Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on October 23, 2023.
This great place offers a nice mix of modern-day attractions and important historic sites (like the International Civil Rights Center and Guilford Courthouse).
After exploring the best things to do in Greensboro (and more), we’ve created this guide to help you do the same.
All of the above feature in our guide, along with more Greensboro attractions and events. That’s why we’ve organized this guide into the following sections:
- Before You Go: Know these Fun and Famous Facts
- Where to Stay in Greensboro
- Annual Events in Greensboro
- Things to Do in Greensboro by Neighborhood (Downtown, Market St, Wendover Ave, North Greensboro, and South Greensboro)
- Where to Eat
- Where to Drink Craft Beer
- Things to Do in Greensboro’s Surroundings (Guilford County and Beyond)
- More Things to Do in Greensboro (Related Posts)
You can skip ahead to hotels, events, or year-round things to do, or even check our North Carolina Travel Map to visually plan. Otherwise, continue reading for some interesting Greensboro facts to know before you go.
Read More: Unique Things to Do in North Carolina
Before You Go: Know these Fun and Famous Facts
- Greensboro is North Carolina’s third-largest city, behind Charlotte and Raleigh.
- It is the seat of Guilford County and is joined by Summerfield, parts of High Point, and more cities and towns.
- Greensboro goes by a few nicknames, and one is Gate City. That nickname comes courtesy of the railroad once making it a prominent spot between its North-South and East-West routes.
- Greensboro was established in 1808 and named after the famous Revolutionary War General Nathaniel Greene. A big part of the Southern Campaign, he led the American effort during the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. We’ll share more below on the awesome Greensboro attraction that commemorates that battle.
- No Civil War battles were fought in Greensboro, but many sought an escape from the fighting there. Refugees included Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet not long before the South’s surrender.
- After the war, Greensboro grew as a huge manufacturing hub—particularly with textiles—hence the infamous nickname “Jeansboro.”
- The city also gained notoriety for a major Civil Rights-era moment (the Woolworth Sit-in). You can visit the scene, as it’s now known as the International Civil Rights Center & Museum (see Museums). This is one of the most important places to visit and learn about Black history in North Carolina, if not the entire US.
Where to Stay in Greensboro
When talking about hotels in Greensboro (and throughout North Carolina), the conversation should start with Proximity. This is a special place and not just because of all the solar panels you’ll see on the roof while walking in.
Proximity Hotel was the first in America to receive LEED Platinum certification and has done so much to reduce its carbon footprint. I won’t wow you with too many more details, so you should check out their website’s section on Sustainable Practices.
Also, while you’re staying at Proximity, please grab brunch (Duck Confit Hash), a drink (Old Fashioned), or a meal any other time at Print Works Bistro.
I promise you will enjoy the atmosphere almost as much as the wonderful creation you order.
If you are looking for a historical experience, we highly recommend staying at The Magnolia House. The Magnolia House is a Green Book site, meaning that it was listed as a place that was safe for Black travelers during Jim Crow.
Many famous Black musicians, authors, and sports figures are listed as having stayed at The Magnolia House and we vouch for it being a unique place to stay in Greensboro.
We also listed The Magnolia House’s Sunday brunch as one of the best places to eat in Greensboro! It’s open to the public on Sundays and they serve some of the best grits in all of North Carolina.
More Greensboro Hotels
- O.Henry is Proximity’s older sister hotel within the Quaintance Weaver family. These two hotels lead the way in more than sustainability and forward-thinking. They’re both employee-owned, which is something you just can’t say about many other hotels of their size.
- If you can’t get into either Proximity or O Henry, don’t worry. You can stay in downtown Greensboro at The Biltmore Greensboro Hotel, which is between Greene St and Elm St.
- Hampton Inn & Suites Greensboro Coliseum puts you closer to the Convention Center and Four Seasons Town Centre.
- If you’re looking for a luxurious Greensboro getaway that’s close to the city, Grandover Resort will take care of your needs and more.
While you may find better deals on third-party sites, we highly recommend you book direct with these hotels. This is based on our personal experiences having much better luck dealing directly with the hotel when something arises.
Annual Events in Greensboro
Before we share our favorite things to do in Greensboro throughout the year, here are some annual events to keep an eye out for:
- May to September: Watching the Greensboro Grasshoppers play their Minor League Baseball rivals is one of our favorite things to do in Greensboro from spring through the end of summer.
- May: Spring and fall bring the comfiest weather to Greensboro, but also great events, like the Carolina Blues Festival in May.
- Summer: Some of the hottest things to do in Greensboro include visits to Wet n’ Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park (from May to September), the Eastern Music Festival (in June), the Summertime Brews Festival (in July), and Greensboro Food Truck Festivals (in August).
- September: The NC Folk Festival. This downtown Greensboro event offers music, food, crafts, and more fun.
