What’s New?

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! To see what is new in our island beaches, check out our Carolina BeachKure Beach and Wrightsville Beach What's New pages.

 

Initiatives

Count on Me NC

As North Carolina’s restaurants, hotels, attractions and businesses reopen, Count On Me NC is a mutual pledge and public health initiative that empowers guests 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.

Downtown Alive

Downtown Alive is Wilmington’s newest alfresco dining and shopping scene, featuring open-air shopping and expanded outdoor dining. Downtown streets turn into an open-air pedestrian walk featuring a variety of sidewalk cafés and retail stores that are expanding to the streets to safely serve customers and allow diners to enjoy our restaurants responsibly. Four blocks of downtown Wilmington are closed to vehicular traffic four days a week on Thursday and Friday between 6:30 – 10 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. through September 7. Advance reservations with participating restaurants are encouraged. 

2020 Visitors Guide

Request Your 2020 Visitors Guide

The 2020 Official Wilmington and Beaches Visitors Guide makes planning your next vacation a breeze. Read the latest trip ideas, find unique excursions and dining options, search for accommodations and prepare for a perfect coastal getaway. Request a copy, or view the Digital Guide now.

Attractions

New Wrightsville Beach Cruises

Surf to Sound Adventures welcomed the newest addition to its fleet, the Carolina Runner. The 40-passenger boat will shuttle passengers to Masonboro Island on day trips, take passengers on sunset cruises, and is also available for charter. The catamaran boat is custom-designed for comfort and safety. Step aboard to explore nearby estuaries, waterways, uninhabited islands or catch an amazing sunset. Blockade Runner Beach Resort's Surf to Sound Adventures offers a variety of water activities and lessons for all.

Battleship NORTH CAROLINA

Explore the new Legacy Gallery at the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA. Dedicated to the recognition and interpretation of all of the ships named in North Carolina, it includes some of the Battleship museum's most prized artifacts and the Window on Wilmington, a new view of historic downtown Wilmington not found elsewhere. 

NEW 3 BRIDGES' CRUISE

Hop aboard Wilmington Water Tours’ 3 Bridges Cruise and gain a new perspective on the area’s history and ecology as they share fun facts and historical anecdotes while cruising along the Cape Fear River. Due to the growing popularity of their Sunset Cruise, sailing days are now Tuesday through Sunday. The Bizzy Bee Water Taxi has partnered with the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA to offer round trip water taxi service to four landings along the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington.

Henrietta Cruise

Cruise along the Cape Fear River on the new Henrietta Riverboat. Soak in the scenery on a 1-hour narrated sightseeing cruise, hear local legends and stories and see historic downtown from a new perspective. Or start your evening on an hour-and-a-half sunset cruise that includes an on-board bar and light snacks. Relax on the open-air upper deck or in the climate-controlled dining room while taking in the sites of historic downtown Wilmington at sunset.

Wilmington Tours

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. 

North Waterfront Park

The North Waterfront Park broke ground and this urban green space will take advantage of views of the Cape Fear River and will 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. It is scheduled to open Spring 2021. 

Restaurants and Breweries

WILMINGTON ALE TRAIL MOBILE PASSPORT

The Wilmington Ale Trail Mobile Passport is the perfect Wilmington Ale Trail accessory for the craft beer aficionado. The new mobile app unlocks perks, experiences and vouchers at area breweries, bottleshops and beer hot spots. 

MICHAEL'S ON THE WATERFRONT

After a two-year renovation on the 19th-century Riverwalk building, Michael's on the Waterfront recently celebrated its grand opening. The gastropub features locally-caught seafood, steaks, flatbread pizzas and sandwiches, alongside 30 craft beers on draft including selections from Wilmington breweries. 

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.

FLORIANA RESTAURANT

A beloved restaurant with original roots in Washington, DC's Dupont Circle neighborhood, Florianna, opened their second restaurant in the iconic riverfront restaurant location at the foot of Market Street offering scenic views and balcony dining in April. Diners can enjoy Italian-style handmade pasta dishes, steaks and chops in the dining room or stop in for a drink and small plates in the lounge.

DEAN NEFF ANNOUNCES NEW RESTAURANT

James Beard Best Chef nominee and former head chef of the award-winning PinPoint Restaurant, Dean Neff, plans to open his own restaurant called Seabird in historic downtown Wilmington this fall. The restaurant will serve 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. 

Shopping & Entertainment

RIVERPLACE

The 13-story mixed-use building is slated to complete construction in 2020. When finished, RiverPlace will include condos, apartments, shopping and restaurants overlooking the Cape Fear River.

CenterPoint

A new entertainment destination is in the works in Wilmington's Midtown. The pedestrian and bike-friendly property will include retail shops and restaurants along with a seven-story, full-service hotel. The new development is set to break ground in 2020.

Lodging

THE HIVE BOUTIQUE HOTEL

The Hive Boutique Hotel celebrated its official opening in downtown Wilmington in February. The project included the complete renovation of an existing building and features 14 apartment-style suites. The property can accommodate leisure and business travelers, and group rentals for weddings and extended stays. Wilmington's newest boutique hotel will soon be home to a café and bar, Cross Street Waffles + Whiskey, and is expected to open this year.

THE VERANDAS BED AND BREAKFAST

Experience southern elegance in the newly renovated and restored Verandas Bed and Breakfast, an 8,500 square foot Victorian Italianate mansion located in the heart of the historic district. Consistently awarded the AAA/CAA Four Diamond Hotel Award, guests can enjoy the large formal living room, piano room, bedrooms with private terraces and elegant bathrooms with garden size soaking tubs.

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES

Holiday Inn Express & Suites recently opened its Midtown/Medical Center location. Currently under construction, the new Porters Neck location will open late 2020.

BETWEEN THE COVERS

Between the Covers: A North Carolina Literary B&B will add a new room in late summer. The Rhiannon Giddens Room, dedicated to the North Carolinian poet, songwriter and artist, will feature a newly remodeled en-suite bathroom, custom stained glass and musical instruments. 

Transportation

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.

Island Beaches

What's New

Exciting changes are always happening at our three island beaches. From tasting history tours to new restaurants and expanded sailing schools, and even a new Asian small-clawed otters' exhibit at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, find out what's new in Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach