Looking to explore a lesser-known Southern city rich in history and culture? Amp up your Southeast USA bucket list by tackling all the fun things to do in Winston-Salem, NC. Located in the Piedmont Triad region, this attractive North Carolina city offers travelers diverse architecture and beautiful natural surroundings.
There’s a reason Winston-Salem is known as The City of Arts and Innovation. As you comb through all the city’s tourist attractions, you can bisit a museum set in a 1917 estate at Reynolda House of American Art, or look to our creative future at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. Dig into the city’s Moravian roots at Old Salem Museums and Gardens and Historic Bethabara Park.
If you prefer outdoor pursuits, you’ll have no shortage of options. Admire North Carolina’s unique scenery and natural beauty at The Quarry at Grant Park, Hanging Rock State Park, and Pilot Mountain State Park.
Ready to pack your bags? Create a dream vacation itinerary with this complete guide to the best places to visit in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Must-see places to visit in Winston-Salem, NC
Reynolda House of American Art
Delve straight into Winston-Salem’s exquisite arts scene at Reynolda House of American Art. Set on an 1917 estate once home to the founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the museum offers a collection that encompasses 250 years of creativity. Explore their chronology of works spanning everything from line drawings to video installations.
The expert curation of pieces at the Reynolda House of American Art includes the works of many household American art legends. Snag the chance to see authentic work by Georgia O’Keefe, Chuck Close, and Nam June Paik.
The dreamy Colonial Revival and Georgian architecture is a piece of art on its own, too. Grand staircases, fireplaces, and paneling create the perfect frame for the stunning pieces at Reynolda House of American Art.
The 180-acre site also includes vast gardens. Take extra inspiration from blooming flowers or ponder your ideas by the lake.
Old Salem Museums and Gardens
Get an unfiltered look at Winston-Salem’s past with a visit to Old Salem Museums and Gardens. This living history museum explores how Moravian, Black, and Indigenous people navigated the American South. You’ll be pulled back to the 1800s with historical architecture, significant museums, and lively events.
Explore Old Salem Museums and Gardens to discover preserved buildings like the Boys’ School and the Salem Tavern. Immersive performances tell the stories of life in the Movarian communities. Admire the craftsmanship at the Gun Shop or witness the art of 17th and 18th-century pottery making.
A fantastic choice of museums is also on offer here. Learn about early decorative arts in the South at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Browse the intriguing collection at the Old Salem Toy Museum. Or find out more about Moravian culture at the Frank L. Horton Museum Center.
Historic Bethabara Park
Plunge into more Winston-Salem history at Historic Bethabara Park. German Moravians first settled here in 1753. Today, the park combines history with nature and is one of the most popular Winston-Salem points of interest. The National Historic Landmark has 180 acres of grounds with fragile wetlands and beautiful wildlife trails.
The original buildings of Historic Bethabara Park have been restored to their former glory, and placed among them are exciting reconstructions. As it was the first Moravian settlement in North Carolina, the architecture was mostly focused on farming and religion. Step inside a German colonial church or uncover the dwelling turned into a cow house in 1754.
If history isn’t your thing, embrace the timeless magic of nature instead. Wander the 10 miles of walking trails and keep an eye out for mockingbirds, woodpeckers, and goldfinch along the way.
Reynolda Gardens-Wake Forest
Escape to the lush oasis of Reynolda Gardens-Wake Forest. Perched on the edge of the Reynolda Estate, these historical gardens offer tranquil green spaces, exciting plant collections, and idyllic nature trails.
Whenever you choose to visit the gardens, you’ll find gorgeous seasonal delights. Visit in spring to see the blooming cherry blossoms and azaleas. Sprinkled throughout Reynolda Gardens-Wake Forest, you’ll also find elaborate Japanese tea houses and pergolas.
Stroll through the beautiful gardens and trails. Choose from two miles of wetlands, woodlands, and meadows. Take in the smells of nature blossoming as you listen to the trickling sounds of fountains, waterfalls, and the 16-acre lake.
