20 Amazing Things to do in Greenville NC

Things to do in Greenville NC: Situated midway between the bustling energy of Raleigh and the expansive beauty of the North Carolina coastline lies Greenville, the focal point of Pitt County. Nestled within the broader tidewater and coastal plain regions of North Carolina, Greenville is affectionately known as the Emerald City, and for good reason.

This locale is a true treasure, contributing to a diverse community and offering a delightful fusion of cultural richness, educational opportunities, outdoor adventures, recreational options, and a vibrant community life. Surprisingly to some, Greenville boasts an abundance of exciting hotspots, catering to a wide variety of interests. As the densest city in North Carolina, it features numerous social attractions and serene areas where nature enthusiasts can escape the hustle and bustle.

Greenville is a dynamic and evolving city that seamlessly integrates educational resources with a welcoming community atmosphere. Whether you’re drawn to academics, outdoor pursuits, or cultural events, Greenville has something to offer.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, a myriad of activities captures the essence of this charming city. Greenville’s residents are well aware of what their city has to offer, attracting numerous visitors each year for short stays or complete vacations. With the proximity of Eastern Carolina University, easy access to the Tar River, connections to major highways, and a plethora of shopping options, this gracious city continues to draw in visitors.

As vacationers, you wouldn’t want to miss a single day of your trip without immersing yourself in the scenic beauty and vibrant atmosphere of Greenville. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 20 thrilling Things to do in Greenville NC while you’re on vacation here. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the captivating offerings of Greenville.

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1. Kayaking the Tar River

Embark on a kayaking adventure along the Tar River, a highly sought-after outdoor attraction in Greenville. Stretching 215 miles, this river flows seamlessly alongside the town, once a crucial naval route in years past. Today, it stands as a meticulously preserved sanctuary, teeming with wildlife such as deer, coyotes, beavers, foxes, turkeys, and a diverse array of bird species.

For those eager to navigate these waters, Knee Deep specializes in water rentals, offering kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. Their seasoned professionals guide you through the best routes, ensuring a memorable paddling experience. Whether you’re an individual or part of a group, they provide tool rentals and guided excursions, catering to both skilled and novice river adventurers.

In the era of riverboats, the Tar River was Greenville’s lifeblood. As roads supplanted rivers, the town’s economic prominence waned, allowing the river to revert to its natural state. Today, indulge in flatwater kayaking, granting access to secluded backwater cypress marshlands.

While Parker Creek and Greens Mill Run are evident choices on the map, the unmarked trail on the east end of the River Park unveils the finest paddling experience. Encounter ancient cypress trees and the remnants of a historic riverboat landing along this pristine route.

Appreciate the exceptional quality of Knee Deep Adventures’ kayaks and paddling-specific life vests, making them a premier choice for your exploration of the Tar River. Overall, Knee Deep Adventures stands out as a top-notch option for a fulfilling kayaking experience in Greenville.

2. Bike the Greenville Greenways

The Greenville Greenways stand as a testament to dedicated residents making a positive impact in their community. Initially conceived by the city council, it took a decade of unwavering effort to bring the primary greenway, The Green Mill Greenway, to fruition in 1995. Expanding over time, the greenway stretches along Greens Mill Run and the Tar River until reaching Town Common Park, creating an end-to-end connection from the ECU campus to the Greene Street Bridge.

In comparison, the Greenville Greenways evoke a sense reminiscent of biking on the charming Cape Fear River Trail in Fayetteville rather than the extensive interconnected bike routes in Raleigh.

The meager size of the Greenville Greenways, encompassing the Green Mill Greenway and Tar River Greenway, allows for convenient out-and-back rides. Nevertheless, Uptown Greenville is easily navigable by bike, providing a charming backdrop for a ride.

The designated Greensville Greenway Route forms a loop, commencing from Town Common Park and following the greenway until it reaches the 8th. Opting for 8th and Forrest Hills, rather than the road connector across 10th St, offers a more enjoyable ride, steering clear of the relatively busy street.

This 6-mile route, both fun and flat, covers a significant portion of the greenway and provides glimpses of historic Greenville homes along the way. Explore the beauty of Greenville on this engaging route, combining nature and history seamlessly.

