Whether you’re a snowbird looking forward to a coastal retirement or a young professional seeking a new start by the sea, Wilmington, North Carolina has a nearly magical appeal. Tucked away on the Cape Fear coast, this hidden gem of a city offers a unique mix of Southern charm and the best of the 21st century. From stunning beach vistas to a beautiful historic district to a thriving craft beer scene, Wilmington’s diverse attractions are sure to make you fall in love. There are many reasons to live in Wilmington, so here’s a small taste of some of the Port City’s best features—and trust us, there’s something here for you.
Riverfront Sunsets and Riverwalk Cruises
Wilmington was born on the banks of the Cape Fear River, and that broad, slow-moving water still defines the city’s characters. Wilmington’s Downtown Riverwalk has been voted one of the best in America, and for a good reason. Running through the city’s Historic District, the riverwalk offers stunning views of both the city’s unique architecture and the natural, undeveloped opposite banks. A stroll down the riverwalk showcases some of the city’s best attractions: waterfront dining, river cruises, concerts, and street fairs and of course some of the most stunning sunsets around.
Every community needs a place to gather—and for Wilmington, it’s the riverwalk. Come join us!
So, So Many Beautiful Beaches
North Carolina’s coast is a thing of beauty, and Wilmington is surrounded by some of its best beaches. Within a few minutes of the city lie five of the most beautiful stretches of sand on the East Coast, each with its unique personality and charm. Easily accessible by either car or ferry, they year-round beauty, and enjoyment. So whether you find yourself drawn to the family-friendly shores of Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach or you long to surf the break-in Topsail and Figure 8 Island, Wilmington’s neighbor beaches have something for you, nearly every day of the year. These beaches mean that Wilmington is more than a city—it’s an entire coastal world to explore!
Boundless Shopping and Entertainment
Wilmington’s natural beauty is an absolute joy, but sometimes it’s fun to indulge in retail therapy or some live entertainment. There Wilmington has you covered, with world-class shopping options and music venues throughout the city. Mayfaire offers an engaging open-air retail experience, featuring both internationally-loved outlets and local, independent businesses. Downtown Wilmington offers a treasure trove of boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and cafes. The Cameron Art Museum is a hidden gem, with exhibits and collections of moving, thought-provoking art from around the world. Due to its connection to the film industry and coastal locale, Wilmington is an entertainment powerhouse, with concert venues like the Wilson Center, Thalian Hall, and Greenfield Lake Amphitheater drawing acts from around the country. Whether you’re searching for live music, live theatre, or independent film, Wilmington’s entertainment options have you covered.
Location, Location, Location
The Carolinas have so much to offer—from the smooth urban vibe of Charlotte or Raleigh/Durham to the elegant historic soul of Charleston; there’s so much to do and see and explore. Universities, museums, sports arenas—they all abound in the cities that define the region. And here’s the best part: all of this is within a few hour’s drive of Wilmington. The Port City’s central location and easy access to the interstate means that Wilmington residents can easily plan day trips to dozens of other cities. So take a Saturday and go explore the North Carolina Museum of Art or watch the Panthers play—Wilmington will be here for you when you get back.
Wilmington is rich in history. From its founding in the 18th century, Wilmington has played a role in every major event of its time. With one of the largest and best-maintained historic districts in the US, Wilmington’s past is engaging and readily accessible. A simple stroll through downtown Wilmington displays several centuries of beautiful architecture. Some historic homes have become museums—make sure you visit the Burgwin-Wright House or Bellamy Mansion. These sites allow you to experience the past a bit more directly, showing how people lived and worked in years past. The Cape Fear Museum is likewise fascinating, taking visitors through the region’s story from ancient times to the present. As it does with so many things, Wilmington makes learning and education easy and entertaining, so take some time and enrich your mind!
Festivals and Fun, Season After Season
As we keep saying, there’s always something to do in Wilmington, and that includes many cultural and arts events around town. Wilmington’s residents love to celebrate, and the city’s many annual festivals are great excuses to do so. There are so many to choose from. Film buffs will rejoice in the annual Cucalorus Film Festival, featuring cinema from across the nation and around the world. Folks looking for a more laid-back regular event can find their way to the Riverfront Farmers Market, held every Saturday during the season. There you’ll find local vendors, local produce, local art, and local musicians in a laid back outdoor setting—what a perfect start to the weekend!
One of the biggest events of the year is the Port City’s Azalea Festival. Held every year since 1948, the Azalea Festival takes place in April as the azaleas are beginning to bloom in Wilmington. Azalea Fest comprises so many different things: live music, street fairs, balls, and garden parties. It’s a dazzling event that brings visitors from all over the world, and it is one of the highlights of Wilmington’s year. So when April comes around, join the crowds and celebrate spring in grand Wilmington fashion!
Wilmington’s Airport Makes Travel Easy
Wilmington often has a breezy, coastal, end-of-the-road vibe, where easy Southern living abounds. This is a little deceptive—Wilmington International Airport means that travel to and from the city is easy as can be. With direct flights to many major cities, it’s simple to fly home to New York or New Jersey or Philadelphia or to have your friends and family come to visit. Just because you’ve escaped to the coast doesn’t mean that you’re cut off from the world, and Wilmington residents enjoy seaside living while still being only a quick flight away from many major cities.
One fun fact about the airport: the US Air Force uses it to practice landings and takeoff for some of their aircraft, including Air Force One. Keep your eyes open, and you might see that iconic airplane on the approach one day!
Laid Back Living, Southern Style
The Coastal South is famous for a laid-back approach to life and living. Wilmington’s residents are leisure specialists, dedicated to finding new ways to enjoy every moment of beauty the city offers. Day to day living in Wilmington becomes an exercise in incorporating fun into every aspect of what you do.
Wilmington’s thriving craft beer scene is a great example. With 18 breweries currently open in the area, craft beer is one of the largest industries in the town. It also has a great community of beer lovers and aficionados growing around it, with a number of clubs, organizations, and casual get-togethers meet regularly. Whether you’re new to craft beer or a longtime fan, it’s a wonderful hobby to explore and a great way to meet new friends.
Likewise, the outdoor-minded will find that Wilmington has much to explore. Taking a kayak out on the Cape Fear River ushers you into a new world of marshes, wetlands and cypress groves. For those who like to explore on two wheels, Halyburton Park and Greenfield Lake offer extensive biking trails in some of the most scenic parts of the city. If you’re a bit more adventurous, you may want to try the 15 mile Gary Shell Cross-City Trail or the 11 mile River to Sea Bikeway. Both long rides offer a tour of the city, passing by many points of cultural or historical interest.
There’s, even more, to do on the water. Located between the river and the sea, Wilmington is a boater’s paradise. Ready access to the ocean, the intercoastal waterway, and the Cape Fear River means that all manner of maritime recreation is readily available. Marinas, boat rentals, and charters are all readily available, letting you choose the best way to get on the water. From deep-sea fishing to water-skiing to casual boat rides with friends, there’s a nautical adventure waiting for you.
With so much to do and see—and a lifestyle second to none—Wilmington, North Carolina is calling to you. If you’re ready to dive in and embrace all Wilmington has to offer, we hope you’ll make River Bluffs your first choice for a neighborhood. Located along the banks of the Cape Fear River not far from the heart of the city, we are always delighted to welcome new neighbors. Come join us for lunch at Porches Cafe and schedule a tour. Our friendly sales team is ready to show you around and help you find your new home. We look forward to seeing you soon!