A city that’s somewhat undecided on its persona (half Winston, half Salem), thanks in part to a blend of preppy Wake Forest University and hip art schools, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is also decidedly cool. Let this roundup of the city’s three most surprising elements explain—and inspire you to give the Southern city a look.
1) Convention Center
Benton Convention Center is getting $18 million worth of structural, design and technological upgrades, slated for completion in spring 2017. Atlanta-based design firm Tvsdesign is incorporating architectural nods to Winston-Salem’s historic arts, tobacco and textile roots. For example, the new design will include a sawtooth roofline, an element often seen on historic factory buildings in the area, which lets natural light into a building without overheating it.
When Winston-Salem was founded by a group of Moravians (Eastern European protestants) in 1753, they brought with them a culinary culture all their own. Today, give attendees a taste of Moravian cuisine in the form of sugar cakes, ginger cookies, lovefeast buns and chicken pies, available at local shops like Winkler Bakery, Cherries Cafe and Dewey’s Bakery.
Investors are flocking to Winston-Salem to launch startups in life sciences, information technology and digital media, earning the city its nickname as the City of Arts and Innovation. Later this year, Wake Forest Baptist Health will expand Wake Forest Innovation Quarter by 180 acres, adding to the state’s growing biotechnology corridor and making the city even more attractive for faith-based medical meetings.