3. Take a Hike at River Park North

For those seeking a tranquil retreat during their vacation, a visit to River Park North is a must. Spanning 324 acres of wetlands along the Tar River, opposite Uptown Greenville, River Park North offers a serene escape. The park features a small nature center, the Walter L.

Stasavich Science & Nature Center, provides opportunities for fishing, hiking, camping, recreational sports, and river access. Additionally, the park boasts various amenities to ensure everyone’s comfort, including rental boats, an observation deck, picnic sanctuaries, and a sand volleyball court.

Exploring the park is a delight, with approximately 3 miles of hiking trails winding through its expansive grounds. The wetland trails are particularly noteworthy for birdwatching, offering a peaceful connection with nature. Embark on treks by the water during sunrise and sunset, experiencing the exquisite interplay of light and mist, creating a magical ambiance.

For those paddling through the park, glimpses of flagged markers hint at a planned passage into the swamp. This proposed passage promises remarkable access and an enhanced awareness of the breathtaking natural beauty within this stunning area. River Park North invites visitors to unwind, connect with nature, and discover the allure of its diverse landscapes.

4. Dine Around Downtown

Explore the culinary delights of Downtown Greenville, a vibrant hub encompassing shops, restaurants, and activities in the city center. The proximity to ECU and student accommodations elevates the food scene beyond expectations for a town of Greenville’s size.

Indulge in the farm-to-café excellence at Starlight Café, renowned as the epitome of the town’s best and finest dining. Experience a unique blend of a taco truck and shipping container hipster vibe at Amante Tacos and Spirits, transporting you to a reminiscent feel of the OC.

Luna Pizza Café is a notable destination celebrated for its thin-crust pies adorned with premium toppings. Meanwhile, the snickerdoodles at Insomnia Cookies are nothing short of impressive, leaving a lasting “wow” factor. Downtown Greenville invites you to embark on a delectable journey, savoring a diverse array of culinary experiences that exceed expectations.

5. Caffeinate Consciously

Certainly, who doesn’t appreciate a good cup of coffee? Socially conscious coffee companies are truly remarkable. Coastal Fog stands out as a local market and bakery offering the highest quality, sustainably sourced coffee alongside simple and wholesome food options.

At Scullery Coffee House and Creamery, while they specialize in more traditional breakfasts, their commitment to great coffee is unwavering. They proudly serve locally roasted, single-source Lanoca Coffee, a perfect complement to their delightful fried avocado tacos. Embrace the pleasure of socially conscious coffee choices at these establishments.

6. Shop ‘Til You Drop

What could be more delightful than indulging in a holiday shopping spree? Uptown Greenville beckons with its unique boutiques, enhancing the vibrant food and drink scene. The Greenville Mall, housing over 60 businesses including stores, restaurants, and kiosks, offers a diverse shopping experience. Don’t miss the incredible local North Carolina products at the Dickinson Avenue Farmers & Makers Market, a must-try.

The shopping extravaganza continues with enticing options such as the Dickinson Avenue Antique Market, Uptown Greenville Umbrella Market, and a Wednesday night open-air farmers and makers market.

As you immerse yourself in these shopping havens, exercise caution, or your luggage might become too weighty to carry home. Uptown Greenville ensures a fulfilling and tempting shopping escapade with endless sales and a delightful atmosphere.

7. Explore the Arts

Exploring the art scene is a hallmark of college towns, and Greensville is no exception. The Greenville Museum of Art showcases a mix of fixed and rotating exhibits, providing a dynamic artistic experience. The town is adorned with statues by Johnathan Bowling, who came to Greenville pursuing an MFA in sculpture at East Carolina University, contributing significantly to transforming Greenville into a sculpture city.

Further enriching the art landscape, Emerge Gallery features additional local artwork on display. The University itself offers a diverse array of art spaces and performance venues accessible to the public.

The Wellington B. Gray Gallery showcases artwork by students, faculty, staff, and local artists, creating a vibrant hub of creative expression. Attend captivating shows and performances at the John D. Messick Theatre, Hendrix Theatre, and the Wright Auditorium, all contributing to the rich artistic tapestry of Greensville.

