Just minutes from the beaches, Wilmington’s picturesque riverfront emerges from the Cape Fear River. Gracing its banks is one of the state’s largest historic districts, numbering approximately 230 blocks. Downtown Wilmington is a place where revitalization has proceeded with honor, dignity and respect, preserving the social and artistic heritage of days gone by. See the historic district’s mansions and landmark buildings via horse-drawn trolley or carriage tour, riverboat cruise, restored trolley car, or take a walking tour given by some of the port city’s most intriguing residents.
Across the river on Eagles Island rests the majestic Battleship North Carolina, a restored World War II memorial. There are also other museums for children, fine art lovers, railroad and history buffs, including North Carolina’s oldest history museum.
Feast upon the Atlantic Ocean’s bounty of fresh seafood, or enjoy a variety of ethnic cuisine and regional specialties, all served with Southern flair and hospitality. Visitors can lose track of time as they browse distinctive specialty and antique shops, clothing boutiques, shopping complexes, pottery outlets, and year-round holiday shops.
At day’s end, relax outdoors and behold nature’s beauty as the sun sinks into the river. Saunter along historic Wilmington’s riverwalk or taste the salty ocean spray as you stroll along the beach. Enjoy an evening at the theatre, a symphony concert, or other exciting nightlife options.
Whatever your pleasure, the visitor to this historic North Carolina town is sure to find what they are looking for at North Carolina’s Cape Fear Coast, a variety vacationland for the discriminating traveler. Visitors find out first-hand why those who live in Wilmington are fond of saying, “It’s always a beautiful day at the Cape Fear Coast.”
The city itself is nestled between North Carolina’s mighty Cape Fear River on the west and the powerful Atlantic Ocean on the east, has long been known as the “Port City of Progress and Pleasure.” Founded in 1739, Wilmington prospered during its early years as a major port and ship-building center. Today the city continues to flourish.
Boasting one of the largest districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Wilmington takes pride in its reputation as a leader in preservation efforts. Along the river, a number of Victorian, Georgian, Italianate and antebellum-style homes, buildings and churches have been carefully restored to their original grandeur. Many of these beautiful structures are now used as museums, shopping venues and bed-and-breakfasts.
Downtown Wilmington offers eclectic shopping, vibrant nightlife, theatrical productions, coffeehouses and outstanding restaurants that feature fresh local seafood and regional specialties. Inland, visitors will find excellent golf courses, department stores, parks, entertainment complexes, amusements, plantations, a state university and restaurants galore.
Local attractions and annual events are as diverse as the city itself. Visitors can enjoy more than 45 attractions, including day or evening riverboat cruises, museums showcasing North Carolina artists and history, and a variety of tours of the historic district, nature preserves, or movie studios. Traditional festivals such as the N.C. Azalea Festival and RiverFest, among others, celebrate the area’s arts and culture.
The city of Wilmington has experienced a dramatic and exciting growth. With the influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, some 45-60 miles offshore, Historic Wilmington enjoys a temperate subtropical climate year-round. It’s no wonder that it is one of the fastest growing East Coast deep-water ports. Summer temperatures are usually in the 80s. Seasons are mild, with an average 212 sunshine days and a mean average temperature of 63.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The average winter temperature is about 50 degrees.
A climate like this affords the lucky visitor to take advantage of many of the sites and attractions available. The Historic Battleship North Carolina allows visitors to come aboard and experience the North Carolina’s “Star Appeal”. Because she is preserved just as she was in World War II, the Battleship North Carolina has been the site for many dramatic documentaries. For those brave souls who are adventurous the Haunted Pub Crawl is a unique adventure. Guests partake in an evening of spirituous adventure on a journey to Wilmington’s most vividly haunted pubs. They can revel in the seamy red-light district of yore & uncover startling truths of life in a violent 18th century port city. From the disreputable obsession of the merry wench Gallus Meg, to the barbarous haunts of a notorious madman, it’s an evening of levity & libations!
For a family outing, be sure to visit Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park. Open seasonally, Jungle Rapids is Wilmington’s coolest place to play and a full day of fun for the entire family. After a full day of activity, visitors often take in a play at Thalian Hall. The Hall is one of the oldest and most beautiful theatres in America. THCPA has been in continuous use since it opened in 1858. Forming the east wing of Wilmington’s magnificent City Hall, the facility hosts over 250 performance events annually.
Whatever the interest of any visitor, this historic, yet modern North Carolina city has something new and interesting for even the most experienced and discriminating traveler.