Winston-Salem — the city that falls asleep at 9 p.m., a boring metropolis, one Reddit user’s fourth-best North Carolina college town and now, your home for the next four years.
Dash City isn’t a college town like Boone or Chapel Hill, so you may feel like there is not much to do outside of campus. But ask any other townie and they will agree that there is plenty to do besides sitting in parking lots with your high school friends asking each other, “So what are we going to do?”. The entertainment is out there, you just have to know where to look.
Shopping: Hanes Mall? Wack. Thruway? That. If you enjoy spending all day walking past empty department stores and incessant shoe cleaners, Hanes Mall is the place to be. But if overcrowded parking lots and bright fluorescent lights don’t float your boat, Thruway Shopping Center may deserve a visit. Clothes, salons, sporting goods, restaurants and the best smoothies in town? This ain’t your mama’s strip mall. Also, right across the street from Thruway is Five Points, home of Nawab, Little Richard’s BBQ and Midtown Cafe. Dare I say a better breakfast than the Pit? There are also many shops and boutiques in downtown Winston-Salem, including Underdog Records on Burke Street, Mast General on Trade Street, Bookmarks on 4th and many more local businesses to spend the day in.
Outdoors: What’s the coolest three-letter word in the English language? B-M-X. There is literally nothing cooler. Go grind some gears at Tanglewood Park with miles of bike trails and a racecourse. Not cool enough to BMX? Fine, I guess you are still allowed to check out the rest of the park. Golf, fishing, farmer’s markets, jumping off bridges into the Yadkin River or just walking around are all fun and acceptable non-BMX activities. If walking around is more your speed, there are three beautiful hiking trails all within an hour of campus — Pilot Mountain, Hanging Rock and Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain may be the furthest, but if you want to pretend to walk on the moon, the trek is worth it. If you are a White Sox fan, check out Winston-Salem’s lower, Single-A Minor League baseball team: the Dash. Lawn seats are nine dollars a pop and you can always move around the ballpark throughout the game. Plus, kids get to run the bases after the game, need I say more?
Don’t Have A Car?: No worries, there are still plenty of things to do near campus, and the shuttle can be used to get downtown. Take a quick 15-minute walk over to the Reynolda House and Museum of Art to bathe yourself in early 20th-century decadence and beauty. Just flash your DeaconOne Card and you can explore the finely furnished halls for free as well as get access to the rotating art exhibits downstairs. Take the shuttle downtown, get dropped off at Bailey Park, which usually has something always going on, then take a quick walk over to Fourth Street for some dinner. Then, amble over to the Art Park on Liberty Street. All of downtown is very walkable and easy to navigate, so if you want to explore this new city, you can do so. Just make sure you keep track of time and don’t get stranded by the shuttle.
Makeovers: Unless you are planning to grow your hair out for the next eight months, you are probably going to be looking for a barber shop nearby. If you are a Great Clips man, fear not, there are many locations in town. However, if you would like a more authentic barbershop feel, Mt. Tabor Barber Shop and Washington Park Barber Shop are both affordable and highly rated. If you want a closer barbershop, check out Supreme Legacy and Headliners which are less than two miles from campus and both of which specialize in cutting Black hair. If a haircut doesn’t fulfill that permanent change desire, visit ArtAttack Tattoo on Reynolda Road for some fresh ink or piercings. Obviously, you should do your own research about artists around town before you lock in, but ArtAttack’s convenience and testimonials are unmatched.