56 of 100
56. Winston-Salem, N.C
Population: 195,821
Pros: Growing biotech sector, business-friendly tax structure, budding art scene
Con: A dearth of local investors

A decline in major industries and having once been dubbed one of the "worst places for singles" (by Forbes, in 2001) might slow some cities down, but not this central Carolina town. Rolling with the changing times, Winston-Salem has shifted its economic focus from tobacco, textiles, and furniture to biotech, supply-chain logistics and product distribution.

Entrepreneurship in these areas is fostered through organizations such as the Piedmont Triad Entrepreneurial Network, the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce's Technology Council, and the city's small-business loan programs. Like its higher-profile neighbor to the East, the Raleigh-Durham region, Winston-Salem has its own research park, which houses tech-based start-ups in six buildings and has ambitious expansion plans. Wake Forest University helps fuel local medical and tech innovation.

Like its business climate, Winston-Salem's social reputation has undergone a change. The city has worked hard over the past 10 years to improve the quality of life it offers, largely by broadening and better promoting its culinary and arts scenes. Music venues and galleries are scattered throughout the city, and annual theatre and film festivals keep arts mavens happy. Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of the city's hiking trails or tour the wineries and vineyards in nearby Yadkin Valley wine country. -Brandi Stewart

Interactive map: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Homes for sale Find homes for sale in Winston-Salem, N.C.

NEXT: 57. Zionsville, Ind.

Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
More Galleries
6 designers shaking up fashion These designers are changing the way we dress, accessorize and shop, from custom made-to-fit dresses to smart jewelry that's actually stylish. More
8 must-have travel apps Whether you've got wanderlust or an airline grievance, here are some apps to pack onto your phone. More
Secrets to success from Smalltown USA Utah State professor Michael Glauser cycled 4,000 miles this summer, visiting 100 entrepreneurs across the country. Here's a snapshot of how they grew their businesses. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.