Looking for ideas on the latest things to see and do in Wilmington and our Island Beaches on your next visit? Find the most recent news, updates, openings and additions here!
Count on Me NC
Count On Me NC is a mutual pledge and public health initiative that empowers guests and North Carolina’s restaurants, hotels, attractions and businesses to help keep everyone safe and protected. See a map of participating businesses within New Hanover County and find more information on how local businesses are protecting visitors during this time on our COVID-19 visitor information page.
H2O Today is an exhibition at Cape Fear Museum of History and Science that examines the diversity and challenges of global water sources and promotes conversation, creativity and innovation through art, science and technology. Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the exhibition in on view now through Aug. 28, 2022.
Wilmington United States Colored Troops Sculpture Project
In the fall of 2021, a bronze-cast Wilmington United States Colored Troops (USCT) Sculpture will be unveiled at the location of the Battle of Forks Road on the grounds of The Cameron Art Museum. The site was chosen to commemorate the Civil War skirmish whose victory was won by the USCT and led to the fall of Wilmington. Durham-born Stephen Hayes has cast USCT descendants, USCT re-enactors, military veterans and community members in the sculpture project. The completed bronze sculpture will have nine life-size soldiers marching with muskets, a flag bearer and a drummer boy.
Wilmington Designated WWII Heritage City
Wilmington became the first city in the country to be designated as a ‘‘World War II Heritage City’’ by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in 2020 to commemorate 75 years since the war ended. The designation celebrates contributions by Wilmington to the World War II home-front war effort. From the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA (a WWII memorial credited with 15 battle stars) and Hannah Block Historic USO (pictured here) with its WWII homefront heritage lobby display in downtown Wilmington to Fort Fisher State Historic Site (where WWII soldiers were trained) and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area (where a WWII bunker remains a hidden gem today), the area’s historic contribution to the war effort is evidenced throughout the city and island beaches. Exhibits at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Wilmington Railroad Museum also interpret Wilmington’s role during World War II. Read more about the military history of Wilmington or craft your own self-guided tour by downloading the WWII Heritage Guide Map (PDF).
Use the Wilmington History app to explore Wilmington at your own pace. With five tours available, experience historic sites alongside an audio recording telling a 3-5 minute history about each landmark. The free app is available for iPhone/iPad and Android and includes a free mini-tour. The full tours - Pub Crawl Wilmington, African-American History, Civil War Wilmington, Old Wilmington I and Old Wilmington II - are available for purchase within the app at $5.99 per tour.
Riverfront Park & Amphitheater
The Riverfront Park & Amphitheater is scheduled to open in summer 2021. This urban green space will take advantage of views of the Cape Fear River and be connected by the downtown Riverwalk. A playground with a splash pad, shade trees and lush gardens will allow visitors to enjoy respite among the active downtown urban landscape. The park's largest feature will include a large open-air music venue managed by Live Nation. The project has received WEDG Verification, which is the gold standard for resilient, ecologically-sound and accessible projects along the coast.
Filmed in Wilmington
Wilmington's vibrant film scene brings the city and island beaches to the big screen. Currently in production is STARZ! "Hightown" Season 2. In theatres soon, Wilmington-made "Halloween Kills" theatrical release is expected Oct. 15, 2021, "SCREAM 5!" is expected January 2022.
Catawba Brewing Co.
Catawba Brewing Co. is set to join Wilmington's growing craft beer scene with a grand opening in April. The midtown location will have upward of 30 beers on tap and produce from a 5-barrel system, including their popular White Zombie White Ale and Peanut Butter Jelly Time Raspberry Brown Ale. The brewery and kitchen are looking forward to working with local farmers, restaurants, organizations and other breweries to come up with specialty batches that use local and exotic ingredients.
James Beard Best Chef nominee and former head chef of the award-winning PinPoint Restaurant, Dean Neff, opened the new restaurant Seabird, in historic downtown Wilmington. Seabird is a community restaurant that celebrates the seasonality of the Wilmington area's diverse local seafood. The restaurant serves high-quality coffee, tea, breakfast and lunch options with the dinner menu highlighting Neff's expertise in farm-to-table cuisine with a focus on seasonal ingredients.
Asheville-based Hi-Wire Brewing has opened a 7,920 square-foot taproom near downtown Wilmington, including two outdoor beer gardens and an expansive twenty-four tap bar. Choose from twenty-one taps of Hi-Wire beers, including year-rounds, seasonals, specialties, sours, and one-offs as well as three wine taps. A variety of family-friendly activities including soccer pool, table tennis, shuffleboard, foosball, and other assorted games keep visitors entertained.
END OF DAYS DISTILLERY
Located off Castle Street, Wilmington's first grain to glass craft distillery recently opened and is offering tours, tastings and a space for private events. In 2020 International Consumer Tasting SIP awarded the Port of Entry rum and gin Double Gold awards and Port of Entry vodka Silver honors. New in 2021, look for ready-to-drink canned cocktails joining their craft-beverage lineup.
Shopping & Entertainment
A sweeping redevelopment is transforming Independence Mall from a fully enclosed space into a modern, open-air retail destination. The redesigned space will feature a power center, a completely updated enclosed mall corridor, a modern lifestyle streetscape of upscale dining and retail, and a multi-tenant building complex that houses a wide array of specialty service providers. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Ulta, Five Below, and Lidl are among the new retail tenants.
The 13-story mixed-use River Place's new commercial offerings include 403 parking spaces and new dining and shopping options including Mellow Mushroom and the Nutrition Spot. Ruth's Chris Steak House will open in summer 2021.
Home2Suites by Hilton
A new 125-room Home2Suites by Hilton at 5518 Market Street opened in January 2021, offering a meeting room with 325 square feet. Plans are underway for a 4-story, 108-room Home2Suites by Hilton at The Pointe at Barclay with ground-breaking of the limited-service extended-stay property scheduled in 2021.
Aloft Wilmington at Coastline Center
Currently under construction in downtown Wilmington, the Aloft Wilmington at Coastline Center will be a seven-story, 125-room property featuring a full-service restaurant, ground-level bar, rooftop bar, meeting rooms, banquet rooms, outdoor terraces, a fitness center and an outdoor pool, as well as a 7,000 square-foot ballroom. Guests can host weddings and private events on the rooftop looking out across the scenic Cape Fear River. The hotel will be connected to the 100-year-old historic Coastline Center, which will be renovated as part of the project. The existing building will house an additional 3,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is set to open in summer 2021.
Wilmington International Airport Expansion
Wilmington International Airport (ILM) offers non-stop flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C.; a $60 million airport expansion, scheduled for completion in late 2022 or early 2023, will see four additional gates, a restaurant, concessions and more added to the terminal. As part of a partnership with the Arts Council of Wilmington, public art will be included in the expansion project.