Where is Wake Forest located?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of Wake forest campus

Where is Wake Forest located? Location has always been a crucial piece of information that upcoming college students take into consideration when choosing a college. In this blog, we discuss where Wake Forest University is located, the world-class facilities it offers, and how its location has played an important role in its success as an academic institution.

Where is Wake Forest located?

Wake Forest University is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. Founded in 1834, the university was first located in the town of Wake Forest and was then relocated to Winston-Salem by 1956. The name Wake-Forest was retained even if the campus had already moved to a new location

Address: 1834 Wake Forest Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27109

wake forest campus

Wake Forest University has multiple campuses, each serving different purposes:

  • Reynolda Campus: This is the main campus located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It houses most of the university’s undergraduate programs, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, and the School of Law.
  • Wake Downtown: Located in downtown Winston-Salem, this campus is focused on biomedical sciences and engineering programs. This campus has facilities and is close to research centers in the area.
  • Wake Forest University School of Medicine: Also known as Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, this campus is next to Reynolda Campus; it is a leading center for medical education and research.
  • Charlotte Center: Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, this campus primarily serves the School of Business; it has evening and weekend MBA programs and continuing executive education courses

How big is the Wake Forest campus?

Wake Forest University’s main Reynolda Campus in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, covers around 340 acres. This campus has Georgian-style architecture, green spaces, and world-class academic, residential, and recreational facilities.

The university includes the main Reynolda Campus and Wake Downtown, a modern facility in downtown Winston-Salem focused on biomedical sciences and engineering programs. However, this extension doesn’t necessarily increase the university’s acreage. The Wake Forest University School of Medicine is part of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and is near the main campus. The specific land area for that campus isnt disclosed.

Is Wake Forest private or public?

Wake Forest is a private institution.  Founded in 1834 by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, the Wake Forest Institute was first located in the town of Wake Forest. The original goal was to create an institute where students worked on the school’s farm to pay for their education. In 1838, it was renamed Wake Forest College.

In 1946, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation offered a huge endowment on the condition that the college relocate to Winston-Salem. The move was completed in 1956, and the new Reynolda Campus opened in the fall. In 1967, Wake Forest College became Wake Forest University, expanding into a comprehensive university with a wider range of graduate and professional programs.

Over the years, Wake Forest has expanded to graduate and professional schools, including the School of Law (1894), the Babcock Graduate School of Management (now part of the School of Business, 1969), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1961), and the School of Divinity (1999). Wake Forest School of Medicine, originally established in 1902 as a two-year medical program, became a four-year medical school in 1941 and is now part of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Wake forest university infrastructure

Since then, Wake Forest has maintained a strong commitment to liberal arts education. The university prides itself on small class sizes and a low student-to-faculty ratio, and promoting close interaction between students and professors.

What are the facilities available at Wake Forest?

Where Wake Forest University is located has many facilities that support its academic programs, student life, research, and community activities.

  • Z. Smith Reynolds Library: The main library on campus with extensive collections, study spaces, and research support services.
  • Reynolda Hall: The administrative center of the university, housing offices for the president, provost, and other key administrative functions.
  • Benson University Center: The hub for student activities and organizations with plenty of dining options, meeting rooms, and event spaces.
  • Wake Downtown: A satellite campus in downtown Winston-Salem with modern facilities for biomedical sciences and engineering programs.
  • Worrell Professional Center: Home to the School of Law, with classrooms, moot courtrooms, and law library resources.
  • Farrell Hall: The state-of-the-art building housing the School of Business, equipped with modern classrooms, lecture halls, and collaborative spaces.
  • Scales Fine Arts Center: An entire complex dedicated to the arts, including theaters, art studios, music practice rooms, and galleries.
  • Greene Hall: An academic building hosting various departments, including psychology and education, with classrooms and faculty offices.
  • ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives: A section of the main library housing rare books, manuscripts, and university archives.
  • Manchester Athletic Center: A comprehensive athletic facility with gymnasiums, indoor tracks, and fitness centers.
  • Sutton Center: A recreation facility featuring workout equipment, multipurpose rooms, and spaces for intramural sports.
  • Kentner Stadium: The primary stadium for outdoor sports, including track and field events.
  • Reynolda Gardens: A botanical garden with a peaceful retreat and educational programs on horticulture and conservation.
  • Barnes & Noble College Bookstore: The campus bookstore that provides textbooks, university apparel, and other merchandise.
  • The Wellbeing Center: A holistic health center offering medical services, counseling, wellness programs, and fitness facilities.
  • The Byrum Welcome Center: The starting point for campus tours and information for prospective students and visitors.
  • Angelou Hall: A residential building named after Maya Angelou, provides modern dormitory accommodations.
  • Tribble Hall: An academic building hosting the departments of English, History, and other humanities.
  • Porter Byrum Hall: Home to the Department of Communication and the Journalism program, featuring multimedia labs and classrooms.
  • The Barn: A rustic venue used for social events, student activities, and gatherings.
  • Graylyn International Conference Center: A historic estate and conference center for university events, meetings, and lodging.
  • Piccolo Building: A facility for the Department of Health and Exercise Science featuring labs and classrooms.
  • Dogwood Residence Hall: A modern residential facility offering suite-style accommodations for students.

What is outside the Wake Forest campus?

Outside Wake Forest University‘s campus, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, offers many attractions and amenities that complete the university experience. Here are some key features of the surrounding area:

Downtown Winston-Salem

  • Arts District: Known for its vibrant arts scene, including galleries, theaters, and performance spaces such as the Stevens Center and the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts.
  • Innovation Quarter: A hub for research and business innovation; it hosts startups, biotech firms, and academic collaborations.
  • Old Salem Museums & Gardens: A living history museum showcasing the early Moravian settlement, complete with preserved buildings and historical reenactments.
  • Hanes Mall: One of the largest shopping malls in the state, with a wide range of stores, boutiques, and dining options.

Parks and Recreation

  • Reynolda Gardens: Located next to the university, these gardens offer walking trails, a greenhouse, and beautiful landscapes for relaxation and study.
  • Salem Lake: A popular spot for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking.
  • Tanglewood Park: A large park with golf courses, equestrian facilities, and various recreational activities.

Three students walking in the campus.

Cultural and Historical Sites

  • Reynolda House Museum of American Art: Located near the campus, this museum features an impressive collection of American art and historic home tours.
  • Kaleideum: A museum that combines science, history, and the arts, with interactive exhibits and educational programs.

Community and Services

  • Medical Facilities: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and other healthcare providers offer comprehensive medical services and research opportunities.
  • Public Transportation: The Winston-Salem Transit Authority (WSTA) provides bus services throughout the city, making it easy to navigate and explore.

Educational and Research Institutions

  • Forsyth Technical Community College: Offers additional educational opportunities and workforce development programs.
  • Piedmont Triad Research Park: Facilitates collaboration between academic institutions and industries, promoting research and innovation.

What are the available housing options at Wake Forest?

Wake Forest University offers a variety of housing options to accommodate the diverse needs and preferences of its students. The on-campus housing options range from traditional residence halls to apartment-style living.

Traditional Residence Halls

First-Year Students

  • South Hall: A residence hall dedicated to first-year students with double rooms and community bathrooms. It has common areas, study lounges, and social spaces to foster community among new students.
  • Babcock Hall: Another residence hall for first-year students, with double rooms and shared bathrooms. It has common lounges, kitchen facilities, and study areas.
  • Johnson Hall: Designed for first-year students, with double rooms with community bathrooms. It features social lounges, study spaces, and communal kitchens.
  • Collins Hall: This is a traditional residence hall for first-year students with double rooms and shared bathrooms.


  • Poteat Hall: A residence hall for upperclassmen with single and double rooms. It features community bathrooms, common lounges, and study areas.
  • Taylor Hall: Housing for upperclassmen, offering single and double rooms. It has shared bathrooms, social lounges, and study spaces.
  • Davis Hall: Provides housing for upperclassmen with single and double rooms.

Apartment-Style Living

  • North Campus Apartments: Apartment-style housing for upperclassmen, featuring private bedrooms in shared apartments. It has full kitchens, living areas, and private or shared bathrooms.
  • Student Apartments: Offers apartment-style living with single and double occupancy rooms.

