The third largest city in North Carolina, there are quite a few things to do Greensboro. Many of them are actually free, some of the coolest Greensboro attractions are paid. However, here’s a pick of sights mostly for under 20 USD.
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Quick Greensboro Travel Q&A
What is Greensboro NC famous for?
Greensboro, NC was named for revolutionary war hero Major General Nathaniel Greene, who led the rebels in the Battle of the Guilford Courthouse. The battleground is now a historical site, right here in what eventually became the city.
How to get to Greensboro by public transport?
Greensboro is connected to both Amtrak and Greyhound lines. As such it’s possible to reach Greensboro without a car.
How walkable is Greensboro?
I found it easy to walk around the cemetery. To the History and Children’s Museum it took only 10 minutes from the train station.
Not all Greensboro attractions are easily reached though, for some you need a bus, such as the Bicentennial Garden. And others are so far out, you need a car or get an uber.
How far is Greensboro from the beach?
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, is about 200 miles from Greensboro and easy to get to because interstate highways take you much of the way there.
12 Free Things to Do in Greensboro
If you’re wondering “what is there to do in Greensboro NC for free?”, look no more. Here are some of the best things to see in Greensboro for zero bucks.
Greensboro History Museum – free
Greensboro’s History Museum is quite special in that it’s like three buildings combined. Plus, there’s the adjacent cemetery as well as a garden with the historic buildings of Mary Lynn Richardson Park. For it being so extensive it does feel rather intimate when you visit, in the best of ways.
I followed the advice from the nice information lady and started my way on the main floor, moving to the Voices of the City exhibition, which is an interactive timelines through Greensboro’s History paired with contemporary witness accounts and recordings.
This of course also includes the section of Greensboro’s involvement and contribution to the Civil Rights movement. Even further up the winding stairs, right to the stained glass window, rooms are set up to look like a cross section of life over a hundred years ago. You can step into a classroom, a pharmacy or hotel lobby.
I visited just before Halloween, which meant there was a special interactive guided tour in the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery.
At this, volunteers dressed up as famous local figures that shapes Greensboro and made history in their own right, including General Nathanael Greene (after whom the city was named) to aviators and the African American woman to practice law in the USA.
Fun fact: There are quite a few oddities growing in the cemetery, such as a camellia that has a DNA defect, making its petals turn inward.
- Address: 130 Summit Ave, Greensboro, NC 27401
- Hours: 10am-5pm (Tues-Sat), 2pm-5pm (Sun)
Weatherspoon Art Museum – free
Another fine art haunt to watch is the Weatherspoon Art Museum, located on the city’s University of North Carolina campus. In total, the exhibition space measures 17,000 square feet.
The gallery boasts quality contemporary and modern art collections. Catch more than 6,000 works from different 20th-21st century American artists, including Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, Cindy Sherman, Robert Rauschenberg and more.
- 500 Tate St, Greensboro, NC 27412
- Hours: Tue-Wed, Fri: 10am-5pm, Thu: 10am-9pm, Sat-Sun 1-5pm
Tannenbaum Historical Park – free
Wanna combine a walk in the park with a trip back in time? Take a breather in Tannenbaum Historical Park. In it, you can find a restored version of the Hoskins house from the early 1800s as well as the 19th century Coble Barn.
Around the farm you can find information boards with more details and there’s also the Colonial Heritage Center. Entrance to the park is free.
- Address: 2200 New Garden Rd, Greensboro, NC 27410
Bog Garden – free
Just opposite the Bicentennial Garden lies the Bog Garden, which is an unspoilt nature trail leading up and trough wetlands. You’ll definitely feel like you’ve left the city behind and ventured into the arms of nature.
It was during autumn time in North Carolina that I visited and I adored all the colourful trees and fallen leaves strewn over the wooden walkways. Certainly a gorgeous place to enjoy fall foliage in town.
I would think this is a perfect place to walk your dog. There are a few trails and you can walk around the lake as well. At the southern exit, you can find a small picturesque waterfall.
- Address: 1101 Hobbs Rd, Greensboro, NC 27410
- Opening hours: 8am-8pm
Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden – free
If you’re blessed with a gorgeous, sunny day like I was, definitely check out the gardens and parks of Greensboro to the West. You can take bus line 7 from Depot (right next to the train station) and get off at West Friendly/Hobbs Road, then walk North for 5 minutes.