- September to November: McLaurin Farms hosts its annual Woods of Terror event, which is one of the scariest and coolest during Fall in North Carolina.
- Winter: Like much of North Carolina, Greensboro gets a bit chilly during winter, However, there are tons of fun indoor things to do in Greensboro, like the city’s museums and shows at Triad Stage and Carolina Theatre. McLaurin Farms is at it again with their awesome Christmas Festival. This is one of the most underrated Christmas lights displays in North Carolina.
Read More: Winter Getaways in North Carolina
Year-Round Things to Do in Greensboro (Downtown)
Those events are the perfect complement to these year-round things to do in Greensboro. There are a few dozen neighborhoods in the city.
Since most people will start in downtown Greensboro, that’s where we’ll begin our look at year-round things to do. This section of town includes Elm Street, Eugene, Davie, and the side streets in between.
Greensboro History Museum
130 Summit Ave
Just down the street from the Children’s Museum the Greensboro History Museum. Inside this former church, you can learn the history of Guilford County through stories and interactive exhibits.
The International Civil Rights Museum
134 S Elm St
As we mentioned earlier, Greensboro commemorates the famous Woolworth Sit-in exactly where it happened, as it’s now known as the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.
You can step inside and walk around while learning about the events before, during, and after the Greensboro Four took their seats. A beautiful sculpture honors them outside, next to February 1 Plaza, too.
208 N Davie St
LeBauer Park is an excellent space for active kids to release some energy. This fenced-in playground is a wonderful urban park that’s close to the Children’s Museum and other downtown Greensboro attractions.
There’s also an amphitheater here, which provides a place for many community-led events, concerts, and gatherings.
Miriam P. Brenner Children’s Museum
220 N Church St
If you’re looking for things to do in Greensboro with kids, start with the Miriam P. Brenner Children’s Museum, formerly known as the Greensboro Children’s Museum. Let the little ones enjoy more than 20 permanent hands-on exhibits and the amazing outdoor play plaza.
Read More: Fun Museums in Greensboro
Nightmares Around Elm Street Ghost Tour
Nightmares Around Elm Street is a walking tour that digs into Greensboro’s darker side. Since many of downtown Greensboro’s buildings have been preserved throughout the centuries, this tour perfectly recounts the chilling events that have occurred here.
304 S Elm St
Scuppernong has been open on Elm Street since 2013 and is a downtown Greensboro fixture. It’s usually one of our first stops, even if we don’t really need any books.
The in-store café sells organic coffee and espresso, wine, cheese, charcuterie boards, and more. All of it is sourced primarily from local businesses.
Scuppernong also hosts events throughout the year. We learned about this and more from owner Brian Lampkin during an episode of NC Travel Chat!
300 N Elm St
The Tanger Center opened in 2021 and has already landed some of the stage’s biggest shows. This 3,000-seat auditorium is a more intimate alternative to the Coliseum and larger outdoor venues.
Things to Do in Greensboro (Market St, Gate City Blvd, and Wendover Ave)
Some of our favorite restaurants and kitschy shops in Greensboro can be found on or near Market St, Gate City Blvd, and Wendover Ave. These roads run from east to west and through parts of the city center or around it.
Bog Garden at Benjamin Park
1101 Hobbs Rd
The Bog Garden is one of a few public gardens managed by the City of Greensboro. You can experience this collection of natural wetlands via its elevated boardwalk and stone pathways.
Serenity Falls is another wonderful feature at the Bog Garden. This re-circulating waterfall offers visitors sounds of water while enjoying the sights of birds, plants, and more wildlife.
4315 Big Tree Way
Celebration Station is one of the best Greensboro attractions, especially for families! You can spend an entire day here, racing go-karts, playing arcade games, or competing in a round of mini-golf.
The ACC Tournament was once an annual fixture in Greensboro, but today, it rotates between Greensboro and other sites.
UNC Greensboro is part of the Southern Conference and offers 17 varsity sports (8 men’s and 9 women’s). While the Spartans don’t field a football team, they do compete in basketball, baseball, and other major sports.
2800 E Gate City Blvd
Gateway Gardens is a nice stop on Gate City Blvd. You can let your little one(s) run around and explore.
The Children’s Garden is our favorite part of Gateway Gardens. There, you’ll find cute mazes and sculptures alongside shrubs, flowers, and various other plants.
401 Ashland Dr
The Greensboro Arboretum is free to enter and is home to more than a dozen collections of plants. There are some cool special display gardens here, too.
1921 W Gate City Blvd
The Greensboro Coliseum hosts UNC Greensboro’s basketball games and also, the NBA G League’s Greensboro Swarm. Some of the city’s biggest events come through here, too.