Suite-Style Living

  • Dogwood Hall: A modern suite-style residence hall with shared suites consisting of private bedrooms and common living areas.
  • Magnolia Hall: Suite-style housing with private bedrooms and shared living spaces with common areas, kitchens, and shared bathrooms.
  • Angelou Hall: Named after Maya Angelou, this residence hall offers suite-style living with private bedrooms and shared living areas.

Theme and Special Interest Housing

  • Sustainability House: A themed house focused on sustainability and environmentally friendly living.
  • Greek Life Housing: Wake Forest has an active Greek life with fraternity and sorority houses available for members.

Graduate Student Housing

  • Brookwood Apartments: these are off-campus apartments primarily for graduate and professional students.

What is Wake Forest’s impact on Winston-Salem, NC?

Wake Forest University has had a profound impact on Winston-Salem, NC, across various sectors such as the economy, culture, healthcare, and urban development. Wake Forest University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center collectively employ over 14,000 people, making them among the largest employers in the region.

The combined annual payroll of these institutions exceeds $1 billion, which significantly contributes to community development. With over 8,000 students, including undergraduates, graduates, and professional students, their spending on housing, food, transportation, and other expenses contributes millions of dollars to the local economy every year.

a professor in front of his class

Additionally, Wake Forest’s operational expenditures, including local procurement and construction projects, add substantial funds into the local economy. For example, the construction of Farrell Hall, completed in 2013, and the Wake Downtown campus involved significant local investments as it employed local laborers and service providers.

Every year, Wake Forest University hosts numerous cultural events, such as concerts, theater productions, and art exhibitions at venues like Scales Fine Arts Center and Wait Chapel. These cultural events attract both the campus community and local residents thereby improving the cultural scene of the neighboring community.

Partnerships with local arts organizations, such as the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) and the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, has made Winston-Salem an interesting cultural hotspot.

Additionally, Wake Forest students, faculty, and staff contribute over 100,000 volunteer hours annually to local schools, non-profits, and community initiatives. Established in 2006, the Pro Humanitate Institute coordinates community service and engagement activities. This initiative has since then promoted community service within the school’s shareholders.

The Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center serves hundreds of thousands of patients annually, as a main provider of advanced medical care in the region. It attarcts patients from across the region and the country even. The medical school secures over $200 million in research grants every year. These generous endowments help produce medical research and innovation that has improved medical services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the medical center played a critical role in testing, treatment, and research.

Moreover, Innovation Quarter launched in 20212 ahas helped transformed a former tobacco district into a leading hub for research, technology, and business innovation that attracted over 90 companies and organizations. This created thousands of jobs, and stimulated local economic growth. Wake Downtown, opened in 2017 within the Innovation Quarter, provided state-of-the-art facilities for biomedical sciences and engineering programs.

Finally, Wake Forest has implemented numerous sustainability initiatives, including the establishment of a campus garden, energy-efficient buildings, and waste reduction programs. The university partners with local organizations to promote environmental awareness and conservation efforts in the community, furthering its commitment to sustainability and ecological responsibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Wake Forest located? 

Wake Forest University is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.

What city is Wake Forest closest to?

Apart from Winston-Salem, the city closest to Wake Forest University is Greensboro, North Carolina. Greensboro is approximately 30 miles (about a 30-40 minute drive) east of Winston-Salem and is part of the Piedmont Triad region, including High Point.

Is Wake Forest a top school? 

Yes, Wake Forest University is considered a top school in the United States. It consistently ranks highly in national and international rankings due to its strong academic programs, rigorous admissions standards, and commitment to student success.

Female teacher giving instructions to four students in a library.

Wake Forest frequently ranks among the top national universities in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, often placed within the top 30 national universities. The university is popular for its programs in business, law, medicine, and liberal arts, with the Wake Forest School of Business being highly regarded for its undergraduate and MBA programs.

Wake Forest’s motto, “Pro Humanitate” (For Humanity), reflects its commitment to community service, ethical leadership, and social responsibility, which are integral to the university’s identity and mission.

Is Wake Forest an Ivy League school?

No, Wake Forest University is not an Ivy League school. The Ivy League includes eight private colleges in the northeastern U.S.:

However, Wake Forest is a top-tier institution nonetheless. It often competes with Ivy League schools in academic excellence, research, and reputation. It ranks highly in national rankings and is known for its strong programs focused on liberal arts, STEM, and research.


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