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Things to do in Wilmington

Things to do in  Wilmington

Welcome to Wilmington

Bordered by the Cape Fear River to the west and the Atlantic to the east, Wilmington packs in some serious history and culture to its outdoor playground—the Battleship North Carolina sits right across from downtown and a stone’s throw from the city’s historic district dating back to 1738; Airlie Gardens and Cameron Art Museum (CAM) bring sophistication inland; and Wilmington’s scenic Riverwalk, aka “America’s Best Riverfront,” leads to so many places to see and things to do in Wilmington, including Carolina, Kure, and Wrightsville beaches, where surfing and watersports shine year-round.

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Top activities in Wilmington

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All about Wilmington

When to visit

There’s no bad time to visit Wilmington, but there are better times—and Wilmington truly shines in autumn. The beaches open up, the weather stays temperate for hiking and biking, and downtown buzzes with fall festivals, events, and activities. Sit near the fire on a rooftop patio (like at Cloud 9), hit up a haunted pub crawl for Halloween, and check out the season’s events at spots like Greenfield Lake Amphitheater.

Getting around

Wilmington is best explored by car—the city is fairly spread out, and you may want to take day trips to nearby attractions. But if you’re staying near the Riverwalk, you’ll find the area to be pedestrian- and bike-friendly. Similarly, if you’ve nabbed lodging on or off Wrightsville Beach, you may discover that you’re content milling around the neighborhood on foot.

Traveler tips

Stash a box of Britt’s Donuts (on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk) in your car before you head out to any of Wilmington’s outdoor spots for a nibble when you’re hungry. You might stop at the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden—Venus fly traps are native to right here!—or dog-friendly Greenfield Park. Butts-N-Such, also in Carolina Beach, is great for when you’re seriously hankering for some Carolina BBQ classics.

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People Also Ask

Is Wilmington, NC, worth visiting?

Yes. Wilmington is a charming Southern city full of historical sites, including a massive 200+ block Historic District, a rich arts and culture scene, a beautiful waterfront and riverwalk, a lively dining, music, and nightlife scene, and easy access to several beaches and barrier islands where water sports can be enjoyed year-round.

How do I spend a day in Wilmington, NC?

Spend some time exploring Wilmington’s Historic District, taking in the classic architecture and antebellum mansions. Visit Airlie Gardens or the Battleship North Carolina, then go for a stroll along the Riverwalk along the Cape Fear River, lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. Complete your day at one of the nearby beaches and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner.

What is Wilmington, NC, best known for?

Wilmington, NC, is known for its rich history and massive Historic District, which spans more than 200 blocks and includes antebellum houses and gardens. It’s also known for the Battleship North Carolina, a scenic Riverwalk along the Cape Fear River, its proximity to beaches, and its popularity as a backdrop for movie and television shows.

Is there a lot to do in Wilmington, NC?

Yes. Fans of history, architecture, and culture can spend days just walking around the Historic District, visiting historic mansions, gardens, and museums. A stroll along the Riverwalk is a must, as is a visit to a nearby beach to soak up the sun or enjoy water sports. There are also plenty of dining, entertainment, and nightlife options.

How long is the Wilmington Riverwalk?

The Riverwalk stretches for 1.75 miles (2.8 kilometers) along the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington, NC. It starts at Nun Street and ends at the Isabel Holmes Bridge. It provides access to museums, art installations, public parks, shops, restaurants, bars, and riverfront views of the Battleship North Carolina. There’s also a marina and an outdoor concert venue.

Does Wilmington, NC, have good nightlife?

Yes. Wilmington offers plenty of nightlife options. There are a wide variety of bars, spanning craft breweries, beer gardens, pubs, sports clubs, wine bars, speakeasies, cocktail lounges, and rooftop bars. There are also comedy clubs, dance clubs, and nightclubs, along with indoor and outdoor venues for live music and entertainment.


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