Worth the Trip: Greensboro's Downtown

The Piedmont city celebrates summer with outdoor concerts, a Fourth of July festival, minor league baseball games, and more.
Article: Jennifer Bringle

Although it's less than 2 miles from end to end, Greensboro's compact downtown is packed with parks, museums, an art center, a baseball stadium, and a variety of pizza places, brew pubs, and fine-dining restaurants. Things really get going in the summer as Festival Park hosts Thursday night concerts, and the Fun Fourth Festival fills downtown's Cultural District the last weekend of June. No matter when you go, though, here's what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in the vibrant city.

What To Do in Greensboro
International Civil Rights Center & Museum
More than 50 years ago, four African-American students from North Carolina A&T State University took a stand for equality by taking seats at the segregated whites-only lunch counter in the downtown F.W. Woolworth department store. Today, their legacy is honored as the same building presents guest speakers, interactive exhibits, rare photos, and the carefully restored lunch counter. $10 adults, $6 ages 6-12. 134 South Elm Street; sitinmovement.org or 336/274-9199

Green Hill Center for NC Art 
Located at the Greensboro Cultural Center, Green Hill highlights the state's artists with exhibits of their paintings and multimedia creations. This summer (June 29-August 26), the exhibit "By Example: NC Potters and Their Mentors" will feature works by 20 up-and-coming ceramic artists. You can also see kids and families showing off their talents at ArtQuest, the center's hands-on studio. 200 North Davie Street; greenhillcenter.org or 336/333-7460

Festival Park and Center City Park
These grassy getaways become hubs of activity when the weather turns warm. Every Thursday (May through June) at 5:30 p.m., Festival Park attracts dancing crowds during the BB&T Beach Music in Park concert series. This month features two groups of Carolina beach-music masters: The Craig Woolard Band and Eric & The Chill Tones. Tickets $7; chsnc.org/beach-music.html. And both parks, along with much of downtown's Cultural District, fill with patriotic revelers celebrating the country's independence during the annual Fun Fourth Festival (June 30-July 6). funfourthfestival.org

Newbridge Bank Park 
The ball-and-bat dog, "Miss Babe Ruth," routinely steals the show during Greensboro Grasshoppers minor league baseball games by trotting onto the field to retrieve discarded bats and bring fresh balls. This month, the team takes on the Lexington Legends, Charleston RiverDogs, and Hickory Crawdads at home. General admission tickets are $6-$7. 408 Bellemeade Street; grasshoppers.com or 336/268-2255

Where To Eat in Greensboro
The Corner Slice at Fisher Park 
This gas station-turned-pizzeria in the Fisher Park neighborhood serves pizza by the slice or pie. Try the South Park pizza ($9 for a 10-inch pie, $12 for a 16-inch pie) with ham, pineapple, and the restaurant's special blend of cheeses. 600 North Elm Street; cornerslice.net or 336/333-3077

Natty Greene's Pub & Brewing Co. 
Named for Gen. Nathanael Greene, a Revolutionary War hero and the city's namesake, this brew pub serves up homemade beers ranging from the light Guilford Golden Ale to the dark, flavorful General Stout. The beers pair well with Natty's pub grub, such as the Carolina Burger ($9), topped with chili and house-made coleslaw. 345 South Elm Street; nattygreenes.com or 336/274-1373

Table 16 Restaurant 
Located on the southern edge of downtown, this new restaurant features chef Graham Heaton's seasonal, locally sourced menus that combine the flavors of Caribbean, Central America, Cajun, and Creole cultures. Graham's venison loin and cashew butter ($28) is a local favorite. 600 South Elm Street; table16restaurant.com or 336/279-8525

Where To Stay in Greensboro
Proximity Hotel 
Located just north of downtown, this 147-room, ultramodern, eco-friendly hotel was the first in the country to earn a Platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Rooms from $240. 704 Green Valley Road; proximityhotel.com or 800/379-8200