Several colleges call Greensboro home, most notably UNC Greensboro, whose student population exceeds 17,000. There’s definitely a collegiate vibe to many parts of Greensboro, especially the downtown area, which is dotted with art galleries, eateries, and bars, bars, and a few more bars that appeal mostly to the under-40 crowd.
Combined with neighbors High Point and Winston-Salem, Greensboro is part of the bustling metropolitan region known as the “Triad,” which is home to more than a million residents, including recent grads, families with children, and retirees. So no matter what walk of life you hail from, you’re bound to find some kindred souls in Greensboro.
Now that the inner city has received a major facelift, you’re less likely to hear the “Greensboring” moniker. Once largely abandoned by five P.M., the downtown streets are now crawling with bar hoppers, sidewalk surfers, shoppers, and theater, music, and art enthusiasts on most nights. NewBridge Bank Park, home of the minor league baseball club the Grasshoppers, is also centrally located in the downtown area, while many other parts of the city boast a plethora of parks, playgrounds, and trails geared towards nature lovers and families.
Still, it’s important to realize that Greensboro remains a traditional Southern community, and many parts of the city are more sluggish than some outsiders might be used to. If you appreciate peace and quiet with an occasional sprinkling of excitement, you’ll love Greensboro. On the other hand, if you’re moving to the city expecting something akin to Key West, the first item on your apartment hunting checklist should be getting your noggin examined.
A variety of Greensboro neighborhoods offer their own perks and quirks, so take the time to scope them out in advance before sealing a deal for an apartment. College Hill (big surprise alert!), located just west of downtown, is a popular stomping grounds for UNC and Greensboro college students and features a variety of historic homesteads for rent. Downtown and the neighborhoods surrounding it, such as the prestigious Aycock Historic District to the north and the revamped Southside neighborhood, feature a variety of single family homes, townhouses, lofts and condos. The southwestern ‘hoods are perhaps the most spacious (and usually pricy) areas of the city, while the most affordable crash pads can be found along the eastern and southern city borders. Keep in mind, though, that you get what you pay for
The average rental unit in Greensboro goes for less than $700, but prices vary depending on location and amenities. Occupancy rates tend to spike just before the fall semester, so don’t be a procrastinator and wait until the last minute to begin your search. Fortunately, students can find living quarters within stumbling distance of campus for some ridiculously low prices (often $400 or less for a basic 1BR unit). Many of these budget-friendly apartments are basically glorified dorm rooms, though, so don’t expect to have a whole lot of wiggle room if you go this route.
Studio pads, lofts, and condos have become increasingly in vogue in the downtown area, where leasers can usually find spacious digs (often 1000-plus square feet) for well under a grand. Apartments are less prevalent in the more prestigious parts of town like Irving Park and the southwestern neighborhoods, but some are available and usually won’t cost you more than $600-$800.
Along with your leasing application, you’ll need to show proof of income, banking statements, and proof of renter’s history (or have a reputable co-signer). When you’re ready to move in, inspect the unit carefully and make sure everything is up to par, including appliances, sinks, showers, and toilets. Most traditional apartment complexes in Greensboro require an initial deposit that’s only refundable if you keep your place in tip-top shape, so point out any imperfections (even the most minor ones) to management before you settle in, or else you run the risk of losing your deposit over a preexisting blemish.
Also, read your lease carefully and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Landlords in Greensboro have drastically different rules regarding subletting, roommates, and smoking, so peruse your lease’s fine print before signing it. Many apartments near campus don’t allow pets, meanwhile, so we suggest you think twice before buying that Saint Bernard you’ve had your eye on.
It all depends on what part of town you’re staying in and what your travel needs are. If you’re a student living near campus, you can likely survive as a foot soldier in Greensboro, or else use the HEAT city bus system, which is free to students (and only about a buck for all other passengers). Still, most residents, especially the city’s workforce, rely on their own vehicles to get around. Aside from downtown and its adjacent historical districts, Greensboro is hardly a walker/biker-friendly town, so in order to shop, bank, work, and socialize conveniently you’ll likely need your own set of wheels.
Parking and traffic, fortunately, are rarely issues in Greensboro, although finding a parking spot in College Hill can be a challenge, since the tendency for College Joes in the area is to cram as many residents under one roof as the law of physics allows. Aside from College Hill, though, navigating the streets of Greensboro is generally smooth sailing. And now, brave apartment hunter, you’re all set to begin your bold and fearless journey! So welcome to Greensboro and happy hunting!