A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

    History, culture, and ambition are woven into the diverse fabric that makes up Winston-Salem. At every turn, this City of Arts and Innovation celebrates its past while thriving

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

    History, culture, and ambition are woven into the diverse fabric that makes up Winston-Salem. At every turn, this City of Arts and Innovation celebrates its past while thriving

Sunset over downtown Winston-Salem

Your Guide to Winston-Salem



History, culture, and ambition are woven into the diverse fabric that makes up Winston-Salem. At every turn, this City of Arts and Innovation celebrates its past while thriving in the present. Cobblestone streets and historic gardens sit in the shadow of modern skyscrapers and Art Deco gems. Repurposed factories thrive as yoga studios, co-working labs, and award-winning distilleries. All the while, Southern charm and hospitality make visitors feel like locals. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or are a Winston local, read on for our favorite ways to experience this city.


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Dive Into History in Winston-Salem

Old Salem Museums & Gardens: One of America’s most authentic historic sites, the village of Salem was founded by a group of humble and hardworking Moravians in the mid-1700s. Today, more than 100 historic buildings fall within the district’s 100 acres. There’s no charge to wander through Old Salem, but an all-in-one ticket ($27) or the two-stop ticket ($18) grant access to more than two dozen interpreted buildings, along with Old Salem’s award-winning gardens.

Reynolda Gardens and crowd and interactive workshop in Old Salem, Winston-Salem.

Beauty awaits both indoors and outside at Reynolda House Museum of American Art and the surrounding gardens (left). Old Salem offers a glimpse into the mid-1700s, when Moravian settlers developed a thriving community (right). Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Reynolda: Equal parts art gallery and history museum, Reynolda House Museum of American Art was built in 1917 for the family of tobacco tycoon R.J. Reynolds. One of the world’s finest collections of American art is scattered throughout 64 rooms, along with a treasure trove of Reynolds’ family relics, period furnishings, fashion, and vintage toys. Permanent art collection highlights include Frederic Edwin Church, Andy Warhol, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, Grant Wood, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Don’t miss the spectacular formal garden, greenhouse, picturesque waterfall, and miles of walking trails at the adjacent Reynolda Gardens.

Historic Bethabara Park: The earliest Moravian settlement in the North Carolina Piedmont was established in 1753. Explore the park’s 10-plus miles of nature trails, 18th-century buildings, a reconstructed French and Indian War palisade and colonial village, and the 1788 Gemeinhaus Church. Want more Moravian culture? Embark on the Moravian Culinary Trail, a virtual trail that highlights three signature items distinct to the city: Moravian cookies, Moravian sugar cake, and Moravian chicken pie.

Historic interpreters at Historic Bethabara Park and interior of room at Körner's Folly, located in Winston-Salem suburb Kernersville.

Whether you choose to explore the 18th-century buildings in Historic Bethabara Park (left) or take a self-guided tour of the enchanting, Victorian home Körner’s Folly (right), you’ll find beauty balanced with interactive experiences at Winston-Salem’s historic attractions. Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Körner’s Folly: Kernersville holds our very own gingerbread home, a life-size dollhouse built in 1880. Stroll through a winding maze of doorways and staircases that span three stories and seven levels on a self-guided tour.



Explore Downtown Winston-Salem

A/perture Cinema: This independent art house cinema brings back the intimate movie-going experience while showcasing a lineup of independent, foreign, documentary, local, and festival films in two 80-seat theaters, one 45-seat screening room, and the recently added 25-seat alternative viewing space. In addition to typical movie snacks, a/perture offers a wide selection of beer and wine, healthy snacks, and special treats made by local bakeries.

Entrance to a/perture and bowling alley at Roar, both located in Downtown Winston-Salem.

Choose your vibe: indie film screenings in an intimate theater or hitting the lanes (or virtual putting greens) with your crew of friends at Roar.  Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Roar: Head to this four-story entertainment destination for boutique bowling, golf simulators, a food hall, and live entertainment. You’ll also find a 90-tap, self-serve beer wall and a rooftop bar with unbeatable skyline views. Roar’s lower level is home to the newly opened Twisted Putter, an upscale, tech-driven indoor mini golf course, and the BUNKR, the region’s largest gaming and esports center with 32 gaming PCs, Xbox systems, and more.

Winston-Salem Dash: There’s something magical about Dash games at Truist Stadium — the views of the city skyline, the chimes of the old-timey carousel, the local beer at the outfield bar, spreading a blanket along the grassy berm, chowing down on a chicken-and-waffle sandwich, posing for a selfie along the right field bridge — and that’s not even mentioning the on-field action, where future MLB stars compete on the regular.

