Moving to Winston Salem

If you're considering a move to the alluring Southeast, Winston Salem, North Carolina may well be your perfect destination. Nestled against the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains, Winston Salem marries small-town charm with a burgeoning city vibe. It has a rich history filled with craftsmanship, music, and vineyards, with the innovation of a growing tech industry. Whether you're single and starting out, setting up a family nest, or seeking the ideal spot to retire, Winston Salem holds the promise of southern comforts while offering the contemporary luxuries of city living. But don't just take our word for it, embark on this comprehensive guide and discover Winston Salem for yourself.

Moving to Winston Salem, NC landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Winston Salem

1. It's got a Double-Barreled Name for a Reason

You might be wondering why this city has such a curious, mouthful of a name. Well, there's a reason for that. Winston Salem is actually the amalgamation of two separate towns, Salem and Winston, which merged in 1913. So you're getting the charm, history, and variety of two unique places rolled into one. How's that for a two-in-one deal?

2. Artsy Vibe in a Southern Setting

If you're a fan of the arts and culture, you'll be happy to know that Winston Salem is often referred to as the "City of Arts and Innovation". From its stunning Reynolda House Museum of American Art to the innovative startups popping up downtown, Winston Salem has a well-pronounced creative side.

3. It's an Unexpected Foodie Heaven

Prepare to loosen that belt notch or two, because Winston Salem boasts a decadent and varied food scene. From munching on a Krispy Kreme doughnut (yeah, they were born here) to dining in the numerous farm-to-table restaurants, there's something for every taste bud here. But remember, you're in the South, so expect the BBQ and comfort food to be next level.

4. The Hyphen in the Middle is a Local Quirk

Here's a fun little tidbit for you: the locals tend to abbreviate the name by dropping the hyphen and simply calling it Winston. If you want to blend in with the locals, forget struggling with that hyphen and follow suit!

5. A Healthy Dose of Greenery and Outdoor Activities

Gorgeous parks are in abundance in Winston Salem, providing an ideal spot for a leisurely picnic, a spirited game of soccer, or simply a space to bask in the beauty of nature. The city also has nearly 20 miles of scenic bike trails and a number of golf courses. So put on your adventure hats, or maybe your golf caps, and get set for a day of exploration and fun!

6. Beware of Moravian Cookies!

And here's a quirky little unknown: Winston Salem is infamous for its ultra-thin Moravian cookies -- said to be the thinnest cookies in the world! It's a local tradition, and these tasty treats can be dangerously addictive. Consider yourself warned.

So there you have it folks, six sizzling slices of insight into your potential new home in Winston Salem. Between its quirky history, love for the arts, mouthwatering food scene, plenty of outdoor activities and Moravian cookies, this lovely city in North Carolina has a lot to offer. No matter your passions or interests, you're sure to find something that resonates with you in Winston Salem.

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Pros and Cons of Living in Winston Salem

Pros of Living in Winston Salem

Warm Weather

Winston Salem enjoys a temperate climate, with both spring and fall being particularly mild and pleasant. This kind of weather is ideal for outdoor activities, and residents often take advantage of it to hike in nearby mountains or enjoy picnics in city parks.

Diverse Arts and Cultural Scene

The city boasts an impressive array of arts and cultural offerings, including museums, theaters, and galleries. The Reynolda House Museum of American Art, for instance, features a superb collection of American art spanning colonial period to the present. There's also a lively music scene, with many venues offering performances ranging from classical to bluegrass.

Education Opportunities

Winston Salem is home to a number of well-regarded higher education institutions, including Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, and Salem College. These schools not only further the education of local and international students, but also contribute to the city's intellectual and cultural vibrancy.

Lower Cost of Living

The cost of living in Winston Salem is generally lower than the national average, making it an attractive place to live for people on a budget. Housing, in particular, tends to be more affordable than in many other cities of similar size in the US, providing opportunities for homeownership to a range of income levels.

Employment Opportunities

Winston Salem has a diverse economy with strong sectors in healthcare, education, and finance. Some of the city's largest employers are Novant Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wells Fargo, providing numerous job opportunities for residents.

