7 Fun Things to Do in Wilmington, NC | First-time visitor guide


Did you know that over 100,000 people live in Wilmington, NC? People that live in this area likely know of all of the fun activities, places to go, and things to see. However, if you’ve never been to the area before, you may feel a little overwhelmed with all of your choices! 

What sights should a first-time visitor to Wilmington, NC see? Well, it depends on what your interests are, how big your group is, and what sort of fun you’d like to have!

Luckily, however, we are going to break down some of the most popular and memorable Wilmington activities so that you can find the perfect options for your trip. 

Keep reading for some of the top things to do in Wilmington, NC!

1. Historic District in Downtown Wilmington

If you just have time for a day trip to Wilmington, NC, then you should consider checking out the Historic District. There are hundreds of 18th-century, 19th-century, and early 20th-century buildings here, which include homes and commercial locations.

You can spend time walking around the area and stop in at some of the local shops, or you can check out famous landmarks, like the Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary with its beautiful stained glass. 

2. Children’s Museum of Wilmington

Are you looking for some things to do with your whole family? Family activities in Wilmington, NC can easily be found since a lot of the locals have families themselves!

The Children’s Museum of Wilmington is designed for children under the age of 10 to enjoy, but your whole family will enjoy their time here. There are plenty of different exhibits and imaginative activities for your children to explore while here.

If you’re interested in attending one of their special events, be sure to keep an eye on the museum’s calendar

3. Battleship North Carolina

One thing you don’t want to miss on a Wilmington, NC vacation is the Battleship North Carolina. When commissioned in 1941, this was considered the greatest sea weapon ever built.

During WWII, Battleship North Carolina is known for participating in each of the naval offensive attacks in the Pacific. It also earned fifteen battle stars! 

To learn everything you can about this battleship and have the best experience possible, you may want to think about going on a guided tour

4. Airlie Gardens

There are plenty of things to do in Wilmington if you’re looking for a romantic atmosphere as well, so if you’re on a trip with your significant other, you may want to go to Airlie Gardens.

These gardens date all the way back to the late 1880s, and you’ll be able to take a self-guided tour over the 67-acre grounds. While here, you’ll want to take a look at the Airlie Oak, which is over 400 years old.

If you happen to be in town during the holidays, don’t miss the Enchanted Airlie event! Guests from around the world visit to take in the sights and sounds that are commonly associated with the wonders of the holiday season. 

5. Bellamy Mansion Museum

Want even more history? You don’t want to miss the beautiful Bellamy Mansion Museum. This is a beautiful Antebellum architecture structure, which was built by slaves and free black artisans. It is one of the most beautiful historic homes in all of North Carolina and has survived for over 160 years.

You can get audio tours throughout the day or choose to walk around the grounds on your own. When the weather is nice, strolling through the garden is a wonderful experience! 

6. The Riverwalk

If you enjoy shopping, the Riverwalk is a great place to go! Extending from Nunn Street to the Isabella Holmes Bridge, the Riverwalk has plenty of quirky boutiques, shops, art galleries, and other exciting retail stores to get your take-home souvenir from. 

You can walk around outside along the nearly two-mile-long stretch right by the waters of the Cape Fear River. From the Riverwalk, you’ll have the chance to take a look at historic homes, aged buildings, and scenic views.

Once you’re done taking it all in, you can spend some time checking out the local shops, like the Cotton Exchange, or visit the Farmers Market that comes around on Saturdays in the summer months. 

Don’t forget to stick around for sunset to get one of the best views in town! 

7. Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens

This house was built in 1770 and is the only colonial-era structure in Wilmington that is open to the public. If you love to see fine Georgian architecture and see what life was like before the revolution, you don’t want to miss this experience.

There are plenty of different exhibits in this museum house as well, including women in the colonial era, the history of free and enslaved people of the home, and more.

Check Out These Things to Do in Wilmington, NC This Year

Now that you have a better idea of all the main things to do in Wilmington, NC, it’s time to start planning your trip.

Whether you already have dates in mind, or you’re trying to figure out the best time to go, consider these activities and figure out how to work as many as you can into your travel schedule.

Most of these activities are things that you’ll be doing outdoors, but what if the weather is bad? To be on the safe side, check out our other blog post, and take note of some of the best things to do in Wilmington when it’s raining next. 

Kolby Bass

Kolby Bass

Lifestyle | Gratitude | Dachshunds