Winston Salem was founded by a group of German Moravians. Winston and Salem were two separate towns that came together to make Camel City’s cultural center.
This name comes from the fact that it is a huge textile and tobacco manufacturing center. Since then, it has grown into a place where artists, nature, food, museums, and other things come together.
Winston-Salem has the best of all worlds, with the beauty of a small Southern town and the conveniences and activities of a larger, growing city.
It is one of the best places to visit in North Carolina, and you could spend a few days here seeing everything. The best things to do in Winston Salem are listed below.
Best Things To Do In Winston Salem
Old Salem Museums And Gardens
With an interactive tour of Old Salem, you can see what life was like in a Moravian town in the 1800s. There are 20 historic buildings to see, as well as interpreters who act out what life was like during that time. One of the best things to do in Winston Salem is to come here.
In the living museum, you can watch shoemakers make shoes and potters make things out of clay. The grounds are lovely for a stroll through the plants. Fresh loaves of bread are baked and sold at Old Salem Bakery, which is a very nice place to go.
Walk Around The West End Historic District
There are a lot of beautiful buildings in the West End of town. From Classic Revival to Queen Anne to Colonial Revival to American Craftsman, there are many different styles.
This one goes back to the 1800s. In just one area of Winston-Salem, there are about 500 historic buildings that are worth seeing.
The Zevely House, which was built by one of the people who started the city, is a popular place for architecture fans to visit. Try to figure out which one it is.
North Carolina BBQ Trail
One of the best things to do in North Carolina is eat BBQ, which is a fact. People tend to agree that North Carolina has some of the best traditional Southern barbecue in the country.
The methods used to smoke this tender pork and beef have been passed down from generation to generation.
The North Carolina BBQ trail has the best of the best, with strict rules about how it is cooked, how it tastes, and how it is served.
Real Q is the stuff of pit roasting stories in the area.
Other great BBQ places you should try are:
- Honkey Tonk Smokehouse
- Camel City BBQ Factory
- Little Richard’s Bar-B-Que
- Clark’s Barbecue
- Country BBQ
The Reynolda House is a great example of a museum of American art. It lets you take a tour of a large, beautiful estate that shows how the wealthy lived in the 1920s.
It was first owned and lived in by R.J. Reynolds, who was a big name in the tobacco business and helped build the town. It is 1067 acres big and has the best collection of American art from the last 300 years.
A bowling alley, an indoor pool, and a dollhouse the size of a real house are just some of the amazing things inside this magnificent mansion. The grounds are well taken care of and have elegant designs for a stroll.
Shop On Trade Street
The best place to shop until you drop in Winston-Salem. full to the brim of cute stores and boutiques. Several cafés and snack shops, such as Lavender & Honey, are great places to get a quick boost.
It’s where the city’s heart and soul are. After that, go to The Snob Shop on Burke Street and Kindred Spirits on Trade Street to find handmade and vintage items.
Historic Bethabara Park
In 1753, Moravians set up a colony at what is now called Bethabara Park, but they later moved to Old Salem. It is a 183-acre wildlife refuge with the latest technology.
The Bethabara Moravian Church is a great example of a building that has been fixed up to look as good as it did when it was first built.
Keep your eyes open for beautiful native species. Birdwatchers also like to come to this area. A peaceful way to spend the day is to walk around the grounds on one of the paths.
Step Into The Past At Mast General Store
Seeing this treasure is another great thing to do in Winston Salem that doesn’t take too much time. This general store from the 1800s is a unique place to visit in Camel City.
It still has that old-fashioned Southern feel, so this is the place to go if you want that. You can still buy everything from handmade creams and lotions to local gourmet grits and outdoor gear there, just like in the past.
It’s known for having a lot of nostalgic sweets that take you back to the simple pleasures of your childhood. Mast General Store has a lot of things that are unique to the area.
Relax At Quarry Park
This park is a great place to get away from the city and enjoy nature. It also has some of the best views of the city skyline. The quarry used to be working, but now it is a beautiful blue lake surrounded by rocks. After being built in the 1920s, it was still in use until the 1970s.
By walking out on the pier that goes out into the water, you can enjoy a beautiful view and a calm atmosphere. For a nice walk in the fresh air and beautiful scenery, you can choose from a number of well-kept trails.
Walk The Art Trail
Art-o-mat, the strangest and most amazing piece of art ever made, was made in Winston-Salem. Machines that used to sell cigarettes now sell art.
The art is reasonably priced and often gives local artists a pleasant surprise. There are only 100 of these devices in the whole world, and some of them may be hidden in your own city.
At Artivity on the Green in the downtown Arts District, you can see fun and modern sculptures in the open air. Many of the walls in the neighborhood are painted with funny and well-done murals, giving the area a colorful and lively feel. Find as many as you can and pick the one you like best.
Snap A Photo Of The Shell Station
The last one of its kind in the country is the Shell Oil Clamshell. It’s a weird relic from the 1930s that honors that time with all kinds of strange things. As part of a failed art deco marketing plan, seven of them were put up all over the city.
This is the place to go if you want to post something really interesting to your social media accounts. It is a piece of Camel City history that has been kept in great shape. The Shell Oil Clamshell is one of Winston-best-kept Salem’s secrets.
Check Out The Coffee Pot
The Coffee Pot is an important part of Winston-Salem, and no trip there is complete without a cup of their famous coffee.
It was built in 1858 and is one of the oldest places to visit in the city. Because it is nearly seven feet tall, it is both interesting and hard to see. It is now a well-known landmark in the area.
It was a smart way for a nearby hardware store to get the word out. It can hold as much as 740 gallons of the best coffee in the world.
It is the center of a number of urban legends and myths. Find out what the most recent fan theories are about this cult classic. After that, go to one of Winston Salem’s best coffee shops to get something to drink.
Hit Up The Many Breweries
When in Winston Salem, you have to have a drink or two. There are many small breweries in the city.
Foothills Brewing is a popular place for both locals and tourists to go because it is one of the best breweries in the state of North Carolina. They are known all over the Carolinas for making artisan beers that are well fermented and made.
Their most popular product, Hoppyum IPA, is made in huge quantities at their main brewery. Incendiary Brewing is a one-of-a-kind industrial sanctuary that used to be a power plant.
They have drafts for every taste, from Vienna Amber Lager to Milkshake New England IPA and Honey Blonde Ale.
Enjoy All The Delicious Restaurants
Sweet Potatoes has become an important part of the city’s dining scene. It is a haven for people who like soul food.
We really think you should go to this charming place in the country for a delicious dinner. The Slap Yo Mama Ribs and the Fried Green Tomato and Okra Basket are good places to start.
Mozelle’s takes its food more seriously than other casual Southern restaurants. Gourmet dishes like meatloaf and tomato pie are served in a room that is open and airy.
Bobby Boy Bakeshop is one of the best places in Winston Salem to get breakfast or dessert, so if you’re craving something sweet, you should go there.
Southeastern Center For Contemporary Art
At the SECCA exhibition, people from all over the world show works that use different kinds of media. There are no permanent collections to bore you; instead, new and interesting things are always being brought in. At SECCA, you can always find something surprising and interesting to do.
Through dance, music, images, and education, SECCA shows many different points of view. They help spread new and interesting modern art and are a cultural hub for the area.
Hike In Hanging Rock State Park
Hanging Rock is a great North Carolina state park that you should definitely check out! On 9,000 acres just outside of town, you’ll find a real oasis of natural beauty and many different kinds of landscapes. Even though it takes about 40 minutes to get there, it’s one of the best things to do in Winston Salem.
On the park’s 20 miles of trails, you can climb steeply to see beautiful views, take a leisurely walk by babbling brooks and tumbling waterfalls, paddle down the Dan River, or cool off in a lake.
The area is good for rock climbing and riding mountain bikes. This is one of the best things to do in Winston-Salem if you like being outside.
Black Mountain Chocolate Factory Tour
The tour of the chocolate factory at Black Mountain Chocolate is as close as you can get to seeing Willy Wonka’s factory without actually going there.
You can tour this place on your own, and it tastes just as good as it smells. On a guided tour, you might find out a lot about chocolate and how hard it is to make.
At the end, you can buy any sweets you’ve been craving, like hot chocolate, gelato, or pastries. There are also workshops where you can learn how to mix drinks or pair chocolates with wines.