The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art
Winston-Salem isn’t a city that’s stuck in the past. Get a forward-looking take on the region’s art scene at The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. With a renowned permanent collection and exciting exhibitions, this art gallery an emporium of artistic innovation.
Explore our modern cultural dialogue through the language of art. Browse work in a range of mediums, including sculpture, video, and performance art. Immerse yourself in enchanting innovations or ponder a new take on classic painting techniques.
The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art also hosts a varied range of programs. Attend talks from influential artists or watch the latest alternative film screening.
Salem Lake Trail
Explore more of the North Carolina landscape on the Salem Lake Trail. The seven-mile trail takes you through the stunning natural beauty surrounding the 365-acre reservoir. Picturesque scenery and fun outdoor activities give you a well-earned break from your Winston-Salem adventure.
Explore the meandering Salem Lake Trail on foot, bike, or rollerblades. Idyllic waterside views and secluded woodlands give you the chance to stop and take a breath. Nature lovers can keep an eye out for birds and deer along the way.
If you want to linger for a while, Salem Lake is well known for its fishing opportunities. Pitch up at one of the piers and try your luck catching catfish, crappies, and largemouth bass.
Or you could embrace the opportunity to relax out on the water. You can rent kayaks and canoes by the boat launch or bring your own stand-up paddle board.
Get some extra fresh air at Tanglewood Park. Located 15 minutes southwest of the city, this 1,400-acre park and recreation center is packed with outdoor fun. With scenic meadows and forests, you’ll have a wonderful backdrop as you make your way through all the outdoor activities on offer.
There’s something for everyone at Tanglewood Park. Sports enthusiasts can get competitive on the golf course and tennis courts, while nature lovers can explore the global plant collection at the Arboretum. Explore the miles of pretty trails by foot, bike, or horseback.
If you happen to be in Winston-Salem during the winter season, you’ll find Tanglewood Park is one of the most popular places to go in Winston-Salem. The annual Tanglewood Festival of Lights is a five-mile route of sparkling winter wonderland. Glowing displays and festive decor illuminate the whole park.
The Winston Cup Museum Special Event Center
Wannabe racers should make a stop at The Winston Cup Museum Special Event Center. The museum gives you an exciting look at the history of NASCAR and the Winston Cup series. Memoribillia, real race cars, and arcade games make this museum a fun day out for any motorsports fan.
On your visit to The Winston Cup Museum Special Event Center, you’ll get the chance to see 20 genuine racecars. The cars were driven by racing greats like Jimmy Spencer, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Wendell Scott.
Explore exciting photographs and artifacts like helmets and trophies. Then test out your driving skills in the race simulator and get a winning photo at Victory Lane.
Stop between Winston-Salem attractions to take a breather in Washington Park. Just a couple miles south of downtown, this local park is popular among locals for its relaxing atmosphere and great facilities. Wander through 145 acres of dreamy green spaces and ancient trees and scope out some fun afternoon activities.
Make your way through the short walking trails to see more of Washington Park. Pack a picnic and stop at one of the shelters for lunch. If you’re feeling competitive, try your luck on the basketball courts. Kids will love the dinosaur park.
The area surrounding Washington Park is a pretty historic district, too. Architecture lovers can take a detour to admire the historic homes built between the 1890s and 1940s.
The Quarry at Grant Park
Enjoy the stunning landscape of The Quarry at Grant Park. The park surrounds an old quarry that closed down in the 70s. Today, the quarry is full of water, making it a scenic spot minutes away from the city.
The most popular viewpoint in The Quarry at Grant Park is the Overlook Pier. Hanging above the deep quarry waters, you can gaze out above the tree tops to the downtown skyline in the distance.
Got more time on your vacation? Explore even more of the 200-acre park. The park’s main walking trail takes you through pretty woodland and leads to more overlooks. There are also free bikes to get you around if you’re in a hurry. Along the pathway, there’s a boulder geology trail. The 11 different boulders from the active quarry site illustrate the varied geology of North Carolina.
