Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a city rich in history, culture, and beauty. If you’re planning a trip, here is an itinerary for how to spend a weekend in Winston-Salem. This post is written in partnership with Visit Winston-Salem. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
We hit the road for a 9-hour road trip from Orlando to Winston-Salem. With no kids in tow, we were beyond excited for our weekend away. We had a full itinerary planned packed with museum tours, historical sites and some of the best restaurants in the city. Before visiting I wasn’t too sure what to expect as I haven’t had many friends or family visit before to tell me all about it. Honestly we were in for a huge surprise upon arrival.
If you’re planning to spend a weekend in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, I promise that you’re in for a treat. This charming city has a rich history, a thriving arts scene, and plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy.
Here are some tips for making the most of your time in this hidden gem in North Carolina.
How to Spend a Weekend in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Day 1: Explore Downtown Winston-Salem
Start your weekend by exploring downtown Winston-Salem. The city’s downtown area is bustling and has so much to offer. Our very first stop in Winston-Salem was Triad Eco Adventures. We were scheduled to take an e-bike tour of the downtown area. However since I had my kidney transplant I’ve had tremors that prevented me from riding the e-bike. This was my first time back on a bike since surgery and my balance was super unstable. I wasn’t 100% confident going into downtown on the e-bike with such an unstable balance. Our guide was very understanding and provided an alternative for us.
Instead of the e-bike tour, we took a private trolley tour. This was a really special experience since trolley tours typically require 4 or more guests. The trolley tour was the perfect preview of what our weekend would hold. Our tour guide took us through Downtown, Reynolda Gardens and the West End. I loved getting to see the different neighborhoods. Triad Eco Adventures offers a few different tour options. They are the perfect activity if you’re wanting to learn loads of information about the city in a short period of time.
After our trolley tour we went back to our hotel room to change for dinner. The dinner options in Winston-Salem are endless. For dinner we tried the delicious Southern-inspired food at Sweet Potatoes. Sweet Potatoes is located in the downtown historic arts district and wasn’t too far away from our hotel. Everything from the appetizers to desserts were amazing. I love that it’s a black owned restaurant in the heart of downtown. The restaurant is owned by two time James Beard nominee Chef Stephanie Tyson and her partner Vivian Joiner. They are well known for their hospitality and flavorful southern food.
You’re not just customers when you walk into Sweet Potatoes, you’re treated as family. Everything we tasted here reminded us of home. The traditional southern favorites really hit home for us. Some of our favorite dishes were the collard green dip, mac & cheese souffle, homemade pork rinds, fried chicken and the salmon. I highly recommend making a reservation here during your trip. Order a handcrafted cocktail, some delicious appetizers, a home cooked meal and stay for dessert. I promise you’ll leave not only with a full belly but a happy heart.
Keep in mind that if you’re having dinner here, there is a paid parking lot on both sides of the restaurant as well as street parking. Sweet Potatoes also offers both indoor and outdoor seating.
Day 2: Spend the day taking in Winston-Salem’s Parks and Nature
Winston-Salem is surrounded by beautiful parks and natural areas. Day two was all about enjoying the outdoors. We started our second day with breakfast at our hotel. Every morning they offer complimentary breakfast to their guests. It was so convenient for us. After breakfast we took a short drive to Historic Bethabara Park. Bethabara plays such a huge role in Winston-Salem’s history so it’s a site that you don’t want to miss during your weekend trip. You can learn all about the birthplace of Winston-Salem. The park grounds are open year round free of charge from dawn to dusk. However there is a fee for guided tours which I highly recommend. Guided tours are $4 for adults and $1 for students and children over 3.
Our second stop of the day was Reynolda Historic District. If you’re looking for a way to spend a relaxing day in Winston-Salem, the Reynolda Historic District is a great option. The district is home to the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, which features a stunning collection of American art, as well as the Reynolda Gardens, a beautifully manicured garden that spans over 130 acres. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, and explore the many walking paths and hidden nooks. If you’re hungry, there are plenty of dining options in Reynolda Village. The Village is a charming collection of shops and restaurants. Don’t forget to stop by the historic Reynolda Theatre which hosts a variety of performances throughout the year. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a relaxing day out, the Reynolda Historic District is a must-see.
We spent our afternoon in the historic district and it’s absolutely a stop that you do not want to leave off of your itinerary. We started the afternoon in Reynolda Village strolling through the shops, discovering a hidden waterfall and the most beautiful tulips. Lunch at Theodore’s and donuts from Dough-Joe’s was exactly what we needed to fuel the rest of our day.
Reynolda Gardens is quite possibly the most beautiful site you’ll see during your time in Winston-Salem. It’s over a century old and 130 acres of carefully plotted greenery. Every season the flowers and plants in the gardens change but the color scheme remains the same. The gardens are open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk.
The Reynolda House Museum of American Art is located at the center of Reynolda’s 180 acres. It was the next stop on our itinerary after taking a tour through Reynolda Gardens. I’m a huge fan of art museums so having this as a part of our itinerary was such a treat. We were given a tour through the museum. There’s so much history and stories to tell here. It’s such a special place. My favorite exhibit here by far was the Stephen Towns exhibit. It’s one of the temporary exhibits on display at Reynolda House.
We ended our second day in Winston-Salem with dinner at Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro. I was excited to try Mozelle’s. Almost every person we asked for restaurant recommendations named Mozelle’s as a must. Mozelle’s offers Southern comfort food with a modern twist. It seems to be the place to go in Winston-Salem.
