Are you looking to visit a dynamic coastal metropolis on your next vacation? Look no further and head to Wilmington, North Carolina’s biggest port city. With a multitude of beaches, natural and historical places, and a growing art scene, you won’t run out of exciting events during your visit to Wilmington. Here are eight places not to miss when you visit.
Airlie GardensFor a blend of history and nature, be sure to visit Airlie Gardens, which borders the intercoastal waterway. Featuring towering live oak trees, 67 acres (27.1 hectares) of walking paths, and white herons nesting near the lake, the present Airlie Gardens is the result of over 200 years of work and renovation by local Wilmington families. You’ll revel in the sprawling lawns, carefully tended flower gardens and the charming Butterfly House absolutely. Airlie Gardens also features live concerts in the summer and contemporary work by local artists.
Downtown WilmingtonPerfectly placed along the Cape Fear River, downtown Wilmington offers an extensive riverwalk, bustling restaurants, and a glimpse of this city’s historical roots. For active travellers, be sure to check out the walking tours such as the Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington and water tours along the river. If you’re not too tired, there’s always shopping at local businesses such as Two Sisters Bookery and the shops located inside the Cotton Exchange.
Cameron Art MuseumTo experience everything Wilmington has to offer, from nature to nightlife to arts and entertainment, make your way over to the Cameron Art Museum. With an expansive collection of work by North Carolina artists, as well as national and international artists, this museum is a key player in Wilmington’s art scene. Beyond exhibiting its permanent and visiting collections, the Cameron Art Museum also organizes special programs and events for dance and music performances and its education department offers art classes and workshops for children and adults.
Wrightsville BeachA visit to Wilmington isn’t complete without a visit to the beach. Wrightsville Beach is the city’s main beach where you can soak up the Carolina sun while listening to the sounds of the Atlantic’s waves. If you’re in need of a midday snack, there are restaurants and bars along the beach road to satisfy all your beach day cravings.
New Hanover County ArboretumFor nature lovers who want to see more of what Wilmington has to offer, the New Hanover County Arboretum is an ideal choice. The arboretum features seven acres of North Carolina plant life and includes specialty gardens such as Japanese and rose gardens. Admission is free, and the gardens are open from dusk to dawn. Check the website for more information about upcoming events such as plant sales, art shows, and more.
Thalian Hall Center for the Performing ArtsTo complete your visit to downtown Wilmington, stroll over to Thalian Hall, the city’s main performing arts center. Opened in 1858, the Thalian has been in continuous use ever since and its calendar of events is always jam packed with plays, concerts, movie screenings, charity events, and more. Several local theater and performing arts groups are based here and continue to enrich the creative culture of Wilmington.
USS North Carolina BattleshipFloating peacefully in the Cape Fear River across from downtown Wilmington you’ll find the USS North Carolina. A fully restored World War II battleship, this floating wonder is a museum and a memorial to North Carolina’s veterans. With nine levels of the ship open for tours, you’ll have access to the most important parts of the ship and your imagination will come alive as you envision the life of sailors aboard the USS North Carolina. Special events and educational programs take place throughout the year so be sure to check the calendar, too!
Carolina BeachIf you’re seeking another memorable beach experience while in Wilmington, drive on over to Carolina Beach. Easily accessible and with a lot to offer, Carolina Beach is a beachside haven buzzing with activity. Beachfront hotels, award-winning restaurants, and a scenic boardwalk line this sandy coast. When you’re not checking out the weekly fireworks and dancing to live music in local venues, be sure to lather on the sunscreen and jump in the ocean for your favorite watersports.
Welcome to Wilmington
Whether it’s a sun-drenched beach day or a day exploring downtown, Wilmington has everything you need to have a relaxing and refreshing vacation. You’ll leave the Port City feeling fulfilled after having discovered more of North Carolina.
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