Cons of Living in Winston Salem

Higher Crime Rate

The crime rate in Winston Salem can be higher than the national average, particularly in certain areas of the city. This means that residents may need to take extra precautions to ensure their personal safety and the security of their property.

Public Transportation

Winston Salem's public transportation system is not as extensive or reliable as those in larger cities. This can make getting around without a car more difficult, and it might be a significant drawback for those who rely on public transit.

Limited Nightlife

While Winston Salem boasts a diverse array of daytime activities and attractions, its nightlife offerings are comparatively limited. This might disappoint young professionals or others who enjoy a lively evening scene.

Healthcare Accessibility

Although the city is home to major healthcare establishments, access to healthcare can still be challenging for some sections of the population. Certain communities may face higher barriers to accessing necessary medical services, resulting in health disparities.

Pollen Level

Winston Salem can experience high pollen levels during certain times of the year, which can amass in large amounts and cause problems for people with allergies. This means that residents may need to take additional measures to manage their allergies during these periods.

Modern day picture of Winston Salem, NC highlighting pros and cons of living in Winston Salem, NC

Is Winston Salem a Good Place to Live?

Winston Salem, NC is a great place to live because of its rich cultural history, lively arts scene, and beautiful scenic parks. Additionally, the city boasts excellent schools, a low cost of living, and great food, particularly its famous barbecue and Moravian cookies. From the thriving downtown to the peaceful suburbs, Winston Salem has something for everyone to love!

What Is Winston Salem Famous For?

Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Originally the estate of the wealthy Reynolds family (of tobacco company fame), Reynolda House is now a museum featuring a remarkable collection of American art. You'll find pieces dating from colonial times through present day, offering a comprehensive look at the nation's artistic history. And let's not forget the immaculate gardens and grounds, that can give any English manor a run for its money!

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Yep, you read that right! The city of Winston-Salem is home to the first ever Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop. If you've ever bitten into one of these sugary delights with a steaming cup of coffee, you'd know why this is something to celebrate. And if you haven't, well, what on earth are you waiting for?

Old Salem Historic District

Does stepping back into 18th and 19th century America sound like your cup of tea? If yes, Old Salem Historic District is beckoning. Fully costumed staff perform traditional crafts in meticulously restored (and some reconstructed) buildings, giving you the feeling you might just run into a Founding Father or two. History buffs, you're welcome!

Wake Forest University

Considered one of the top universities in the United States, Wake Forest University is the birthplace of many leading researchers, scholars, and public figures. Its charming campus is also a sight for sore eyes, with the perfect blend of Gothic and modern architecture surrounded by lush greenery. We hear the Demon Deacons sports teams are quite the show too!

Capital building of Winston Salem, NC in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, residents of Winston Salem, NC pay a property tax rate of approximately 1.10%. This rate is relatively high compared to the national average US property tax rate, which sits at about 1.07%.

Sales Tax

The combined state and local sales tax rate for Winston Salem, NC in 2023 is around 6.75%. This is lower than the average combined sales tax rate in the United States, which is approximately 7.12%.

Income Tax

North Carolina has a flat income tax rate of 5.25%, therefore, Winston Salem residents also have this rate as of 2023. Comparatively, this is lower than the US average state income tax rate, which is around 7%.

Housing Market

The Winston Salem, NC housing market largely remains affordable compared to other parts of the USA. The median home value is around $180,000, significantly lower than the national median of $231,000. Rental prices are also average, with a one-bedroom apartment typically costing around $865 per month. Winston Salem boasts a lower than average cost of living and a competitive job market, making it an appealing option for both homeowners and renters. As with any location, it is crucial to research neighborhoods and local amenities to ensure they align with lifestyle and necessity needs.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Winston Salem, NC is significantly lower than the national average, making it a highly attractive place to settle. Compared to other cities in North Carolina and the US in general, housing is particularly affordable here. When considering other expenses like groceries, health, transportation, and utilities, Winston Salem continues to present a cost-effective lifestyle option. A blend of southern charm, a thriving art scene, and economic opportunities further enhance its appeal. Nonetheless, exact living costs may vary based on personal lifestyle and preferences.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Winston Salem, North Carolina, experiences a temperate climate characterized by humid summers and cool winters. The warm season, from May to September, witnesses average temperature highs range between 70-85degF. In contrast, during winter from November to February, temperatures drop to a low of around 30-47degF. Precipitation occurs throughout the year with the heaviest rains received during July. Natural disasters are relatively infrequent, but the city has experienced hurricanes, flash floods, and occasional severe thunderstorms. In winters, ice storms or minor snowstorms may be seen. Consequently, Winston Salem offers a diversely-rich weather pattern cumulating into an overall comfortable climate for most parts of the year. However, residents should stay prepared with emergency plans for potential natural disasters.

