Home Adventure 10 Best Things To Do In Winston Salem-A Traveler’s Guide

10 Best Things To Do In Winston Salem-A Traveler’s Guide

by Tayebah Malik
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Welcome to Winston-Salem, a city where history, culture, and vibrant experiences come together in perfect harmony. Before we take you on a journey through the best things to do in Winston-Salem, let’s explore the roots of this enchanting city. It was once two separate towns, Winston and Salem, each with its own story and character. In 1913, they united to form Winston-Salem, blending their unique flavors into a city that thrives on diversity. Today, Winston-Salem is a place where time-honored traditions meet modern adventures, making it an ideal destination for explorers, history buffs, and those seeking the simple joys of life. So, let’s dive into the fun things to do in Winston Salem, an unforgettable gem in North Carolina.

About Winston Salem Past-Unlocking The Secrets

Before we dive into all the exciting things to do in Winston Salem, let’s take a quick trip back in time to uncover the city’s fascinating history. Winston-Salem wasn’t always the vibrant place it is today. A long, long time ago, in the mid-18th century, a group of German Moravians arrived and settled in this area. They decided to call their town Salem, which means “peace” in German. At first, it was just a little county town, nothing too fancy. But in 1851, they decided to jazz things up a bit and changed the town’s name to Winston, in honor of Joseph Winston, a Revolutionary War hero. So, now you know where the name Winston-Salem comes from!

But wait, there’s more. In 1913, these two neighboring towns, Winston and Salem, decided they were better together. They joined forces and became what we now know as Winston-Salem. This merger turned the city into a cultural hub, but it had humble beginnings as a titan in the textile and tobacco industries. Yep, you heard that right, Winston-Salem was once the home of Camel Cigarettes. Over time, Winston-Salem transformed into a place where art, nature, delicious food, museums, and more thrived. So, when you explore this city today, remember that you’re walking through a place with a rich history that’s as diverse as the experiences you’re about to have. Let’s go discover all the fun things to do in Winston-Salem for adults and all ages!

Things To In Winston Salem-Must See Attractions And Activities

Winston-Salem, often referred to as the “City of Arts and Innovation,” is a place where the past gracefully meets the future. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art aficionado, a foodie looking for culinary delights, or simply someone seeking a leisurely escape, Winston-Salem has something special for you. Here is the list of the 10 best things to do in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Exploring Architectural Gems In West End Historic District

As you stroll through this district, you’ll be transported through time. The architecture here is a testament to the city’s rich history, with styles ranging from Classic Revival to Queen Anne to Colonial Revival to American Craftsman. This area dates back to the 19th century and is home to approximately 500 historically significant structures. One standout gem in the West End Historic District is the Zevely House, once belonging to a founder of the city. See if you can spot it among the beautifully preserved buildings. The district’s streets are like an open-air museum, where each corner reveals a piece of Winston Salem’s architectural heritage. 

Old Salem Museums And Gardens

When you enter the Old Salem Museum, you will feel like you have stepped back in time to the 1800s, when life had a distinctly different rhythm. That’s exactly what you can experience when you visit Old Salem. It’s like a living time capsule. Cobblers crafting shoes, potters shaping clay, and the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread wafting from the Old Salem Bakery—it’s all here. Stroll through lush greenery, and you’ll feel like you’ve entered a different world. And speaking of bread, the Old Salem Bakery is a must-visit spot. Watch as they bake loaves of bread right before your eyes, and you might just be tempted to take one home.


Savoring North Carolina BBQ On The BBQ Trail

A trip to North Carolina wouldn’t be complete without indulging in some mouthwatering barbecue, and Winston-Salem is no exception. Get ready for a flavor-packed adventure on the North Carolina BBQ Trail. North Carolina takes its barbecue seriously, and the results are nothing short of legendary. The secret to their delectable barbecue lies in the traditional smoking techniques that have been passed down for generations. Whether it’s succulent pork or tender beef, the BBQ here will melt in your mouth and leave you craving more. One of the trail’s highlights is Real Q, a place that’s practically a legend in the world of pit roasting. Honkey Tonk Smokehouse, Camel City BBQ Factory, Little Richard’s Bar-B-Que, Clark’s Barbecue, and Country BBQ are just a few of the other must-visit spots on the trail.


Reynolda House – A Unique Museum Of American Art

When it comes to art and culture in Winston Salem, Reynolda House is a true gem. This museum offers a one-of-a-kind experience as you explore an expansive and glamorous estate that reflects the cultural lifestyle of the wealthy in the 1920s. Originally owned and inhabited by R.J. Reynolds, a tobacco industry giant who played a significant role in founding the town, Reynolda House sprawls across 1,067 acres. Inside this grandiose home, you’ll find rooms adorned with dazzling decor, including a bowling alley, an indoor pool, and even a life-sized dollhouse. The estate’s gardens are a perfect example of meticulous landscaping, ideal for a leisurely stroll. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking to soak in the opulence of a bygone era, Reynolda House is a must-visit attraction in Winston-Salem.


