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Top Things To Do In Wilmington

Wilmington is vibrant coastal city with close proximity to the beach and the Cape Fear River. Travellers of all ages can explore the riverwalk in view of the famous military ship, the USS North Carolina. History buffs will love Wilmington for its historic plantations and World War II attractions. Those looking for modern entertainment will appreciate the revitalized shopping district’s fine dining and unique entertainment options. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of your trip to this North Carolina gem.

Take a stroll along the Riverwalk. This mile-long wooden boardwalk follows the Cape Fear River and leads to the Cotton Exchange shopping district. Visitors will delight at its many attractions, which include a weekly farmers market and a number of annual festivals.

The best activities to do near Wilmington include:

  • Touring the historic district in downtown Wilmington
  • Visiting the Battleship North Carolina
  • Walking through the Pre-Civil War Bellamy Mansion
  • Smelling the flowers at Airlie Gardens
  • Dining at Dockside Restaurant & Marina

The Battleship North Carolina is one of the best things to do for tourists in the city. This massive, WWII-era warship carried 2,195 enlisted men and now, their stories are incorporated throughout the exhibits. The Bellamy Mansion is another popular place to visit. This antebellum home details the stories of the slaves who resided there and the former owners of the home, John Bellamy and his family.

There are some popular attractions near Wilmington:

  • Explore Fort Fischer and its surrounding beaches
  • Dine and shop at the Riverwalk
  • Explore exhibits inside The Cameron Art Museum
  • Swim and surf at Carolina Beach
  • Tour the historic Poplar Grove Plantation

Visitors will find many fun things to do during the day in Wilmington. Start the day with a tour of Airlie Gardens, which sprawls over 60-acres of freshwater lakes. On your visit, find the 500-year-old Airlie Oak tree and the butterfly house. Then, enjoy a classic burger at The Fork ‘N’ Cork before checking out the Wilmington Hammerheads soccer team play a game at Legion Stadium.

Exciting activities happening near Wilmington today include:

  • Exploring the pier at Wrightsville Beach
  • Shopping for trinkets at Mayfaire mall
  • Dining at Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn
  • Visiting the Wilmington Railroad Museum
  • Touring the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens

Just because the sun is setting doesn’t mean the fun is ending. Wilmington has plenty of fun things to do at night. Jump to the rhythm at a Bourgie Nights concert. Then, go to The Dead Crow Comedy Room for a laugh, especially on open mic nights.

Nighttime activities near Wilmington include:

  • Going to an outdoor show at the Hugh Morgan Amphitheater at Greenfield Lake Park
  • Watching a theater performance at the Cape Fear Playhouse
  • Dancing the night away at Pravda dance club
  • Dining on authentic Thai and Vietnamese cuisine at Indochine Restaurant

Family entertainment options are unstoppable in Wilmington. For fun in the sun, head to Jungle Rapids. Or, try The Children’s Museum, which is great for young ones. Kids that don’t mind creepy-crawlies will have a blast at the Cape Fear Serpentarium, which houses more than 80 exotic snakes.

Family-Friendly things to do near Wilmington include:

  • Touring the Fort Fisher Aquarium
  • Visiting the Wilmington Railroad Museum
  • Letting kids run through the playgrounds at Halyburton Park
  • Jumping on the trampolines at Defy Gravity
  • Playing mad-scientist at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science

Wilmington offers many indoor activities for visitors. Start your day a hot yoga class at The Yoga Center before heading to The Cameron Art Museum, which is home to six rotating exhibits and ceramic art classes. Then, venture to Burchetta Glass Blowing Studio for a daily demonstration.

Things to do indoors near Wilmington include:

  • Bowling at Cardinal Lanes Shipyard
  • Shopping for apparel at Independence Mall
  • Learning about movie magic at EUE Screen Gems Studio
  • Watching a star show at the Ingram Planetarium
  • Sipping hot tea at Luna Caffe

There are many outdoor attractions in Wilmington. People who want to learn more about the history of the city should go on a water tour or a free trolley ride. Hugh McRae Park is a great stop on the way to Wrightsville Beach. Water enthusiasts should try kayaking down the Cape Fear River or paddle boarding at Wrightsville Beach.

Outdoor activities in Wilmington include:

  • Going on a Segway tour in the city
  • Touring breweries on the Port City Brew bus
  • Biking through Halyburton Park
  • Shopping around the Cotton Exchange
  • Walking along the pier at Carolina Beach