Greensboro became the “Gate City” back in 1891 because of the large number of trains arriving in the city per day, around 60 in total. However, this reputation came after a turbulent time in the city’s history, mainly due to its role during the Revolution and the Civil War. It was only after that Greensboro prospered with the construction of railroads and the industrial boom. Nowadays, you can learn all about the city’s history in one of its 6 museums or even in one of its 40 art galleries.
Greensboro is also known as the third-largest city in North Carolina and offers many attractions to those who visit it. Located among the rolling hills between the Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains, the city is also relatively close to the beautiful North Carolina shores.
Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Greensboro (NC)
1. Greensboro Science Center
Greensboro Science Center boasts a 12-acre zoo, an aquarium, and a hands-on museum plus a theatre with a 40-foot screen. The beautiful aquarium features African penguins, a giant Pacific octopus, and a touch tank where you can pet stingrays and sharks.
The ever-expanding zoo is home to tigers, gibbons, and red pandas, along with meerkats, crocodiles, and Aldabra tortoises. The zoo features a little petting zoo where you can interact with animals such as sheep, goats, and alpaca. The center also counts with the Sky Wild, an obstacle course in the trees above the zoo where you can ride zip lines and defeat obstacles.
2. Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park
Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park features slides, an 85-ft-wide wave pool, kids’ play areas, and cabanas with table service. With over 38 rides, this is considered one of the top 10 water parks in the US. The lines for the rides are usually not the longest, and the rides themselves are enjoyable and perfect for both kids and adults of all ages.
Even though all the pools are kid-friendly, they offer life vests for kids at pretty much every swimming area. The park itself is very scenic and well-kept with plenty of shade all around.
3. City of Greensboro – Country Park
The ample city-run Country Park features a wooded area with playgrounds, tennis courts, nature trails, fishing lakes, a dog area, and picnic shelters. The main lake is perfect for paddle boating and fishing. You will also see many ducks and geese floating around.
Country Park has something for everybody. With over a mile to explore, the walking/jogging trail is one of the highlights. Accompanied by the dog and puppy park with its water fountains. The park also counts with the beautiful, serene Forest Lawn Cemetery. This large, manicured park-like cemetery grounds contain several miles of paved lanes that are great for a quiet walk or jog.
4. Celebration Station
Celebration Station is an amusement park with bumper boats, arcade games, mini-golf, go-karts, as well as American food. The 36-hole mini-golf course has a great mix of simple and challenging holes which is great for those who like to compete against each other or just have a good time smacking a ball around.
Featuring lots of games to play inside and lots of activities to do outside as well, this is a very nice park to spend some quality time with the kids. Also, they serve delicious pizzas!
5. Center City Park @ Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc.
One of Greensboro Downtown Parks, Center City Park is a popular neighborhood green space with unique architectural and landscape features, plus a fountain. Even though there are no playgrounds, this is a great place for a picnic with the whole family given all the shade under the trees.
For the size and location, the park packs a lot of details and is surely a welcome aesthetic. There are also lots of shops and eateries within walking distance plus the public library, the Greensboro Children’s Museum, and the adjoining LeBauer City Park.
6. Greensboro Arboretum
In total, 14 separate plant collections are found at the 17-acre Greensboro Arboretum. This education-oriented display garden features lots of flowers to look at and enough space for people to walk around. There are many woodland pathways and paved trails to enjoy and benches for you to sit and rest. Around the park, there are plaques with the names of the plants, including both botanical images and a tree species database.
Besides the nice walking tail within the Arboretum, there are two small playgrounds and a basketball court as well.
7. LeBauer Park @ Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc.
LeBauer Park features wide green lawns, gardens, and creative play areas for kids, plus a stage and concession stands. This is such a beautiful park with bright colors, rubber flooring, green space, and creative design.
The park is a little safe haven for parents with something to do for different ages. It counts with soft padding throughout, lots of opportunities for exploration, slides, rock climbing, spinners, sensory area, and sandpit. With plenty of open space, LeBauer also has an ice skating rink during winter, a dog park, and water features such as fountains.
8. Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden
The tranquil 7.5-acre Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden has seasonal plants, statues, a landscaped stream, and a wedding gazebo. With beautiful walkways and well-maintained gardens, this is a great place to get out and walk around since most trails are even stroller and wheelchair friendly. The scenery never fails to impress with the beautiful flowers and well-maintained landscapes. They also have a gravel court tucked in behind the parking lot which allows you to play games.
