BY ANNE GLENN
As the City of Arts and Innovation, Winston-Salem is home to a wide collection of artists with a core group of galleries located in the Arts District. While you can find art throughout the city, the “Arts District” is the most densely packed area for public art. Follow this itinerary to enjoy a day immersed in all the Arts District has to offer.
Kick off your day on 4th Street at Camino Bakery with a pastry and cup of coffee for that extra caffeine boost. As you walk up 4th Street towards Trade Street, you’ll catch your first mural, La Luz de Diversidad, which is the only Hispanic mural downtown. Turn left onto Trade Street, and you’ll walk past The Memory Wall of Love and Peace, a 55-foot concrete wall next to the bus station that was converted into a mosaic made out of everyday objects by artist Gregory Warmack, also known as Mr. Imagination.
After you cross over 5th Street, you’ll hit the hub of the Arts District. For those wanting to do some shopping, don’t miss the Mast General Store; this local chain is packed full of clothing, camping gear, shoes, and the beloved barrels of candy for the kids. Farther down Trade Street, you can also find The B String Guitar Shop, whose knowledgeable and friendly staff have earned them a good reputation, and Happy Hour Vintage, a cute little shop stuffed with vintage clothing and accessories.
Trade Street is full of unique galleries. Stop first at the award-winning Visual Index, a gallery that emphasizes North Carolina art and features contemporary craft and fine art in a wide variety of media. Farther up Trade Street, visit artist-run Delurk Gallery, a curated space with shows that rotate on a monthly basis and focus on local artists. And you can’t miss Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery, which shows and sells traditional and contemporary crafts in a variety of media created by its members.
When you’re ready for a meal, the Arts District serves up some of the best food in town (but keep an eye out on opening times, many restaurants have fluctuated their hours a lot since the pandemic). It’s a tough call for lunch between Sweet Potatoes or Mojito Latin Soul Food. Sweet Potatoes – whose official name is “Sweet Potatoes, well shut my mouth!” – dishes out the best Southern soul food cooking in town. Favorite lunch dishes include the fried green tomato and okra basket, sweet potato cornbread, BLT, and anything involving their amazing fried chicken. Mojito Latin Soul Food, on the other hand, is your place to go for rice bowls and sandwiches full of Cuban flavor.
After lunch, veer off Trade Street towards the ARTivity on the Green, a small urban park on Liberty Street. If you’d like some afternoon entertainment, walk across the street to the newly opened ROAR, where you can try your hand at boutique bowling or a golf simulator on the second floor. If arcade games are more your speed, try either Camel City BBQ Factory (next to ROAR) or Reboot Arcade Bar, which does welcome the under-21 crowd during the day.
When you’re ready for an adult beverage, head back to Trade Street to either Single Brothers or Hoots Satellite Bar for an excellent cocktail in a small, appropriately quirky establishment. Make sure to see the mural Deep Sea Art, located on the side of Hoots that depicts an astronaut-figure in the water by artist JEKS, and keep checking the rooflines of buildings around here for occasional sculptural figures.
For dinner, there’s no question: Mission Pizza is the best. With outstanding Neapolitan-style pizza topped with classic and interesting ingredients, Mission Pizza deserves all the accolades it’s been raking in lately. But if you are willing to be open-minded, the best deal and dining experience is the Prix Fixe meal, when you enjoy five courses based on the chef’s choice of the day (naturally one course is always pizza!).
Should you wish to explore a little bit more, other locations in the Arts District worth checking out are Fiddlin’ Fish Brewery, Small Batch Brewery, La Luz & Co., and so many more. Enjoy your day in the Arts District!