Typical weather in Winston Salem, NC

Economy & Job Market

Healthcare and Social Assistance

Educational Services


Retail Trade

Accommodation and Food Services

With its rich history rooted in tobacco, textiles, and furniture, Winston Salem has evolved immensely from the days of old. Today, the city features a vibrant and diverse economy led by sectors such as Healthcare and Social Assistance, Educational Services, and Manufacturing. There's steel in the city's spine; Winston Salem's economic transformation is a testament to the worker bees who have helped to alter its economic DNA from the manufacturing hub of earlier days to the health and tech-oriented city it is now. Want to make a living off serving others? You are more than welcome. Got a knack for rigorous academic instruction? There are opportunities. Or perhaps you are a maestro of the manufacturing line? There's a spot for you, too! In Winston Salem, the past and present harmoniously intersect; the city has not forgotten its history, rather it has reinvented itself while still donning parts of its economic past.

If you're about to make the move to Winston Salem and plan to scout for jobs, it would be worthwhile to note that the city has an impressive unemployment rate that is lower than the national average. Healthcare is blooming here with top employers like Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health leading the pack. Education also offers a bounty of opportunities with the presence of renowned institutions such as Wake Forest University. Manufacturing has not been left behind either - this historical backbone of the city's economy still offers numerous opportunities, especially in industries related to food and tobacco production. As a cherry on top, Winston Salem's job market has been experiencing positive growth, a trend which looks to continue against the backdrop of several companies setting camp here. In short, have no fear - this is a city that's open for business and eager to welcome you with open arms (and opportunities!).

Traffic and Transportation

Get ready to rev your engines in Winston Salem, NC! Here, the average commute time comes in at 20.4 minutes, a breezy jaunt compared to the national average. For those who prefer to sit back, relax, and let someone else do the driving, the Winston Salem Transit Authority provides bus services bustling about the city. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Hop aboard the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation for a detour to the neighboring cities. And for those with a penchant for soaring above the clouds, the Piedmont Triad International Airport is just a short drive away, ready to whisk you off to your next adventure. Ready, set, go! Winston Salem awaits with an array of transportation options suited for every kind of traveler.

What is the traffic like in Winston Salem, NC?

Best Neighborhoods in Winston Salem

1. West End

First on our list is the charming and historic neighborhood of West End. This area is loaded with character, boasting stunning early 20th-century architecture, tree-lined streets, and an inviting sense of community. West End isn't just a pretty face either; this neighborhood is brimming with art galleries, unique boutiques, and cozy eateries. It's also home to the revered Hanes park, which is perfect for a leisurely midday stroll or picnic. In West End, you're not just renting or buying a home; you're buying into a distinctive, artsy lifestyle.

2. Old Salem

Stepping into Old Salem is like stepping back in time. This neighborhood offers a unique and immersive blend of history and charm, ideal for history buffs out there. The beautifully preserved Moravian buildings and cobblestone streets create a quaint, historical ambience. Your social calendar might become loaded with events such as the traditional Moravian LoveFeast, concerts at the Old Salem Visitor Center, or hands-on heritage crafts demonstrations. You'll love calling this unique neighborhood home.

3. Ardmore

Renowned for its diverse housing styles, the Ardmore neighborhood presents a stunning mix of charming bungalows, spacious tudor-style homes, and modern townhouses. But Ardmore's appeal extends beyond diverse architecture. The area is also loaded with appealing amenities including parks, gardens, and the robust medical center. Ardmore's strong sense of community is palpable, with frequent neighborhood events fostering a tight-knit community spirit. It's an ideal neighborhood for anyone who loves being part of an active, involved community.

