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Area Guide: Wilmington & New Hanover County

From a historic riverfront along the Cape Fear to island beaches, Wilmington and the greater New Hanover County area enthrall visitors and residents alike. If you are new to the area or thinking of relocating, we invite you to explore all this area has to offer.

About the Area

Perhaps the biggest draw for new residents to the Wilmington and New Hanover County area is our beautiful beaches. But Wilmington’s vibrant downtown and midtown areas are equally popular for their big-city amenities with small town charm.

  • Wrightsville Beach – With crystal-clear water and white sandy beaches, Wrightsville Beach is truly one of the area’s cherished places. As you drive across the drawbridge onto the island, your troubles melt away with your first glimpse of water, sun and sand that seem to stretch for miles and miles. It’s a common sight to see yachts docked or boats pulling up to waterfront restaurants along this stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway. Surf shops and local watering holes line the streets of Wrightsville Beach, along with Roberts Grocery … you must try its famous chicken salad! 
  • Carolina Beach – For a fun-filled experience with fair rides, fireworks and a beach boardwalk, spend the day at Carolina Beach, also known as Pleasure Island. Live music events and festivals occur throughout the year. It’s also the only beach in the area where you can go off-roading along the beachfront. For those looking to connect with nature, the island has miles of sandy trails and popular campgrounds, including Freeman Park (located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean) and Carolina Beach State Park (located on the Cape Fear River).  
  • Kure Beach & Fort Fisher – Just south of Carolina Beach, on the same island, you will find Kure Beach and Fort Fisher. Kure beach is a quiet, family-friendly place with expansive views of the Cape Fear River estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. Fort Fisher was built to protect the port of Wilmington during the Civil War era and offers daily tours for history buffs.
  • Midtown – Seahawk pride is evident in midtown Wilmington, as the area is bustling with students who attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In addition to UNCW, many national brand retailers and medical facilities are found in midtown, including Cape Fear Hospital and New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
  • Historic Riverfront – Cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriage tours and of course the USS North Carolina battleship can all be found in Wilmington’s historic riverfront district. While much work has gone into restoring the infrastructure downtown, the areas is rich in charm and things to see and do.

Things to See and Do

These are our top 10 picks for things to see and do in New Hanover County.

  1. Lumina Station – 1900 Eastwood Road, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.256.0900 – https://www.luminastation.com/. Located just before Wrightsville Beach, Lumina Station includes unique restaurants and retails shops for discerning tastes. It’s also a personal favorite as our corporate office can be found here.
  2. Mayfaire Town Center – 6835 Conservation Way, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.256.5131 – http://www.mayfairetown.com. Mayfaire Town Center is an outdoor mixed-use town center with a variety of restaurants, retail shops, apparel, grocery stores and specify stores. It’s also home to a state-of-the-art cinema.
  3. Chandler’s Wharf – 225 South Water Street, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.343.9896 – Found on the southern end of downtown Wilmington, Chandler’s Wharf is a collection of local boutiques and art galleries.
  4. Cotton Exchange – 321 N. Front Street, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.343.9896 – http://www.shopcottonexchange.com. Over 30 unique local shops and restaurants tucked away in the heart of historic downtown Wilmington. It offers the highest concentration of boutique shops in one place.
  5. Airlie Gardens – 300 Airlie Road, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.798.7700 – http://airliegardens.org/. Airlie Gardens is a premier garden of the coastal South that features 67 acres of walking paths, formal gardens, seasonal blooms, live oaks, historic structures and contemporary sculpture. There are also concerts, festivals and events that occur there regularly.
  6. Thalian Hall – 310 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.632.2285 – http://www.thalianhall.org. Catch a show at one of the oldest theaters in the United States. Events range from ballet and theater, to pop, jazz, rock(?) and country music concerts, to the finest in domestic, independent and foreign films. 
  7. Battleship North Carolina – 1 Battleship Road, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.251.5797 – http://www.battleshipnc.com/. Walk the deck and discover one of America’s most historic wartime treasures.
  8. Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours – 275 Waynick Boulevard, Wrightsville Beach, N.C. – 910.200.4002 – https://wrightsvillebeachscenictours.com/. Explore the area from the water! Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours offers tours and excursions, including a water taxi to Masonboro Island.
  9. Wilson Center – 703 North Third Street N.C. – 910.362.7999 – https://cfcc.edu/capefearstage/. Enjoy Broadway touring productions, concerts, symphonic performances, recitals, symposiums and more!
  10. Port City Brew Bus – 108 Grace Street, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.679.6586 –http://portcitybrewbus.com/. The ultimate craft beer experience. The Port City Brew Bus comfortably transports riders to various venues for tours, tastings and entertainment. 

Eat Well

These are our top 10 picks for restaurants and dining experiences in New Hanover County.

  1. Portland Grille – 1908 Eastwood Road Suite 111, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.256.6056 –http://www.portlandgrille.com/. Progressive American cuisine, with free-range meats and ingredients sourced from sustainable farms.
  2. Oceanic – 703 South Lumina Avenue, Wrightsville Beach, N.C. – 910.256.5551 –https://www.oceanicrestaurant.com/. Enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean at the Crystal Pier, while dining on coastal-inspired signature dishes. 
  3. Indochine – 17 Wayne Drive Wilmington, N.C. – 910.251.9229 – https://www.indochinewilmington.com/. Try a taste of the Far East with Thai and Vietnamese fare served in an art-filled setting with an outdoor garden, Koi pond and gazebo.
  4. Circa 1922 – 8 North Front Street, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.762.1922 – http://circa1922.com/. Enjoy tapas, sushi, cheese and charcuterie as well as delicious dishes from the sea and land.
  5. Bill’s Front Porch & Capt’n Bill’s – 4238 Market Street, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.762.0173 –https://www.seeyouatbills.com/. A unique complex that includes an on-site brewery, sports bar and outdoor volleyball facility.
  6. PT’s Olde Fashioned Grille – Various Locations – 910.679.6586 – https://ptsgrille.com/. You can’t pass up the burgers and fries! Voted the best burger in Wilmington by Encore Magazine.
  7. The Basics – 319 North Front Street, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.343.1050 –http://www.thebasicswilmington.com/restaurant. The basics of good Southern food – comfort, fresh regional ingredients and long-standing favorites. 
  8. Elijah’s – 2 Ann Street Wilmington, N.C. – 910.343.1448 – http://www.elijahs.com/. A casual American grille and oyster bar set along the banks of the Cape Fear River.
  9. Sweet N Savory Cafe – 1611 Pavilion Place, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.256.0115 –https://www.sweetnsavory.cafe/. Enjoy locally inspired cuisine. Sweet N Savory serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. You don’t want to miss a sweet treat from the full-service bakery.
  10. Copper Penny – 109 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, N.C. – 910.762.1373- http://www.copperpennync.com/. Enjoy its eclectic menu of sandwiches, burgers and appetizers along with an extensive selection of mixed drinks and beer.

Relocating to Wilmington, NC

If you’d like to learn more about designing and building a custom home in Wilmington or New Hanover County, contact us today to discover the possibilities!

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