Situated in nearly the center of North Carolina, Winston-Salem is a large city in what is known as the Piedmont Triad area. It’s 110 miles west of the state capital, Raleigh, but only 32 miles west of Greensboro, another major city in the state.
Planning a vacation in Winston-Salem is easy because there are so many historical sites, activities, accommodations, unique eateries and other experiences. There are even tours of the city and its wineries and breweries.
Since Winston-Salem experiences a wide range of temperatures, certain times of the year are better for visiting than others. These are spring and fall, when temperatures don’t exceed 71 degrees Fahrenheit or drop below 47 degrees. With 220 days of sunshine every year, there’s a very slim chance that rain will ruin your fun.
History of Winston-Salem
The Winston-Salem area was initially settled by Moravians in 1753, more than 20 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. The settlement spread across 100,000 acres on part of the Wachovia Tract, which is now Forsyth County. The first colonial town was established in what is currently Historic Bethabara Park, which is a must-see site.
By 1766, the Protestants established Salem as a congregational town and trade center for craftsmen. The town became a haven for entrepreneurs and only took a few years to attract a bakery, brewery, brickyard, cloth and furniture makers, flour mill, iron works, pottery makers, slaughterhouse and tannery.
The Hanes and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco companies are long-standing companies that have shaped Winston-Salem history too. They brought wealth to the area and sponsored the development of foundations and institutions. The character that they inspired is evident in the city’s economy.
Whether you’re grabbing a bite for lunch or sitting down for dinner, Winston-Salem has about 450 restaurants, cafés and bars. They offer traditional cuisine from the area and international dishes.
For contemporary American and southern-inspired dining in a cozy atmosphere, visit Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro. You can have steak and seafood appetizers and main dishes with wine and fresh desserts at Ryan’s Restaurant. For international fare, Hakka Chow prepares more than 110 Asian dishes from scratch as well as sushi.
Of course, there are also plenty of Winston-Salem restaurants with which you’re probably more familiar. Examples include Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden, Mellow Mushroom and other large chains. Fast-food joints are no strangers to the area either.
Along with having more than 40 wineries nearby, beer brewing is a big part of Winston-Salem history. Single Brother’s House was the first microbrewery in North Carolina. The city is also home to the first pour-your-own craft beer wall in the state. There’s even a Beer School that hosts classes once a month.
One of the most prominent Winston-Salem breweries may be Foothills Brewing. It was opened in 2005 but led the modern-day movement for craft beer in the city. Its Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout is one of its popular brews and sells out in just days. You can book a tour of the production facility.
However, there are several other breweries and microbreweries in the city. Fiddlin’ Fish Brewing Company, Wise Man Brewing and Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Co. are just a few.
Things to Do in Winston-Salem
From historic sites and museums to eclectic shops and art galleries, there are too many things to do in Winston-Salem during one trip. Whether your family is interested in history and art, culinary and winery tours, or outdoor adventures, the city offers plenty of activities.
The Historic West End gives you an eye full of structures from the 1890s to 1930s. You can walk through furniture and antique shops, dine in themed restaurants and take a carriage ride through the streets. Körner’s Folly was the 1880s home of Jule Gilmer Körner, an artist and designer. It’s dubbed the Strangest House in the World with seven levels, 15 fireplaces and 22 rooms. For outdoor adventures, you can visit the Horne Creek Living Historical Farm. It’s an outdoor museum that preserves and demonstrates agricultural and rural heritage from the early 1900s.
In addition, Winston-Salem is known for hosting annual events that you can’t experience anywhere else. The city holds the RiverRun International Film Festival every April, two wine festivals in May and June, and the Piedmont Craftsmen’s Fair in November.
With more than 40 accommodation properties, you won’t have trouble finding a room in Winston-Salem. The selection of campgrounds, hotels, and bed and breakfasts meets everyone’s style of lodging.
Tanglewood Park has 44 camping sites with full hookups, cable and Wi-Fi for 16-foot and 55-foot recreational vehicles. The Tanglewood Manor House in the park has been restored to encompass the Victorian era and is a quaint bed and breakfast. The Augustus T. Zevely Inn is a bed and breakfast and the only place in Historic Old Salem that offers accommodations. It has just 12 rooms, but each is decorated to demonstrate how the property was originally used.
The numerous Winston-Salem hotels offer a range of affordable to luxurious stays. For instance, the Best Western Plus features contemporary decor and fast access to Hanes Mall. The Embassy Suites Hotel is located in the Twin City Quarter of downtown. It features spacious suites with two and three bedrooms for families.