The city of Winston Salem, North Carolina has the fifth-largest population in the state and it’s the county seat of Forsyth County.
It’s also part of the Winston Salem metro area, which covers Forsyth, Davidson, Stokes, Davie and Yadkin counties- 5 in total.
The city started its life as Winston in the 1700s, then Salem was formed around 100 years later, and finally the two were merged into Winston Salem in 1913.
Because of this, it’s called the “Twin City”. It’s also called “the Camel City” because it’s home to R.J. Reynold and Camel cigarettes.
Winston Salem is an interesting place, and there are tons of things to see and do there! Here are best things to do in Winston Salem NC.
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The Coffee pot in Winston-Salem
The Big Coffee Pot in Winston-Salem is an interesting roadside attraction that’s been in the town since 1858.
It was originally built by Julius and Samuel Mickey who were brothers and tinsmiths.
They created the 7-foot-tall work of art as a way to advertise their shop.
But there’s a bit of controversy about the attraction because it causes traffic accidents.
Horse and buggies back in the day even used to wreck due to rubberneckers seeking to get a peek at the pot.
It’s become the unofficial city icon, and a visit is sure to yield some unique photo opportunities!
Address: 401 Old Salem Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, United States
Salem Square, Old Salem
Salem Square is a historic landmark in the area.
It was originally moved a block North when Salem was being constructed, but it was moved back two years later because it had the elevation necessary to construct the town’s gravity-fed water system.
There’s actually still a pump in the southwest corner of the square from this time period.
Because it’s designed to be an open space, building on the Square has been restricted, although landscaping has been done, with fences and gates, and walkways.
Address: 649 S Main St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, United States
Historic Bethabara Park
Visit the Historic Bethabara Park to step into the past!
Bethabara was actually the first settlement in the Piedmont area of North Carolina and was founded in 1753.
The park is an entire 183 acres that holds historic buildings and their grounds, walking trails, birdwatching trails, and areas of protected wildlife and wetlands.
There are both reconstructed and restored structures on the grounds, as well as lots of exhibits.
You can check out the exhibit about the people who were enslaved there, or about Edwin Stocton, who was the founder of Bethabara.
For $4 you can also take a tour of the Gemeinhaus, which was the meeting house.
There are also free events, which you can check out on their Events Page.
Address: 2147 Bethabara Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27106, United States
Horizon’s Park, Winston-Salem
Horizon’s Park is a great place to unwind with a relaxing stroll, or to enjoy some recreation.
It has a gorgeous 2.6 mile hiking trail that makes a loop around the park.
It’s a moderate-level trail, which makes it a bit of a challenge, and it usually takes people about an hour to complete.
It’s a great loop to walk if you’re looking for a bit of solitude in nature because it’s not super-populated and you’re not likely to meet someone along the way.
You can bring your dog, too, as long as it’s leashed.
It’s got an 18-hole disc golf course, which is a relatively short course, but it’s got great views of the Pilot Mountain, and the holes have an average length of about 230 feet, making it something the kids can do, too.
And speaking of kids, it has a nice, well-maintained playground with equipment that you can tell has been constructed during this decade.
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Address: 2835 Memorial Indl School Rd, Germanton, NC 27019, United States
Reynolda House Museum of American Art
The Reynolda House Museum of American Art is not your average art museum.
Although, for art and history lovers, it is a treat.
It’s a stunning house that was built in the early 1900s by Katharine Smith Reynolds.
It’s called “Reynolda”, and it’s home to a collection of American art that ranges all the way from the colonial period to present day.
It’s also got 28 out of the 30 buildings that were originally on the property.
The formal gardens have been restored to their former glory and you can walk through them to enjoy Japanese Cryptomeria trees, and weeping cherry trees. Plus, there’s a 16-acre lake, called Lake Katharine, behind the house.
Check out the Reynolda event calendar to plan your visit around interesting events!
Address: 2250 Reynolda Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27106, United States
The Diggs Gallery
Some people have the misguided assumption that the Carolinas aren’t exactly the center of culture or tolerance.
And The Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem University has situated itself as a cultural center, not just for the more than 4000 Winston-Salem State University students that visit it, but also for countless children who come to visit it for field trips and such.
They’ve collected and exhibited one of the largest collections of African arts and African Diaspora in the entire state.
And with their dedication to exposing the city and state to culture, their exhibits range across a broad variety of different artistic styles and mediums.
Visit their Facebook page for an update on their current exhibits and events.
Address: O’Kelly Library at Winston-Salem State University, 601 S Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Winston-Salem, NC 27110, United States
St Philips Moravian Church
St. Phillips Moravian Church is not only an important part of the city’s history, but it’s a culturally significant site, as well.
It’s one of the oldest Black congregations in the entire country.
The African-American Moravian congregation at St. Phillips was first established in the town of Salem in 1822.
It was originally organized mostly by enslaved people.
Today, it’s the only African-American Moravian congregation in the United States.
You can visit every Sunday morning at 11am.
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Address: 3002 Bon Air Ave NE, Winston-Salem, NC 27105, United States
The Kaleideum is a fun-filled science experience for kids and grown-ups alike!
There are two different locations for the Kaleideum, but for the ultimate experience you’ll want to make sure you’re visiting Kaleideum North, which is on 400 West Hanes Mill Road.
They have around 25,000 square feet of exhibits indoors, plus the 17-acre Science and Environmental Park.
