Winston-Salem, North Carolina – Retirement Guide

Winston Salem, North Carolina   Retirement Guide

Once upon a time, Winston-Salem was known primarily for its ties to the tobacco industry — RJ Reynolds started his tobacco business here in 1875. Today, thankfully, Winston-Salem is more commonly associated with its reputation as one of the country’s top retirement havens, due to its vibrant music and cultural scene – including frequent live performances and a number of museums, as well as its proximity to excellent golf courses and multiple universities.

Whether looking for an apartment, house or retirement community, retirees will have plenty of housing options to choose from. The median home price has been listed as less than $150,000, state taxes are low and the cost of living is 10% lower than the national average. Retirees in Winston-Salem will also enjoy a temperate climate year-round. Though summers can be warm and humid, winters are relatively mild.

The town has earned the nickname, “City of the Arts and Innovation,” thanks to a strong dedication to performing arts, fine arts and technology. History lovers will be thrilled to explore Old Salem town (c. 1750 – 1850) as well as the nearby Horne Creek Historic Farm.

Pros: Thriving arts and culture scene, close to universities
Con: High crime rate in certain areas

At a Glance
Best For: Arts and history lovers
Population: 232,385
Cost of Living: 10.3% less than national average
Median Home Cost: $143,200
Unemployment: 8.3%
Top State Income Tax: 7.75%
Crime Rate: 57% higher than national average


And did we mention the wineries? Yup. Winston-Salem lies on the cusp of the Yadkin Valley, one of the East Coast’s up-and-coming wine producing regions.

Shoppers and bargain hunters will be pleased to discover that Hanes Mall, one of North Carolina’s largest shopping malls, is located in Winston-Salem, and the surrounding area has morphed into the town’s largest shopping district.

Still, there are downsides to Winston-Salem. The town’s crime rate is much higher than the national average, though it’s easy to avoid problem areas, according to locals.

Top Retirement Cities in North Carolina:  Asheville | Chapel Hill | New Bern | Pinehurst | Winston-Salem

Photo by Scott Teresi via Flickr. All statistics were up to date as of publication. See these sources for the most current data.