4. Buena Vista

As the name suggests, Buena Vista is a neighborhood known for its beautiful views, particularly of its stunning historic homes. Nestled snugly between the vibrant downtown area and Wake Forest University, this neighborhood offers a unique mix of tranquility and accessibility. Streets are filled with lush trees and picturesque landscapes. Additionally, Buena Vista is known for its high-end dining options and boutique shopping, making it perfect for those who appreciate the finer things in life.

5. Downtown Winston-Salem

If you want to be in the heart of the action, Downtown Winston-Salem is the place to be. Marked by its rich history and urban vibrance, the area features a plethora of restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops. While offering a happening nightlife, Downtown Winston-Salem is also a place of culture and entertainment, with venues like the Carolina Theater and Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. In Downtown Winston-Salem, "boring" is a word that simply doesn't exist.

In conclusion, each of these neighborhoods presents a unique perspective of what life in Winston-Salem has to offer. From the historical charm of Old Salem to the vibrant energy of Downtown, this city is full of distinctive neighborhoods sure to fit varied lifestyles. When moving to Winston-Salem, these neighborhoods certainly deserve a look.

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Things to Do

Are you gearing up for a move to the fantastic city of Winston Salem, North Carolina? Filled with a vibrant mix of historical and contemporary attractions, this city is a hidden gem in the Tar Heel state. From outdoor diversions to rich cultural sites, Winston Salem offers a smorgasbord of experiences. Are you hungry for some fun? Gear up and take this tour with us through seven must-do things in Winston Salem that will surely make your move worthwhile.

1. Paddle your worries away at Salem Lake

For a serene and idyllic escape from city life, head to Salem Lake. This recreational spot offers a 7-mile long trail, ideal for hiking, biking, or simply taking a leisurely walk. Don't miss renting a paddleboard or a fishing rod, and spend a tranquil day in the lap of nature.

2. Time travel at Old Salem Museums & Gardens

As you step into the Old Salem Museums & Gardens, you are instantly transported to the 18th century Moravian Salem. From witnessing craftsmen practicing their trade using traditional methods to exploring colonial gardens, unfold the pages of history at every corner of this 100-acre property.

3. Discover art at SECCA

One of the somewhat off the radar attractions, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. It hosts fantastic exhibitions of emerging and established artists, and the best part - admission here is free!

4. Explore Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Do not miss out on the Reynolda House Museum of American Art. This historic mansion turned museum showcasing American art offers a glimpse into the lives of the erstwhile Reynolds family, creators of the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company.

5. Stroll down Trade Street

If you want to feel Winston Salem's pulse, take a stroll down Trade Street. It's lined with quaint stores selling local art and crafts, cool vintage shops, eclectic restaurants, and some really artsy coffee houses. This one will give you an authentic Winston Salem vibe.

6. Vibe with the Bethabara Park

The Historic Bethabara Park is another off the beaten path gem. As the site of the first Moravian settlement in North Carolina, it is home to several historical structures, beautiful gardens, bird-watching points, and a plethora of walking trails. It's a treat for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

7. Whet your palate at the local breweries

Winston Salem may not be widely known for its beer scene, but it's brewing some exceptional craft beers worth trying. Visit Foothills Brewing or Wise Man Brewing for their innovative beer varieties.

These are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Winston Salem has to offer. Whether you are an outdoorsy person, a history enthusiast, or a hard-core foodie and craft beer lover, the city has something in store for everyone. As you prepare to make this wonderful city your new home, embrace all it has to offer, and enjoy your time exploring and soaking up the local culture. Winston Salem is ready to welcome you to your next adventure!

Things to do in Winston Salem, NC?

Find Movers for Your Winston Salem Relocation

Having explored the delights and advantages of relocating to Winston Salem, NC, the next logical step is to make your move as seamless as possible. That's where Great Guys Moving comes into play. We streamline the process of finding a top-tier moving company, saving you the stress and uncertainty. With our vast network of reliable, quality-focused, and cost-effective movers, we ensure your move to Winston Salem aligns with the high standards you expect. Go ahead, allow us to partner with you in your exciting relocation journey. Take a moment to request your free moving quote today, you'll be glad you did.

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