(WGHP) — Summer is almost over, but there’s still time for an unforgettable experience in the Gate City.
Whether you live in Greensboro or you’re just passing through the heart of North Carolina, there are countless shops, restaurants and experiences to satisfy your wanderlust.
We’ve put together a list of 10 of our favorite places in the city. All, at least at certain hours, are open for family-friendly fun, but there are also a couple of options for those looking for a late-night adventure.
Spare a moment to check out Bourbon Bowl
Last year, Bourbon Bowl officially opened in downtown Greensboro, and, if you live in the city, you helped make it happen.
When the building at 531 S. Elm Street was vacant, the Greensboro City Council approved an $80,000 grant to go toward developing the property and transforming it into the bowling alley, restaurant and bar it is today.
While the bowling alley only has six lanes, they go well beyond your typical bowling experience. Sure, you can bowl the old-fashioned way, but you can also try one of the unique bowling games provided by QubicaAMF’s BES X Bowler Entertainment System. For example, in Battles on the Lanes, you and your friends have rival castles and compete in two teams, throwing one ball each turn, to deal damage to the opposing team’s castle. Or build a monster in Monster Factory with each roll determining which strange monster part you add to your creation. The area also has comfortable sofa seating and tables to enjoy while you’re between shots.
Bowling costs $30 an hour per lane Monday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The price bumps up to $45 an hour per lane Thursday and Friday and after 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Take the plunge at Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe
When riders step into Bombs Away’s enclosed capsules, the floor suddenly drops out, sending riders plunging down one of two slides: a six-story 70-degree drop where riders will hit speeds of up to 26 feet per second or a twisty 266-foot-long closed tube. Bombs Away is the water park’s first new attraction since Riptide Race in 2015.
Single-day admission starts at $34.99 online or $54.99 at the door. Season passes start at $64.99 online or $74.99 at the door. Admission is free for children ages 2 and under. The park is open every day at 10 a.m. closing at 6 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays and 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Visit the Emerald Pointe website for ticketing details.
Why go anywhere else but Elsewhere?
Perhaps one of the most unique offerings in downtown Greensboro, Elsewhere is a place like you’ve never seen before.
Back in 1939, Sylvia Gray established the South Elm Street location as a three-story thrift store. Over the course of nearly 60 years, she built up an eclectic horde of products, including rolls upon rolls of fabric and toys that even your parents might recognize from their youth. She died in 1997, and the shop was boarded up with its treasure trove hidden inside.
In 2003, Gray’s grandson George Scheer reopened the space with the help of some friends, but not as a store. It became an artist space, and the tools of the trade were all of the odds and ends amassed within its walls. And Elsewhere wasn’t just a home for those tools. It was the canvas.
The folks who run it describe it as a “living museum.” Through Elsewhere’s international artist residency program, new artists are constantly coming through the doors, so the space is constantly evolving. Even if you’ve been before, you’re almost guaranteed to discover something new in the magical, strange and intriguing world of Elsewhere.
Get your game face on at Boxcar Bar + Arcade
Sure, there are plenty of bars in downtown Greensboro, but only one of them is a fully-functioning arcade.
Boxcar Bar + Arcade has been in Greensboro since 2017 and helped to liven up the Lewis Street corridor. The first Boxcar opened in Raleigh a few years earlier, and Durham’s opened the year after.
Before all you moms and dads out there scroll past, believe it or not, they’ve got you covered too. Boxcar opens at noon on Saturdays and Sundays, so you can stop by and enjoy the games without getting caught up in the nightlife.
But if nightlife is what you’re after, they’ve got you covered too with doors open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and midnight. Monday through Thursday and Sunday.
The arcade hosts events pretty frequently and you can keep up with the goings-on over on their Facebook page.
At 2 p.m. on Aug. 6, they’ll be hosting a single-elimination Fruit Smash Cornhole Tournament. First place wins a set of custom Fruit Smash Boards. Second place gets a shirt and hats, and third place wins some glassware.
At 2 p.m. on Aug. 13, you can test your putting skills with Wise Man Mini Golf. There will be three cups to choose from at Boxcar’s indoor putting green. If you sink all three, you’ll win a prize.
At 8 p.m. on Aug. 18, you can satisfy your need for speed in a Mario Kart Tournament on Nintendo 64.
Don’t be chicken. Visit the Greensboro Children’s Museum!
That joke might need a little explanation. In July, the Greensboro Children’s Museum officially welcomed chickens to the Edible Schoolyard, a space described as a hands-on, half-acre organic teaching garden and kitchen classroom. And that’s just the latest update.
If you’ve never been, the Greensboro Children’s Museum isn’t your typical museum. This is no musty gallery of artifacts locked behind displays. The museum aims to break the rules of your traditional museum by letting guests learn through touch and interaction.
There are more than 20 exhibits including a 30-foot-tall climbing structure and the Edible Schoolyard. Within the last several years, the museum has been on a mission to expand adding a few new exhibits. They added an outdoor play plaza, an indoor interactive water exhibit and, in 2020, The Growing Place.
“The Growing Place is an immersive, digital experience where you use your hands and body to grow and maintain a fantastic forest full of wonderful creatures and towering trees,” the museum says in its description of the new exhibit.
Escape the drudgery with Breakout Games or Room 5280
You don’t have to be Harry Houdini to stage an incredible escape. Right here in Greensboro, multiple businesses have emerged giving you a chance to enter a whole new world of intrigue and mystery. An escape room is an immersive experience. They’re often intricately decorated to match the theme and create the illusion that you’re in a millionaire’s mansion or a runaway train or a haunted house. Then it’s up to you and your friends or family to solve the puzzles, uncover the secrets, (sometimes unlock hidden rooms) and, most importantly, escape.
