West End- Winston-Salem best urban district

There is no well defined boundaries for the West End neighborhood but my sense is that it extents north of the highway, between Hanes Park and Broad Street, and south of Northwest Blvd.

West End was planned as a picturesque streetcar suburb developed at the turn of the 20th century and including some structures from the late 19th century. Because of its mixed-use character, multi-model transportation, and access to Dwtn, this is by far Winston-Salem’s best urban community.

Yet like most southern urban neighborhoods West End also has a lot of urban deficiencies including a low density, limited bike infrastructure, hit or miss urban massing in the biz districts, and lack of important amenities such as a supermarket or drug store. Hopefully West End will continue to densify with quality urban form. Still plenty of lots to build on.

Click here to view my West End Flickr Album


* Great access to Dwtn via all moods of transportation.
* ADA ramps are consistant in commercial districts but largely missing in residential areas. Sidewalks are consistant though.
* Great economic diversity and decent racial diversity.
* Nice diversity is size and price for for-sale options. Plenty of 1 &2 bedroom condos selling for around 200K and 300K, respectively. Large SF homes selling in between 400K-650K, small SF homes selling in the 200Ks.
*Very nice Park along Peter’s Creek, a multi-functional park with lots of rec fields. Also a nice neighborhood park (Grace Court).
* Culturally a decent # of restaurants bars, & breweries, a cafe, a couple live music venues. Convenient access to all the cultural amenities Dwtn as well.
* Several public schools with decent ratings line the western edge of the West End.
* This appears to be a very safe community with limited blight.
* Good array of historic architecture. Also pretty decent modern infill.


* Density is pretty poor for an urban district.
* Bike infrastructure is pretty weak. There is a dedicated bike lane on Northwest but that’s the northern edge of the neighborhood. No dedicate bike share stations, although there may be dockless bikes available.
* Family households make up less than 25% of the population. Most residents are young adults here.
* Rentals are pretty limited. Seems to be a nice price diversity of 2-bedrooms but limited 1-bedroom options.
* Other than restaurants and bars retail amenities are a bit light. There are several banks, salons, and a nice array of home goods, furniture stores, & consignment stores. Good amount of services close by in Downtown but no supermarket or major retail.
* Urban massing of commercial district is a mixed bag. Limited investment in streetscaping.

Downtown Winston-Salem

Downtown boundaries are a bit fuzzy. I used the boundaries of: Broad Ave to the west, 421 to the south, the railroad to the east and 6th/MLK BLVD to the north.

For southern cities of its size, Winston-Salem scores in the middle of the pack in my evaluation. On a positive note it has seen a resurgence in buzz and residential living recently helping to create three strong nodes: 4th street with its historic main street and theatre district. the Arts District centered along Trade, and the Innovation District (primary composed of old tobacco buildings). Dwtn also transitions pretty seamlessly to the West End neighborhood to the west. 

In-between these Dwtn nodes is mostly dead spaces mixing parking garages & lots and large office buildings. Like other southern downtowns, Winston-Salem does not provide good transit and bike connections to the broader metro area, nor is to a major jobs hub for the region. Another large deficiency is a lack of parks and a civic heart. The Innovation District’s Bailey Park helps with this somewhat, but it is located on the eastern edge of Dwtn. Downtown also needs a significant increase in neighborhood serving retail and uses, although access to quality schools is certainly strong here.


* Generally good racial and economic diversity Dwtn.
* The grid functions very well but lots of autocentric one-way streets through Dwtn.
* For sale prices are generally on the high end but good diversity in price points (high 100s-800K) and llots of 2-bedroom and even 3-bedroom townhouses. Rental inventory is a bit limited but moderate for Dwtns with 1-bedrooms renting in the low $1,000s and 2-bedrooms closer to 2K.
* Culturally a good array of restaurants, bars, and live music venues. There is also a thriving arts sub-district Dwtn hosting many galleries. Dwtn also hosts a nice set of theaters (movie, performing, community theater, and historic concernt hall).
* Typical gov’t bldgs and a nice convention center are located Dwtn.
* Host Dwtn safety and clean ambassadors.
* Nice array of boutiques and unique stores esp. along Trade St. in the Arts District. Also a couple drug stores.
* Solid historic architecture.
* Nice skyline, esp. for a mid-sized city.
* Distinct subdistricts (Arts and Innovation District) give Dwtn some good imagability. But certainly plenty of blah spaces Dwtn.
* Several quality schools located Dwtn. The public high school located just east of Dwtn. 


* Solid public transit access downtown and in immediately adjacent neighborhoods, but becomes mediocre pretty quickly. Also no transit access to the airport.
* Bike infrastructure is limited to several small bike lanes segments and dedicated bike stations only in Dwtn. Across the City/region only large segments of bike lanes in parts of South Winston-Salem.
* Family activities pretty limited.
* ADA infrastructure is a mixed bag throughout Dwtn.
* Parks are pretty limited. The best one is the new Bailey Park, part of the Innovation District. This is very active and has lots of events. The other two are tired looking modernist plazas.
* Bailey Park fucntions as the best Civic Plaza but not centrally located.
* Limited musuems and only one sports stadium located on the western edge of Dwtn.
* Total jobs Dwtn is only about 20-25K, pretty low for a region of this size.
* No supermarkets and certainly no Department stores.
* Much of the modern architecture is bland modern towers. Some nice post modern skyscrapers.
* Urban form solid along Trade St and 4th St and some surrounding streets and in the Innovation District. Much of Dwtn are either autocentric and filled with skyscrapers not relating well to the street.
* Only a small medicine college located Dwtn, but Winston State University (5K students) is lcoated just SE of Dwtn.