There’s never been a better time to live in Winston-Salem, a city known for its inventive spirit, resilience and vibrancy. Once a tobacco and textiles manufacturing powerhouse, Winston-Salem is now home to the one of the fastest-growing innovation districts in the country and a flourishing arts community.
Salem was first settled in 1753 by the Moravians while nearby Winston emerged as an industrial hub. In 1913, Winston-Salem was born when the two towns merged.
Today, Winston-Salem is a breeding ground for innovation and creativity and attracts some of the best and brightest students, artists, entrepreneurs and executives, and it boasts a good mix of locals and transplants, retirees and young professionals.
What makes Winston-Salem really attractive is its affordable lifestyle—90.7 cost of living index—compared to other major metros such as Raleigh (91.8) and Charlotte (97.2). In fact, in a June 2019 report, the Twin City is among the top 25 cities in the country in RealtyHop’s Housing Affordability Index.
With a median home price of $143,600, Winston-Salem is ranked in the top 20 places to live in the South not only because of its affordability, but also because of the excellent quality of life.
Discover why Winston-Salem was named one of the 14 best places to travel in the U.S. in 2019. Here, you’ll find an intimate and walkable downtown with more than 120 restaurants, shops and breweries and bars. Outdoor enthusiasts will find solace in the 79 parks, 25 miles of greenways and nearby state parks.
Winston-Salem is also uniquely positioned in the state and is an optimal launching spot for a variety of quick day trips or getaways from the mountains to the coast. In less than two hours, you can hike part of the Appalachian Trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway, explore the museums of Raleigh or be halfway toward your beach destination and dipping your toes in the Atlantic Ocean.
Here, at the intersection of arts and innovation, you’ll find Winston-Salem—an ideal place to call home.
When the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County formed in 1949, it became the first of its kind in the country. It’s no surprise then that Winston-Salem continues to lead the way with its vibrant arts community.
What does that mean for you?
It means you’ll have access to a diverse selection of museums, galleries, exhibitions and theater productions.
Explore masterpieces of American art at Reynolda House Museum of American Art, the exhibitions at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art or browse unique artisan crafts at the Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery or one of Wherehouse Art Hotel’s pop-up marts.
Take a stroll in the city’s eclectic arts district, nestled between Trade, Fifth and Seventh streets, to browse a diverse assortment of artist studios, galleries, shops and restaurants. You can immerse yourself in this local arts scene at a Gallery Hop, held the first Friday of every month and hosted by the Downtown Arts District Association (DADA).
Appreciate the magic and wonder of The Nutcracker, the annual Stevens Center production from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), a top-ranked creative performing arts conservatory, or enjoy a quirky theatrical musical from Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance in its more intimate theater. The Twin City is also home to the National Black Theatre Festival, which showcases dynamic performances, theater workshops, films and more.
Take in a foreign or independent film at a/perture cinema, and mark your calendar for the RiverRun International Film Festival, one of the premier film festivals in the Southeastern U.S., held each spring.
Winston-Salem’s thriving music scene is equally diverse, with a variety of live music venues, concerts and festivals such as Gears & Guitars. From the Winston-Salem Symphony to live music at The Ramkat to fringe bands at Monstercade, there’s something for everyone.
Whether you are visiting, thinking of moving here or already live here, you’ll find a flourishing arts scene, ideal for inspiration and creativity.
Winston-Salem has a long history of innovation, from the early Moravian settlers to the manufacturing boom in tobacco and textiles a century ago, and now its reinvention with health care and technology.
Spurred by the growth of Innovation Quarter, Winston-Salem has firmly positioned itself as hub for innovation with a thriving ecosystem of diverse business clusters where both individuals, companies and institutions succeed in health care, technology, education, finance and more.
Led by Wake Forest Baptist Health, the largest employer in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, local businesses, developers and community members have created the Innovation Quarter through a shared vision—a thriving downtown that could sustain the local community and beyond.
The result? A culture of collaboration and support that extends far beyond the innovation district. We believe the more we work together, the stronger our local and regional economy becomes.
Businesses that relocate to Winston-Salem discover an existing powerful economic engine where collaboration happens spontaneously, and starts-ups find crucial support from resources such as Winston Starts, a start-up incubator, or the ACCESS Center for Equity + Success, which provides support for minority- and women-owned business enterprises; and Venture Café Winston-Salem, which has hosted more than 30,000 hours of programming for entrepreneurs and innovators of all kinds since its start in 2017.
Entrepreneurs will find fertile ground here. In fact, Winston-Salem recently tied Charlotte and Austin, Texas, as the No. 1 place in the country for small business growth.
One of the city’s biggest strengths is also its incredibly diverse colleges and universities—a prestigious medical school, an HBCU, the oldest educational institution for girls and women in the country, a performing arts conservatory, and one of the largest community colleges in North Carolina.
With its abundant resources and commitment to innovation and education, Winston-Salem is poised for continued progress.
As Winston-Salem develops into a regional driver of innovation, the city has grown rapidly into a hub of entrepreneurship. Today, there’s a variety of resources, and there’s never been a better time to start a business in Winston-Salem. Discover four ways the City of Arts and Innovation is growing an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The Long Branch Trail, an urban greenway running through the heart of the Innovation Quarter, helps connect the district to the city as a whole. Linking to other thoroughfares such as the Salem Creek Connector, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Rams Drive, the Long Branch Trail encourages community, creating a thoroughfare to nourish life in yet-undeveloped areas and foreshadowing the growth yet to happen.
The Twin City recently tied Charlotte and Austin, Texas as the top city in the country for small business growth. Growing an innovation ecosystem takes a variety of programs, space and valuable resources for small businesses to succeed. The good news? Winston-Salem is clearly on the right track.
Whether you’re an established company or a recent start-up, the Innovation Quarter is a place for you to thrive. From developmental space and work space to suit all sizes, to living space and recreational amenities for you and your employees, the Innovation Quarter provides the resources your company needs to grow.
Discover what makes the Innovation Quarter a spot for everyone. Learn about the vision that turned the former tobacco district into a knowledge community and meet the variety of real-life people—entrepreneurs, students and artists—who call this place home. Explore all the Innovation Quarter has to offer and see what the future looks like here—with you in it.
Just a few blocks away from the Innovation Quarter, the Winston-Salem’s arts district boasts a diverse collection of studios, galleries, shops, restaurants and nightlife. This intersection of arts and innovation is one of the many reasons why Winston-Salem topped the Forbes list of top places to travel in the U.S.