The 7.5-acre Bicentenntial Garden of Greensboro is absolutely beautiful with its statues, flower beds, stone bridge and historical mill. There’s a cute Wedding gazebo and Sensory Garden.
- Address: 1105 Hobbs Rd, Greensboro, NC 27410
- Hours: daily, 8am-8pm (May-Aug), 8am-7pm (Sep-Oct), 8am-5pm (Nov-Feb)
Lake Brandt Marina – free
Get into the Greensboro water experience by visiting Lake Brandt Marina, which offers seasonal equipment rentals for activities like kayaking, canoeing and paddle-boarding.
The lake is an 816-acre community reservoir, where you can enjoy sights by the water or participate in your choice water activities, even hike or bike nearby trails.
They are clean, very organized and superbly-managed. Take note that the boat rental season closes over the winter.
- Address: 5945 Lake Brandt Rd, Greensboro, NC 27455
Green Hill Cemetery – free
If you want to see a bigger cemetery than the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery, make your way Northwest to Green Hill Cemetery. It has some beautiful old tombstones. After all, it is the oldest and most historic City operated cemetery.
From its opening in 1877 to this day, locals have been buried here. Should you want to join a guided tour and learn more about its history and unusual plants, get in touch with the non-profit Friends of Green Hill Cemetery. The money from the tours is funnelled back into preserving the cemetery flora.
- Address: 901 Wharton St, Greensboro, NC 27401
- Opening hours: 9am-4pm, daily
Gateway Gardens – free
One of the coolest attractions of Greensboro, NC is the 11-acre Gateway Gardens, which plays host to attention-grabbing botanical wonders.
The area includes the Heritage Garden, Michel Family Children’s Garden, the Great Lawn, Gateway Plaza and Icon and the Visitor Center. Enjoy a scenic lunch or picnic in such relaxing settings.
The place is well-tended with neat and manicured garden showcases and clean restrooms. Open all year-round, with free admission to boot.
- 2800 E Gate City Blvd, Greensboro, NC 27401
Greensboro Arboretum – free
The Greensboro Arboretum is part of Lindley Park, which spans 17 acres of exquisite garden. It’s open all-year-round from sunrise to sundown and free to visit. If you’re interested in gardenscaping and landscape designs, this place offers plenty educational insights.
Apart from it being one of the greenest Greensboro tourist attractions, it’s also one of the most romantic. It’s a frequent venue for wedding ceremonies.
No matter your reason for coming here, relax among the flora and take pics of the stunning gardens with its over a dozen plant collections and structural features like fountain and bridges.
- 401 Ashland Dr, Greensboro, NC 27403
National Folk Festival – free
There are many events going on in Greensboro throughout the year but a really cool one is the National Folk Festival. It takes place in September over the course of a weekend and its schedule is fully packed.
Besides a parade and live concerts, there’s a special Folklife Demonstration Area where you can get all hands on. Of course, you can indulge in street food as well.
Ambleside Gallery – free
Your Greensboro holiday should also include a stop to the Ambleside Gallery, specifically if you’re a patron of the arts.
This gallery has been in the city for 15 years and has acquired special mentions for its discerning curation of amazing pieces from ultra-talented painters, photographers and sculptors from all over the world.
Phenomenal artists represented by the gallery include China’s finest watercolourists, Guan Weizing. You can also catch cultural performances, lectures, expositions and workshops frequently presented by the gallery. Nurture your artistic dreams by engaging in the gallery’s activities.
- 528 S Elm St, Greensboro, NC 27406
Guilford College Art Gallery –free
Another free gallery to admire local art is that of Guilford College. It’s located in the campus library, which is great because the main goal isn’t to just promote art but an interdisciplinary approach to studying art.
Art isn’t just hung up in the galleries but also in study rooms. So if you need to do a research project anyway, do check it out.
- Address: 5800 W Friendly Ave, Greensboro, NC 27410
Greensboro NC Attractions up to $20
Elsewhere Museum – $5
Still curious of what to see in Greensboro, NC? Stop by the 3 floor tall Elsewhere Museum. Sylvia Gray, a purveyor of all things vintage, managed her thrift store for more than 50 years, running a few trades inside the building from a furniture restoration place to an Army Surplus store.