8. Tour the campus at East Carolina University

Although East Carolina University (ECU) may not be as widely recognized as some other institutions in the state, it stands as the fourth-largest university in the UNC system. ECU is a noteworthy destination, particularly for those who appreciate well-maintained campuses, historic academic architecture, and a clean atmosphere.

With a commitment dating back over a century, the school’s founders vowed to provide top-quality education for the region, a promise that has been consistently upheld. Today, ECU educates over 28,000 students from every county in North Carolina, offering a comprehensive range of majors.

The university’s dedication to academic excellence and its expansive campus make it a compelling visit for those seeking a blend of history and educational vibrancy.

9. Take in a Performance at the Whirligig Stage

The theatrical scene in Greenville has flourished in recent years, courtesy of local artists, particularly those associated with the Whirligig. This community theatre curates exceptional shows with the guiding motto of “Revel, Revolve, and Reveal,” a commitment they’ve faithfully honored since 2016.

The actors at the Whirligig Theatre bring performances that captivate and inspire both children and adults. This inclusive approach allows entire families to come together, gaining fresh perspectives on the world while relishing the artistic performances delivered by community actors.

Attending a show at this theatre provides an ideal way to spend an evening during your vacation, immersing yourself in the creative energy and talent of Greenville’s thriving theatrical community.

10. Get in touch with your spiritual side at Sojourner Whole Earth Divisions

While this destination may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it offers a truly unique experience. Here, you have the opportunity to acquire a wide array of products associated with the mystical side of life, including crystals, organic herbs and teas, tarot cards, books, jewelry, and various other unique items.

The owners have dedicated themselves to creating a fully inclusive spiritual haven, welcoming people from all walks of life. Services such as palm reading and tarot drawings further enhance the immersive and diverse experience provided by this establishment. It stands as a place where individuals with varied interests and backgrounds can explore and embrace the mystical aspects of life.

11. Take part in a local tradition at Piratefest

For numerous years, pirates made a famous mark along the coast of North Carolina, with Blackbeard being the most prominent among them. Each spring, the residents of Greenville unite across eight city blocks along the Tar River to celebrate their rich pirate heritage.

Anyone visiting in April is in for a treat, as the festival unfolds with lively live music, delectable food, and vibrant art sales. The highlight of the event, however, lies in the pirate-themed festivities.

Attendees can witness thrilling sword-fighting matches, encounter numerous costumed actors, and immerse themselves in the complete experience of a pirate encampment, making it a captivating celebration of the region’s seafaring history.

12. Attain some excellent height at the Air U Indoor Trampoline Center

Age is no barrier when it comes to yearning for the exhilaration of bouncing on a good trampoline. At Air U, with its expansive 10,000 square feet of trampolines and multiple foam pits, anyone can satisfy their desire to soar through the air. Whether you drop by for an afternoon of jumping or plan ahead for a private party by booking a room, Air U ensures a thrilling experience.

While you’re here, be sure not to miss the small arcade, adding an extra layer of entertainment to your visit. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking a blend of airborne excitement and additional gaming enjoyment.

13. See a free show on Sunday in the Park Summer Concert Series

If you find yourself in Greenville during the summer months, you definitely won’t want to overlook one of the city’s most beloved traditions. Since 1973, every Sunday in June, July, and August, the town commons has been a host to free shows, typically beginning around 6:30.

This provides a fantastic opportunity to unwind at the end of the weekend and prepare for the week ahead, making it a longstanding and cherished summer activity in Greenville.

14. Bowl a few strikes at East Carolina Lanes

Bowling stands as one of America’s cherished pastimes, where individuals delight in spending hours on the lanes at East Carolina Lanes. Whether taking shots at the facility’s arcade games or enjoying the sports bar ambiance, complete with large screens broadcasting sporting events, patrons can relish a full menu and an impressive array of specialty beverages.

For an added boost to your experience, keep an eye out for their special deal nights, a regular offering that is sure to elevate your time at East Carolina Lanes. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the joy of bowling while savoring a range of entertainment options and culinary delights.

15. Get into the holiday spirit with the Festival of Trees

This festival exclusively welcomes those who choose to visit Greenville during the vacation season. Annually sponsored by the local Family Support Network, the event transforms with the decoration and illumination of hundreds of trees, creating a festive atmosphere for all who revel in celebration.

