Wilimington, NC

Visit Wilmington (98 miles from Beaufort, NC). The charming city of Wilmington lies on the Cape Fear River and boasts a number of major attractions. Arts, entertainment, history and hospitality all combine to make this a great area.

Wilmington is known for historic preservation, its close proximity to area beaches, and annual events such as the Azalea Festival and Riverfest. In addition, it is becoming a favorite film location for both movies and television series.

A walk downtown is a shopper’s and diner’s delight, with streets lined by unique stores and eateries. One of the most popular shopping havens is the Cotton Exchange, a collection of 30 unique specialty shops and restaurants. The one-time site of the largest cotton-exporting company in the world in the 19th century, this three-level collection of eight buildings was converted into a shopping and dining center in the 1970s.

Horse and carriage rides, historic walking tours, a paddle-wheeler, plus boat tours and taxis are all available to visitors who would like to make the most of the day in Wilmington. An expanding River Walk, a walkway along Water Street on the Cape Fear river front, offers visitors an easy and scenic stroll. Serving as the cultural center for the region, downtown Wilmington houses a number of major arts and cultural facilities including art galleries, Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum and the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts. This historic and elaborate building houses a 575-seat main stage theatre and 130-seat studio theatre and hosts plays, concerts and more.

Thalian Hall was designed by the well-known theatre architect, John Montague Trimble, and constructed during 1855-56. Known as the Opera House until 1933, it was then renamed Thalian Hall, after Thalian, the Greek muse of comedy and pastoral poetry.

Perhaps the most visited attraction in Wilmington is the Battleship North Carolina. When the keel of the USS North Carolina was laid in Oct. 1937, she was the first battleship to be constructed in 16 years and became the first of 10 fast battleships to join the fleet in WWII. At the time of her commissioning on April 9, 1941, she was considered the world’s greatest sea weapon. Open for tours since 1961, the proud North Carolina is an authentically restored WWII battleship, a National Historic Landmark, and memorial honoring the 10,000 North Carolinians of all branches who gave their lives in WWII.

Other major sites of interest include the Cape Fear Museum, displaying regional history; the Bellamy Mansion, one of Wilmington’s most spectacular examples of antebellum architecture; and the Wilmington Children’s Museum, a hands-on “learning through play” center for young children and their families.