The park also features a museum dedicated to David and Rachel Caldwell. Their lives, before and after the Revolutionary War were devoted to the earliest families there, and their work was essential in forming the foundations of Greensboro.
9. Carolina Theatre
The 1927 Carolina Theatre is now a venue for ballet, opera, theater plays, and other performing arts. This recently renovated old vaudeville grand theater is a stunning place to visit and step back in time. It offers a good mix of movies and live entertainment for everyone.
Rest assured you will have plenty of space to yourself because the theatre holds 1200 people. It features an amazing sound system and comfortable seats. Also, the staff is very professional and courteous, and they serve beer and wine along with snacks.
10. Greensboro Botanical Gardens
With natural wetlands, Greensboro Botanical Gardens features an elevated boardwalk, sculptures, wildlife, and a waterfall. This park is contiguous with the Tanger Gardens across the street, so they are easily combined for a longer walk that combines the enjoyment of both nature and art.
Overall, the park is charming, and there are a lot of hidden gems if you walk around enough. The boardwalk keeps you dry while admiring the plants and critters throughout the garden, as well as the hiking trails which provide a varied level of interest. The lake overlook and the waterfall are great too!
11. Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
The Guilford Courthouse National Military Park commemorates a Revolutionary War battle featuring statues and historical exhibits. There are quite a few hiking trails along with an audio driving tour around the park. The walking trail is great as it captures the highlights of the monuments. The scenery is everything, and you can close your eyes and feel the history of the place.
The Visitors Center Museum and mini-movie are a must-see to fully experience what Guilford Courthouse National Military Park is all about, and how it shaped the city. All the information presented is well-researched and documented as well as the details of the battle.
12. Greensboro History Museum
Exhibiting the stories of Greensboro and Guilford County, Greensboro History Museum features archives, collections, and artifacts. The displays are well done and help to give the visitor a glimpse into the region’s past. There are many rare items on display with very accurate and detailed descriptions. Not only are there so many interesting things to see and facts to learn, but a decent part of this museum is also interactive.
The spaces inside this church converted to a museum are architecturally beautiful, keeping much of the charm of the original building. They do a very good job of transporting you through time to get the true feel of the 1800s.
13. Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden
The year-round Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden offers themed gardens, a visitor center, tours, and a gift shop. Located in downtown Kernersville, only 20 minutes from Greensboro, the garden has a variety of plants, trees, water features, and hardscapes. And as a bonus, you can learn the names of the plants as well.
This is a terrific place to take a stroll while enjoying its beauty. Visitors can walk freely around the easy paths and take in the beautiful flowers and trees. Make sure to check out the orchid house and the white garden.
14. Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Home to over 20 species of animals, Animal Park at the Conservators Center offers a delightful and educational experience. Amongst its inhabitants are lions, wolves, big cats, and lemurs. You can see most of the animals pretty close up and if you are lucky, they will even sing, roar, and howl.
All of the enclosures are kept clean and all of the animals look healthy and happy. The tour guides know every animals’ names as well as everything about them. During your tour, you will walk a 1-mile long path and learn all there is to know about the ecological importance of these animals.
15. Greensboro Children’s Museum
The educational Greensboro Children’s Museum features 20 permanent hands-on exhibits and a half-acre outdoor learning garden. The museum is basically a big circle, so it is easy to navigate. While this place is geared toward young children, adults will have just as much fun as the little ones.
There are ‘rooms’ of all kinds for children to use their imaginations. A hospital, theater, grocery store, grandma’s house, pizza parlor, and more. There is also a section for very young children exclusively and a water fun section. The outdoor playscape is massive and loads of fun. Also, they collect diapers for charity.
16. Greensboro Ice House
Opened in 1997, Greensboro Ice House is a multipurpose ice rink facility offering figure skating, hockey, ice skating lessons, broomball, and more. The venue has all the equipment you might need for rental. The rink itself is large and relatively well maintained.
They also book the space for private parties. The rink is home to the hockey team Greensboro Youth Hockey Association which has daily slots for practicing. Not to mention the Triad Hockey Alliance and the Summit Figure Skating Club.
