Hillsborough is located in Orange County (of which it is the county seat) between Burlington and Raleigh along US Highway 70 on the banks of the Eno River near Durham, Chapel Hill, Mebane, and the Eno River State Park.
Hillsborough took its name in 1776 after William Hill, Earl of Hillsborough, Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1768 to 1772 under George III in 1754. It was a center of political activity during the Colonial and Revolutionary period. Several royal and elected governors lived here, as did a signer of the Declaration of Independence, William Hooper, whose house still stands. At least 100 late 18th and early 19th century structures still stand in and about Hillsborough.
Hillsborough is part of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metro area.