Families and children are particularly encouraged to partake in the enchantment, with opportunities to capture the magic through photos with Santa Claus. It’s a special occasion that adds a touch of holiday joy for those exploring Greenville during this festive time of the year.

16. Pull off some tremendous stunts at the Extreme Park at Jaycee Park

Greenville boasts the lesser-known moniker of “Pro-town USA” for a compelling reason. The skate park at Jaycee Park has served as the training ground for a higher number of X-Games medalists than any other facility worldwide.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, this area offers a fantastic space for individuals looking to enhance their BMX biking skills while enjoying an exhilarating experience. It stands as a hub for both amateurs and experts, providing an exceptional environment for honing biking abilities and having a great time.

17. Sink a few putts at Captain Jack’s Mini Golf

Captain Jack’s sets itself apart as more than just your typical miniature golf course. Offering a complete 18-hole course within an indoor setting, visitors can enjoy a climate-controlled and relaxed atmosphere, open every day regardless of rain or shine.

The pirate-themed decor enhances the overall experience, creating a fun and engaging atmosphere. While at Captain Jack’s, be sure to explore their concession stand, featuring pizza, salads, drinks, and snacks. As an added bonus, every game comes with complimentary popcorn, adding an extra touch of enjoyment to your visit.

18. Stroll back in time with the Eastern Carolina Village and Farm Museum

The purpose of this museum is to preserve and interpret the architectural and agricultural life in Pitt County from 1840 to 1940. The compound forms a conserved small village featuring authentic structures from that era, preserved as an educational tribute to history.

In addition to its historical role, the museum actively engages with the community by facilitating private events such as weddings, field trips, and photo shoots. Nevertheless, visitors will perceive this charming village as a delightful retreat from the hustle and bustle of contemporary life, providing a glimpse into a bygone era frozen in time.

19. Shop for a unique souvenir at The Venue

The Venue stands as a charming, independently owned vintage shop, meticulously curating a diverse collection of restored antiques. Originating as a personal hobby in 2008, the owner began the business by skillfully restoring old items for resale. The community swiftly recognized this talent, propelling the establishment into one of the most renowned stores in all of Greenville.

While locals can conveniently rent furniture and other items for special occasions like weddings, visitors have the opportunity to purchase a variety of repurposed treasures as unique mementos from their journey.

Operating four days a week, The Venue offers custom portraits, upholstery, embellished items, and more. Step inside for a truly distinctive souvenir; you never know what delightful discovery awaits.

20. Fling a few sharp objects at Stumpy’s Hatchet House

Amidst the surge of axe-throwing facilities in recent years, it’s astonishing to note that Stumpy’s pioneered this trend in the United States. If the notion of hurling potentially perilous objects seems daunting, rest assured. The Stumpy’s staff diligently instructs everyone in the proper techniques, and stringent safety measures, including mandatory protective equipment, are strictly enforced.

Engaging in axe-throwing at Stumpy’s proves to be an excellent way to gather with friends or acquire a distinctive skill to proudly showcase upon your return home.

Conclusion: Things to do in Greenville NC

In conclusion, while Greenville may not be the initial North Carolina city that comes to mind for many Americans, it proves to be a captivating destination. Boasting a wide array of attractions and activities, this city caters to people of all ages, making it an ideal spot for a brief getaway or an extended stay. With its diverse offerings, Greenville unquestionably deserves consideration when compiling a list of potential destinations.

FAQs: Things to do in Greenville NC

Q. What are the most popular things to do in Greenville NC with kids?

A. The top-rated activities for kids in Greenville, based on Tripadvisor, include East Carolina University, River Park North, Greenville Mall, Knee Deep Adventures, and Captain Jack’s Miniature Golf.

Q. Is Greenville NC a walkable city?

A. The Uptown District and East Carolina University offer great walkability, but as you venture farther from town, reliance on a car becomes more necessary.

Q. How far is Greenville from the nearest airport, and what transportation options are available for travelers?

Ans. Pitt-Greenville Airport (PGV) serves regional air travel in Greenville, while Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), located about 90 miles away, serves as the nearest major airport. Transportation options include shuttles, rental cars, or taxis for travelers.

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