Greensboro: The Right Little City for Us – and You!
This post is a paid partnership with Guilford County Economic Development Alliance.
Greensboro, North Carolina, is affectionately known as the Gate City, originally given that moniker because it was a center of transportation. These days, the city is filled with artisan-crafted metal gates throughout that represent its name. Pairs of decorated, statue-like jeans are found throughout to pay homage to the textile industry that still thrives here. Parks and green spaces abound, offering families and individuals ample lush spaces to play, read, jog, or catch up with friends. Colorful murals designed and painted by local artists grace many walls. The spirit of creative entrepreneurialism is booming here, and I would say that the Gate City name still holds truth. While it may not be the hub of transportation it once was, Greensboro certainly swings open the gates of opportunity. I’ve seen it happen for my friends and I’ve experienced it firsthand. Today, I want to take you on a little tour of what Greensboro has to offer and why it’s the right little city for us – and, maybe, for you, too.
Downtown GSO mural by Gina Franco
When we found out we were moving a few years ago, we weren’t yet sure where in NC we’d be placed. It was between Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro. Chris and I both hoped for Greensboro because we felt drawn to the size of the city and knew it was the most affordable. We felt we could offer our family a great quality of life here and that instinct proved to be right. One of the best things about Greensboro is that it’s a rather small city with tons to offer and one can easily get from place to place in a matter of minutes. Our realtor told us when we moved here that, back in the day, it had been a 5 minute city, meaning you could get from one side to the other in 5 minutes. She said it’s grown to a 15 minute city, but even that is nothing to us! Within a matter of minutes, you’ve got so many restaurants, shops and places to explore. Because housing here is so affordable, we were able to purchase a 4-bedroom house within the city limits – something we couldn’t do in Maryland – close to everything and in our favorite neighborhood. On a date night when we both want to have a couple of drinks, we can take an inexpensive Uber ride. To be honest, I thought I would miss the more rural setting, but now that we’re lived here for a couple of years, I can’t imagine going back.
Date nights have never been easier to plan!
Another huge plus is the community. Never before have I lived in a place where so many creative businesses exist and wish to truly elevate each other. Shortly after moving here, I fell in with a group of inspiring go-getting women and we’ve become a close-knit crew. Three of the six own local businesses! In all of the towns and cities I’ve lived, this is the first place where I truly feel like I fit. On top of the close friends I’ve made, I’ve connected with many other local businesses and they’ve all been welcoming, supportive and excited to think of ways to work together. We all genuinely want the best for one another and our city. Greensboro has actually been recognized recently as a top US city for starting a new business and I can see why! It takes a village and you can find yours here.
Greensboro: What to do with families (Or on your own!)
Pygmy hippo at Greensboro Science Center
Greensboro Science Center: The Science Center was one of the first places the kids and I explored in 2019. They’ve got an aquarium, interactive learning opportunities and several animal habitats. Their mission is all about animal conservation and land preservation so everything they do helps the environment and supports vulnerable or endangered animals by boosting populations.
Even my teens have fun at the science center!
It’s an incredible learning opportunity for kids (and adults!) and they’ve just expanded with a beautiful area called “Revolution Ridge” that features several new additions, like pygmy hippos and Caribbean flamingos!
The GSC Carousel
They’ve also got a new carousel and, at the holidays, create one of the most scintillating light displays you can imagine. Last year was the inaugural year for both of those and it felt like the kind of joy we all needed in 2020. We’re proud GSC members and visit often.
Pedal boats at Country Park
Parks: One of the most popular parks actually lies adjacent to the science center. Country Park features beautiful walking paths plus water activities, like pedal boats, which obviously make the most instagrammable photo-op! I’ve come here with the kids to play, but also have met up with friends just to walk and catch up. Greensboro parks provide an incredible amount of green space and offer several free and inexpensive programs for adults and kids. (Note: In addition to parks, there are tons of gorgeous hiking trails!)
Wilder enjoying the splash pad
One of our favorite summertime features is the splash pad at LeBauer park. We’re also big fans of the Arboretum, Bicentennial Garden, Bog Garden – all walkable from our house – and Gateway Gardens, which is absolutely magical for the little ones.
