A tradition of diversity and tolerance
In the Winston-Salem area, there are close to 400 houses of worship. More than 24 Protestant denominations are represented. In addition, there are five Catholic churches, two synagogues, a Greek Orthodox church and an Islamic temple. There are also several interdenominational and non-denominational congregations.
Efficiency is key
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County operates a combined Planning, Zoning and Inspections division to allow for a streamlined permitting process.
The Winston-Salem City Council and Forsyth County Board of Commissioners both voted unanimously to adopt the Legacy 2030 comprehensive plan in November 2012. The Legacy 2030 Plan addresses issues related to current development patterns, establishes a clear vision for our future, and lays out a strategy designed to help us balance future growth and quality of life. Residents have envisioned a thriving economy, safe, livable neighborhoods, a commitment to preserving environmental quality, and community character. An updated version of the plan was completed in 2012. For more information on this plan visit Legacy 2030 To learn more about Winston-Salem Planning and Zoning, please visit the City of Winston-Salem website.
State of the art
Forsyth County is home to two of the region’s largest hospitals: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC) and Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center (NHFMC) – which also rank as the county’s two largest employers with well over 20,000 employees. WFUBMC specializes in many advanced medical care sectors and NHFMC is the region’s largest hospital providing comprehensive care.
Emergency Medical Services
Forsyth County EMS (FCEMS) provides 24 hour-a-day advanced life support, pre-hospital emergency medical care for a population of over 350,000 in a 420 square mile area. Emergency response time averages 3 minutes within city limits. Countywide, the average response time is 9 minutes. Additionally, the Wake Forest University School of Medicine/Baptist Hospital Medical Center operates Air Care, a helicopter ambulance service. Both hospitals are Level 1 trauma centers.
Police Protection and Crime
While over 1.6 million people live in the Piedmont Triad, a large share of the population resides in either the non-urbanized areas or smaller cities that surround Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and Burlington. The prevalence of small, close knit communities has helped the region maintain relatively low crime rates.
In Winston-Salem there are 17 fire stations staffed by 287 full-time fire fighters. They are equipped with 16 pumpers, 4 aerial trucks, a hazardous materials van and an air van. Outside city limits, there are a total 24 fire stations with 59 full-time staff and 900 volunteers.
Four distinct seasons
Forsyth County and the Piedmont Triad enjoy a mild, four-season climate. As a result, fall foliage is often quite spectacular. Winter precipitation is generally less than 9 inches and of very short duration. All of these factors result in a very comfortable mean annual temperature of 58° F.
Affordable, easy living
Winston-Salem residents enjoy a relatively low cost of living compared to the national average and compared to similar cities of its size. According to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index Winston-Salem’s composite COLI in 4Q 2013 was 86, or roughly 14% lower than national average. A full breakdown of the Cost of Living Index can be found in our annual demographics brochure.
Combined Winston-Salem/Forsyth County property tax rates for 2014-2015 are $1.2568 per $100 of valuation (lower rates in smaller communities outside Winston-Salem limits). Sales tax in Forsyth County is currently 6.75%.
Real Estate Transfer Tax
The statewide real estate transfer tax is assessed at the rate of $1.00 per $500 of the value of each deed, instrument, or writing by which any interest in real property is conveyed to another person.
There is a statewide tax of 1% on manufacturing fuels, 3% on electricity or natural gas and 1% on manufacturing equipment.
Housing Costs: The Forsyth County single family housing market is characterized by a well- balanced supply of homes relative to demand, reasonable prices relative to comparably sized communities, and a wide range of styles, sizes and settings. A three-bedroom 2,500 sf home currently averages around $235,000 in the Winston-Salem area, with prices ranging from below $100,000 to well over $1 million. Apartments and condominiums are also in ample supply.
Big city and small town in perfect balance
Whether you enjoy outdoor activities, an exciting nightlife, art and music, or the simple pleasures of a family-oriented community, Winston-Salem offers residents a variety of opportunities to learn, play and grow. With four distinct seasons and easy access to the mountains and the ocean, beauty and a comfortable climate are always within reach.
The area’s balance is also reflected in the fact that Winston-Salem is one of a handful of U.S. cities that consistently receives a debt rating of AAA from Standard & Poors. As of 1996, Forsyth County also enjoys a AAA debt rating.
There are three major daily newspapers in the Piedmont Triad region. In addition, there are five major weeklies in the Winston-Salem area alone. The weekly Triad Business Journal (link) is also widely read by the business community.