Breakout Games, located at 700 Carnegie Place, is part of a national chain with locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa., Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, both Carolinas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. All rooms are private for your group, so you won’t be playing with strangers. Prices vary based on the number of players ranging from $22.99 per player for an 8-player game to $42.99 per player for a 2-player game.
Breakout is offering eight separate 60-minute experiences, each with its own storyline and mission. The games include “CLUE” (based on the mystery board game and designed with Hasbro), Island Escape (a great choice for beginners), Do Not Disturb, Mystery Mansion, Runaway Train, Submarine Survival, Undercover Alley and The Kidnapping.
Room 5280, located at 447 Arlington Street, is a much smaller chain with locations in Raleigh, Denver, Seattle and Dallas. Tickets cost $28 per person.
Escapists will have their choice of three 60-minute rooms, and each has an advertised “success rate” so you can know how much trouble you’re in for. The Experiment has a success rate of 35% and will have you solving the mystery of a sound professor’s disappearance and completing his experiment. The Heist, success rate 25%, puts you into the home of an eccentric art collector to rob him of his treasures, but only if you can navigate his locks, safes and surprises. Sherlock, success rate 30%, puts you in the shoes of the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes as you work to thwart Professor Moriarty’s plan to blow up the London Underground.
Bonus: Kersey Valley Escape isn’t in Greensboro—it’s about 30 minutes southwest in Archdale—but we’d be remiss to leave it off the list. Kersey Valley offers four 60-minute escape rooms: Suspect, Impulsion, Meltdown and the pièce de résistance Sanitarium, a unique game that takes place across five rooms and multiple floors. Each of their games costs $32 per person.
Discover Greensboro’s haunted history with Carolina History & Haunts
As the sun sets over the Jefferson Standard building, Greensboro’s ghosts and ghouls come out to play — and so do the Carolina History & Haunts tour guides.
As the only ghost tour in Greensboro, Carolina History & Haunts’ Nightmares Around Elm Street brings you downtown to unearth some of the spookiest stories in the city’s history.
Over the course of about 90 minutes, your tour guide will lead you on a walk through town, stopping at key sites to stoke your imagination with tales of terror before leading you along to the next stop.
Without spoiling too much, the company recommends you look into the Biltmore Hotel Greensboro if you’re looking for a place to stay — “This historic hotel also happens to be one of our frequent stops” — or M’Coul’s if you’re looking for a bite with a “haunting atmosphere.”
These spooky tours offer a fun way to learn more about the city’s history and discover places that even locals may have never noticed before.
Get the real origin story at Acme Comics
You may have never picked up a comic book, but it’s impossible to get away from them. Marvel Studios just released “Thor: Love and Thunder” in theaters, Warner Bros. has their take on DC Comics’s “Black Adam” on the horizon and Netflix is streaming the latest season of “The Umbrella Academy,” based on a Dark Horse comic.
But if you’re looking for the real origin story of these heroes and villains, look no further than Acme Comics.
Founded in 1983, Acme is the oldest and largest comic book store in the Triad, and they’re in part responsible for the Greensboro City Council’s 2012 decision to grant the Gate City its second lesser-known nickname: Comic Book City, USA. The nickname is earned both for the city’s four comic book shops — Acme, Parts Unknown, Ssalefish and Comic Dimension — and for the comic greats who got their start here, like Murphy Anderson (“Superman,” “Atomic Knights”), Randy Green (“X-Men”), and Chris Giarrusso (“Encounter”), according to Yes Weekly.
You can dig through comic history with vintage issues dating back to the 1940s. Or you can check out the biggest releases of the week from Marvel and DC, as well as Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, IDW Publishing, Boom Studios and more. And then there’s everything in between.
This year, the shop has a new captain at the helm: Jermaine Exum, affectionately nicknamed “Lord Retail” by his customers and community. And, in April, the shop was remodeled for a much more open layout.
Acme Comics is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Meet Ravi over at the Greensboro Science Center
Even if you’ve been to the science center before, there’s a brand new reason to stop by.
Usha and Tai, the science center’s two beloved red pandas, had a baby on June 20. Now, Ravi the red panda cub has made enough progress to be moved to the Shearer Animal Hospital on Thursday, where he will be visible to GSC guests through a window.
“Ravi will be located in an incubator until he is larger and mobile enough to be housed in a modified pack-n-play,” said Kelly Rauch, red panda string lead.
Guests can watch Ravi be fed with feedings currently scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. though it’s worth noting that feeding times can change with little to no notice.
But Ravi isn’t the only reason to visit. You can also see the maned wolves, okapi, pygmy hippos, serval, sand cats, meerkats and more. Not to mention the aquarium and fossils.
The Greensboro Science Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $19.50 for adults, $18.50 for seniors and $17.50 for kids 3-13. Children 2 and under are free.
Picture yourself having a blast at The Selfie Spot
Why not bring your social media game to the next level?
At The Selfie Spot, each room is its own experience dedicated to the 21st-century self-portrait we all know as the selfie.
The spot has 15 vignettes, and we’re not just talking about a pretty background. Each room has an immersive theme. Take for instance “Dirty Laundry” where you can toss $100 bills into the air while lounging over a washing machine.
The spot is meant to give guests a beautiful and intriguing venue to snap pictures or film videos alone or with friends. They’ll even let you film a music video there if you book a time.
The Selfie Spot is open Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets cost $30 for adults and $20 for kids 5-12. Children under 5 are free.