The Best Tours In Winston-Salem (2024): From Ghosts To Gardens, Carriage Rides To Culinary Experiences

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Reynolda house front view
Reynolda House offers garden tours that are a must see.

See Winston-Salem through a different lens! Whether you are visiting Winston-Salem, showing it off to friends, or just getting to know the city, these guided tours offer many of Winston-Salem’s hidden gems. From downtown to historical tours and even ghost tours, even longtime residents are bound to learn something new.

Reynolda House

As our opening photo suggests, the old Reynolda estate (now owned and managed by Wake Forest University) hosts popular tours year round across its expansive grounds, gardens, and museum. Visit the Reynolda website for details and an events calendar.

Carriage Rides

There’s a couple options when it comes to carriage rides in the Winston-Salem area.

Heritage Farm & Carriages

Add a feel of authenticity as you experience Old Salem by horse and carriage. Heritage Farm & Carriage offers walk-up carriage service (no reservation required) on Saturdays from 1-4pm at Salem Square in Old Salem. Carriage rides last approximately 20 minutes. The carriage can accommodate four adults and two small children. The rate is $30 plus gratuity.

Times and dates are subject to change, please call to confirm availability.

  • 3930 Glenn Hi Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27107
  • (336) 784-8419
  • Riding Lessons

Dorvit’s Camel City CarriageHorse drawn carriage tours

For a horse drawn carriage ride through downtown, call or walk-up to Dorvit’s Camel City Carriage. Carriage rides are available Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30-10pm from 4th Street in the Historic West End (in front of Bernardin’s Restaurant) to Trade Street in the Arts District of Downtown. Carriage rides last approximately 25 minutes. The carriage accommodates up to eight people. Rates are $15 for adults, $7 for children 3 to 12 years, ages two and under, FREE. Walk-up service offered.

Call 336-624-6946 to ensure your ride time. Private tours are available. Times and dates are subject to change, please call to confirm availability.

  • Meet at 871 W 4th Street (in front of Bernardin’s)
  • Reservation recommended: 336-518-6149
  • 7141 Dennis Rd, Walnut Cove, NC 27052
  • (336) 754-1172

Segway Tours

Cover a lot of ground in a fun, innovative and eco-friendly way with segway tours by Triad Eco Adventures. Choose from a mini orientation with a glide on the Greenway to Old Salem and along the Strollway (minimum of 3 participants), a two-hour tour of Downtown, a two-hour tour of UNCSA and Washington Park, a two-hour tour of Old Salem and Salem college (Mondays only) or the Mayhem & Mystery Tour of horrid historical true stories about town, and several specialty tours including African American History, a Night Lights Tour (experienced segway riders only) and more. Mini-tour and orientation is $39, while the two-hour tours are $64.

Times and dates are subject to change, please call to confirm availability.

Food Tourstaste-carolina

Eat drink and walk your way through Winston-Salem with food tours that guide participants on a walking tour of downtown Winston-Salem, stopping to taste the delights of independently-owned establishments from fine dining restaurants to favorite local dives.

Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours

Taste of Carolina Food Tour

Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours meets downtown in front of Foothills Brewing. Explore downtown restaurants and those of the West End neighborhood. Note: The 3:30 tour includes wine, beer, and cocktail pairings throughout the tour, whereas the 2:30 tour includes tastes of wine and beer here and there. Reservations are $47-$65. Reserve your spot using their reservation calendar.

Paddleboard Tour

Triad Eco Adventures offers a guided Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) tour and lessons at two launch points on Belews Lake (approximately 25 minutes from Winston-Salem). During your two-hour session, receive a paddleboarding lesson and then take the tour of Belews Lake. Because the Lake is used as cooling waters for the Duke Energy Belews Creek Steam Station, the lake waters are always warm. Fees are $38-$54 and reservations are required: 1-800-979-3370.

Ghost Tours

Dark pedestrian walkway at night with shadows lit up by street lanterns
Boo! If that scared you, wait until you embark on one of Old Salem’s ghost tours. Do you see the ghost in this photo?

Carolina History & Haunts: West Endings

This haunting tour by Carolina History & Haunts is held year-round and tours the historic West End district by lantern, featuring tales of “love, money and a few unfortunate endings.” You’ll listen to the local history and haunts of West End, learn their superstitious customs, and even bring you to the sites where some of Winston-Salem’s former residents continue to have an everlasting presence.

The tour is 90 minutes long. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for children 8-12, and children 6 and under are free. You can see tour availability and purchase your tickets here.

Tours meet in the courtyard behind The Rosenbacher House.  This is also the home for The Board Babe Café & LMI Builders. If the Board Babe Café is open when you arrive, enjoy some of their delicacies before (or after) the tour! If it’s closed, please meet in the courtyard, but do NOT pull on the doors, as this will set off the alarm.   

Ticket holders receive 10% off at The Old Fourth Street Filling Station.

848 West Fifth Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Old Salem Legends & Lanterns Tour

Please note that this tour is not held every year. It was held last year, but there doesn’t appear to be a 2022 edition. Check the Old Salem calendar of events to find out what is going on. Ready more about Legends & Lanterns below as we’re pretty sure it will be back.Ghost-tour

Meet at the Horton Museum Center
924 S. Main St.
Reservations encouraged: 1-800-441-5305

Offered two dates only, this popular tour is typically held the last weekend in October, on Friday and Saturday at 7-9pm with tours leaving every 15 minutes. These 45-60 minute tours are lead by a costumed guide, who lights the way through Old Salem’s streets by lantern, stopping to tell tales of spooky legends along the way. Attendees might even see a ghost while visiting Old Salem’s historic buildings. Tour content is suitable for all ages. Please note that extensive walking on uneven brick and cobblestone walkways is involved. Due to the historic nature of Old Salem, buildings are not handicapped accessible. Tickets: $35 per person. Reservations are recommended.