Greensboro Grasshoppers: Right in the heart of downtown sits First National Bank Field, home of the Grasshoppers Minor League Baseball Team. We love attending these games as a family or with friends (especially on Thirsty Thursday!) 2020 was off, but this year is in full swing and we’ve enjoyed it. And that pun wasn’t even intended. Sometimes they just happen.
Playing mixologist at Scent Workshop
Scent Workshop: This local candle-making and perfuming workshop is so much more than a workshop. Lindsay invites you in for an experience where you’ll create a custom scent based on more than just what your nose likes. It’s one of the things I recommend to everyone as a girls activity, family activity, or even a date night, as we did once. And if you just need a quick gift, she’s got lots of ready-made candles and goodies as well. But I insist you get in there and try it!
Farmers Markets: Between the Original Greensboro Farmers Market and The Corner Market, our little city creates lots of opportunities for local makers and farmers to sell their goods. Plus, they put together fun events for the family like Blueberry Pancake breakfasts with live music. Stack ’em up!
Greensboro: Creative Points of Interest
Inside Transform GSO
Transform GSO: Transform is a creative co-working space where entrepreneurs and visionaries can come together to bring their ideas to life. It offers several office rental options, meeting rooms, a coffee bar and has a killer industrial vibe since it’s in an old fire station downtown. It’s actually expanding into another old industrial building, opening up more space for idea development and collaboration, allowing businesses to really take flight here in Greensboro.
Stunning Thompson Traders copper sink in Transform GSO
One of my favorite local businesses, Thompson Traders (you may know them as the makers of my brass kitchen sink), is moving its office into the new old building and they’ve collaborated with Transform on all of the sinks throughout their buildings. The collaboration between Greensboro business boomers and local makers creates spaces that are unique to the city but also forms a sense of community and loyalty – plus, the results are striking. Everyone wins.
Forge Greensboro: Forge calls itself a makerspace for everyone – and it’s true! I was able to get a tour of this creative hub and was floored by all of the machinery members have access to. There’s equipment for welding, woodworking, 3-D printing, pottery, laser printing and almost anything else you can imagine.
One of the textile spaces inside Forge
Rather than purchasing huge and hugely expensive equipment, members can come in to create their designs. And if you just want to get your feet wet and try something new, they’ve got classes and workshops to help you get started, plus more advanced options. Their goal is to “attract the curious and creative together, so they can make, learn, invent and collaborate as a community.” Sounds pretty much like the goal of Greensboro, if you ask me!
Looking for that perfect Hot Girl Summer selfie mural? We got it.
Murals: Throughout our city, in both midtown and downtown, murals adorn several walls. Upholding the arts – and supporting the artists – is a value that is authentic to the city of Greensboro and it shows. We love exploring the murals and there’s nothing I love more than sharing local art and artists.
Elsewhere Museum: OK, so I haven’t yet been to this one, but had to include it because it looks SO cool and just reopened. I’m making plans to get there ASAP! The story behind the museum is just too incredible and right up my alley. It’s one of those oddly interesting places you won’t find anywhere else but here.
Weatherspoon Art Museum: This museum is actually part of UNCG but open to the public. It features an array of modern and contemporary art and has an array of exhibits that travel through. We’re really lucky to have this museum in Greensboro.
Rich Girls Museum: This is another one of those unique places you won’t find anywhere but Greensboro. The Rich Girls Museum features 8 rooms that are perfect for glam selfies. I know how that sounds, but trust me, it’s the kind of place that inspires you to let your hair down, be creative and have fun. Emmy and I are going to head there this summer and I will be sure to share the photos.
Greensboro: Where to Eat
Eating my way through a city is always my favorite way to explore it. 😉 In our 2.5 years here, we’ve zigged and zagged across the Gate City, checking out numerous restaurants. Of course, one year of that was mostly take-out, but we were still happy to support local eateries. In addition to restaurants, Greensboro also offers an abundance of breweries that offer food via their own kitchen or rotating food trucks. I could write an entire post on where to eat, so I’m just gonna zero in on one mighty little corner, affectionately known as “the corner.” which features 4 restaurants: Sticks & Stones, Fishbones, Lindley Park Filling Station and Emma Keys. Plus, this little corner hosts a fabulous Saturday morning farmers market and there’s a fantastic little grocery store, Bestway, known around the area for its “Wall of Beer.” (Chris is especially fond of that wall, which boasts all sorts of craft brews.)
Fishbones on the corner
Fishbones: This little seafood-focused restaurant only recently became a favorite. I say recently, because we hadn’t tried it until May! Chris and I took a much-needed date night and sat out on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, sipping cold craft beers.
Mahi Mahi from Fishbones
The food was absolutely incredible and I pretty much devoured my mahi-mahi special. The ambience is casual and laid back, which is pretty much the vibe of the entire corner area.
Sticks & Stones pizza, and now I’m drooling
Sticks & Stones: This pizza restaurant is one of our Greensboro go-tos. Their pizza is phenomenal – I love the Magnolia Mountain – and the restaurant itself is fun and trendy but still family oriented. There’s even a big aquarium to help entertain the kids while you wait for a table or pickup. The decor is bike-themed, with many parts made out of old bicycles, for a unique touch. We’ve taken plenty of visitors to this hot spot and everyone loves it.
Delish salad from Lindley Park Filling Station
Lindley Park Filling Station: LPFS is one of our family’s go-to spots. They’ve got a gorgeous patio that’s ideal for eating with the family (read, messy toddler) and a menu that has something to please us all, not an easy feat. I’m a big fan of their salads, Emmy and Chris dig their pork sandwiches and burgers – and how about those tater tots? – and Sawyer and Wilder are into their grilled cheese. It’s got a laid back atmosphere that lends to both a fun and relaxed date-night, dinner with the fam, or lunch with friends.
Note: Downtown, Midtown, and College Hill also offer tons of unique restaurant options with everything from BBQ to sushi, from taco fusion to vegan! I do want to highlight one more special little restaurant.
Chez Genèse: This restaurant calls itself “The Place of New Beginnings,” which seems to right to share this year. This café is French inspired – no tipping allowed – and serves up the most delicious brunch. Suddenly, I am craving an omelette. They are one of a few restaurants and cafés here that employ adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I wanted to share for those that have grown children who depend on them and live at home, Greensboro offers lots of opportunities for a quality of life not found elsewhere.
Greensboro: Where to Shop
The Farmer’s Wife: I just visited this store for the first time in May and I am smitten! It’s an antique/florist shop with a farmhouse vibe – but cooler and edgier. If I were designing a home for someone who said they wanted farmhouse/rustic, this is where I’d direct them.
Love this display in The Farmer’s Wife
The vibe throughout is very Anthropologie meets Magnolia and probably boasts the best displays I’ve seen in town.
Moonbird: Where are all my crystal-loving, sage-burning friends? This shop is for you! It’s filled with everything you need to make your home the earth-mama haven you deserve. Plus, they’ve got so many amazing gift items. I shopped here for Emmy for Christmas.
A peek inside Vivid
Vivid Interiors: Actually a full service interior design firm, but they also offer a downtown shop filled with gorgeous furniture, textiles and local art.
Design Archives: This downtown shop is Emmy’s personal favorite, filled with kitschy vintage clothing, decor and so much more. I love to come here and peruse as well and always find something interesting.
Area Modern: The day I went downtown to visit this shop, they happened to be closed. I wanted to give them a mention anyhow because they’ve got amazing modern furniture pieces. One of my close friends just bought a house in my neighborhood and ordered a new sofa from them. We’re in the market for a new sectional for our basement, so I’m excited to check them out.
Red Collection: With two locations, this furniture and antique consignment shop has a vast array of unique finds. This go-tp furniture stop for me is actually where I got Chris’ bedroom dresser. Every time I go in, there’s something new and different!
The Tiny Greenhouse: All of the plant lovers will love this little indoor jungle, offering gifts, fun and affordable planters, plus – stating the obvious here – an array of plants. They’re located in the heart of midtown near some of my favorite murals in the city.
High Point: More than Just a Market
Just about 25 minutes from my home in Greensboro is High Point, North Carolina, home of the world’s largest home furnishings industry trade show. Pretty insane that it’s so close to home! For designers and those who appreciate design (me!), the market itself is like a huge adult playground, but the city offers so much for us year-round as well. There are showrooms, shops, restaurants, a brand-new brewery, and the coolest new gathering space. Here are a few of the highlights from the area.
The exterior of Congdon Yards: History Made Daily
Congdon Yards: This old industrial mill was transformed into a center for gathering, celebrating and collaborating. There are office spaces leased out to local businesses, but also spaces for meeting up for coffee or wine with friends.
A space to meet up with friends or clients – just out of frame is a wine/coffee bar
Stylish and inspiring meeting spaces in every corner are open to the public. Most of the furniture features outlets and USB ports.
Gathering Corner at Congdon Yards
If you’re a designer or entrepreneur looking to set up a meeting, it’s the perfect spot to meet clients. In addition to all of the offices and meeting spaces, they have some incredible state of the art features meant for designers and makers. The Generator allows you to fabricate almost any piece of furniture you can imagine in record time. And then there’s the access to literally any kind of material you can imagine being used right at the touch of your finger. You can read more about all they offer when it comes to innovation and creation here.
My favorite view at Cohab.space
Cohab.space: Cohab is my favorite retail spot in High Point. It’s filled with hand-made, imported and vintage goods and the overall vibe is ethereally relaxed. I could have spent all day looking around.
Inside Cohab (I kept the sanitizer and tape-measurer in the photo so you could see how they take care of people.)
In addition to shopping, they’ve got a gorgeous outdoor space where they often host live music, a cafe/beer/wine bar, a gallery where yoga classes take place and makerspaces. FYI, the website is a little out of date, but they keep up their Facebook page.
Capa Imports: Capa imports is a ginormous showroom/shop open to the public year round. They’ve got stunning organic wood pieces plus textiles and rugs for days!
Braxton Culler knows how to make an entrance
Braxton Culler: Known for their wicker and rattan, Braxton Culler is a staple of High Point. Their pieces are classic and beautiful with a southeast coast beach vibe! This showroom is also open to the public year round.
Twin Deer Antique Mall
Antique Shops: High Point offers some fantastic – and affordable – antique shops. I visited Twin Deer and wanted to take home that chair hand so badly. If only I had room in my home! I’d love to sit in a hand each day.
HPxD: Brand new this year, HPxD connects designers and trade-only individuals to several showrooms throughout the year. For local designers, that means access to top-notch furniture and designer pieces almost any time.
Pandora’s Manor B&B
Pandora’s Manor Bed & Breakfast: This B&B is like no other I’ve seen! Each room is designed by a different designer and it’s all unique and beautiful. It also serves as a stunning wedding reception venue. Just imagine all of those lanterns at night.
My favorite room in the whole house was this dramatic and bold space
If you’re thinking of visiting the area, this is a great place to stay.
Check out the Penny Path floor
Penny Path: Café & Crepe Shop: This eatery is full of crepe – in the best way possible! From sweet to savory, they’ve got everything you can imagine. Try the Nutella crepe; trust me.
Paddle South Brewery: There are actually a few breweries in High Point, but this one just opened and looks incredible! It wasn’t yet opened the last time I was there, but I am looking forward to checking it out soon. The Peach Hefeweizen is calling my name.
If you made it all the way to the end of this post, phew. Get yourself a massage, honey, because you deserve it. Honestly, there’s just so much to see, do and eat in our little city and I am so incredibly proud of the people, creativity, businesses and community that I’ve found here. The past year has certainly caused many people to stop and take inventory of their lives, look around and decide that maybe it’s time for change, perhaps a move. If you’re thinking about relocating, consider Greensboro: a city filled with arts & culture, collaborative community, everything an entrepreneur needs within reach, affordable housing, gorgeous parks and green spaces, incredible restaurants, events and experiences. The gates of the Gate City are wide open to you. Come on in!