Want to add a dash of culture to your holiday? Catch a show at the Hanesbrands Theatre. Located in the heart of the city, this intimate theatre has seating for an audience of 228 and is home to a fantastic variety of theatre and dance groups.
This sleek modern venue offers its patrons state-of-the-art facilities. Exceptional lighting and sound systems immerse you in every performance at the Hanesbrans Theatre, while the airy lobby has a huge contemporary mural welcoming you to an evening of creative excellence.
The Hanebrands Theatre hosts thriving theatre and dance groups, including The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem and Winston-Salem Festival Ballet. With local and touring performances, you’ll be treated to an exciting range of high-quality productions here.
After so much sightseeing in Winston-Salem, you’re going to need some caffeine to keep your energy up. Krankies has some of the finest coffee in town, with beans from ethical sources and hand roasted on-site.
This cozy exposed brick joint sells its beans and trendy merch alongside offering friendly service. To make the most of the rich flavors at Krankies, order a classic espresso or shake things up with their funky specialties like the lavender matcha latte or blueberry chai.
The food at Krankies is awesome, too. Choose from a mouthwatering menu of hot biscuits and huge sandwiches. Make sure to try the Krankies Classic biscuit with fried chicken and sausage gravy.
Delta Arts Center
Learn more about North Carolina’s creative side at the Delta Arts Center. This small gallery shows work by local and regional artists and focuses on promoting the cultures of African Americans and the Africa Diaspora.
At the Delta Arts Center, you’ll find intricate textiles, vibrant paintings, and important photography. As you browse a diverse series of artwork, you’ll learn not only about African-American heritage in the United States but also uncover important moments from history that are often overlooked.
Why not take part in the Underground Railroad Quilt Project? In this two-hour session, you’ll investigate the Underground Railroad and make your own quilt that’s part of the Charleston Code.
If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind things to see in Winston-Salem, take a trip to Körner’s Folly. Jule Gilmer Körner built this grand home in 1880 as an immersive way to display his interior design portfolio. If you love history or are interested in design, you’ll love a tour of this impressive mansion!
Across the 22 rooms, you’ll find 15 fireplaces and eight types of brick. Design styles draw inspiration from Victorian, Gothic, and Italianate architecture, making it a delight for anyone with a keen eye for design. Lose yourself in original furnishings, elaborate wood carvings, and vibrant tilework.
If you want a boozy experience during your visit to Winston-Salem, Foothills Brewing will give you a day out hopping with fun. One of the largest craft breweries in the Southeast, it’s a must-see for craft beer fans.
Get an inside look at Foothills Brewing with a brewery tour. Take a deep dive into the craft beer industry, learn about the history of the company, and witness their brewing process.
Foothills Brewing has created a fantastic variety of draft beers, offering a big portfolio of lagers, IPAs, and seasonal brews. You can try them all in the taproom or by booking an experience in the tasting room.
Hanging Rock State Park
Take in the stunning scenery at Hanging Rock State Park. Just 30 miles north of Winston-Salem, the park shows off lush rolling peaks reaching up to 2,500 feet. The fantastic choice of trails will help you take in the epic landscape.
Most people visit Hanging Rock State Park to see its infamous namesake: Hanging Rock. The huge formation juts out above the valley, making it a hair-raising spot to sit for your holiday photo. Thirteen different trails lead you to this feat of mother nature.
But there’s so much more to Hanging Rock State Park. Navigate bubbling rivers, vast forests, and crashing waterfalls. Climbers can discover more unusual rock formations, while fishermen can try their luck at the lake.
Pilot Mountain State Park
Visiting this iconic landmark is one of the most popular things to do in Winston-Salem. Pilot Mountain State Park is a 3,703-acre stretch of rugged terrain and panoramic scenery. The star of the show is The Big Pinnacle, a striking white geologic knob that serves as an iconic marker for the area.
You can spot The Big Pinnacle from some of the incredible overlooks and hiking trails spread across Pilot Mountain State Park. Explore the area on foot or on horseback. Fishermen can head to the river and see what’s biting. If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, there are climbing spots available for all levels, too.