapel Hill. Those moving up here (and their bank account) have a long road ahead, but there is hope. If one can maintain their figure with pizza as a daily meal and every day clothing that could also be worn on a Saturday night, then there is hope yet.

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