We first visited for an Avett Brothers New Year’s Eve concert, which is an annual tradition somewhere in North Carolina. If you live in the area, we highly recommend keeping up with Coliseum’s events page or even subscribing to receive emails from them.
Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden
1105 Hobbs Rd
Tanger Family Botanical Garden is one of the city’s free-to-enter greenspaces, with more than seven acres of plants to explore beyond the site’s popular bronze sculpture.
Visit any time and you’ll see why this is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in North Carolina.
Weatherspoon Art Museum
500 Tate St
One of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art in the southeast can be found at the Weatherspoon Art Museum.
Located on the campus of the University of North Carolina Greensboro, this museum holds more than fifteen exhibitions each year and offers a variety of educational activities, artist talks, and outreach programs.
With their mission of enriching diverse lives and bringing communities together, you want to miss this stop.
Things to Do in North Greensboro
North Greensboro is home to historic neighborhoods like Fisher Park and fun things to do in Greensboro that we keep coming back for.
Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway
The 7.5 mile Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway has gone through a few names in the past, like the Lake Brandt Greenway, Battleground Rail Trail, and Bicentennial Greenway.
No matter what it’s called, this is a really fun rail trail to ride. You can start in Summerfield, north of Greensboro, and ride through nature, over Lake Brandt, and connect with Guilford Courthouse National Military Park‘s trails.
The Greensboro Science Center
4301 Lawndale Dr
Head north of the city to Greensboro Science Center for a great aquarium, museum, and zoo (also, Sky Wild!). It’s also one of our favorite winter things to do in North Carolina, as we’ve mentioned here.
Read More: Amazing Museums to Visit in North Carolina
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
2332 New Garden Rd
You can ride to Guilford Courthouse National Military Park via the Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway or drive directory to this important historic site.
Walk, ride, or drive around the park and you’ll be taken back to the Revolutionary War and the largest battle of the Southern Campaign. A series of monuments commemorate the battle’s participants, with a few legendary names scattered around.
The Nathaniel Greene Monument is a great place to stop and admire one of our nation’s heroes. Since this is a Military Park, picnics are discouraged and there are no picnic shelters available.
Read More: National Parks sites in North Carolina
Things to Do in South Greensboro (Southside)
Crooked Tail Cat Cafe
Crooked Tail Cat Cafe is one of the best things to do in Greensboro on a rainy day! This non-profit organization takes in rescue cats and allows visitors to play with the cats as well as serves as an adoption spot. It is highly recommended that you book your time slot in advance because they do cap the number of people in for a visit.
Crooked Tail Cat Cafe also has a location in Winston-Salem! So check them out and know that your entrance fee helps feed and take care of these kitties while they wait for their permanent home.
Elsewhere Modern Art Museum
606 S Elm St
The Elsewhere Modern Art Museum was once a thrift shop and has transformed into a 3-story space full of quirky objects and artist collaborations!
Walk through once and you’ll come away inspired and ready to create something.
Elsewhere is free to enter, but there is a suggested admission of $5 or more. We think “more” is a better choice, considering all that’s inside this wonderful space.
Fainting Goat Spirits
115 W Lewis St
If you’re looking for spirit-filled things to do in Greensboro, check out Fainting Goat. They produce some of the best sipping bourbons, gins, and vodkas you’ll find.
Although it’s a newer distillery, their award-winning creations are making a name throughout the US and beyond.
Where to Eat in Greensboro
We already mentioned Print Works but want to discuss a few more Greensboro restaurants.
If you live in North Carolina or have traveled through here a few times, you might get that it’s more than barbecue and seafood.
- Elm Street’s Crafted The Art of the Taco gives you both of those delicious NC staples, along with many more things you might not expect on top of a tortilla.
- Freeman’s Grub and Pub is near UNC Greensboro and the Coliseum and serves some of the best Cubanos to go along with a nice beer menu, but also deliciously crafted cocktails.
- Of course, we couldn’t ignore NC ‘cue and you’re in for a treat if you get to visit Stamey’s, which is the city’s only recognized spot on the NCBS Historic Barbecue Trail.
- There’s great international food in North Carolina and Greensboro is no different from the other cities. Jerusalem Market on Elm offers some of the best hummus I’ve ever eaten, to go with pitas, savory flatbreads, and more.
- On the fusion side, Bandito Bodega played to our hearts with their Bibimbap Burrito, which took me to Seoul within a bite. Oh, Gochujang, how I love you!
- If you’re into Vietnamese food, check out Banh Minh on Market for noodles or some amazing Banh Mi.
- Dessert Bonus: You thought I was going to leave out Cheesecakes by Alex? Think again. Seriously, go here for dessert or else you’ll miss out on the most delicious selection of cheesecakes one can find.
Those in the know told us that Market Street is the go-to spot for international food in Greensboro. If you’ve dabbled in the city’s food scene, what do you think?