Exploring Trade Street And Shopping

Winston Salem’s downtown heart and soul lie on Trade Street, making it a shopaholic’s paradise. If you’re wondering what to do in Winston-Salem and love shopping, this is your dream destination. Trade Street is brimming with charming boutiques and specialty storefronts, each offering a unique shopping experience. As you explore this vibrant area, you’ll find several cafes and snack shops that are perfect for a quick refuel. Consider visiting Lavender and Honey for a delightful destination to satisfy your cravings. But Trade Street is just the beginning. Once you’ve explored this bustling hub, continue your shopping adventure by popping into The Snob Shop on Burke Street and Kindred Spirits on Trade Street. Here, you can uncover artisanal and vintage gems that will make your Winston-Salem visit even more memorable.


Discovering Historic Bethabara Park

History buffs and nature enthusiasts alike will find Historic Bethabara Park to be a captivating destination in Winston Salem. This Moravian settlement, established in 1753, predates the community’s move to Old Salem and covers 183 scenic acres. As you explore Bethabara Park, you’ll encounter restored buildings that have retained their former glory and charm. The Bethabara Moravian Church stands as a testament to the area’s rich history. But Bethabara Park isn’t just about the past; it’s also a thriving wildlife preserve. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the native species that call this park home, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled. Additionally, the park’s well-maintained trails offer a picturesque backdrop for a day of leisurely wandering.


A Step Into The Past At Mast General Store

For a taste of local flavor and a journey back in time, a visit to Mast General Store is a must on your Winston-Salem itinerary. This 19th-century general store is a one-of-a-kind attraction that offers a delightful glimpse into the past. Mast General Store has maintained its original charm from decades ago, and it’s a place where you can find a little bit of everything. From outdoor gear to local gourmet grits to handcrafted creams and lotions, this store embodies the essence of the South’s general stores. However, what truly sets Mast General Store apart is its diverse selection of old-time candy choices. Exploring the candy section here is sure to evoke a childlike joy in your heart and tantalize your taste buds with nostalgic treats.


Snap A Photo Of The Shell Station

While you’re exploring Winston Salem, don’t miss the chance to snap a photo of the iconic Shell Station. This vintage gem is the last standing Shell Oil Clamshell in the country, and it’s a quirky relic from the 1930s. The Shell Station serves as a fascinating monument to its era, filled with fun and funky memorabilia that will transport you back in time. During its heyday, there were seven of these distinctive clamshell-shaped structures scattered around town as part of an Art Deco advertising campaign. Today, it stands as a phenomenally preserved piece of Camel City culture and offers the perfect Insta-worthy photo opportunity for your social media feed.

The Iconic Coffee Pot

Built in 1858, this colossal coffee pot stands over seven feet tall, making it an unmistakable and somewhat mysterious sight. Originally, it was part of an attention-grabbing campaign for a local tin shop. The sheer size of this coffee pot, capable of holding up to 740 gallons of java, was designed to turn heads and spark curiosity. Over the years, it has become a recognizable symbol of the area. The Coffee Pot has also been the subject of many local folklore and legends, so be sure to ask around to hear all the current cult classic theories. After visiting this iconic landmark, satisfy your thirst at one of Winston Salem’s best coffee shops, where you can enjoy a cup of Joe while reminiscing about this larger-than-life coffee pot.

Wine Tasting In Yadkin Valley Wineries

Located just west of Winston-Salem, this fantastic wine region boasts over 40 verdant vineyards spread across a million-acre expanse. For wine enthusiasts, this is akin to stepping into paradise. As you visit these wineries, you’ll be greeted with charming country-tasting rooms that offer not just exceptional wines but also breathtaking views that stretch over rolling hills and fields of vineyards. It’s an experience that engages all your senses, from the rich aromas of aging barrels to the crisp, refreshing taste of carefully crafted wines. Some wineries even provide tours of their facilities, offering you a glimpse into the art and science of winemaking. It’s a chance to appreciate the dedication and craftsmanship that go into every bottle.


Final Thoughts 

In Winston-Salem, an array of captivating experiences awaits. From the rich history of architectural gems in West End to the tantalizing flavors along the BBQ Trail, this city is a treasure trove of things to do in Winston-Salem. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a wine connoisseur, or simply seeking unique sights, Winston-Salem has something to delight every traveler. So, embark on your adventure and discover the countless things to do in Winston-Salem, creating memories that will linger long after you’ve explored its charming streets.

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