Concert held at Bailey Park.

Music lovers fill Bailey Park to see the big-name bands that put on free concerts during the annual Gears & Guitars event in May. Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Bailey Park: During the lunch hour, this 1.6-acre green space in the heart of Innovation Quarter draws a crowd with the aromas wafting from locally owned food trucks. In the evenings, movie-lovers make their way here for regular viewings of fan favorites. Fitness gurus and beginners alike meet up on the lawn for free yoga. Festivals and events — such as Gears & Guitars and Juneteenth Festival — often fill the space with families, students, and furry friends looking for weekend fun. The park sits in the shadow of the iconic smokestacks of Bailey Power Plant, a mixed-use complex that’s home to a number of popular food-and-drink destinations.

Kaleideum: Scheduled to open in February 2024, this children’s museum invites kids of all ages to take on the role of both artist and scientist. A state-of-the-art planetarium, hands-on “Try It” studio, and 300-person event space complement the exhibits. And be sure to check out “Rooftop Adventure,” a multi-level rooftop play area — the first of its kind in the Carolinas — with fantastic skyline views.



Where to Eat

Louie & Honey’s Kitchen: A mother-daughter duo runs this stylish West End bakery that draws on old family recipes and seasonal ingredients to create contemporary masterpieces. Everything is made from scratch using organic North Carolina-milled flour. Their heavenly Amish-style cinnamon rolls are big enough to share, but you may choose not to.

Entrance to Louie and Honey's Kitchen and Margherita pizza from Mission Pizza

Wake up with plush, brown-sugar cinnamon rolls and a cappuccino at Louie & Honey’s Kitchen (left) and then close out the day with a glass of barolo and Neapolitan pie at Mission Pizza Napoletana (right). Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Mission Pizza Napoletana: Named one of America’s Top 50 pizzerias by Food & Wine, this go-to spot for premium pizza sits along Trade Street in the heart of the Downtown Arts District. You can’t miss the bright red façade and intoxicating aromas from its wood-fired oven. Most days, James Beard-nominated chef-owner Peyton Smith can be found manning the oven, preparing pizzas in the traditional Neapolitan style.

Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro: Offering a traditional Southern menu, this charming restaurant is more than just aesthetically pleasing: From a modern take on classic meatloaf to creamy shrimp and grits, regional flavors shine in their cozy dining room. No Mozelle’s visit is complete without a slice of their rich, cheesy tomato pie.

Sweet Potatoes Restaurant: For more than 20 years, the two-time James Beard award semifinalist Chef Stephanie Tyson and her partner, Vivián Joiner, have been serving up Southern soul food, earning national praise and countless honors in the process. True to the name, you’ll find sweet potatoes across the menu (the sweet potato cornbread is a must) and a variety of comfort food offerings.

Hands holding skillet of jambalaya and entrance to The Spring House

Tuck into a cozy skillet of jambalaya and other Southern comforts at Sweet Potatoes Restaurant (left), or enjoy a taste of historic Winston-Salem’s elegance within the sophisticated setting of The Spring House. Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

The Spring House: Here, award-winning cuisine meets one-of-a-kind ambiance. The upscale eatery sits inside the landmark Bahnson House, once part of downtown’s famed “Millionaire’s Row” of homes. Start your visit in the library-inspired bar before moving into one of the various dining rooms and patio areas. Chef Tim Grandinetti partners with local farmers and purveyors to create seasonal menus highlighting the region’s cuisine.



Where to Grab a Drink

Earl’s Whiskey Bar: Settle into this lively environment at a top-notch whiskey bar with authentic Southern fare and live country music to boot. Earl’s is next door to the iconic Ramkat music venue, both located in the up-and-coming Industry Hill district.

People sit around the bar at Earl's; craft old fashioned.

Whiskey connoisseurs can pair elevated bar bites with their favorite firewater at Earl’s Whiskey Bar (left) or sip creative spins on craft cocktails at Fair Witness Fancy Drinks (right). Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Fair Witness Fancy Drinks: Across from Bailey Park, this eclectic corner bar is a popular hangout for an after-work cocktail, as well as late-night dance parties and karaoke nights. Wind down with a French 75 or perk up with the house espresso martini made with Vietnamese coffee.

Easytalk: South Broad Street is alive with new openings, including this all-day beverage joint serving java by day and cocktails by night. It’s the brainchild of N.C. Bartender of the Year winner David Bowen and his wife, Maddie Fox.

