Things To Do in Winston Salem North Carolina City Travel
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Things To Do in Winston Salem

Things To Do in Winston Salem

What do Krispy Kreme Donuts and Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce have in common? They were both founded in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. According to Forbes, this area has the distinction of being one of the 14 Best Places to Travel to in the United States. In the past, Winston-Salem has won awards for the livability of the downtown area. Additionally, it has been voted one of the ten places to retire in the United States. We hope that this Things To Do in Winston Salem post inspires you. 

Things To Do in Winston Salem

Things To Do in Winston Salem

This historic city is the 5th largest in North Carolina. It is an eclectic community nestled between the Smokies and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Salem was settled by Moravian Eastern Europeans who were known for their culture and arts, and the town of Winston was home to many entrepreneurs. The two together created a thriving, unique community. In 1880, the United States Post Office began referring to the two towns with a hyphen, and so it remains. Downtown Arts District Association showcases studios, galleries, shops, restaurants, bars, and more between 5th, 7th, and Trade Streets. Winston-Salem is called the “City of the Arts and Innovation” thanks to the dedication to both the arts and technology.

The North Carolina city's original claim to fame came from the R.J. Reynolds Company. Today, the former home of R.J. and Katharine Reynolds holds the most extensive collections of American art in the United States. For exquisite dining, visit The Katharine Brasserie and Bar where you will delight in part French and part Southern cuisine.

Things To Do in Winston Salem

Things To Do in Winston Salem

There are many restaurants with a variety of cuisines. The Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen, and Bar is one of the few remaining mansions on what once was the Millionaire’s Row. Here, you will be tempted by signature southern dishes served with a twist. Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro serves their special burgers like the Cuban or Mozelle’s Pimento Cheeseburger. If you want to mix local art with great food, visit Mary’s Gourmet Diner (now permanently closed) in the art district. For an indulgent experience, visit Black Mountain Chocolate where you can either go for a guided tour or watch the “visible factory” to see the handcrafted chocolates used for rich drinks, desserts, and bonbons. If coffee is your favorite drink, Krankies Café and Coffee House is the place to go for good food, brunches, and superb coffee.

You can sample fine wines from the famed Yadkin Valley, Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery, or Childress Vineyards (NASCAR team owner Richard Childress). If you are a wine connoisseur, a trip just west of the city to Yadkin Valley Wineries is an absolute must. All told, there are over 30 wineries in the area.

Things To Do in Winston Salem

Lodging in the area is diverse. The newest luxury hotel is the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel which is housed in the historic R.J. Reynolds building (the prototype for the Empire State Building). It is very close to all the action, being near downtown’s rich cultural and food venues.

No Visitors Guide to Winston-Salem North Carolina would be complete with a mention of Old Salem. History at its finest can be viewed in Old Salem; It is a place where you can see an actual restored Moravian settlement that dates back to 1766. All of the buildings have been historically and accurately restored to their yesteryear glory. You will encounter actors dressed in period costumes, eager to answer questions and relate stories about the missionaries who settled in the area. You will see woodworkers, potters, farmers, and musicians all practicing traditional Moravian crafts. Stop by The Tavern for some Southern/Moravian comfort food served by a waitstaff clothed in historic Moravian clothing.

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If you are lucky enough to be in Old Salem during the fall or winter, the Old Salem Christmas by Candlelight Guided Tours is a must-see. The tours run from mid-November through a few days before Christmas. The ninety-minute experience is interactive when you grab an apron and a lantern and not only watch and listen but help with the chores. You can help prepare some of the tasty baked treats (your reward comes at the end of the tour when you get to enjoy some of what you baked), and even help the potter glaze your earthenware chocolate cup. You will have a special chocolate drink served to you in the cup you get to keep. After your treats, you can help decorate the Putz and Pyramid tree. This event is fun for the whole family.

A trip to Kernersville is a delight. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the huge Triad Park. Complete with many shelters and playgrounds, this beautiful wooded park will take your breath away. Then go on over to Korner’s Folly. This beautiful 22-room mansion was built in 1880 and is now a museum. View the original furnishings and artwork in this home that once belonged to the artist and designer, Jule Korner.

History and Culture

  • Old Salem Museums and Gardens: Step back in time to the 18th century at the Old Salem Museums and Gardens, a living history museum that recreates a Moravian settlement. You can tour historic buildings, watch costumed interpreters demonstrate traditional crafts, and stroll through beautiful gardens.
  • Reynolda House Museum: This opulent mansion was once the home of R.J. Reynolds, the founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Today, the Reynolda House Museum houses a collection of American art, from the 18th century to the present. The grounds are also home to Reynolda Gardens, a 126-acre botanical garden with walking trails, sculptures, and a conservatory.
  • Korner's Folly: This quirky house was built in the early 1900s by Jule Korner, a local artist and businessman. Korner's Folly is filled with Korner's artwork and oddities, and it's worth a visit if you're looking for something off the beaten path.
  • The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works: This historic pottery factory is still in operation, and you can watch artisans create beautiful ceramic pieces using traditional methods. There's also a museum on site that tells the story of the pottery's history at the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works.

Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, Winston-Salem North Carolina

Art and music

  • Mint Museum: The Mint Museum is home to a collection of decorative arts, American art, and European art. The museum also has a branch in Downtown Winston-Salem that houses a collection of contemporary art.
  • North Carolina Symphony: The North Carolina Symphony is one of the oldest and largest symphony orchestras in the United States. They perform a variety of concerts throughout the year, from classical to pop.
  • ArtsQuest: ArtsQuest is a nonprofit organization that presents a variety of performing arts events, including theater, dance, and music. They also have a gallery that showcases the work of local artists.