Have A Drink At Broad Branch Distillery
Broad Branch is a place to relax and have fun. It is in the Arts District and used to be a tobacco warehouse.
From the grain to the glass, the distillery uses local, traditional, hand-made methods. You can see how the high-tech, carefully made operation works, and if you want, you can even try some of their products.
They make a wide range of great whiskeys and rums with local ingredients. The Sungazer Tropical Transcendence Rum is a real find, just like the Smashing Violet North Carolina Infusion Whiskey.
Enjoy A Getaway At Graylyn Estate
Graylyn is one of the largest private homes in the state. This mansion in North Carolina is a great place for a couple to spend the weekend.
It was built by Mr. and Mrs. Bowman Gray in the 1930s. It is now a high-end hotel with the best amenities you can find in town. They offer a variety of things to do, like tours of the estate and tastings of their own wines.
It was built in the Norman Revival style and sits on 85 acres of lush, open land. Every guest will remember their stay at the hotel because each room is unique and well-designed.
Drink Wine At Yadkin Valley Wineries
West of Winston-Salem, there is a great North Carolina winery with a lot of choices. There are more than forty lush vineyards on this rich, one-million-acre piece of land. Since the Yadkin Wineries are so close to the city, going there for the day is a great way to spend the day.
From the rare muscadine wines of North Carolina to the more common vitis vinifera wines of Europe, the vineyards produce a wide range of wines. There are both small tasting rooms in a country style with beautiful views of the vineyards and big, industrial operations.
Day Trip To Mount Airy
Mount Airy is a small town in the South that has all the friendliness and small-town charm you could want. Andy Griffith’s popular 1960s TV show with the same name was based on his hometown, which was called Mayberry.
The museums, tours, and shops that pay tribute to their claim to fame make visitors feel like they’ve gone back in time or into the show. It’s a unique way to enjoy kitsch.
Museum Of Early Southern Decorative Arts
The Decorative Arts Museum of the Southeast (MESDA), also called the Frank L. Horton Museum Center, is dedicated to preserving and sharing the region’s rich artistic history.
The museum is in a building that used to be a grocery store. It was fixed up so that it could hold modern displays and artifacts.
There is one of the best places for research in the world. Seven states and 400 years of Southern American history are covered, with a focus on preserving and explaining the region’s rich cultural history.
Relax On Salem Lake
Some people in the area even call this refuge “Winston-hidden Salem’s jewel” because it fits in so well with the city. Salem Lake Trail is a great way to enjoy a seven-mile walk around a sparkling lake, with views of the water that never end.
This lake in North Carolina is one of the best places to visit in the state. Spend some time on the pier and try to catch something or just look at what was caught that day. The trails are well-kept, and people who like water sports will like how easy it is to get out on the lake.
Take The Kids To Kaleideum
The Kaleideum is a place where people of all ages can have fun. The building in the north used to be called SciWorks, and the building in downtown Winston-Salem used to be called the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem.
Both offer a wide range of hands-on STEM-based exhibits that people of all ages can enjoy. See a show at the planetarium or take a tour of the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Factory.
Explore Korner’s Folly
Korner’s Folly is a beautiful brick house with 22 rooms that people can visit. Often, what’s on the inside is more interesting than what’s on the outside. A decorator built it to show off his work to people who might hire him.
There are fifteen different fireplaces, eight different kinds of brick, trap doors, artistic murals, and a wide range of ceiling heights, all of which come together to make a strange and interesting mix of features. They also throw parties like scavenger hunts.
Pick Up A Book At Bookmarks
This non-profit bookstore is more than just a place to buy books; it is an important part of the literary arts community.
Bookmarks help books with a bigger purpose by getting people to think critically and creatively.
Here, you can buy any book you want, and the money you spend will go to a good cause. Bookmark hosts a number of events for authors, such as Moveable Feast and Parapalooza, to bring attention to writers who work in a variety of ways. The largest book fair in the Carolinas is held there every year.
Best Restaurants In Winston Salem
- Ryan’s Restaurant: For fine dining and fantastic meat cuts and seafood.
- Cugino Forno: Wood fired pizza that is hard to beat!
- The Porch Kitchen and Cantina: Tex Mex Restaurant that is perfect for lunch!