The businesses weren’t that lucrative because Miss Gray was actually not too keen on parting with her treasures.
However, in 2003, 6 years after her death, her grandson George and others started sorting out all of the items in the building and later turned it into the remarkable Elsewhere Museum.
It now labls itself as a “residency, school, playground, meeting ground, theater, project space, and laboratory for creative ideas.” In short: it’s one of the most unique things to do in Greensboro.
- Address: 606 S Elm St, Greensboro, NC 27406
- Opening times: Fr 4-9pm, Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 12-5pm
Blandwood Mansion – $8
Don’t miss a Greensboro National Historic Landmark, the Blandwood Mansion. The impressive building once served as the home of John Motley Morehead, North Carolina’s governor from 1841-1845.
A notable public servant in the infrastructure development and history of the city, Morehead advocated for railroads and railroad services for Greensboro.
Check out the well-organized ensemble of architecture, history, fixtures, 19th-century art pieces and the Blandwood Gardens, which are open for visitors every day. Blandwood Mansion can be found in downtown Greensboro.
- Address: 447 W Washington St, Greensboro, NC 27401
- Hours: Tues-Sat: 11am-4pm, Sun: 2-5pm
International Civil Rights Center & Museum – $15
North Carolina played an essential part in the civil Rights movements. To really learn more about how it all started and the nonviolent protests and sit-ins of Greensboro in the 1960s, visit The International Civil Rights Center & Museum.
The museum is an archive, museum and teaching facility all in one. If you want to plan your visit as best as possible, check out the events calendar.
- 134 S Elm St, Greensboro, NC 27401
Greensboro Children’s Museum – $10
A museum made exclusively for kids (and the young at heart), this is a venue that inspires children to get busy and gain knowledge from fun, stimulating interactive features.
Showcases like the Our Town Theater lets kids put on costumes. Plus, there are a lot of cool effects, games and activities like shopping in the built-in grocer and creating their own businesses.
The Greensboro museum runs special events for adults as well, such as cocktail nights and cooking classes (pies, French cuisine and more).
- 220 N Church St, Greensboro, NC 27401
Greensboro Science Center – $14.50
For your Greensboro, NC, tour, don’t forget to stop by at the Greensboro Science Center.
For just the price of one ticket, you can explore the area’s museum, aquarium and zoo. If you time your visit well, you can attend one of its annual events, such as See To Believe gala, Pajama Jam, Brews & Bubbles and the Tuxedo Trot.
It’s ideal for people of all ages and a nice, educational way to while the hours away. Discover a treasure trove of wildlife, sea creatures and interesting exhibits that will stimulate your mind and add in tons of important knowledge.
- Address: 4301 Lawndale Dr, Greensboro, NC 27455
- Hours: 9am – 5pm (closes 4pm seasonally)
Autumn Creek Vineyards
Do you appreciate good wine? There are over 70 wineries in the Yadkin Valley near Greensboro and Winston‐Salem. This means, you can visit a winery for a wine tasting session!
One of the many wine estates is Autumn Creek. You can even rent a cabin to make it an extra special occasion. It’s a great place for weddings as well.
Woods of Terror on Church Street – $20
Conquer your fear of the supernatural, scary critters and things that go bump in the night by spending time in the Woods of Terror on Church Street.
Spooky attractions like the Night Stalkers, Horrorwood Cinema, The Blood House, The Purge Anarchy and The Third Dimension make for a night of spine-tingling, blood-curdling delicious terror.
Even solo travellers will get a kick out of the sights and sounds of these macabre settings. You can get a ticket at the Greensboro sight or acquire one in advance online.
- 5601 N Church St, Greensboro, NC 27455
- Seasonal attraction
- Prices: $20-60
If you love nature, there are plenty of areas to chill out and maybe throw in a hike or two. You can even hike all the way from High Point to Greensboro along the Bicentenntial Greenway. To give you an overview, here are Greensboro’s best parks.
- Center City Park
- Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
- LeBauer Park
- Wild Turkey Mountain Bike Trail
- West House Trail
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