Read More: Must-Eat Restaurants in Greensboro
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours
Want to explore Greensboro’s food scene and meet new people at the same time?
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours runs pretty much every weekend and will save you the time of researching, yelping, or asking around on social media. If we hadn’t done this tour, we wouldn’t have known about Jerusalem Market on Elm or Beer Co. on McGee if not for Taste.
Where to Drink Craft Beer in Greensboro
It’s pretty easy to drink well in Greensboro and you can start with the biggest name in the area—Natty Greene’s. There, you’ll find delicious food to go along with their signature and seasonal beers.
Pig Pounder serves up various barrel-aged brews that rightfully vie for attention against their signature Kolsch and English-style ales. More Greensboro beer favorites include Joymongers and Little Brother.
Read More: The Best North Carolina Breweries
Ready to Enjoy these Fun Things to Do in Greensboro?
We think Greensboro rocks, whether you want to dig into history, eat and drink well, or stay in hotels that are ahead of the game. There really are some amazing things to do in Greensboro for everyone.
Since it’s not too far away from us, we’ll keep coming back to find something familiar and new (to us). If you’re familiar with Greensboro, what are your favorite things to do?
Let us know in the comments or by email. Before you do, though, here are some attractions nearby in the rest of Guilford County.
Things to Do Around Guilford County
Greensboro is a huge part of Guilford County, but there are some interesting places to visit outside the city while staying in the county’s boundaries.
- Haw River State Park: Established in 2005, Haw River is a relatively new state park. It previously served as a retreat for the Episcopal Diocese of NC. Today, Haw River is a nice getaway from Greensboro. You can access the park either via the Iron Ore Belt or the Summit entrances.
- High Point: Parts of High Point are in Guilford County, and the “Furniture Capital of the World” is shared by three other counties. Within a 20-minute drive from Greensboro, High Point is a nice diversion from the city. Along with the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers, check out the John Coltrane Statue at S Hamilton St & Commerce Ave. It honors the home-grown legend who learned saxophone while living in High Point as a child.
- McLaurin Farms: Primarily known for their awesome Woods of Terror and Christmas Festival, McLaurin Farms hosts events throughout the year.
- Old Mill of Guilford: This historic grist mill dates all the way back to 1767. On the outside, it’s beautiful and exquisitely photogenic. Inside, you can buy cornmeal, grits, flour, and a wide variety of mixes for pancakes, gingerbread, muffins, and more.
- Summerfield Farms: Just 20 minutes northwest of Greensboro is Summerfield Farms. This place has a packed calendar of fun farm events, tractor rides, and more. The working farm also serves as an events space and wedding venue, too. You’ll find everything from goat yoga to incredible charcuterie classes here.
Read More: Day Trips from Greensboro
More Things to Do in Greensboro’s Surroundings
Greensboro is surrounded by interesting places to visit in all directions. Within an hour, you have lots of choices.
Here are a few of them:
- Charlotte Hawkins Brown Institute: In 1901, teacher Charlotte Hawkins Brown established the Alice Freeman Palmer Institute in Gibsonville, near Greensboro. Today, you can visit North Carolina’s first African-American State Historic Site and walk through the shoes of the many students who lived and learned here.
- NC Zoo in Asheboro: Perhaps one of the most popular things to do in Greensboro’s surroundings is the NC Zoo! The NC Zoo definitely won’t disappoint, considering it’s the world’s largest natural habitat zoological park. Beyond the zoo, Randolph County is full of fun. There’s also the amazing Millstone Creek Orchards in Ramseur, the epic racing history at the Petty Museum in Randleman, and more!
- Winston-Salem: is just one county away (Forsyth) and full of fun things to do. Many folks visit Old Salem first for a taste of early America and the Moravians who established this interesting place. Some other amazing museums in Winston-Salem include Reynolda House and Kaleideum Downtown. We love Winston-Salem’s great restaurants and innovative breweries and always look forward to coming back for more!
- Kernersville: Also in Forsyth County, Kernersville is home to a few fun attractions near Greensboro. First is the Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden. Interestingly, this is the only public garden between Raleigh and Charlotte, with 25 individually-styled garden areas, event spaces, greenhouses, and a children’s area. Körner’s Folly is a beautiful historic home that truly comes alive during the holiday season. Its three stories, seven levels, and 22 rooms become fully decorated and look fantastic!
- Burlington and Graham: Burlington in Alamance County is right next door to Guilford County and Greensboro, especially if you’re traveling on I-40. Downtown Burlington is where you’ll find delicious hot dogs at Zack’s. Just down the road is Hursey’s, one of our favorite NC Barbecue Restaurants. Graham is attached to Burlington’s hip and home to the Children’s Museum of Alamance County. If you’ve got a young child, this place is perfect.
Read More: Day Trips from Greensboro