Outdoor Activities

  • Tanglewood Park: Tanglewood Park is a large park with something for everyone. There are hiking and biking trails, a golf course, a swimming pool, and an amphitheater that hosts concerts and events.
  • Salem Lake: Salem Lake is a great place to go for a swim, picnic, or boat ride. Several trails around the lake are perfect for hiking or biking.
  • Forsyth County Park System: The Forsyth County Park System has over 50 parks and greenways, offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Some of the most popular parks include Salem Lake, Bethabara Park, and Quarry Park.
  • Yadkin Valley Wine Country: Take a day trip to the Yadkin Valley, just west of Winston-Salem, and visit some of the many wineries in the area. The Yadkin Valley is home to over 30 wineries, so it's a great place to go for a wine-tasting tour. Sample local wines, enjoy a delicious meal, and take in the beautiful scenery.

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Food and drink

  • Winston-Salem is known for its barbecue, so be sure to try some while you're in town. Lexington Barbecue is a local favorite.
  • Winston-Salem Food Truck Scene: Winston-Salem has a thriving food truck scene, with trucks serving up everything from barbecue and tacos to pizza and ice cream. You'll find food trucks parked all over the city, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.
  • Craft Breweries: Winston-Salem is home to several craft breweries, so you can sample some local beers while you're in town. Some of the most popular breweries include Foothills Brewing, Little Devils Brewery, and Olde Salem Brewery.
  • Moravian Sugar Cake: Be sure to try a slice of Moravian sugar cake, a local specialty that's made with rich yeast dough and topped with cinnamon and sugar. You can find Moravian sugar cakes at many bakeries and restaurants in Winston-Salem.

Other Ideas

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a vibrant city with a rich history and plenty to offer visitors. This is just a small sampling of the many things to do in Winston-Salem. With so much to offer, you're sure to find something to keep you busy during your visit.

Things To Do in Winston Salem

Things To Do in Winston Salem

Things To Do in Winston Salem

We’ve discussed the endless supply of historic, culinary, art, and outdoor adventures that the city has to offer. An array of festivals and fairs also awaits the traveler. From Texas Pete’s Spirits of the Summer to the Tanglewood Festival of Lights, the Piedmont Craftsmen’s Fair to the National Black Theatre Festival, there’s something of interest for everyone. There is even an air show and a wine festival. They also have the YMCA Mistletoe Run which is an annual event, kicking off the holiday season, features a half marathon, a 5K run, and a Fun Run.

We hope that this Things To Do in Winston Salem post inspires you. Happy travels!

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Travel, food, lodging, and entertainment were provided by Visit Winston-Salem. All opinions are our own. 

Things To Do in Winston Salem

Things To Do in Winston Salem

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27 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Pingback: Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem North Carolina

  2. i love seeing those pictures of graffiti on the streets! the downtown arts district seems like a neighbourhood i’d love to move into!

  3. I love street arts and WINSTON-SALEM NORTH CAROLINA certainly has a lot of beautiful creation. I visited the US two years ago in the West Coast. Breathtaking and hope to visit again to other parts of US.

  4. My husband and I have been talking about relocating to North Carolina in a few years, so I’m happy you’ve put Winston-Salem on our radar. It looks like not only a lovely place to visit, but one to eventually retire to as well.

  5. What a cool art-decked out place! I definitely have to make it out there just to see! Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics!

  6. I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews and opinions about Winston-Salem. I think a family trip there would be nice and adventurous.

  7. Annemarie LeBlanc

    Such an interesting place to visit. I love the street art. That is totally Instagrammable! I hope we can visit someday too. Thanks for the virtual tour!

  8. I have been to North Carolina so many times, but have yet to visit Winston-Salem. This looks like such a charming town; I’ll definitely visit on my next trip.

  9. I’d love to visit Winston, SC. It’s  funny that NC gets all the attention but clearly there is so much to see here. 

  10. Winston Salem looks like a great place for our next family vacation. We haven’t been before, but look forward to going soon.

  11. Kiwi

    I thought Krispy Kreme was founded in Atlanta, I guess I was wrong. The more you know thanks for sharing some tidbits on Winston-Salem, NC

  12. I haven’t been to Winston-Salem in years, but I love how cool all the murals are. I feel like I need to plan a trip to Winston-Salem since it made one of the top 14 places to visit in 2019.

  13. I think we’d have a really good time if we took a few days off and visited Winston-Salem. Black Mountain Chocolate would be a priority for sure.

  14. We will be driving through North Carolina this spring and I have been looking for some great places to stop. I will definitely have to give the Winston-Salem area a try!

  15. Amy

    This looks like the kind of place I would love to explore! I have a friend who bought property there to build a home actually.

  16. Kathy

    That looks like a great place to visit. I’m loving all these photos! I would love to go there someday. I think it would be neat to see the area.

  17. Sherry

    What a great city to visit. I would love to explore the arts district. The street art is fascinating.

  18. Catalina

    I love travelling and visiting new places. I hope one day I will visit Winston-Salem too. Thanks for sharing!

  19. The art district looks so fun! I love art decor buildings and fun paintings! I just made my first trip to the Carolinas last year, but still so much more to explore!

  20. krystal

    I actually want to go so bad – North Carolina has the PERFECT climate for this Florida girl!

  21. Such a great place to visit! I definitely have to make it out there to check it out! Thanks for sharing the beautiful shots!

  22. Definitely going to be adding this place on my bucket list of new cities to visit. Winston looks like a beautiful city

  23. Looks like a fun place to visit. I’ve driven by there but never stopped. Maybe one day we will make it back there.

  24. I love reading about new cities and adding them to my list. The US has a lot to offer 

  25. I had no clue Winston-Salem was so cute!! My photography eye noticed so many cute spots! 

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