Those who know and cherish the Wake Forest community are all too familiar with the stigma of the “Wake Forest bubble.” This phenomena describes students’ restricted access to the world beyond the gated campus as a result of limited parking, three-year housing requirements and a surplus of on-campus amenities.
Go beyond the bubble by escaping into downtown Winston-Salem to explore all that it has to offer.
From exceptional food options to outdoor pursuits and a unique downtown, Winston-Salem is a city that deserves to be discovered and appreciated by all students.
For when your meal plan just doesn’t cut it…
Despite the many options on campus, food from the dining hall eventually gets a little repetitive. When this becomes an issue, there are countless restaurants to satisfy a variety of cravings. Every Wake Forest student has a list of his or her favorite spots.
A local favorite, The Porch has possibly the best Tex-Mex around. Located in a remodeled warehouse, the grunge setting combined with a modern take on Mexican food merits its position as one of the most frequented restaurants by students. Serving renditions of tacos, burrito bowls and nachos, The Porch creatively serves traditional meals in a trendy manner. Come hungry because you will certainly want to clean your plate.
Another restaurant cherished by students, Silo is a bistro and bar within walking distance of Wake Forest. Located in Reynolda Village, Silo serves some of the best fresh sandwiches, salads and small plates while also providing a comfortable and casual setting. They feature fantastic daily menu items, such as deals on taco Tuesdays, a flatbread of the day and a sandwich of the day.
When the line at the Starbucks becomes too much to handle or when you simply want a change of pace, consider Café Camino. Serving freshly roasted coffee, espresso and bakery goods, Camino is a fantastic place to study or relax in downtown Winston-Salem. Sunday mornings are usually loud and crowded, less than ideal for studying, so try showing up late on a school night for a more relaxed setting. Another great deal, Camino also has half priced homemade cheesecake every Monday.
Camel City BBQ
It is only natural to expect fantastic barbeque at a southern university. Some of the best and cheapest around can be found at Camel City. Parents will also love this restaurant as they have a wide selection of craft beers and cocktails to enjoy with their homemade barbeque. Along with enjoying the delicious food customers are invited to play a variety of classic arcade games like pinball, foosball and pool while waiting for a table.
For when the walk to and from class becomes too boring…
Despite its beauty and excitement, campus can start to feel a little small. Luckily, the area around Wake Forest has fantastic sights for when the bubble becomes too tight. Located in the Piedmont Triad area, Winston Salem is home to many unique sights that can only be found in this region of the country.
One of the more common places to take a quick walk or jog off-campus is the Reynolda Trail. It passes through Reynolda Village and Gardens and expands into a wide-open field, perfect for relieving stress and finding peace without venturing far from campus. Extending past the Reynolda Trail, visitors are invited to wander along the North Carolina Birding Trail and discover more paths tucked within the woods.
Referred to as the “hidden diamond of Winston-Salem,” students can enjoy exploring the nearly seven mile trail around Salem Lake. Without going too far off campus, students can spend a day simply taking in the nearby sights. This view is special as it features the unique beauty that the Piedmont Triad area has to offer, with its lush greenery juxtaposing the mountains in the distant background.
Less than an hour from campus, Pilot Mountain State Park is perfect for a day hike with friends or family. One of the more popular locations to get off campus, Pilot mountain is a perfect spot for fellow deacs to spend an afternoon hiking around the park. Moreover, various campus organizations often host different events on the mountain, offering students a fun escape from usual campus life.
For when you miss city life…
Although it isn’t a big, bustling city, downtown Winston-Salem is an exceptional place to explore and discover new quirks every trip. Home to a growing arts district, fantastic restaurants, bars and fun events, Winston-Salem brings aspects of a big city into just a few blocks. Numerous events and festivals are often held downtown and should definitely be explored by adventurous students.
Winston-Salem Arts District
Located between Fifth, Seventh and Trade street, the small arts district features galleries, art studios and shops to explore. On the first Friday of every month, the Downtown Arts District Association holds gallery hops, taking customers to a variety of unique art galleries and restaurants in the arts district. Beyond these organized events, anyone interested is welcome to explore the shops in the area by themselves.
One of the most underrated parts of Winston-Salem is Old Salem, a living history town dating back to the 1700s, as the first Moravian community in the area. Home to Salem College, a museum, gardens, shopping and restaurants, Old Salem is a definite must-see for new students.
Dixie Classic Fair
A Winston-Salem tradition for over 100 years, the fair held Sept. 30-Oct. 9 features rides, games, live music and classic fried fair foods. It is a fantastic way to embrace the South on a warm Saturday afternoon.Throw on a pair of cowboy boots and a dress, eat fried oreos and ride a ferris wheel to feel like a true southerner.
Although there will be a lot of fun events for new students, nothing will emulate feelings of home like going to see a good movie. Aperture is different than other traditional theaters as they play foreign, indie and festival films as well as host unique film festivals on a regular basis. However, if more traditional movie theaters seem more appealing, visit the Grand Theater to see the most recent blockbusters.
Winston-Salem is a special community, and new students should take advantage of it. Part of the Wake Forest freshman experience is adventuring outside the comfortable campus bubble and getting out into the city. With fantastic food options, outdoor excursions and a growing downtown scene, it is easy to love Winston-Salem after spending time finding new hidden favorites.