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Spartan Summer Excursions: Fourth of July Fun

From history and tradition to fireworks and food, Greensboro has all you need to feel free and festive this Fourth of July. The post Spartan Summer Excursions: Fourth of July Fun appeared first on UNC Greensboro.

A mid-week Independence Day holiday doesn’t make for an easy vacation escape, but never mind. All you need to have a fun Fourth of July is right here in Greensboro. Follow these tips for a complete celebration without leaving the city limits.  

Immerse Yourself in Local History  

Statue of Nathaniel Greene in downtown Greensboro.
Statue of Nathaniel Greene in downtown Greensboro.

On the defining Fourth of July in 1776, the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence that established the United States of America. But without winning the Revolutionary War that followed, the declaration was only a document of intent. Many historians believe that without the rebel army’s strong showing at the Guilford Courthouse in 1781, the scrappy Americans would have never defeated the powerful and influential British army. 

A stroll through the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park gives a glimpse of the colonists’ struggle for independence from British rule. Learn how General Nathaniel Greene’s strategy made the most of his army’s numbers and ensured that their supplies wouldn’t be threatened by British occupations.  

Greensboro is not only proud of its role in American independence, but also of its later role in the civil rights movement. For a true picture of the American journey for freedom, pair a visit to the Guilford Courthouse with the International Civil Rights Museum downtown and imagine the courage of North Carolinians who stood up or sat in for freedom. 

Students walk down Elm Street in front of the International Civil Rights Museum & old Woolworth's store front.
Students in UNCG gear pose with a GSO sign under a magnolia tree.

Let Freedom Ring 

Mom fist-bumps Spiro while her young daughter looks on. Food trucks are lined up behind them along a downtown Greensboro street.

Downtown Greensboro’s annual Fun Fourth Festival includes a Freedom Run and a street festival along Elm Street. UNC Greensboro is a sponsor of the event. Whether your vibe is sporty, artsy or foodie, the Fun Fourth activities downtown on July 4 are sure to please. 

For those who like to celebrate their independence with a morning jog, the Freedom Run starts and ends at Center City Park and winds through the streets of the historic Fisher Park neighborhood. Runners, walkers, and strollers of all abilities are welcome to sign up. The 10K begins at 7:30 a.m. with the 5K at 8 a.m. and the one-mile fun run at 8:30 a.m.  

Later in the afternoon, those who prefer to celebrate with art and music should get downtown between 1:00 and 6:00 p.m. when Elm Street is full of art and food vendors, and stages rocking with live music. Freedom Fest is free and open to the public. After nightfall, the city’s fireworks display will follow the Greensboro Grasshoppers’ game.

Catch a Game  

While you’re downtown, snag a ticket to the Grasshoppers’ game and enjoy America’s favorite pastime followed by spectacular fireworks. What’s more American than that? 

The Greensboro Grasshoppers play baseball all summer at First National Bank Stadium. It’s a beautiful stadium perfectly positioned in downtown Greensboro where spectators can take in views of our skyline while they watch the game. The team is hoping to be playoff bound after winning the first half of their season, so the stakes are high. Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. July 4th game versus the Aberdeen IronBirds are going fast, so book ahead of time to guarantee your best seat in the house for the post-game firework show. 

If you want to start your U-S-A cheerleading early, consider getting tickets for the International Friendship Series game at First National Bank Stadium on July 2. Organized by USA Baseball, this is the fourth in a five-game series between the collegiate national teams from USA and Chinese Taipei that is sure to heighten your patriotic vibes in time for the holiday. 

Fans jump up and cheer from a table full of food and drink at the Grasshoppers' stadium.
Panoramic shot of the view of the baseball field and skyline beyond from the stands.
Fans in UNCG gear clap in the Grasshoppers' stadium.
Photos by Jiyoung Park.

Hot off the Grill 

Students dine on the patio at Natty Greene's.
Photo by Jenn Smith.

Whether you’re touring a battlefield, catching a game, running a 5K, or strolling through a street festival, all this activity will surely work up an appetite. Didn’t get an invite to a Fourth of July barbecue? Who needs one in a city like Greensboro where there’s a great burger on every corner of town?  

Pair a juicy burger with a Guilford Golden Ale at the restaurant and brewery named for our favorite freedom fighter, Natty Greene, on Elm Street. Natty Greene’s new beer garden is the perfect place to gather with friends before the fireworks. Owner and Spartan alum Chris Lester is excited about the garden’s aesthetic for downtown Greensboro diners and how the space will double their beer production. “This expansion enables us to bring all of our production in house to give us more control and be more self-sustaining,” he says.  

Hops Burger Bar is another popular burger destination with its unique toppings and famous “Wall of Fries”. Go classic or try goat cheese, Carolina pulled pork, or bourbon marinated pickles on your choice of an Angus beef, turkey, chicken, tuna, or bison burger. Or you can show your Spartan spirit and go for the “College Hill Blues” with blue cheese, onions, mushrooms and spinach. Hops has been mentioned on several foodie lists for the best burgers in the state. Visit their Battleground Avenue or Spring Garden Street locations and decide for yourself. 

Arms come in from either side holding ice cream cones over a Yum Yums sign that says "serving Greensboro for over 100 years."

For some, Fourth of July just isn’t complete without a good ol’ American hot dog. Luckily, you can find options any time of day in Greensboro. Right in the middle of UNCG’s campus, Yum-Yum Better Ice Cream and Hot Dogs is a classic lunch choice for hot dogs and homemade ice cream. It’s been serving hungry coeds since 1906.  

But if you’re looking for an option after the fireworks display, try Neighbors Neighborhood Bar, just around the corner from the Grasshopper’s’ First National Bank Stadium on Simpson Street. Opening just last summer, its grill takes orders until 2 a.m. and serves a range of sandwiches including Chicago, Jersey and Carolina inspired dogs, along with craft cocktails. 

From history and tradition to fireworks and food, Greensboro has all you need to feel free – and full – this Fourth. Take a Spartan staycation and find all the holiday fun you’re looking for right here at the G. 

Story by Becky Deakins, University Communications. 
Photography by Sean Norona, unless otherwise noted.  

Lumen 5 video by Michael Ream.

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