Thalian Hall Center For The Performing Arts
Youll quickly learn that Wilmington, North Carolina has a very strong arts scene.
One of the top things to do in Wilmington is to see a performance at the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts.
This has been an incredible institution since it first opened in 1858.
Some of the biggest creative minds ever known have played here.
In years past, legends like John Philip Sousa performed here.
Today, you can see incredible artists like Ani DiFranco.
There are also dance performances, comedians, film screenings, and theatrical productions.
If youre looking for excellent live entertainment in Wilmington, come to Thalian Hall.
Thalian Hall is one of the biggest Wilmington attractions, cementing the city as a true cultural hotspot.
If youre looking for entertainment at night, this is where to be.
Youre sure to be enthralled when youre at Thalian Hall.
Address: 310 Chestnut St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States
See Venus Flytraps At Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden
If you want to see and learn about carnivorous plants without making the drive to Paradise Island, Stanley Rehder Garden at the Piney Ridge Nature Preserve is an option located within Wilmington proper. The small garden, just under ¾ of an acre, is home to Venus Flytraps and Pitcher Plants among others. It doesnt take long to walk through the public park, and it is worth the visit to see the carnivorous Flytraps, which only grow native within a 70 mile radius of Wilmington.
See A Giant Sloth Skeleton At The Cape Fear Museum Of History And Science
Visiting Wilmington with kids who might be too old for the Childrens Museum? The Cape Fear Museum is a nice alternative for older children. There are several interesting exhibits that offer unique science lessons centered around space exploration, water, fire, and the earths different ecosystems.
Kids will especially like seeing the replica skeleton of a Giant Ground Sloth, and learning about the massive creature which researchers believe lived in the region that is now North Carolina 1.5 million years ago.
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Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Gardens
A visit to the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Gardens is not only free but also one of the most unique things to do in Wilmington NC!
Did you know that you can only find Venus flytraps in the wild within a 75-100 mile radius around Wilmington, NC? You literally cannot find them growing in the wild anywhere else in the world! I dont know about you, but I think thats pretty cool!!
To get to the garden, walk down the paved quarter mile pathway. Along the way you will find a few different pieces of information about the elusive Venus flytraps and local ecology. The walkway and viewing deck are stroller and wheelchair friendly, but to be honest, the Venus flytraps are so little you have to walk into the garden to see them. There are individual stepping stones along the middle of the garden so that you may view these tiny plants. The larger pitcher plants and sundews, two other carnivorous plants, are also in the area and much easier to spot.
Location: 3800 Canterbury Road, Wilmington
Insider Tip: The garden itself gets full sun. Prepare with a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water or try to avoid visiting during the heat of the day!
You can also find Venus flytraps at Carolina Beach State Park but they are much harder to spot there versus at the Stanley Rehder Gardens.
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Things To Do In Wilmington Nc: New Hanover County Arboretum
New Hanover County Arboretum is 7 acres of Community garden in Wilmington. Being an old arboretum built-in 1989, it features more than 30 gardens with flowering plants, bushes, verdant lawns, and a large water garden in NC.
The gardens include a rose garden, a herb garden, a bog garden, an aquatic garden, a childrens garden, a landscaped Japanese garden, and many other.
Also, these gardens include over 4,000 varieties of naturalized and native plants. Therefore, it serves as an education center and a horticultural laboratory for those who love gardening.
And its water garden is one of the largest ones in North Carolina. It contains thousands of catfish and multi-colored koi.
You can grab all of these experiences from New Hanover County Arboretum free of charge.
Address: 6206 Oleander Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403, United States Phone: +1 910-798-7660
Things to Do in Wilmington NC
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Things To Do In Wilmington Nc: Poplar Grove Plantation
Poplar Grove Plantation is one of the oldest peanut plantations in the state of North Carolina and has been open to the public as a museum since 1980.
Built by Joseph Mumford Foy in the 1850s, the plantation is located on Topsail Sound Plank Road in Scotts Hill and is dedicated to preserving and conserving the homestead of a successful farming family and showcasing the workings of a typical 19th century working community.
The current Manor House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is surrounded by 835 acres of landscaped gardens, both of which can be explored on guided tours through the property.
Poplar Grove Plantation is also home to a farmers market and an animal sanctuary, and it plays host to several festivals throughout the year.
10200 US-17, Wilmington, NC, Phone: 910-686-9518
Things To Do In Wilmington: Disc Golf
Disc Golf can be a fun outing to break up your vacation, and Wilmington has four free courses . Three that are closest to the areas described here are Joe Eakes Park in Kure Beach, Good Hops Brewing in Carolina Beach, and Arrowhead Park in Wilmington. The fourth is in another area nearby and inland, Castle Hayne.
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Go On A Sea Legs Pedal Tour
Experience the thrill of pedaling a boat while taking a cruise with your family and friends. This fun tour lasting about 90 minutes promises to provide guests with a lot of fun and cardio training!
