I’ve lived just outside of Winston-Salem for my entire life and couldn’t think of a better area to grow up. Over the years, Winston has started to become a more popular tourist destination and for good reason!
There are so many fun and interesting things to do in Winston-Salem.
I love finding things to do outdoors, ways to support local businesses, and of course the best places to eat and drink in town.
So that’s mostly what you’ll find in this guide with a few extras thrown in.
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Map of Things to Do in Winston-Salem
Reynolda House & Gardens
If you love touring historic homes and beautifully manicured gardens then you need to make a trip to the Reynolda House. The actual house serves as the Museum of American Art and is affiliated with Wake Forest University.
Admission currently costs $18 but the gardens are free. You can park in Reynolda Village and walk through the gardens and enjoy what’s in bloom.
When I’m on a city vacation I love walking through beautiful gardens as a break from all the buildings and pavement.
I love going to Reynolda Village just to look at the coordinated architecture. These beautiful buildings house multiple shops and restaurants in what was once the village that supported the R.J. Reynolds’ family estate.
One of my favorite stores to walk through is Monkee’s and the first Village Tavern is located here. It’s definitely one of the best restaurants in Winston-Salem!
Walk Through Old Salem
Winston-Salem was originally two different towns that merged together in 1913. The town of Salem was founded in 1766 by a settlement of Moravians.
This original settlement is what is now called Old Salem. You’ll find multiple restored buildings here, a museum, gardens, and a bakery & cafe.
If you like history then this is one of the perfect things to do in Winston-Salem in the morning before it gets too hot. In some of the buildings you’ll find employees dressed as the Moravians would have been and performing interpretations of how life was like back then.
Historic Bethabara Park
Before Salem, there was Bethabara. In 1753 the Moravians established the community of Bethabara and you can take a guided tour ($4) through the Gemeinhaus where church was held and the minister would have lived.
They offered tours of a log house, but those are not currently available. Check back at their website to find current offerings.
There are multiple different restored or reconstructed buildings on the property and you can walk around and explore the community gardens as well.
It’s cool to be able to look back on the history of this quickly growing city.
Visit Cobblestone Farmers Market
One of the best Farmers Markets in the area is located right in Old Salem! Every Saturday morning and Wednesday evenings you’ll find vendors set up on the cobblestones (hence the name) selling all kinds of unique items.
Camino Bakery is there with fresh bread and coffee. Multiple local farmers bring fruits, veggies, and more. Buffalo Creek Farm & Creamery brings along their goat milk products like delicious goat cheese. You’ll also find Bingo-Bango Sodas serving fresh fruit sodas!
Cobblestone gives you an insight into the great things that people are doing in our community. Come out and support local businesses!
Drive Through The Wake Forest Campus
I may be biased here since I’m a WFU grad, but the campus of Wake Forest is absolutely stunning.
Wait Chapel is beautiful and I recommend finding a parking spot and sitting out on the quad if you have some time. Maybe pick up a coffee to enjoy.
Drive around and marvel at the massive Magnolia trees. The views are really something.
I feel like Quarry Park is such a hidden gem in Winston. Or maybe I was just late to the game in finding out about it?
There is a walking trail here and it’s located right along the Greenway in downtown Winston. There are multiple overlooks and even an observation pier that extends out over Quarry Lake.
You’ll find plenty of parking and it’s open from sunrise to sunset so come out here and enjoy a sunset with your other half.
Walk, Kayak, or Bike Around Salem Lake
Salem Lake is another popular spot to take a walk or even do some biking. The trail around the lake is pretty easy and is seven miles long.
You’ll find lots of people here on the weekends and weekdays so it’s best to bet here as early as you can.
They have a marina and a great place to launch your boat whether that’s a jon-boat, kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard.
You can rent boats for a very reasonable price at Salem Lake if you don’t have your own. Rentals are only done seasonally so check their website.
Hike at a State Park
There are two state parks under an hour drive and one that is just over an hour. All three of them are great places to hike near Winston-Salem.
Pilot Mountain State Park is just 30 minutes north of Winston. Here you’ll find a lone mountain rising above the rolling hills with Pilot Knob on top.
You can park at the bottom at the new visitor’s center and hike up or drive to the top and enjoy a short hike with gorgeous views.
Hanging Rock State Park encompasses part of the Sauratown Mountains. At the end of the Hanging Rock Trail you’ll be rewarded with views of Moore’s Knob and the surrounding area from the rocky cliffside.
There are also multiple waterfalls you can hike to at Hanging Rock.
Stone Mountain State Park is known for the granite domes that cap the mountains. On the 4-mile strenuous loop trail, you’ll find a waterfall, fantastic views, and multiple places for a picnic.
