First off, it would help TREMENDOUSLY if you let us know where you are located, since policies and laws can vary enormously from city to city in NC...
You can't carry in any establishment that serves alcohol for consumption. That means any bar or restaurant that serves beer, wine, or liquor. You also can't carry in State Liquor Stores. (You CAN carry in store that sells beer and wine though, like grocery stores or specialty wine shops, as long as they are not "posted")
You can't carry on school property.
You can't carry in Federal buildings or on Federal property.
You can't carry (or even posses in your vehicle) in a Post Office, or ANYWHERE on Post Office property, including their parking lot.
You can't carry in state government buildings, or in any government building that houses a court or a jail. (but you can carry in State Rest Stops)
Some libraries post "No Firearms", or some sort of "code of conduct" that prohibits carry.
Almost every Mall that I know of in this state prohibits carrying of ANY weapon--guns, knives, even pepper spray. Check the signs at the entrances.
Ay business that is "posted" with a "circle-slash" sign banning guns, or has a posted "code of conduct" prohibiting firearms is off-limits.
There are no STATE laws prohibiting carry in municipal buildings, but many cities "post" their buildings, prohibiting firearms.
The law for banks is sort of dodgy. There is no state law prohibiting Open Carry in banks (there IS a law prohibiting CC in a bank though). Most banks "post", probiting firearms in their buildings. Banks that don't "post" are sort of a gray area, and depending on how much of an anti-gun attitude the Manager has, or local police have, OCing in a non-posted bank is always a dicey proposition. If you are well-know to the bank staff, you can probably do it, but if they don't know you, you may be asked to leave, or worse.
It is against State law for cities to ban or restrict Open Carry in general, although they CAN ban it on city property like city park property. Also, the City of Cary prohibits carry with this statute:
No person shall display any firearm or other deadly weapon as defined in G.S. Â§ 14-269(a) while on any public street, alley, sidewalk or other public property within the town unless specifically permitted or authorized by law.It is particularly ironic that you "can't carry in Cary"...
Note, this carry ban DOES NOT apply to private property, like in businesses or in parking lots not owned by the city, or in your vehicle, and it DOES NOT prohibit CC...
Also, Chapel Hil has a ban on Open Carrying any handgun that is shorter than 6". You can CC a small gun, but you can't carry it so people can see it. This is somehow suppose to make Chapel Hill a safer place...
And the city of Durham is the only county that requires handgun registration of it's residents.
Carrying in NC requires a LOT of research. Carry bans that cities can place on their property are NOT required to be posted, so unless you search the municipal codes of any given city, it's sometimes hard to tell if any given area in any given city is prohibited or regulated.
Don't ask LEO's about OC. Most of them don't now the laws, and the ones that do will often lie or make stuff up if they don't like OC. Call the city's Attorney, or research the local Codes and Ordinances at the library or online.
And ask here, on this forum. Many of us have already done the research on specific cities, and probably have the answers for you. But you need to narrow it down to a specific city or cities, because the law on carry in NC can be an impossible tangle of legal spaghetti if you're not well-versed in legal interpretation and research.
And even if a business is NOT posted, and a manager asks you to leave, you MUST leave, or you can be charged with "trespassing". There is no "firearms" charge they can use against you, and the infamous "Going Armed to the Terror of the People" does NOT apply to simply carrying a handgun in a holster. But if you are asked to leave anyplace while carrying, just set down your shoping items and politely leave.
But be sure you politely tell the manager that you will post his poicy on a National gun-rights interenet forum for thousands of people to see...
If you are still unsure or afraid to OC, I would suggest finding a local "Open Carry Dinner". We have these all over the state--Raleigh, Jacksonville, Charlotte--so keep watching the Forum, and try to hook up with a local group of OC'ers. These dinners are a lot of fun, and you get to meet some GREAT people, and share info and stories.
And, as always, I remind you that IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer), so my "advice" is worth EXACTLY as much as you paid for it... :P
Good luck, and keep asking questions!