The port city of Wilmington, North Carolina has something to offer everyone. The lively location has plenty of options for shopping, dining, tourism, nightlife, and even some beach fun.
If you’re in the area, be sure to check out the attractions below. They’re six of the best local treasures worth your visit for some time well-spent.
USS Battleship North Carolina
There’s just no way you can call a tour of Wilmington complete without visiting the USS Battleship North Carolina. Decommissioned in 1947 and now serving as a museum ship, the USS offers a fantastic glimpse into World War II, when the battleship earned an impressive 15 battle stars. Visit the attraction at the downtown waterfront and explore the decks, sleeping and living quarters, post office and chapel, then taste a few flavors at the ice cream shop.
Wilmington Children’s Museum
Got kids? Let them run wild at the Children’s Museum of Wilmington located at 116 Orange Street. Catering to children aged 1 to 10, the museum boasts many hands-on exhibits your kids are sure to enjoy. Highlights include a vast pirate ship, kid-friendly cooking lessons, a tree house, science workshops, and a hospital for teddy bears.
Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts
For your inner thespian, there’s the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts at 310 Chestnut St. As Wilmington’s original “opera house,” the venue hosts a wide range of plays and productions, with celebrities participating on occasion. A variety of shows and concerts are also held at the event, featuring a who’s who of local and national artists.
Wilmington Historic District
At more than 100 blocks, Wilmington has one of the largest historic districts in the US. Admire the stately mansions along oak-lined streets and take history tours aboard horse-drawn carriages. Drop in on the Burgwin-Wright House, which is furnished with well-preserved Colonial-era fixtures. Marvel at the Victorian-era Bellamy Mansion. And feel a sense of pride in district’s many gardens and churches.
An important Wilmington landmark for over 100 years, Airlie Garden delights with formal gardens, seasonal blooms, guided tours, birdwatching hikes, and walking trails spread across 67 acres. Come in spring and marvel at the riot of azaleas in full bloom. Summertime is fun-filled with art exhibits, a summer concert series, and other activities.
Spend the day exploring the history and charm of Wilmington along the historic Riverwalk, with stunning views of both the city and river. Walk, jog, or bike along its almost mile-long path and admire the wealth of sights and sounds that you may encounter. You can also drop by nearby The Cotton Exchange, a shopping center made up of six charmingly restored buildings dating back to the 1800s. Sample gourmet soul food or authentic German fare. Bring home handcrafted jewelry and other delightful finds.
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Suggested Wilmington readings:
Best Local Museums in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, and Kure Beach
Kid-friendly Destinations in Wilmington
Wilmington’s Best Spa and Wellness Centers
Best Golf Courses in Wilmington
Retiring in Wilmington