Some of the things you can do there include a Planetarium, an Animal Encounter, BioWorks, Hurricane Simulator, the huge Environmental Park, the Foucault Pendulum, HealthWorks, the Science Lab, a Moon exhibit, Soundworks, Science Park, PhysicsWorks, KidsWorks for kids 4 and under, and the MindWorks exhibit.
Check out their events calendar to see what’s going on when you go.
Address: 400 W Hanes Mill Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27105, United States
Salem Cemetery, Winston-Salem, NC
There are a few different cemeteries around Winston-Salem, such as God’s Acre Cemetery, which is the Moravian cemetery, and it’s basically right across the road from Salem Cemetery.
But you’ll know you’re in the right place when you find the stones to be upright, and various sizes and colors, among a landscape full of hills and ravines, which is in starch contrast to all of the flat stones you see in the other cemeteries in the area.
You wouldn’t think a hilly landscape would be a good place for a cemetery, but it actually makes for a beautiful landscape.
It’s been around since 1857, and it’s the final resting place of notable people, like Richard Joshua Reynolds (the founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company), William Roberston Boggs (a Confederate Army General), Margaret Nowell Graham (artist), and Florence Wells Slater (a scientist and teacher).
It’s a beautiful, serene place, and some people who have visited it for a quick drive-by photo session openly lament that they couldn’t have gotten out and strolled its grounds.
Address: 301 Cemetery St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, United States
Last Shell Oil Clamshell Station
Back in the 1930’s, Quality Oil, a local distributor of Shell gas, built seven different service stations in Winston-Salem that were shaped like the Shell emblem.
This was, of course, done as a means of advertisement, and today the one in Winston-Salem remains the last one standing. It wasn’t easy to do, either.
The office and bathroom section had to be boxed in with a wire frame and bent wood, which was then covered in stucco.
It’s been out of service since the 1950’s, but thanks to Preservation North Carolina, it’s been beautifully restored and preserved, and it’s now a really cool roadside attraction.
Address: 1111 E Sprague St, Winston-Salem, NC 27107, United States
Bailey Park, Winston-Salem
Bailey Park is a great place to go if you want to get out and enjoy the outdoors in a social sort of environment.
It’s part of what Winston-Salem calls the “Innovation Quarter”, which is their downtown area.
There are lots of social opportunities, like free yoga and exercise classes, as well as lots of people who are walking or playing there.
It’s not unusual to find a variety of food trucks set up there during lunch hours.
There’s also a large covered stage, which is used for lots of outdoor events, like Gears & Guitars, or the Juneteenth Festival.
And because it’s situated downtown, you can easily make a day of it or spend a few hours there because there are several shops and restaurants nearby.
Address: 445 Patterson Ave, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, United States
Salem Lake is a 375-acre lake near the downtown area of Winston-Salem.
You can enjoy all sorts or fishing and boating activities there.
You can fish off the pier for a fee, as long as you have a fishing license and there’s even a bait shop.
You can find the fishing tournament schedule here.
You can bring your own boat to enjoy boating on the lake, or rent Jon boats or kayaks.
And if you’re looking for a nice place to walk with a view, then Salem Lake is a great choice.
It has a 7-mile long trail with restrooms both at the marina office and near the playground area.
It’s a mostly-dirt walking path, but the setting has pristine views of the lake!
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Address: Winston-Salem, NC 27107, USA
Old Salem Museums & Gardens Administrative Offices – Single Brothers’ House
The Old Salem Museums and Gardens was started in 1950 to preserve and restore the old town and the gardens with the help of the St. Phillips Moravian Church and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.
It contains two different National Historic Landmark buildings, including both the Single Brothers’ House and the Salem Tavern.
The Single Brothers’ House was a place for the Moravian Church to house their single brothers, or unmarried men, built in 1769.
It had a kitchen and dining room area, offices, and a worship and meeting area.
The Old Salem Museums & Gardens offer a diverse range of attractions, such as the Old Salem Visitor Center, Heritage Bridge, and Galleries in the Frank L. Horton Museum Center.
Visitors can explore historical sites like the Timothy Vogler Gun Shop, Salem Tavern Museum, and St. Phillips African Moravian Church.
Additionally, the experience includes visits to various other intriguing locations like the Winkler Bakery, Horticulture Education Building, and the Muddy Creek Cafe.
Many of these attractions require tickets, which can be purchased here.
Address: 600 S Main St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, United States
Winston-Salem Art Trail
Winston-Salem has created a unique self-guided walking tour of their murals downtown in the Arts District.
Some of the murals are educational, some depict vintage signs, some are pop art, some are stylized graffiti, and some are commissioned public works.
Of course, as new installations are added, the trail grows and changes.
But there are currently installations at the corner of Trade and 4th, the 500 block of Trade, Sixth Street, the 600 Block of Trade Street, Liberty Street, and 7th Street.
If you’re looking for a unique art experience, or a cheap outing or date, this is a great option!
Address: 604 Trade St NW, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, USA
The Southeastern Center For Contemporary Art
The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art or (SECCA) is a contemporary multimedia art gallery.
There aren’t any permanent exhibits in the museum, but they do offer a lot of work by regional, national and international artists.
Many of the pieces combine art and technology and have interactive elements.
Visit their calendar to find out which exhibits are currently being featured.
Address: 750 Marguerite Dr, Winston-Salem, NC 27106, United States
The city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina has a long-standing and interesting history.
Over the years it’s become home to a number of interesting attractions, parks and art installations.
These are some of the best things to do in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
I hope you enjoyed them and added a few to your list of things to do in the city!