Visit Local Wineries or Breweries
Winston-Salem is located in the Yadkin Valley where you’ll find some of the best wineries in North Carolina. I’ve already created a guide to the best wineries in the Yadkin Valley as well as the Swan Creek wineries.
There are over three dozen wineries in the area so no shortage to choose from. In the last few years the craft beer scene in Winston has also grown quite a bit.
While I’ve also put together a guide on Winston-Salem’s craft breweries, some of my favorites are Wise Man Brewing and Foothills Brewing.
Many people don’t realize that Winston has turned into a bit of a foodie city. There are some incredible restaurants in downtown Winston-Salem that you really shouldn’t miss. (Check out the link for a map of the restaurants.)
If you’re looking for fine dining then head to Ryan’s Steakhouse. The perfect place for lunch is Fourth Street Filling Station. For an upscale meal in a casual atmosphere don’t miss Mozelle’s.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg.
Go on a Food Tour
If you’re taking a short trip and you want to try lots of great food then this food tour is great! Food tours are my favorite kind of walking city tours honestly.
You’ll get to sample multiple different restaurants downtown plus learn a bit about the history of Winston-Salem.
Head to a Ballgame
The Dash is the baseball team in Winston and if you’re visiting during baseball season then I highly recommend going out to a game!
They are actually really fun and Truist Stadium is relatively new so it’s very nice. They have a beer garden out behind left field which gives you a great view.
Winston Cup Museum
If you are a racing fan (or even if you’re not) then you might love the Winston Cup Museum. NASCAR was sponsored by RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company – located in Winston-Salem – from 1971 to 2003.
During this time it was called the Winston Cup Series. You’ll find memorabilia from this era, race cars, and even racing arcade games that you can play.
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Shell Gas Station
This one is a quick stop, but it’s something quirky nonetheless. In 1930 a Shell gas station was built literally in the shape of the shell logo.
The tall gas pumps are still outside but the building is abandoned. If you like old, interesting buildings though then this isn’t too far out of the way.
Food Trucks at Bailey Park
Bailey Park is a small park in the middle of downtown Winston where they have food trucks almost daily.
Check their event schedule because they also occasionally have great concerts in the summer. This is definitely where you’ll find the locals hanging out.
Enjoy the Arts
Winston-Salem has a huge arts scene that’s constantly growing. The Reynolda House is probably the most popular place to enjoy the arts but there are plenty of other great spots too.
Southeastern Museum of the Arts, or SECCA, is located in the Reynolda Historic District and highlights regional artists. For an outdoor exhibit visit ARTivity on the Green. Many people love it at night.
There is also an Art Trail downtown that is a self guided tour of murals and other art installations.
Mast General Store
Mast General Store is one of the coolest shops you can visit in Winston. It started as a general store in Valle Crucis, NC in 1883.
Today you’ll find clothing, outdoor gear, kitchen supplies, old-fashioned candy, and so much more.
If you like to shop then this is the place to go.
Check Out All The Bakeries
There are tons of cute coffee shops and bakeries in Winston-Salem! Each one is unique and has its own specialty.
Camino Bakery makes delicious pastries, Footnotes has coffee from multiple different countries, and Lavender & Honey Kitchen makes incredible cookies and coffee drinks.
Triad ECO Adventures
If you’re looking for another interesting tour then go with Triad ECO Adventures. Everyone raves about their Trolley Tours and I’ve always thought the Paddlefit SUP tours looked cool.
They also have Segway tours if you’d rather do that. No matter what you choose, it’s a unique way to see Winston!
Tour Black Mountain Chocolate Factory
Black Mountain Chocolate sells all kinds of chocolate confections. Chocolate bars, truffles, and even craft cocktails.
You can tour the factory where they make all these items and get a behind-the-scenes look!
I highlighted Mast General Store because it’s one of my favorite places but there are so many other local places to shop too!
Reynolda Village has some shopping options and below Lavender & Honey Kitchen you’ll find Fiddle & Fig, a cute home decor shop.
Along Trade Street downtown you’ll see lots of independent shops as well.
Take a Trail Ride on Horseback
At Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, you can actually go horseback riding! The ride will last just under an hour and they match you with a horse based on your skill level.
The instructor will take you through wooded trails as well as along a river trail.
If you have kids then you really shouldn’t miss this. Kaleideum used to be called SciWorks and it will definitely entertain your kids for the whole day.
There are multiple interactive exhibits that teach kids about everything from the human body to the atmosphere.
This is actually located in the neighboring city of Kernersville but worth the short drive out there.
Construction began on Körner’s Folly in 1878 but the owner was a furniture designer, decorator, and painter so he never truly finished the house.
He used the 22 room house to showcase his design work and was always renovating. Today you can tour the unusual house.
If you love historic homes then this will be one you won’t soon forget!
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