A Travel Price Comparison for North Carolina Chapel Hill vs. Winston-Salem for Attractions, Nightlife, Food, and Families

Should you visit Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is a student-oriented, collegiate, and southern town. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is a friendly, under-rated, and welcoming city. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular for students


Is there more to do in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Winston-Salem. Although Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem are popular destinations, Winston-Salem has more sights and attractions for tourists. Winston-Salem is very popular for its historical sights, while Chapel Hill attracts visitors for its museums and nightlife. Chapel Hill is famous for being the home of the oldest public university in the United States. Winston-Salem is famous for it's southern character and quaint college campuses. It is also well known for Old Salem.

How is Chapel Hill different from Winston-Salem?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

Chapel Hill
Winston-Salem

Chapel Hill is notable for its sights and museums. Also, Winston-Salem is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its museums and history.

Chapel Hill offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Many of the museums are affiliated with UNC. A highlight of many trips is a visit to the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Hours can vary, so check the schedule ahead of time. Also worth visiting are the Ackland Art Museum and the Carolina Basketball Museum.

Winston-Salem is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. Old Salem has a nice concentration of museums and gardens. Outside of the old town you'll find several art museums like the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts and the Reynolda House Museum of American Art.


Is the Food Better in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Chapel Hill
Winston-Salem

Both Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem offer nice local cuisine and restaurants.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Chapel Hill area. Students often eat on Franklin Street, which has a diverse mix of casual and slightly nicer restaurants. You'll find Indian food, Mediterranean, Italian, and Greek. The city also has excellent barbecue and other southern favorites.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Winston-Salem. North Carolina barbecue is popular around town. The city is also the birthplace of Krispy Kreme donuts and during the holiday season you should sample the local Moravian Cookies.

Is Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem Better for Nightlife?

Chapel Hill
Winston-Salem

Chapel Hill is notable for its evening party scene. Also, Winston-Salem is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for nightlife.

Chapel Hill has plenty to do after the sun goes down. Most of the nightlife is centered around the student population. Franklin Street has a number of bars where students hang out. There are also parties hosted by fraternities and sororities. Things are quieter during the summer months when students are mostly gone.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Winston-Salem. Local breweries are popping up around town. You'll also find active nightlife venues near the colleges and universities.

Is Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem Better for its Old Town?

Chapel Hill
Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is a popular place for its historic old town charm. However, Chapel Hill does not have a historic old town.

Winston-Salem offers a nice historic old town area. Nearby Old Salem is filled with historic museums, gardens, and restaurants. A ticket is required for most of the venues, but the atmosphere and architecture are charming.

Chapel Hill does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

Chapel Hill
Winston-Salem

Shopping is a popular activity in both Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill.

Many visitors go to Chapel Hill to go shopping. There are a mix of local shops, larger shopping centers, and suburban malls. There are also weekly farmer's markets that are fun to check out.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Winston-Salem. You'll find a mix of larger shopping malls, retail outlets, and shopping centers around town.

Is Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem Better for Families?

Chapel Hill
Winston-Salem

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Chapel Hill. You can wander around the UNC campus or visit one of the museums affiliated with the school. This includes a planetarium that has regular shows and movies (The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center). There are also science exhibits geared specifically towards kids.

Winston-Salem offers lots of family activities. There are interactive museums like the Kaleideum science museums. There are also outdoor parks and playgrounds, kid-friendly restaurants, and a children's theater.

Is Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem Better for Couples?

Chapel Hill
Winston-Salem

Chapel Hill is a popular place for couples. However, Winston-Salem is a mediocre city for romance.

Chapel Hill is a good town for couples to visit. There's an eclectic mix of restaurants on Franklin Street. Couples will also enjoy exploring the campus at UNC, visiting the botanical garden, or checking out one of the town's museums.

Winston-Salem is not the best destination for a couple to visit. There are restaurants and movie theaters that make for a nice date night. There are also parks and walks that will get you outdoors.


Is Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem Better for Students?

Chapel Hill
Winston-Salem

Chapel Hill is renowned for students. Also, Winston-Salem is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its student-friendly activities.

Many students frequent Chapel Hill. It's a quintessential college town. UNC has a nice campus and Franklin Street is the main spot for restaurants and shopping. Most of the students live near or on campus, but once you head further out things get more suburban.

Plenty of students visit Winston-Salem. Wake Forest University as well as colleges such as Salem College give parts of the city a collegiate vibe.

Is Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Chapel Hill
Winston-Salem

Chapel Hill is a popular place for its public transit. However, Winston-Salem is a mediocre city for times when you don't have a car.

Chapel Hill has a few public transit options. There are bus routes that operate between Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Public transit is mostly limited in Winston-Salem. There are bus routes, but they are limited in their frequency and convenience, making a car essential for most visitors.

Is Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem a more walkable city?

Chapel Hill
Winston-Salem

Chapel Hill is a popular place for its ease of walking around. However, Winston-Salem is a mediocre city for its walkability.

Chapel Hill is a somewhat walkable town. The area around UNC is the most walkable part of town. Elsewhere things are very suburban and you'll need a car.

Winston-Salem is generally not a very walkable town. The downtown area is the most pedestrian-friendly part of town, but most of the city requires a car.


For even more information, also check out Is Chapel Hill Worth Visiting? and Is Winston-Salem Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Winston-Salem or Chapel Hill?

How long in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Chapel Hill than Winston-Salem because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Chapel Hill, and 1-2 days is enough time in Winston-Salem.

Families should spend more time in Chapel Hill than Winston-Salem. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Chapel Hill, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Chapel Hill than Winston-Salem. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Chapel Hill that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Chapel Hill than Winston-Salem if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Chapel Hill.