The Prohibition-era interior of Joyner's Bar

At Joyner’s Bar, you can order a classic cocktail and browse the titles lining the bookshelves.  Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Joyner’s Bar: Settle into cozy leather chairs surrounded by shelves of books at this cozy neighborhood bar, and order a Prohibition-era cocktail with a modern twist.

Foothills Brewing: Styled like a ‘90s-era brew pub with lots of wood and a vaulted ceiling, Foothills’ restaurant/pub serves well-known year-round favorites, including Hoppyum, Jade IPA, and People’s Porter as well as seasonal staples such as Sexual Chocolate, a limited-release imperial stout with a national following.



Discover Winston-Salem’s Arts and Culture

Downtown Arts District: Head to Trade Street’s popular galleries and shops in search of the perfect souvenir. Spots such as Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery, Artworks Gallery, DeLurk Gallery, and Visual Index should definitely be on your list, and don’t miss ARTivity on the Green, the city’s first public art park featuring a mural wall, bandstand, and a central art sculpture known as the “Tower Cloud.”

People shop from street artisans in Downtown Winston-Salem. Museum goers check out the exhibits at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art

Creative energy courses through Winston-Salem, and some of the best places to experience it are at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (right) and out and about in town. Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

SECCA: Known for its cutting-edge temporary exhibits and innovative programming, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art presents the work of thought leaders from across the humanities. Follow along as they bridge art, technology, and engagement in the historic estate of James G. Hanes.

Sawtooth School for Visual Art: What started in 1945 as the Winston-Salem Arts & Crafts Workshop now hosts instructional programs for students of all ages led by professional artists. While you’re there, swing by the Davis Gallery year-round exhibitions. Fun fact: Built in 1911 as a Hanes Hosiery factory, the building is easily recognized by its jagged “sawtooth”-shaped roofline with skylights that maximized sunlight before the widespread use of electricity.

Celebrities pose for their photo and young actors perform at IBTf

Celebrate the arts through theater workshops, film festivals, poetry slams, and artist markets at IBTF.  Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

International Black Theatre Festival: For one week every other summer, the IBTF transforms Winston-Salem into a mega-performing arts center with over 130 performances. 2024’s event takes place July 29 through August 2024. More than 65,000 theater lovers flock here for a celebration and reunion of spirit hosted by NC Black Rep, the state’s first professional Black theater company.



Where to Shop

Reynolda Village: Adjacent to the Reynolda House, this charming village was once the working cottages and farm buildings of the R.J. Reynolds’ family estate. Today, it’s an upscale shopping destination complete with art galleries, boutiques, specialty stores, and restaurants. Dough-Joe’s doughnuts are made to order, ensuring the perfect bite that’s fresh and warm every time.

Shopper admires necklace at the boutiques at Reynolda Village

After stretching your legs exploring Reynolda Gardens, pick up one-of-a-kind pieces from the boutiques at Reynolda Village. Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Thruway Center: Here, you’ll find a variety of local shops interspersed with regional and national chains, such as Ivy & Leo and BohoBlu, which offer the latest women’s fashions. If you’re looking to outfit the whole family, stop by J. Crew Factory, Great Outdoor Provision Co., or the Hanesbrands Outlet.

Trade Street: The heart of the Downtown Arts District, Trade Street features dozens of locally owned shops and galleries, most of which sit along the 500, 600, and 700 block. Retail therapy options range from popular standbys — such as Body & Soul, Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery, and Visual Index — to newly opened options such as Major Tomms, Just Be, and Kin & Cottage.

Entrance to Camel City Goods Co. on Burke Street in Winston-Salem.

Show off your love for Winston-Salem with branded hats, tote bags, shirts, and accessories that showcase the spirit of the city at Camel City Goods.  Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Burke Street: A fondness for fun drives the blocks of businesses along Burke Street in Historic West End. Shop bespoke decor at Trouvaille Home and contemporary fashions at Primm’s and Evelyn Rose Boutique. Score vintage clothes, accessories, and antique pieces at The Snob Shop consignment boutique. Then head to Camel City Goods, a boutique apparel brand that sells stylish Winston-Salem-themed clothing, accessories, decor, and artsy postcards.

A treat to visit at any age, you can find anything from Yeti thermoses to barrels brimming with old-fashioned confections at Mast General Store. Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Mast General Store: Designed to feel like an old-fashioned country store, this Trade Street retailer features favorite outdoor brands, college gear, children’s toys, and an array of local products. Get a sweet taste of nostalgia in the retro candy section with overflowing barrels of caramels, chocolates, and other vintage delights.



