Winston-Salem is a city of 241,218 people (2015 U.S. Census estimate), the fifth-largest city in North Carolina. It is located in the county of Forsyth in the center of the state, between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The city occupies about 130 square miles and sits almost 1000 feet above sea level.
Winston-Salem traces its origins before U.S. Independence, when a group of Moravians, a Protestant denomination, settled here in 1753. Their community took the name “Salem,” mentioned as a Canaanite city in the book of Genesis. Almost a century would pass before the growing town sold some of its land to Forsyth County, which would soon name their community “Winston” after a local figure in Revolutionary War. The two towns merged as “Winston-Salem” in 1913.
Winston-Salem is located in the southern U.S., a moderate subtropical region with humid summers. It receives 47 inches of rain a year. The average high temperature is 69.7°F and the average low temperature is 49.4°F. The warmest month, July, sees average highs of 89°F while the coolest month, January, sees average lows of 30°F.
Winston-Salem is served by major interstate highways: 40, 77, 85 and Business 40, as well as by U.S. Highway 52. Smith Reynolds Airport is only 3 miles from downtown, while the Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) is but 20 miles away. A Greyhound-Trailways Bus Terminal is located downtown; an Amtrak station (GRO) is located 25 miles to the east in Greensboro.
Winston-Salem Cost of Living
The cost of living index shows Winston-Salem is more economical than most places. The fundamentals will cost you about 86 percent of what you can expect to pay based on averages for all U.S. cities. Housing is especially a bargain, with a cost index of 63/100 according to Sperling’s Best Places. Use the resources below to see how far your salary will go toward living essentials in Winston-Salem.
Public education is provided by Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, which operates 43 elementary schools, 14 middle schools, and 15 high schools. Forsyth County is also home to 33 private schools, including the Highlands School, a Catholic, National Top 50 Honor Roll School. As well, Winston-Salem provides higher education in several well-known institutions: Wake Forest University and Wake Forest School of Medicine; Forsyth Technical Community College; University of North Carolina School of the Arts; Piedmont International University; Salem Academy & College; and Winston-Salem Sate University.
Winston-Salem is well known for quality health care options. These include the Forsyth Medical Center and the North Carolina Baptist Hospital, part of the Wake Forest Baptist Health system. Brenner Children’s Hospital within Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is ranked one of the nation’s best pediatric care centers by U.S. News & World Report.
Winston-Salem Real Estate
Per the U.S. Census, Winston-Salem has about 104,000 housing units (2010 estimate). The median value of owner-occupied homes is $139.7K and the median gross monthly rent is $722 (substantially below the national figure of $920). Approximately 56 percent of housing units are owner-occupied, and the median monthly expense for those with a mortgage is $1,178.
Winston-Salem offers a bevy of choices for two- and three-star lodging, plus a few higher-end options. Connect with the past at the Historic Brookstown Inn, a converted mill; complimentary breakfast, wine, and cookies enhance your stay. For about half the price, you can stay at the Quality Inn Coliseum and enjoy free breakfast and free wi-fi. If you’d like to get in a game of golf with your stay, check out the five-star Grandover Resort & Conference Center.
A recent estimate puts the number of restaurants in Winston-Salem at around 450. If you’d like to savor the local flavors, put a visit to Jeffrey Adams on your list. It’s locally famous for farm-to-table foods and craft cocktails. For home cooking served in a colonial atmosphere, check out The Tavern in Old Salem. Try the vegetarian Blueberry, Beef & Brown Butter Salad. Or, dig into the The Tavern Chicken Pie, served with red skin mashed potatoes, green beans, and chicken gravy.
Things to Do in Winston-Salem
You’ll find plenty to keep you occupied in Winston-Salem. Sample the fruit of the vine at any of 40 local wineries in the nearby Yadkin Valley. For recreation, you have 12 golf courses and about 80 parks in Forsyth County. If you like the sound of brass, the Salem Band performs outdoors in the Old Salem Square during the summer. For a unique historical view of the early south, see an interesting collection of craft works at The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA). The Winston-Salem air show thrills about 20,000 spectators each September.