Reynolda Holiday Tours

Reynolda holiday tours kick off on November 14 this year. Full details on the Reynolda holidays calendar.

Reynolda Village Holiday Stroll – Saturday, Nov. 17, 5-8 p.m.
The boutiques and streets of the Village come alive for the holidays during this evening event featuring carriage rides, hot beverages and cookies. Enjoy the music of the Carolers of Christmas Past and plan a special visit with Santa Claus while you shop for the season.

Caroling Fridays – Fridays, Nov. 24 – Dec. 21, 2:45 p.m.
Museumgoers are invited to assemble around the historic Aeolian organ in Reynolda House every Friday afternoon for singing with friends old and new. Caroling Fridays are included in the museum admission; no reservations or caroling experience required.

Wreath Workshop – Nov. 27 and Dec. 4
The staff of Reynolda Gardens will lend a helping hand to create holiday wreaths. Each participant in the workshop will receive a large, natural wreath along with an assortment of decorations. Pruners and gloves are encouraged. Admission is $40 for general admission. Price includes supplied materials. Registration and payment are required by December 1. Please call the Education Office at 336.758.3485 to register.

How Greeting Cards Went to War – Saturday, Dec. 1, 2 p.m.
For the last 100 years, when America has gone to war, so have greeting cards. This lecture by scholar Anne O’Donnell will explore how cards’ verses and images, and papers and inks combined to paint a vivid picture of wartime life as experienced at Reynolda, across the United States and by troops overseas. Tickets are $20 and include museum admission.

Family First: Holiday Tour and Cardmaking Workshop – Sunday, Dec. 2, 2-4 p.m.
This annual workshop for elementary school-aged children and their families offers an opportunity to learn about holiday stories at Reynolda while making one-of-a-kind cards on the printing press with the museum’s hand-carved stamps. Admission is $15 and includes materials. Advance purchased required. Limited spots are available.

Christmas 1917 Tours – afternoon and evening tours available
Costumed actors playing the role of a Reynolda butler, governess, schoolteacher and holiday partygoer will guide visitors through all four floors of the 30,000 square foot, 64-room mansion.

Day tours are scheduled for Tuesday afternoons, Dec. 4, 11, and 18, between 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Evening tours, when the lights are dimmed and the house is aglow, are scheduled for two nights only: Dec. 7 and 8, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tours will depart every fifteen minutes. Admission is $25 per person; children under the age of five are free. Advance purchase is required.

Visits with Santa – Saturdays, Dec. 8 and 15, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Make sure that Santa knows your Christmas wishes! Visits with Santa in the shops of Reynolda Village are free; please bring your own camera. 

“A Christmas Memory” – Sunday, Dec. 16, 4 p.m.
The annual reading of Truman Capote’s classic short story, “A Christmas Memory,” has become a holiday tradition for many locals and is always a sell-out. Arrive early to see the museum decorated for Christmas. Admission is $20 and includes museum admission. Advance purchased is encouraged. 

Carolina Brass Holiday Pops Concert – Tuesday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m.
This fun-filled performance will feature seasonal favorites by the Carolina Brass. Tickets are $20, and advance purchase is encouraged.

Historic Holiday Travel Package – Reynolda House is partnering with The Graylyn Estate to offer overnight packages for the holiday season. In addition to beautiful accommodations, complimentary breakfast, a welcome gift, and numerous other amenities, the packages include admission to Reynolda House and a butler’s tour of Graylyn. The unrivaled hospitality also features Mrs. Gray’s butterscotch cookies at bedtime.

Christmas Tours

Popular Winston-Salem tours during the holidays feature some special Christmas events.

Old Salem Christmas by Candlelight Tours: Putzing Through Salem

We haven’t spotted a 2022 instance of this tour yet, but keep your eyes peeled for next year! Check the Old Salem calendar of events for what’s coming up.Old Salem Candlelight Tours

Besides the year-round hands-on historic tours of Moravian life at Old Salem, one of their most popular tours is their Christmas by Candlelight Tours (Not to be confused with the Moravian Candle Tea tour.) Stroll the cobblestone streets with your guide and connect with an earlier place and time through viewing traditional Moravian Christmas decorations, a visit to the wood joiner’s workshop, see pottery-making and warm up by the fire with baked treats. Tour lasts approximately 90 minutes. Tickets are $50 per person (includes a clay baby lamb made by Old Salem potters). Make your reservation early.

Reynolda House Christmas ToursReynolda House Christmas

Reynolda House Museum of American Art is one of the nation’s premier American art museums, with masterpieces by Mary Cassatt, Frederic Church, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe and more located in the 1917 estate of tobacco magnate R. J. Reynolds (founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company). Tour the elegant home and enjoy period Christmas decorations and greenery cut from the grounds. Tours depart every 15 minutes.

Candlelight Tours

Candlelight Tours: Discover why Katharine Reynolds decorated with nandina berries rather than holly and what intriguing food found its way to the lavish Christmas dinner table. The dining table will be set with Katharine’s china; an organist will play carols on the original Aeolian organ. See family Christmas letters, cards, and enjoy refreshments and live holiday music. Tours depart every 15 minutes between 5-8pm.

What’s your favorite Winston-Salem tour?

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