17. Gateway Gardens
Covering an area of 11 acres, Gateway Gardens features various areas, including a playful children’s garden and a rain garden. Designed with kids in mind, this beautiful garden is perfect for families with small children. It has a vegetable garden for kids surrounded by “vegetable benches”.
Gateway Gardens also has a little amphitheater for kids and a maze garden filled with colorful flowers. The visitor center is a fantastic LEED-certified building. It is encouraging to see buildings designed with the environment in mind.
18. Korner’s Folly
Korner’s Folly is a quirky, 19th-century house museum offering guided tours of its 22 period-furnished rooms. With a very impressive and strange architecture, this 3-story, 7 level home was built in 1880 and has been renovated over the last decade. Although it does not look like much from the outside, it is unbelievable inside. The house is also home to one of the first theatres in the country.
The tour is self-guided, and it will take you around one hour to explore the entire house. With a lot of information in every room, this place hides many interesting and historical facts.
19. Antique Market Place
For an antique mall with multiple vendors and booths, Antique Market Place is top-notch. It is very clean, with no musty smells, well organized, and lots to see. Some not so old items and some really old ones make for a perfect mix.
There is a variety of all sorts of antiques, memorabilia, art, and an incredible selection of books. You can even find vintage and rare books in old leather covers. If you are looking for some exciting pieces or a little bit more upscale in an antique mall typesetting, this is a great place to hunt.
20. Weatherspoon Art Museum
Part of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Weatherspoon Art Museum offers a collection of 20th- and 21st-century American art plus exhibitions and events spread over its 7 galleries. The galleries are spacious and well-kept, with artwork from all over the region. Pay attention to all the designs and colors of all the impressive arts and paintings.
This museum is based on rotating exhibits so there is always a possibility of something you have not seen. Also, the outdoor courtyard is just the place for a fairly quiet break.
21. Putt-Putt Fun Center
Putt-Putt Fun Center is a veteran mini-golf chain with arcade games and snacks. With a very classic arcade feel, most of the games are from 2009 to 2016. Overall, it is very fun and easy to get in and start playing.
The center is a great place to get out in the fresh air without being too exposed to the elements. And miniature golf will always be a classic game that the whole family can enjoy. Both courses offer fun and competitive holes with plenty of challenging obstacles.
Elsewhere is a quirky museum in a former thrift store featuring eclectic objects and artist residency programs. During your tour, you will walk through the creative minds of some of the residents who have put their mark on the museum. The pieces upstairs have a political nature with a lot of social comments. Eclectic artistic compositions and installations can be found on all 3 floors including materials remaining from the museum’s earlier lives as Army/Navy Surplus store and consignment shop.
Interestingly, the artists still live in the house. So, the whole place is utterly unique and definitely needs to be visited by anyone who appreciates art.
23. World’s Largest Chest of Drawers
The World’s Largest Chest of Drawers is a whimsical, 32-ft. Victorian dresser–shaped building in “the furniture capital of the world”, High Point. It is definitely large and very well looked after!
Although you cannot enter or take a tour, it is still a truly fascinating site. There is parking at the side and on the back of it. Although it is mostly unpaved gravel parking. The building is adjacent to others on the main road that takes you back to Greensboro in just 25 minutes.
24. Blandwood Mansion
Blandwood Mansion is an 1800s Italianate architecture and former governor’s home with period decor and guided tours. The original 2-story, 4 room-farmhouse was built in 1795 and still stands on its original foundation, making this the oldest building in Greensboro. A visit to Blandwood Mansion helps one to understand not only the lives of those who lived there but also the times in which they lived and the historical forces at work in shaping the United States, especially in the nineteenth century.
This was also home to the first cotton mill powered by steam in North Carolina. The house features unique introductions, impressive insights, and vignettes into the main cast of characters, along with their oil portraits, personal artifacts, and furnishings.
25. Hops Burger Bar
The casual burger joint Hops Burger Bar offers patties with locally grown ingredients, plus a bar and craft brews. From their signature burgers to appetizers bursting from freshness with flavor, there is no denying that what they do they do better than anyone. The staff at all times are personable and cheery. The simple concept and relaxing atmosphere make this place one of the best in Greensboro.
The dipping sauces for the fries are on point, especially the jalapeño ranch. Their cauliflower appetizer is outstanding. And they also serve the best-rated burgers in the region, cooked to your personal liking while offering multiple opportunities to customize with quality ingredients!