Guests are welcome to bring food and beverages to help them enjoy their time to the max. On certain days, there is a Fireworks Cruise on Thursdays that lasts for 2 hours.
The Sea Legs Pedal Tour has no age restrictions. You can take a tour with your whole family.
After all the delicious food youâre about to eat in Wilmington, it is a great way to burn some extra calories, too!
Things To Do In Wilmington: Uss North Carolina/battleship North Carolina
Consider a tripod for shots like this one.
In 1937, the USS North Carolina became the first battleship constructed in 16 years. She was the first of ten fast ships to join World War II for the USA, and by 1941 when she was commissioned , she was considered the worlds greatest sea weapon. She participated in every major Pacific offense and earned 15 battle stars the USS Battleship North Carolina is truly an incredible historic attraction. P. S. If youve noticed the variety of names Ive referred to the ship as no matter which one you use, people will know what you mean! Technically, it is the USS North Carolina, but many people say North Carolina Battleship or any of the aforementioned variations.
For fans of history, ships, the ocean, World War II, engineering, or anything related, its an incredible ship to have access to in Wilmington, NC. Ill admit, I am not a fan of sit-down history learning , but I like visiting physical locations to learn history in particular. If you are the same way, have children, or are curious about visiting such an impressive ship, taking a tour would be fun.
Interestingly, the ship is open every day of the year yes 365 days because she serves as a memorial. Hours are 8am-5pm with final entrance and ticket sales at 4pm . Tickets are $14 for people 12 & older, $10 for seniors and military, $6 for children 6-11, and free for children under $5. Expect to spend about 2 hours here.
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Cape Fear & Brunswick Islands Beaches
A total of 10 beaches border the coast and islands at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, only a few miles from Wilmington. The closest is Carolina Beach, a family-oriented beach town with one of the country’s best boardwalks. At its southern border is Kure Beach, surrounded by water, with the river on one side and the Atlantic on the other, providing options for swimming, surfing, and kayaking. Kure Beach is especially known for its 700-foot-long fishing pier.
Directly south of that is the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and Historic Site, with miles of beach and undeveloped shoreline. At the historic site, visitors can walk the remaining earthworks of Fort Fisher, one of the most important Confederate strongholds in the Civil War, on an interpretive walking trail.
Explore Downtown Wilmington & The Riverwalk
Theres nothing better than an afternoon exploring the scenic 2 mile Wilmington Riverwalk. Take in the beautiful Cape Fear River, watch the boats go by, and do a little window shopping. Check out the beautiful historic homes, different unique neighborhoods, and interesting architecture.
Insider Tip: If youre looking for great views of downtown Wilmington, take a look at the perspective from the top level of a parking garageyou might be surprised!
While youre in the area, indulge a little with some of our favorite ice cream spots in Wilmington!
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Enjoy A Day By The Seaside At Wrightsville Beach
Just east of Wilmington, a short causeway leads out to the island of Wrightsville Beach. Four miles of sandy shoreline sets the stage for a memorable seaside getaway.
Come early to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic, or spend the day relaxing on the beach and frolicking in the waves. Whether youre looking for the best free things to do in the area or simply seeking a great family activity, Wrightsville Beach should figure at the top of your list.
Things To Do In Wilmington: Latimer House
Another generic house with a lot of history!
The Latimer House was built in Victorian 1852 for Zebulon and Elizabeth Latimer. Its four stories of perfect symmetry, an identical layout on every floor, and over 600 historical relics in 14 rooms. Its only a couple blocks away from the riverfront and houses the local Historical Society.
Tours are Fridays and Saturdays at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm lasting around an hour. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for military or students, and $6 for ages 6-18. The Historical Society also offers Walking Tours of downtown Wilmington on Saturdays from 10am-11:30am. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students, but you must call ahead to reserve and schedule.
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Where Is Wilmington North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina, is a port city in New Hanover County. Its located in southeastern North Carolina, only an hour north of the border of South Carolina.
Its a coastal city with a large population of almost 125,000 people. Its well known as a popular beach vacation destination in the south, with great beach destinations like Fort Fisher, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach drawing in tourists.
It was well known as one of the largest American film and television production centers in the United States, behind Los Angeles and New York City.
Check Out The Rich & Famous
Now, this may just be something my family enjoys, but Ill throw it out there for what its worth! Cruise the area and check out the grandiose beach homes and insanely expensive boats and yachts. We love to pick out our dream houses and watch the big boats go up and down the Intracoastal Waterway. Plus, you never know, you may just see a celebrity. Its been known to happen on occasion!
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Restaurants In Wilmington Nc
There are plenty of Wilmington restaurants to satisfy all food tastes whether you desire traditional Southern cuisine, seafood, Mexican, pub style burgers you name it.
There are over 40 locally owned places to eat in Wilmington in the River District alone lining the Riverwalk, Front Street, and beyond.
New Hanover County Arboretum
The New Hanover County Arboretum is a great place to wander through Wilmingtons natural history. With more than seven acres of gardens and woodlands, the Arboretum is home to a variety of enchanting flora and fauna. The gardens feature a wide range of native plants, and the woodlands are home to a diverse array of bird species and other cute critters.
They also host many educational programs and events to partake in. These idyllic grounds are one of our favorite places to escape the city crowds and spend a tranquil day in Wilmington.
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Lounge At The Beach Bars In Wilmington
Although Wilmington remains one of the best places for going on tours of museums and other historical sites, it is also an excellent North Carolina town for partying and enjoying chill evenings at a beach bar.
Be sure to visit these three bars during your next night out!
The Fat Pelican
Head to the Fat Pelican, one of the most exciting beach bars on Carolina Beach with a selection of over 400 beers, wines, and non-alcoholic beverages.
The labyrinthine rooms have brick walls and a backyard providing a unique atmosphere.
Working hours: Monday-Saturday: 11 am 2 am, Sunday: 12 pm 2 am
Address: 8 Lake Park Blvd S, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Nollieâs Taco Joint
Packed with Mexican flavors, Nollieâs Taco Joint is the most popular spot on Carolina Beach to enjoy some tasty tacos with a cold beer.
Besides tacos, you can try out some traditional burritos, salads, nachos, quesadillas, and a rotation of homemade desserts. Even better, they have vegan and vegetarian options.
Address: 3 Pelican Ln, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
This classy beach bar, with an indoor and outdoor terrace, is a fantastic place to spend evenings tasting signature seafood with beer. The SeaWitch also includes a Tiki Bar that delivers some good live, local music.
Working hours: Tuesday Thursday: 4 pm â 11 pm, Friday and Saturday: 12 pm â 1 am, Sunday: 11 am â 11 pm. Mondays closed.
Address: 227 Carolina Beach Ave N, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Riverwalk On Cape Fear River
In the center of historic downtown Wilmington is a pretty riverfront walkway that is a magnet for strolling families, runners, and dog walkers. The wooden Riverwalk runs alongside the bank of the Cape Fear River. Cafes, restaurants, and gift shops line the walkway. We strolled the mile-long riverwalk before dinner, enjoying the view.
And since people-watching with the bridge and river view was fun, we returned several times. While we didnt visit the Battleship North Carolina, which served in World War II, we saw the ship from the riverwalk.
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Check Out The New Hanover County Arboretum
This was the first place my wedding photographer mentioned when we were discussing locations for my wedding portrait. All the years I had lived in Wilmington, I had never been to the Arboretum. And boy, was I missing out! The New Hanover County Arboretum is by far one of the best free things to do in Wilmington. The gardens are just lovely. You can explore on your own but they do offer free tours with a reservation. There is a great area for kids, a Japanese garden, and more!
Go On A Ghost Walk Of Old Wilmington
Get spooked and go on a ghost walk of Old Wilmington! The 90-minute ghost walk will take you into the depths of the old town with haunted homes and burial grounds showcasing spooky stories.
The Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington is one of the top 5 original ghost walks in America. The award-winning tour also appeared on MTV, the History Channel, the Travel Channel, and the Discovery Channel.
Surprisingly, it is a family-friendly tour that takes place at night, and for an even more thrilling adventure, you can continue the night with a haunted pub crawl.
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Fun Things To Do With Kids In Wilmington Nc
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Wilmington, North Carolina is a vibrant port city that boasts beautiful beaches just minutes away, an historic downtown area, and a trendy riverfront district. Considered one of the best places for a family vacation in North Carolina, there are a lot of fun things to do with kids in Wilmington NC.
The city, with a population around 125,000, offers a good mix of Southern charm, history, and modern family fun. Located in New Hanover County in southern North Carolina, the city sits on the Cape Fear River. Its an easy road trip from Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, or even destinations that are further away, like Charleston orSavannah, GA to the south or Washington DC, Norfolk or Williamsburg, VAto the north.
This guide to the best things to do with kids in Wilmington NC includes a look at the best beaches, parks, and family-friendly museums in Wilmington NC for kids.
Rent A Beach Cruiser And Ride Around The Beach
There is just something iconic about riding a comfortable beach cruiser on the beach.
Wrightsville Beach Bikes and Boards will get you hooked up with a cruiser for a day. Daily Rentals start at $25, and Weekly Rentals run $75, so if you stay for more than three days, its probably worth it to go for the week. Its important to note these bikes are not for the sand. For that, you will need a fat bike.
If you want to rent a bike at Carolina Beach, check out Pleasure Island Rentals. They are a bit cheaper, starting at $15 per day.
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