Just a quick 84 miles from Charlotte, Winston-Salem is perfectly situated for a day trip or a weekend away. Rich in welcoming smiles, the city has much to offer visitors. Moravian cookies, Old Salem, historic museums, and many great places to dine will leave your family wanting more after your visit.
My two daughters and I made the trip. We enjoyed a fabulous few days in Winston-Salem. It’s just the right amount of city in the right amount of time with the right amount of fun things to do. Here are our favorites.
Must-See Old Salem Museums & Gardens
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
A visit to Old Salem will take you on a trip back in time to the life of the early Moravians settlers. The cobblestone sidewalks of Main Street will lead you to a well-preserved town filled with interesting shops, museums, and gardens.
Knowledgeable guides, dressed in period clothing, enthusiastically share information with visitors. These guides are very personable and open to any questions you might have. Our personal favorites were the Shoemaker Shop, Single Brothers’ House, Salem Tavern Museum, and Winkler Bakery. Unfortunately we visited on a rainy day and weren’t able to visit the gardens, but I have heard they are beautiful.
For more info, go to oldsalem.org
Eat at Tavern of Old Salem
After a full day exploring Old Salem Museums and Gardens, your family can refuel at Tavern of Old Salem. It’s very popular and the main restaurant in the area, so making reservations is a must. Inside an 18th century tavern, costumed servers in historic Moravian attire deliver farm-to-fork American fare to your table. Some of the farmed ingredients come right out of Old Salem’s gardens. A long time favorite dish is the Moravian chicken pie, don’t forget to ask for some extra chicken gravy!
For more, go to thetaverninoldsalem.ws
Stay at the Historic Brookstown Inn
Built in 1837, the original architectural of this former cotton mill, lend to some unique room features like exposed wooden beams and brick walls. All of the 70 rooms are unique and no two rooms are like, but all have modern bathrooms and flat screen televisions. A hot buffet breakfast is included in the room rate featuring bacon, eggs, grits, and gravy. Nightly, there is a wine & cheese reception from 5-7pm and cookies & milk from 8-9pm.
This redbrick hotel is the perfect place to relax and rest from your day’s adventures around Winston-Salem. My girls and I simply loved our stay here. My younger daughter especially liked staying on the top floor, my older daughter liked the extra roomy suite, and I liked the super comfy beds.
For more, go to brookstowninn.com
Explore Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem
Locals refer to this museum as the Beanstalk Museum, because it boasts a really cool beanstalk sculpture. Found right in the middle of the museum, this hands-on work of art has wavy platforms leaves that kids can use to climb to the second floor.
Exploration of the many interactive exhibits opens the door to discovery and put those critical thinking skills to good use.
This fun museum is best suited for children up to 8 years old. However, to share a family secret, my 12 year old loved it! My daughters’ favorites were the Kaleidoscape – an outdoor hanging, crocheted maze, racing to make the doughnuts at the Krispy Kreme doughnut factory, the Amazing Airways – by experimenting with the changing direction of a scarves inside a clear maze, and of course, the beanstalk sculpture.
For more info, go to childrensmusuemofws.org
Eat at Mary’s Gourmet Diner
Something I just fell in love with is how Winston-Salem entrepreneurs have repurposed older buildings, bringing them wonderfully back to life. Mary’s Gourmet Diner is an excellent example of this. After its construction in 1929 and spending many years as a bank, Mary turned this old relic into the perfect restaurant in the Arts District. The best way to start your day is by eating breakfast at Mary’s Gourmet Diner – famous for their omelets, breakfast plates, and gritz bowls. If you couldn’t make it for breakfast, don’t worry - they serve up homemade lunches as well. In this funky, artsy restaurant, you just can’t go wrong with any selection, since all the food is made from scratch.
For more info, go to marysgourmetdiner.net
Tour Mrs. Hanes Hand-made Moravian Cookies
Located in a southwest suburb of Winston-Salem, Mrs. Hanes Hand-Made Moravian Cookies is a yummy place to visit. You won’t get farther than a step or two inside before the wonderful smell of the baking cookies stop you in your tracks. The friendly staff is right there to help you choose among the six delicious flavors. Don’t leave without taking a tour the facility and watching their bakers hand-roll and hand-cut each cookie using the recipe that has been handed down for generations.
This family owned business rolls out more than 120,000 pounds of cookie dough every year! A brief mention in O, The Oprah Magazine, was a catalyst that helped them weather the recent recession. A Christmastime tradition for many families is purchasing their ginger cookies, causing them to become their number one selling cookie.
For more info, go to hanescookies.com
Eat at Skippy’s Hot Dogs
Stop by one of the locals’ favorites to grab lunch, Skippy’s Hot Dogs. Located on a charming downtown street, this lunch spot is wildly popular among the kids since hot dogs are the main dish! Uniquely served on a pretzel bun, diners can choose from a wide variety of toppings and for your side, you must order their hand-cut fries – you will not be disappointed. Opened Tuesday through Saturdays from 11am to 4pm.
Skippy’s, 624 W 4th Street, Winston-Salem 336-722-3442
For more information on Winston-Salem, go to visitwinstonsalem.com.