If you are looking for a family adventure that includes fantastic food, incredible outdoor recreation and a chance to learn more about our country’s history, Greensboro is the ideal destination. This historic southern city is ripe with opportunities for children and adults alike to dive deep into events that shaped our nation’s Civil Rights movement while exploring museums and iconic landmarks. In between tours, parks and scrumptious eateries await. You’ll be pressed to take the whole city in before it’s time to head home, but with our guide, you’ll fit in the most important stops. Read on to find out more.
photo: Annette Benedetti
As the location of the first sit-in of the Civil Rights movement, Greensboro embraces its rich history with an abundance of museums, art centers and preserved landmarks waiting to entertain and educate young historians. But the fun doesn’t stop there. This unique city has a walkable downtown area with fantastic (and unique) shops and eateries as well as parks perfect for the younger set. You’ll even have an opportunity to fit in some outdoor recreation that takes you on the water and in the air. Pack your bags and get out your notebook. We’ve got everything you need to know about where to go, eat and play in Greensboro outlined below.
photo: Annette Benedetti
Learn & Play
Greensboro is heaven for history buffs who will be surprised by how much they have to learn as they tour the area’s many museums, art and cultural centers and historic landmarks with their kids. Put the International Civil Rights Center & Museum at the top of your list of places to visit.
Located in the old Woolworths—the location of the first Civil Rights sit-in—this museum preserves the legacy of the four young African-American students from A&T State College who sat at a “Whites Only” counter inside the Woolworth restaurant on Feb. 1, 1960 and refused to move. We highly advise signing up for the guided tour which takes you into a room with a preserved section of the original Woolworth’s dining area. You learn and re-learn important facts about America’s history before, during and after the Civil Rights Movement. It’s an experience that will stay with your family long after you leave.
Greensboro Cultural Arts Center keeps your crew busy for a good stretch of time with four levels of galleries, studios, and the Van Dyke Performance Space—a 7,500-square-foot black box theater. The building houses the African America Atelier, which strives to promote an awareness, appreciation and sensitivity to the visual arts and culture of African Americans. There you will find moving exhibits that the whole family will enjoy.
The Greensboro Science Center is a thrilling stop for kids, big and small. This unique center houses a science center, an aquarium, a zoo and a tree-top adventure park all in one location. Many of the exhibits feature holograms that heighten the sense of adventure. You can make your way through the center on your own and go on behind-the-scenes tours where you meet penguins and stare down into the depths of tank filled with sharks and other sea life. Outside, you can pet giant tortoises (they love to have their chins scratched). And don’t forget to sign up for SKYWILD where the family can zip, slide, climb, and fly through the trees outside of the center.
Some other spots to hit include the Greensboro History Museum, where visitors see how the city has transformed through the various historical time periods. And, the Guilford College Underground Railroad trail simulates how fugitives seeking freedom navigated in the woods on the Guilford College community with assistance from free and enslaved African-Americans and European-American Allies. The end of the trail takes you to a 300-year-old tulip tree that is known as the Underground Railroad Tree. Of course, you must check out the Greensboro Children’s Museum, which is packed full of hands-on exhibits designed specifically for the littlest members of your family.
photo: Amy Meredith via flickr
Indoor & Outdoor Recreation
Get your kiddos energy out at one of Greensboro’s beautiful parks. City Center Park and LeBauer Park are located in the downtown area. City Center Park features sculpture fountains and beautiful landscaping, and LeBauer park has an expansive lawn area to relax on as well as gardens and creative play areas for kids. The Downtown Greenways is a four-mile loop around the downtown area. It’s made up of on and off-street greenway links that allow families a place to walk or bike while stopping to view a variety of sites including a bust of Martin Luther King Jr.
If you travel to the nearby High Point City Lake Park, you will find a serene lake and park that offers recreation activities including kayaking and paddle board rentals. Similarly, Oak Hollow Marina overlooks a beautiful lake where you can relax or go kayaking. Here you can also take a boat out for fishing or just stroll along with your little animal lovers and feed the ducks.
If you are looking for some adrenaline packed fun, head to Kersey Valley Zip Line where you will find an aviation themed zip line. Your tour begins with “flight school” and then get a bird’s eye view of the area’s landscape. Unwind from all of the adventure with yoga at Radiance Yoga, a studio that offers a large variety of classes. You can burn of extra energy with a flow or you can wind down with a restorative practice.
A stay in Greensboro is sure to keep you busy, so finding a home-base where you can rest between outings is key. The Proximity Hotel offers families luxurious and elegant but modern accommodations that meet your every need. The hotel’s features include gardens, an outdoor pool, a fitness facility, easy access to bike trails, in-room spa services and Print Works Bistro—an exceptional onsite dining option that was rated as offering one of the Top 100 Best Brunches in America.
Along with its beautifully appointed rooms, this hotel was the first hotel in the US to receive LEED Platinum certification making it a leader in sustainability. There are plenty of reasons to feel good about staying at the Proximity.
With all Greensboro has to offer, you and your kids are sure to have big appetites. Fortunately, this southern city has an abundance of awesome eateries offering exceptional international cuisine.
Start your day at Chez Genese. This feel good, taste good eatery got its start with the help of a kick-starter. Along with serving French bites, it also employs individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in an effort to help them overcome obstacles in the workforce while they develop their careers. Try their Quiche du Jour or a plate of lemon ricotta pancakes. They have a full lunch menu as well.
Grab a coffee or a baked good at DeBeen Espresso, and after a morning filled with fun, head to Crafted: Art of the Taco. Everybody loves tacos, but this joint doesn’t serve any old tacos, here you’ll find tortillas filled with pulled pork, the most delicious mac & cheese you’ve ever had and BBQ sauce (the Big Truck). Other options included a falafel-filled taco and a chipotle marinated chicken taco. It will break your heart that you can’t try them all.
98 Asian Bistro is located a short drive away in High Point and serves Thai and Asian fusion dishes. This spot wins big on atmosphere and customers love the yellow Thai curry and spring rolls. 1618 Midtown is another excellent dinner spot that serves modern cuisine with hand-curated wines, artisan cocktails and craft beers. Fresh, local flavors show up in dishes like seared scallops, duck confit and pecan crusted chicken. The kids will love the lamb lollipops
Greensboro is packed with places to go and things to check out that are guaranteed to surprise, enlighten and delight your family. Even the history buffs in the family are sure to learn something new. When you finally return home, you may find you have a new perspective on our country’s past, and a new appreciation for the people who fought to create freedom for all— which makes this awesome city a worthwhile vacation spot.
This trip was paid for by GCEDA but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.