  • How many days in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem? Ideal Length of Stay
    Chapel Hill 1-3 
    Winston-Salem 1-2

One day in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the student-oriented destination of Chapel Hill. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the welcoming city of Winston-Salem. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chapel Hill. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the friendly destination of Winston-Salem. This city offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Five days in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the southern destination of Chapel Hill. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

The welcoming city of Winston-Salem offers shopping and museums. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.


A week in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

You'll find food and shopping around the town of Chapel Hill. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Winston-Salem. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America, The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America, The Best Photography Tours in United States of America, and The Best Camping Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Winston-Salem or Chapel Hill?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Chapel Hill is $164, while the average daily cost in Winston-Salem is $150. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chapel Hill $95
    Winston-Salem $91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chapel Hill $190
    Winston-Salem $182
Compare Hotels in Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem

Looking for a hotel in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Chapel Hill


Hotels in Winston-Salem


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Chapel Hill Hotel Prices and Winston-Salem Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chapel Hill $34
    Winston-Salem $23

Is it cheaper to fly into Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

Prices for flights to both Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Chapel Hill $49
    Winston-Salem $42

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chapel Hill $17
    Winston-Salem $20

Tours and Activities in Chapel Hill

Here are a few actual costs in Chapel Hill for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Chapel Hill, NC: Murder Mystery Detective Experience: $15
  • Chapel Hill Historic Churches Tour: $16
  • Morning Aerial Adventure Adult Course from Riegelwood: $55
  • Coastal Excursion/Sunset Cruise/Sand Dollars/Sea Shells/Horses: $225

Tours and Activities in Winston-Salem

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Winston-Salem are as follows:

  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Winston-Salem by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Downtown Winston-Salem Historic Guided Tour: $16
  • Carolina History & Haunts Winston-Salem Historical Ghost Tour: $26

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chapel Hill $40
    Winston-Salem $24

Sample the Local Flavors in Chapel Hill

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Chapel Hill:

  • Wacky Fayetteville Bar Crawl: By Let’s Roam: $12


When comparing the travel costs between Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem, we can see that Chapel Hill is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Chapel Hill Expensive? and Is Winston-Salem Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

Winston-Salem has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Chapel Hill. When comparing the sizes of Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem. The summer months attract visitors to Chapel Hill because of the family-friendly experiences. Also, the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Winston-Salem this time of year.

Chapel Hill is around the same temperature as Winston-Salem in the summer. The daily temperature in Chapel Hill averages around 79°F (26°C) in July, and Winston-Salem fluctuates around 81°F (27°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Winston-Salem this time of the year. In Chapel Hill, it's very sunny this time of the year. Chapel Hill usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Winston-Salem during summer. Chapel Hill gets 259 hours of sunny skies, while Winston-Salem receives 273 hours of full sun in the summer.

Winston-Salem receives a lot of rain in the summer. Chapel Hill gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Chapel Hill usually receives more rain than Winston-Salem. Chapel Hill gets 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain, while Winston-Salem receives 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Chapel Hill 79°F (26°C) 
    Winston-Salem 81°F (27°C)

Should I visit Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Chapel Hill as well as Winston-Salem. The shopping scene are the main draw to Chapel Hill this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Winston-Salem for the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Chapel Hill is around the same temperature as Winston-Salem. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Chapel Hill in October average around 61°F (16°C), and Winston-Salem averages at about 62°F (17°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Winston-Salem. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Chapel Hill this time of the year. In the autumn, Chapel Hill often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Winston-Salem. Chapel Hill gets 211 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Winston-Salem receives 212 hours of full sun.

Chapel Hill usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Winston-Salem. Chapel Hill gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Winston-Salem receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Chapel Hill 61°F (16°C) 
    Winston-Salem 62°F (17°C)

Should I visit Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem in the Winter?

Both Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Chapel Hill for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Winston-Salem in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Winston-Salem can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Chapel Hill. In January, Chapel Hill is generally around the same temperature as Winston-Salem. Daily temperatures in Chapel Hill average around 40°F (5°C), and Winston-Salem fluctuates around 40°F (4°C).

Chapel Hill usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Winston-Salem during winter. Chapel Hill gets 162 hours of sunny skies, while Winston-Salem receives 169 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Chapel Hill usually receives around the same amount of rain as Winston-Salem. Chapel Hill gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while Winston-Salem receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Chapel Hill 40°F (5°C) 
    Winston-Salem 40°F (4°C)

Should I visit Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem in the Spring?

Both Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill during the spring are popular places to visit.

Chapel Hill is around the same temperature as Winston-Salem in the spring. The daily temperature in Chapel Hill averages around 60°F (16°C) in April, and Winston-Salem fluctuates around 61°F (16°C).

In Winston-Salem, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Chapel Hill. In the spring, Chapel Hill often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Winston-Salem. Chapel Hill gets 251 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Winston-Salem receives 248 hours of full sun.

Chapel Hill usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Winston-Salem. Chapel Hill gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Winston-Salem receives 3.1 inches (80 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Chapel Hill 60°F (16°C) 
    Winston-Salem 61°F (16°C)

Typical Weather for Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill Winston-Salem
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 40°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 40°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Feb 43°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 43°F (6°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Mar 52°F (11°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm)
Apr 60°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 61°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm)
May 68°F (20°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 69°F (21°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Jun 76°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 77°F (25°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm) 81°F (27°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 4.9 inches (125 mm) 80°F (26°C) 4.3 inches (109 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Oct 61°F (16°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 62°F (17°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Nov 53°F (11°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 53°F (12°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)
Dec 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm)