Whether you are visiting Greensboro for work or pleasure, the city is filled with several free attractions that all ages will enjoy. From parks and museums to antique markets and festivals, Greensboro has so many unique things to do. First, here are a few details about the city of Greensboro.
Located almost directly in the middle of North Carolina, Greensboro is approximately one and a half hours northeast of Charlotte. Greensboro is a bustling city filled with skyscrapers, repurposed historical buildings, and a thriving university at its center. On the outskirts of the city, you will discover expansive farms, small towns full of charm and acres of natural beauty.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Greensboro was known for its part in the textile industry. As mills and factories began to close in the late 1900s, the city’s identity shifted. Today, Greensboro is known for being environmentally friendly, culturally diverse and artistically driven. Take a drive around Downtown Greensboro and see larger-than-life murals, a prominent minor league baseball field and numerous green spaces.
As you plan your itinerary for a Greensboro summer vacation, allow InTown Suites to help you unearth some fun activities and attractions to enjoy in and around the city. Here is our list of the top 10 free things to do in Greensboro, NC:
At the Greensboro History Museum, the rich history and culture of the city are kept alive through a collection of over 25,000 objects. Each object on display tells its own story about the unique history of Greensboro and the individuals who once lived there. Additional resources and programs are available digitally and in person through the museum for both students and educators.
Located just outside of the UNC Greensboro campus, the Weatherspoon Art Museum has over 17,000 square feet of exhibition space filled with six galleries and a sculpture courtyard. To promote an appreciation for art and to share its positive impact with others, the Weatherspoon is continually growing and expanding its permanent collection of modern and contemporary art to share with its visitors. There is also a continual flow of exhibitions featuring local and up-and-coming artists. The Weatherspoon Art Museums offers guided tours, educational classes and more.
Since 2003, Ambleside Gallery has called the historic district of downtown Greensboro its home. After previously being located in both Michigan and England since its opening in 1982, Ambleside has established and maintained its reputation as a ‘cornerstone of artistic excellence.’ Currently, over 30 artists from the US, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, China and Japan are represented in the Gallery. Beyond the enjoyment of its exhibitions, Ambleside also offers workshops, lectures, seminars and cultural performances.
The Green Hill Cemetery is 51 acres of historical beauty and preservation. Opening in 1877, Green Hill is the oldest public cemetery in the area still actively used. Visitors are encouraged to explore the grounds respectfully while enjoying this preserved piece of Greensboro’s history. The Friends of Green Hill Cemetery (a non-profit organization dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of the cemetery) offers guided tours throughout the year.
Within the Guildford Courthouse National Military Park, another rich piece of Greensboro’s history is preserved. Hoskins’ Farm was a focal point during the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781, one of the major battles of the Revolutionary War. Today, guests can explore the restored home and barn of the Hoskins, learning the impact this family and their farm had on American history. There are also many trails and monuments through the park for exploring and learning.
One of several gardens created and maintained by the City of Greensboro, Gateway Gardens is one of the largest in the city, with plans for continued development. Within its 11 acres, smaller, themed gardens can be found including the Michel Family Children’s Garden, the Heritage Garden, the Rain Garden, the Great Lawn and more. These playful and interactive gardens offer an oasis from the hustle and bustle while providing beauty and growth for the community.
The Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden continues to amaze guests with its bronze sculptures, massive annual plantings, relaxing streams and historical monuments. Next to the garden is the David Caldwell Historic Park (another free historical site in the city). The park is a tribute to Reverend Dr. David Caldwell who founded the Log College in the mid-1700s. The Bicentennial Garden sits on a portion of the land where the campus and Dr. Caldwell’s home once stood.
The Bog Garden began as 15 acres of forgotten wetlands created by a broken dam filled with trash, weeds, briars and dead limbs. In the late 1980s, Dr. Joe Christian, a local physician, saw the potential in this tract of land and began working with the City of Greensboro to rebuild and renovate the former lake and surround it with paths, trails and natural beauty. Today, visitors can explore seven acres of wetlands and gardens using an elevated boardwalk and stone pathways that wind and curve throughout the landscape. Native wildlife, a recirculating waterfall and a bronze statue commemorating “Dr. Joe” are just a few of the sites to see in the Bog Garden.
Special care and planning were taken when the 17-acre site of the Greensboro Arboretum was designed. Horticulture professors and landscape architects from both NC State University and Virginia Tech were consulted as the construction of the gardens began in 1986. The Greensboro Arboretum was completed in 1991. This regional treasure continues to offer visitors a gallery of living beauty filled with tranquil walking trails, breathtaking display gardens and unique structural features.
The City of Greensboro, along with local supporters and the non-profit organization, Greensboro Beautiful, continues to grow and expand the natural oases around the city with over 120 parks, trails, and gardens. Here are a few of the top green spaces in the city: