With its aging brick buildings and outer ring of small-city sprawl, Greensboro might not seem all that romantic at first, but let it grow on you. There’s a feeling of possibility here created by a constant influx of new residents, which include college students and immigrants from around the world. This mixture of new folks and natives makes this unassuming city surprisingly diverse. Like Winston-Salem with tobacco and High Point with furniture, Greensboro's historical claim to relevance lies in textiles. In the early 20th century, it was the country's largest producer of denim, and Wrangler jeans is still headquartered here. Greensboro is also known for its role in the fight for civil rights (the most well-known lunch counter sit-in of the mid-'60s occurred here). Today, the multifaceted city is creating a brand-new identity.
For a night out, choose between an edgy play, live music, or a second-run movie at the inexpensive RED Cinemas theater outside town. A growing craft brewery presence is highlighted by slick spots like SouthEnd downtown and Oden Brewing near the UNC-Greensboro campus, where the back-porch scene overflows into the yard on sunny afternoons. There's also a vibrant LGBTQ scene, anchored by popular hangouts like the Bearded Goat, just off South Elm Street.
To watch the city's work in progress, take an early-evening stroll through Old Greensborough, which has been the city's eclectic epicenter for years. You’ll find everything from vintage stores to bubble tea.