Explore the Outdoors

Tanglewood Park: Just 10 miles west of downtown, this expansive park’s nature trails, greenways, arboretum, and off-leash dog park give a green light to playtime. The elaborate gardens are an attraction alone, but the fun extends to court sports and much more. A stable of horses means you can take a trail ride around the park, or, if the weather is warm, cool off in the pool during the summer months. In addition to two playgrounds, kids delight in Softgolf, which features oversized golf holes, clubs, and balls.

The Quarry at Grant Park: You’ll feel a world away from the city bustle at this 240-acre public park — that is, until you see the Winston-Salem skyline rising just beyond the trees. The deep blue lake was created by an old granite quarry. Now, it features several scenic overlooks, including a pedestrian pier that juts out 100 feet over the lake, affording magnificent views of the surrounding cliffs and city skyline.

Salem Lake Trail: Calling all bikers, joggers, and horseback riders: The 365-acre Salem Lake features a popular 7-mile greenway trail that loops around the lake shores, offering scenic views at all times. Part of the greenway network, hop on to access other Winston-Salem favorites, like the Salem Creek Greenway, Downtown Strollway, and Long Branch Trail.

Pilot Mountain State Park: Known for its iconic knob, Pilot Mountain’s stunning summit views of the neighboring Sauratown and Blue Ridge Mountains are well worth the 30-minute drive from downtown. Choose your own adventure from beginner to advanced, whether hiking or biking. Rock climbing and rappelling are even allowed on portions of the park’s cliffs.

Hanging Rock State Park: Mountains, streams, and a whole lot of green — you’ll find all that and more at this hiking haven 40 minutes north of downtown Winston-Salem. The park’s signature trail is a mile-long hike to the Hanging Rock summit and leaves you breathless (literally and figuratively). But the most impressive feature is its collection of awe-inspiring waterfalls, easily accessible via short hiking trails.



Boutique Inns and Hotels in Winston-Salem

Graylyn Estate: Tucked in the Reynolda Historic District on 55 rolling acres, this 1932 mansion turned hotel looks like a castle from Medieval Europe. Stay in one of 85 luxurious guest rooms, and take advantage of lawn games, walking trails, butler tours, wine tastings, and even “ice cream rooms.”

The entrance to Graylyn Estate and guests bowl at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel.

Graylyn Estate (left) positions guests to venture out on foot and explore around Reynolda Gardens; set in the heart of downtown, the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel (right) offers a perfect home base for taking in all of Winston-Salem, but you might have a hard time leaving with all the fun amenities on-site.  Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Kimpton Cardinal Hotel: Located inside the 1929 RJ Reynolds Building — an art deco icon that served as the prototype for the Empire State Building — the Kimpton Cardinal offers an on-site restaurant and bar (The Katharine), expansive fitness center, and a rec center featuring ping-pong, bowling, and a basketball court.

Historic Brookstown Inn: You’ll still feel intimately connected to the past at this centrally located hotel stationed in a 19th-century textile mill. Perks such as a complimentary Southern breakfast buffet and nightly wine-and-cheese hour only add to the appeal of historic details, from exposed brick walls and wooden beams to pencil-post beds.

Hotel Indigo: While a host of amenities includes the Sir Winston Restaurant and Wine Loft, the biggest draw of this chic-but-affordable hotel is its primetime location. In the heart of downtown, the 1928 art deco Pepper Building is adjacent to the new home of Kaleideum (see above).

Sir Winston Restaurant and Wine Loft Bar and guestroom at the historic Sheppard House in Winston-Salem.

Whether or not you’re a guest at Hotel Indigo, swing by the bar at the on-site Sir Winston Restaurant and Wine Loft Bar (left) for a spritz cocktail and warming bowl of lobster mac and cheese. See Winston-Salem’s iconic historic homes up close with a stay in one of the 19th-century houses-turned-bed and breakfast, such as the 1892 Sheppard House (right). Photography courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Summit Street Inns: Beautifully restored and reopened in 2023, the 1887 Colonel Ludlow House and its next-door neighbor, the 1892 Sheppard House, offer 10 luxurious guest rooms and over-the-top amenities, including a shared garden terrace, event space, and on-site parking. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast at Founders Restaurant, located a mile away at the inn’s sister property, the historic Shaffner Inn, a Tudor-style manor with eight uniquely themed rooms. Collectively, the three homes are known as the Winston-Salem Historic Inns.


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This story was published on Jan 10, 2024