Major Universities: University of North Carolina-Greensboro, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro College
8. Greensboro, NC
Sitting less than an hour west of North Carolina’s famous research triangle of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill is Greensboro, a medium-sized city with big city heart. The town’s college community is co-anchored by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Together, the two schools (both of which were founded in 1891) have around 30,000 students. Add in the several thousand staff, and you’ll find that more than 10% of the community is directly connected to the universities.
That dominant collegiate presence has given Greensboro a surprisingly diverse artistic vibe. There are several large music festivals here throughout the year. The Greensboro Ballet and the Greensboro Symphony also regularly put on world-class performances, and the six galleries of UNCG’s Weatherspoon Art Museum host one of the most well-respected collections of modern art in the Southeast. There’s also the ArtQuest gallery at the Green Hill Center, where about 18,000 kids and their families get hands on with their artsy side.
For the outdoorsy students or residents, Greensboro also has a wonderland of greenspace. From botanical gardens to attractions like Hagan Stone Park, the area’s natural beauty is easy to find. And if you’re looking to combine your outdoor and active life, the city also has one of the best collections of greenways in North Carolina.
It’s not just the scenery that’s green either, as the Proximity Hotel, AKA the “greenest hotel in America,” calls the city home. That’s one of the reasons Greensboro was named one of our Top 10 Best Green Cities, and why they’ve made our Top 100 Places to Live two years running.