This popular restaurant offers a variety of dishes that are made with locally sourced ingredients, and the menu changes seasonally to ensure that every dish is fresh and flavorful. From the buttermilk fried chicken to the shrimp and grits, everything on the menu is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
The restaurant also offers an extensive wine list so you can pair your meal with the perfect vintage. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, with a warm and friendly staff that will make you feel right at home. Some of the dishes you must try are the spring rolls, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, steak and fried chicken. The tomato pie also came highly recommended. However the menu changes seasonally so some of these might not be available during your visit.
Mozelle’s offers both indoor and outdoor seating. I highly recommend making a reservation before visiting.
Day 3: Enjoy Winston-Salem’s Arts Scene
We had a full itinerary for our third and last full day in Winston-Salem so we skipped breakfast at our hotel and walked to the coffee shop across the street for coffee to go. By Good Coffee is a local black owned coffee shop in Winston-Salem. They make some of the best coffee we’ve ever had.
Spending a day at the Old Salem Museums & Gardens was like taking a step back in time to the 18th-century Moravian settlement in Winston-Salem. The museum offers a variety of guided tours and self-guided exploration that highlight the life of the early settlers. The best place to start your visit is at the Visitor Center. There you can purchase tickets and learn about the history of the area. Once you’ve got your tickets you can explore the historic buildings. Some of the most notable buildings include the Single Brothers’ House, the Salem Tavern, and the St Philips Moravian Church. The Miksch House showcases the work of a Moravian potter. There’s so many great sights to see and a lot to take in at Old Salem.
Having a map on hand from the Visitor Center can help you navigate through the sights. It’s a walkable part of town but driving is an option as well. Keep in mind that some of the streets are one way only and parking is limited throughout Old Salem.
You will want to take a break at Muddy Creek Cafe for lunch. It will take you a few hours to get completely through Old Salem. The live music and food at Muddy Creek cafe makes for the perfect break. Our last stop in Old Salem was the Winkler Bakery which has been producing baked goods since 1800. There we were able to sample some of the delicious treats and pick up a few souvenirs to take home.
You can’t forget to visit the Old Salem Gardens while you’re in Old Salem. The Gardens feature a variety of native plants and flowers that have been cultivated for over 250 years. The gardens are divided into several areas, including the Vegetable Garden, the Shallowford Reserve, and the Bishops’ Garden. Each section has its own unique features. You can also take a guided tour of the gardens to learn about the horticultural traditions of the Moravian settlers. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a peaceful retreat, spending a day at the Old Salem Museums & Gardens is a memorable experience that you won’t forget.
We were definitely beat after spending most of the afternoon in Old Salem but we were looking forward to the rest of the day. After we left Old Salem we did a little sight seeing throughout the city. We went on a little mural tour then headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.
Our dinner plans were set and luckily the restaurant was right next door to our hotel so we were able to get a little rest in before dinner. Meridian Restaurant has an elevated menu with everything from seafood to hand rolled pasta. They prepare all of the menu items in house.
Other Stops to Add to Your Itinerary
If you have extra time in your itinerary you’ll definitely want to add a few additional stops.
- Take a stroll through the Innovation Quarter, a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in the city.
- Stop by Bailey Park, a public park that hosts events and festivals throughout the year.
- Catch a show at the Stevens Center, a historic theater that hosts concerts, plays, and dance performances.
- Visit the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, which features rotating exhibitions of contemporary art.
- Catch a show at the Hanesbrands Theatre, a venue that hosts a variety of performances, from plays to music concerts.
- Visit the Tanglewood Park Arboretum and Gardens, which features over 200 acres of gardens, trails, and forests.
- Head to the Yadkin River Greenway, a paved trail that follows the Yadkin River and offers stunning views of the water.
- Catch a show at the Winston-Salem Symphony, which performs at the Stevens Center.
- Visit one of the 10 breweries in the city or do a DIY Craft Draft Crawl.
Where to Stay in Winston-Salem, North Carolina: The Historic Brookstown Inn
If you’re looking for a unique and charming place to stay in Winston-Salem, the Historic Brookstown Inn is a must-visit. The inn is in a former textile mill that dates back to 1837. Its historic charm has been preserved throughout the years. The inn offers a variety of room options, from cozy standard rooms to spacious suites, all with modern amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Each room has unique artwork and furnishings that give them a distinct personality.
We stayed in the Old Salem Suite during our stay. It was more than enough space for us and would’ve even been perfect if we were traveling with our kids. The suite had two double beds and a living space with a pullout sofa, sitting area and breakfast nook.
You’ll want to take advantage of the inn’s amenities during your stay. The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast buffet, a wine and cheese reception held in the evenings, and serves milk and cookies right for an hour before bedtime. The inn also features a fitness center, business center, and free Wi-Fi. It’s a great option for both leisure, business travelers and even families. The staff at the Historic Brookstown Inn were super friendly and helpful during our stay.
One of the best things about staying at the Historic Brookstown Inn is its convenient location. The inn is located in the heart of Winston-Salem’s historic district. It’s within walking distance of a variety of attractions, restaurants, and shops. The inn is just a short drive from Old Salem Museums & Gardens, the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, and other popular destinations in the area.
If you’re looking for a unique and memorable place to spend a weekend Winston-Salem, the Historic Brookstown Inn is a top choice. With its historic charm, modern amenities, and convenient location, it’s the perfect base for exploring everything this vibrant city has to offer.
Winston-Salem is a city that offers something for everyone. Whether you have an interest in history, art, nature, or just good food, you’ll find it here. If you’re wondering how to spend a weekend in Winston-Salem, there are plenty of exciting activities and attractions to keep you busy. With this itinerary, you’ll be able to explore some of the city’s highlights and create memories that will last a lifetime.