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Things To Do in Wilmington

Things To Do in Wilmington

Known for its beautiful beaches, friendly college culture, and rich Civil War history, the enchanting coastal city of Wilmington, NC, is a fantastic place to live. Just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and nestled on the Cape Fear River banks, this area attracts tourists and new residents from all over the United States to come and experience the family-friendly and active lifestyle it provides.

Wilmington is the perfect location for individuals and families looking for an exciting spot to keep them active and busy. There are plenty of things to do in Wilmington, and you'll get but a glimpse of some of its top attractions and activities.

Free attractions in Wilmington

Wilmington offers a range of free attractions for a day of fun and exploration. A few interests include:

1. Battleship North Carolina

Built for the U.S. Navy, the USS North Carolina is a one-of-a-kind vessel. The Battleship North Carolina was constructed in April 1941 and was deployed for war after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor during World War II. It's now docked permanently across from downtown Wilmington on the Cape Fear River.

2. Cape Fear Museum of History and Science

This is North Carolina's oldest history museum and is filled with over 52,000 artifacts dedicated to documenting the region's rich history, cultures, and science. Check out the hands-on Space Place, where you can try on a real astronaut suit.

3. Poplar Grove Plantation

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and housing a smokehouse, blacksmith shop, tenant house, and manor house, the momentous Poplar Grove Plantation has since been transformed into a remarkable museum complex to preserve the mansion. Spend a few hours at the Poplar Grove Plantation for either a self-guided or guided museum tour (or both).

Family-friendly things to do in Wilmington

There are plenty of things for the whole family to do, including:

1. Children's Museum of Wilmington

Let your children celebrate the joys of youth through playful and magical experiences regardless of age. This museum features everything from science and art to conservation and cooking. It provides a range of educational programs and weekly events for varying interests.

2. Wilmington Railroad Museum

The whole family will benefit from visiting the Wilmington Railroad Museum. Learn the deep history of the railroad as well as the important figures associated with it, like George Pullman and Thomas Edison. You'll find an original steam locomotive in the model room and other historical exhibits. Let your children climb on a life-size, real 100-year-old steam locomotive and caboose.

3. North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

Take a behind-the-scenes guided tour to see the 2,500+ animals at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, ranging from small-clawed otters and sea turtles to stingrays and alligators. There's also the Adventure Reef, an outdoor interactive play area, and an on-site café.

Wilmington nightlife

There's never a shortage of nightlife options in the city, with numerous venues to indulge in live music at the coast, including cocktail lounges, dance clubs, boardwalk and riverfront stages, rooftop bars, and more. A few options you may want to try out are:

1. Blind Elephant

The Blind Elephant is a 1920s Prohibition speakeasy tucked away in a smooth alley that serves phenomenal cocktails, bourbon, spirits, and moonshine. Sit back and relax while you sip your cocktail and watch a silent black-and-white gangster movie flickering on the brick wall or enjoy a game or two of pool. Special events will also entertain you, like Whiskey Tastings, Jazz Piano, Great Gatsby Party, and more.

2. Dead Crow Comedy Room

The Dead Crow Comedy Room is the only full-time comedy club in Wilmington that offers an outdoor and indoor beer garden and year-long laughter. This comedy club started in downtown Wilmington as a basement venue and has since expanded and now hosts locally and nationally acclaimed live comedy acts.

3. The Roof Top Bar

Catch the breathtaking sunset and incredible views while sipping on your favorite drink. The Rooftop Bar at North Front Theatre is in the heart of Historic Downtown atop the iconic Masonic Lodge. It opens into an unobstructed, mind-blowing view of the Cape Fear River. Lose yourself in dancing, events, and entertainment.

Shopping in Wilmington

From boardwalks to the Riverwalk, stroll down the streets lined with all types of shops. When you shop in Wilmington's River District, it's an adventure all on its own.

1. Specialty shops

Living in Wilmington and spending the day on the island beaches, you're never far from specialty shops like unique boutiques and locally-owned gift shops. Browse for local art, coastal home goods, jewelry, unique souvenirs, and homemade chocolate.

2. Villages and centers

Souvenir searchers, gift givers, fashionistas, and bargain hunters will love the endless shopping opportunities provided by the villages and centers in the area. Roam unique boutiques and local markets downtown, or visit shopping malls to find your favorite name brands or independent stores that feature local designers and artisans by the beach in open-air shopping villages.

3. Independence Mall

This mall is the go-to shopping center for fashion-oriented items. It's Wilmington's only enclosed shopping mall that has anchor stores like JCPenney, Belk, Dillard's, Sears, and more.

4. Biggers Market

Biggers Market is the place to be at any time of the year, providing exciting fall, winter, spring, and summer markets. Their local farmers’ market is also a big draw and residents can visit them at two locations depending on the time of year.

Outdoor recreation in Wilmington

The city and island beaches offer residents a plethora of outdoor recreational opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature. Some leisure and fun outdoor activities you can engage in include:

1. Nature and biking trails

The city and the island beaches offer visitors and residents diverse backdrops for trails and tours that range from lakes, gardens, and scenic parks to serene oceanfront landscapes. You can ride your bike from the river to the ocean, jog past nature as you're coming around The Loop in Wrightsville Beach, or simply take a self-guided bike tour on Kure Beach or Carolina Beach.

2. Golf

Wilmington is a golfer enthusiast's dream destination, offering beautifully manicured golf courses and nearly year-round golf weather. You have various different courses to choose from in Wilmington, like the Beau Rivage Golf Resort or Inland Greens.

3. Watersports

If you're a fan of the water, there are plenty of watersports activities you can take pleasure in. Cruise through waterways in the area on a paddleboard, get surfing lessons from a certified instructor, do some scuba diving, or hop in a kayak and navigate the salt marshes, coastal waterways, or Cape Fear River.

Parks in Wilmington

You'll find nature all around you with gardens, unique wildlife, and scenic trails. The Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean deliver a diverse ecosystem. Visit some of Wilmington's popular parks to appreciate coastal flora and wildlife as you embark on nature walks. Some parks you'll want to visit when you're settled in Wilmington and ready to take advantage of all it has to offer include:

1. Greenfield Park

This park has been noted as being one of the best dog-friendly parks for outdoor recreational activities. It delivers 4.5 miles of walking trails, lush gardens, 190 acres of scenic views, boat rentals, and more. You'll find indigenous wildlife and moss-draped cypress trees while biking, walking, canoeing, paddle-boating, or kayaking in the area.

2. Long Leaf Park

At Long Leaf Park, you can relax in a decorative garden area with a gazebo and pond, an off-leash dog park, a splash pad, a fully accessible playground, picnic areas, and a 1.55-mile walking trail.

3. Ogden Park

At Ogden Park, you can soak up the great outdoors while strolling along a mile-long trail, playing a round of your favorite sport (basketball, football, softball, tennis, baseball, or soccer), or watch your children pop wheelies at its 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art concrete skate park.

Call on the professionals to get you into your Wilmington dream home

If you're moving to the area and want more information about different fun and exciting things to do in Wilmington, utilize Savannah Holman's expertise. Savannah is a professional real estate agent who works in the Wilmington, NC, area and has abundant knowledge and experience in this location. She'll not only help put you in your dream house in this incredible city, but she'll also guide you through the different features, amenities, recreational activities, attractions, and all the other fun things to do in the area. Contact Savannah today to discuss your move to Wilmington.

Work With Savannah

The building blocks that Savannah utilized to help create the experience that she wanted for her clients were instilled in her through lessons she learned from her family, mentors in her youth, and early career opportunities. Contact her today to find out how she can be of assistance to you!