Best Places to Live

Winston-Salem, NC

Population: 248,839
LIV
SCORE
609
Photo Courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem

Combining traditional Southern hospitality with international flair, the past meets present in Winston-Salem. The city is the gateway to the Yadkin Valley wine region, where you can find more than 40 wineries to enjoy, and is the state’s first and largest American Viticultural Area. Even more than that, Winston-Salem, known as “Winston” by the locals, has experienced steady growth over the past decade and maintains a low cost of living. Education is a top priority to residents and several higher ed institutions call Winston-Salem home, including Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State, a top-ranking HBCU. Additionally, the arts scene is unparalleled and the historic Old Salem district, originally settled by the Moravian community in the 1750s, has become a cultural hub. Oh, and a little donut shop called Krispy Kreme is headquartered here!

Top Industries and Employers: Healthcare and manufacturing are two of Winston-Salem’s industry heavy hitters. 

Best Coffee Shop: Krankies Cafe

Best Local Beer/Brewery: Foothills Brewing’s award winning Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout. 

Must-Have Meal: Winston-Salem is a city rooted deeply in its history and the best way to get a taste of the city is by taking a trip down the Moravian Cookie Trail, which is just as delicious as it sounds. 

Best Co-Working Space: Tenants of Flywheel Coworking can enjoy a variety of panels, startup accelerator opportunities and a community centered around growing your business. 

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Reboot Arcade Bar is Winston-Salem’s first arcade bar and has more than 60 vintage arcade favorites, including Ms. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. 

Creative Hub: Do it for the ‘gram! The Downtown Arts District is the best place to spot some of the city’s many murals and public art installations. 

Favorite Weekend Activity: Spend your afternoon in the downtown district. Start with dinner at 6th and Vine Wine Bar and Restaurant, catch a movie at a/perture cinema, a locally-owned and independent movie theater, and round out the evening with a cocktail at bar piña’s rooftop bar.

Free Way to Have Fun: In the heart of Innovation Quarter is Bailey Park, a public greenspace that often hosts free yoga classes as well as food trucks, festivals and movie presentations.

Local Dream Job: Docent at the Old Salem Museums & Gardens, a living history museum and historic site combating food insecurity and focusing on the stories of people, including Moravian, black and indigenous people tied to the region. 

Read More:
6 Reasons Why You Should Move to Winston-Salem, NC 
Winston-Salem, NC is a Great City for First-Time Homebuyers 
Best Places to Live in North Carolina

- Cara Sanders

"We have extremely affordable housing, a collaborative ecosystem for entrepreneurs, numerous resources and opportunities for artists and creatives, and a growth mindset that empowers us to punch above our weight. I'd say Winston is not only a great place to live, but also a great place to work."

Kayla Norris
Operations and Community Development Coordinator, Center for Creative Economy

Winston-Salem, NC Ranking Data

Civic
37
Demographics
54
Economy
61
Education
61
Health
42
Housing
71
Infrastructure
41