In broadcast media, Triad area residents have access to more than a dozen radio stations as well as local affiliates for all four major television networks. The City of Winston-Salem broadcasts many local events and programs on its Channel 13 station.
|WSTV 13 (Government Channel)||www.ci.winston-salem.nc.us|
|Winston-Salem Journal (Newspaper)||www.journalnow.com|
|Triad Business Journal||www.triad.bizjournals.com/triad|
|WFMY 2 (CBS Affiliate)||www.wfmynews2.com|
|WGHP 8 (Fox Affiliate)||www.myfox8.com|
|WXII 12 (NBC Affiliate)||www.wxii12.com/index.html|
|WUPN 48 (UPN Affiliate)||www.upn48.com/greensboro_nc|
The cultural and recreational resources of the Winston-Salem area also make it a prime destination for national and regional groups and conventions. The area’s attractiveness also resulted in a decision by the Italian Olympic Committee to make Winston-Salem its primary U.S. training site for the 1996 Olympic Games.
There are also several first-rate private-meeting locations including Graylyn Conference Center, the former estate of an Reynolds American, Inc. chief executive. Graylyn is consistently rated as one of the 10 best meeting sites in the U.S.
In addition, the city offers many other great meeting venues including the M.C. Benton Convention Center, which offers 90,000 square feet of meeting space.
- Lawrence Joel Veteran’s Memorial (LJVM) Coliseum and Annex offer a wide variety of meeting spaces as well as serving as a venue for basketball, concerts, and hockey games.
The Dixie Classic Fairgrounds and Exhibition hall also offer great services including 31,500 square feet of exhibition space.
Other meeting spaces can be found by visiting the Winston-Salem Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website.
Forsyth County Public Library
- Forsyth County Public Library consists of a main library in downtown Winston-Salem, along with nine branches located throughout the county. The system attracted over 1.5 million visitors in 2012-2013. A variety of online information databases for the business and general community are available.
Life is good in Winston-Salem.
What is it about Winston- Salem, Forsyth County that attracts people to our area? Aside from being a great place for businesses to grow, our community offers the lifestyle that people want—a reasonable cost of living with a variety of available amenities and entertainment opportunities.
This guide provides only a snapshot of what is happening in and around Winston-Salem, Forsyth County. The best way to learn what this city has to offer is to experience it firsthand.
We invite you to visit any time and see for yourself. Contact our Visitor’s Center toll-free at 866-728-4200, or go to www.visitwinstonsalem.com.
Plenty to catch your eye
Winston-Salem adds a dash of cosmopolitan flavor to the region’s cultural life boasting the first urban arts council in the nation. Winston-Salem has historically ranked number one in the U.S. in per capita contributions to the arts. Winston-Salem may be North Carolina’s City of the Arts offering a wide range of museums, shows, and performances, but there are plenty of other things to do as well!
The Piedmont Triad region offers an abundance of recreational activities to meet the requirements of even the most demanding of individuals. The Triad’s mild climate and strategic location between Blue Ridge Mountains and Atlantic beaches help provide area residents with a wide variety of options. Over 5,000 acres of parkland are located in Forsyth County alone.
The City of Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department operates 27 recreation centers, 48 picnic shelters, 75 parks, nine swimming pools, the Winston Lake and Reynolds Park golf courses, Winston and Salem lakes, Historic Bethabara Park, and special programs. In addition, Forsyth County maintains Tanglewood Park with two championship golf courses, as well as C. G. Hill Memorial Park, Horizon Park, Joanie Moser Memorial Park, Kernersville Lake Park, Old 421 River Park, Triad Park, Union Cross Park, and Walkertown Community Park.
If you’re looking to run, bike or hike, the area offers many amenities for you! For example, there is the gorgeous Salem Lake trail—a seven-mile trail open to walkers, runner, bikers, and even equestrian riders. If you prefer a bit more of a hike, Pilot Mountain State Park , about thirty minutes from the city, offers hiking, rock climbing, fishing, canoeing, camping and picnic shelters. Just a short drive from Winston-Salem is High Rock Lake Belews Creek and Lake Norman offering boating, sailing and water skiing. The Blue Ridge Mountains are only an hour and a half away.
|Private Golf Courses||4|
|Public Golf Courses||11|
|Pools, Swim Clubs, & Aquatic Centers||30|
|Special Use Facilities||13|
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, with seating capacity of 14,800 for basketball, hosts Wake Forest University’s home games. Joel Coliseum often hosts playoff games for the ACC and NCAA tournaments, and is a popular site for various concerts and special events. Wake Forest University football games are held at nearby BB&T Field.
In 2010, the Winston-Salem Dash became an integral part of Winston-Salem’s local sporting scene and drew a record-breaking 312,313 fan base to its BB&T Ballpark. The Dash led all Class-A Advanced teams in total and average attendance, and the team finished with the best overall record in the Carolina League. In honor of the success the Dash received in its first season it was named “2010 Organization of the Year” by Ballpark Digest.
Get ready for another great season and reserve your tickets now. For the second time in three seasons, Tommy Thompson will manage the Winston-Salem Dash in 2014 Visit the official website.
The Winston-Salem area is also considered by many to be a golfer’s delight. The area has numerous private and public clubs and courses. TanglewoodChampionship course has a USGA course rating (back tees) of 74.5, Bermuda Run, 74.3, among the most challenging in the Southeast.
Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem is the largest super regional mall in the Carolinas with 1.8 million square feet of retail space and 200 stores including five department stores. It is also the largest traditional mall between Atlanta and Washington DC. There are 63 shopping centers in the county, with a total of over 9.2 million square feet of space. Shoppers can visit traditional suburban centers, downtown shops, stores in historic Reynolda Village, Old Salem or Bethabara, and general stores. Every major national and regional retail department store chain has a presence in the area, as do many specialty retailers.
Vineyards and Wineries
Forsyth County is home to “One of the South’s best kept wine secrets” according to Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate. That secret is Westbend Vineyards in nearby Lewisville, NC. Westbend is one of 40 nearby wineries in the Piedmont Triad Region where you can enjoy a tour and sample some of their great wine. Tanglewood Park also hosts an annual wine festival where one can experience wines from many of the Southeastern wineries.
While Winston-Salem may have a mild climate, it is within an hour and a half of some fantastic ski destinations. The nearby towns of Boone and Banner Elk are within an hour and a half drive and offer many great ski resorts. Appalachian Ski Mountain, Hawksnest, Ski Beech, and Sugar Ski Resort each offer great mountains and good ski conditions during the winter months.
Restaurants of every variety, from fast food to fine dining, are also in plentiful supply. Among the over 500 eating establishments presently in Forsyth County, one can find menus ranging from Southern barbecue to Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Greek, Indian and nouvelle cuisine.
Two private dining clubs in downtown Winston-Salem, the Twin City and Piedmont Clubs, are popular choices for business entertaining. Both clubs have special corporate rates; call for details.
|Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership||www.dwsp.org|
|Historic Bethabara Park||www.bethabarapark.org|
|The Museum of Anthropology||www.wfu.edu/moa|
|Life in Winston-Salem (PDF)||Read our brochure here.|
Winston-Salem: City of Arts + Innovation
Winston-Salem is considered North Carolina’s City of the Arts. Home to the nation’s first Arts Council, the world-renowned North Carolina School of the Arts, and the National Black Theatre Festival, Winston-Salem boasts a wealth of cultural offerings.
Local galleries and museums offer the region’s most impressive exhibits and stimulating programming. Visitors can experience the best in contemporary, historical, African-American and scientific exhibitions in North Carolina’s finest museums. Historic Old Salem preserves the past in a “living” museum while the Sawtooth Center for Visual Arts and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) offer classes and exhibits of various media. TheReynolda House is an impressive and varied collection of American art in the gracious historic estate of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds. SciWorks thrills children of all ages with interactive, hands-on exhibits, a planetarium and a 15-acre environmental park.
- Downtown Arts District at Sixth and Trade Streets is a growing community of eclectic galleries and craft shops. The Downtown area bustles with energy until late in the evening during the Gallery Hops which take place on the first Friday of each month. There are also weekly outdoor concert events from May to October with Alive after Five (Thursday), Fourth Street Jazz and Blues (Friday), and Summer on Trade (Saturday).
In 2002, the RiverRun International Film Festival chose to relocate to the facilities offered in Winston-Salem by the North Carolina School of the Arts. By 2004, there were over one hundred movies shown throughout Winston-Salem with nearly one quarter of the entries from international film makers. The festival includes huge parties as well as forums and panels with experienced filmmakers.
The Something for Everyone series brings some of Broadways’ best touring musicals and a variety of specialty acts for all ages to the stage at the Stevens Center . Take in a performance by the Winston-Salem Piedmont Triad Symphony, Piedmont Opera Theatre, the North Carolina School of the Arts or the community Little Theatre.
|The Arts Council of Winston-Salem||www.intothearts.com|
|City of Arts and Innovation Events and Community site||www.cityofthearts.com|
|Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA||www.secca.org|
|Associated Artists of Winston-Salem||www.associatedartists.org|
|Carolina Music Ways||www.carolinamusicways.org|
|Downtown Arts District Association||www.dadaws.org|
|Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership||www.dwsp.org|
|Fiddle & Bow Society||www.fiddleandbow.org
|Twin City Stage Theater||www.twincitystage.org|
|Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA)||www.mesda.org|
|National Black Theatre Festival||www.nbtf.org|
|North Carolina Shakespeare Festival||www.ncshakes.org|
|Museum of Anthropology||www.wfu.edu/MOA|
|Piedmont Blues Preservation Society||www.piedmontblues.org|
|Piedmont Opera Theater||www.piedmontopera.org|
|The Stevens Center of the North Carolina School of the Arts||www.uncsa.edu/stevenscenter|
|Reynolda House Museum of American Art||www.reynoldahouse.org|
|Sawtooth Center for Visual Art||www.sawtooth.org|
|Piedmont Wind Symphony||www.piedmontwindsymphony.com|
|RiverRun International Film Festival||www.riverrunfilm.com|