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.

 

2019 Locals and Visitors Guide

Live like a Local with our New Locals Guide

Get the 4-1-1 on how locals like to experience our home. Hear recommendations from notable local chefs, musicians, artists, surfers, brewers and more through a series of videos, blogs and trip ideas. Find off-the-beaten-path places and live like a local for a vacation that extends beyond just sand and surf. Explore the Guide.

Request Your 2019 Visitors Guide

The 2019 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 Flip Book now.

Island Beaches

New Attractions, Restaurants & More

At Carolina Beach, start your day with a bike ride or jog through scenic wooded and waterside areas on the 1.2-mile Island Greenway. Enjoy a healthy treat like acai bowls and smoothies at JuSea, an afternoon perk-me-up coffee or craft beer at Crush & Grind and then dinner accompanied by ocean views on the Topside Deck at Carolina Smokehouse. Nearby on the island in Kure Beach, take a beach break at Happy's Subs & Creamery for a selection of sub sandwiches, hot-dogs, ice cream and milkshakes then check out the Lorikeet Landing Exhibit at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, running through Sept. 2. In Wrightsville Beach, take in sweeping ocean views at the new jetty bar and more in the fully-redesigned Oceanic Restaurant, modern upgrades and marina views at South Beach Grill, the new Admirals Deck upstairs bar at Shark Bar and Kitchen or keep it low-key at the beach house rental with a packed cooler to-go from Motts Channel Seafood.

Attractions

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 air-conditioned dining room while taking in the sites of historic downtown Wilmington at sunset.

Battleship NORTH CAROLINA

The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA will provide an enhanced visitor experience with a fully renovated and redesigned Visitors Center. The new visitors center will display improved, rethought and refreshed exhibits set to better showcase the museum's artifacts. In addition, a new Legacy Gallery will honor ships carrying the name North Carolina.

The Clubhouse Indoor Golf

Play a round of golf on one of four state-of-the-art OptiShot Vision indoor golf simulators at The Clubhouse Indoor Golf. Enjoy great food, a full-service bar and competitive fun with friends.

Club Golf Indoor

Located in the RiverLights community, Club Golf Indoor features state-of-the-art Full Swing golf simulators. Visitors can play a virtual round of golf on world-renowned courses. While you're there enjoy a target golf game, or try a variety of other virtual sports games. Enjoy a cold beverage from the full bar with up to eight of your friends per simulator.

Rounds Golf & Lounge

Wilmington's first upscale virtual game lounge and bar, Rounds Golf & Lounge simulates over 80 courses, competitions and arcade-style play, ranging from beginner to pro level. Try your hand at tee time with four Full Swing golf simulators equipped with images from 84 worldwide championship golf courses along with 20 skills challenges. Sip a spiked Arnold Palmer, local craft beer or fine wine while playing a round and be sure to try the "ciapizza," deriving its namesake from the signature ciabatta bread pizza crust. Guests can also partake in a variety of virtual sports including football, soccer and even zombie dodgeball.

Children's Museum of Wilmington

Children can experience firsthand what life is like with a pet in the new Pet Exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Wilmington. The specifically designed area teaches children the responsibility of pet ownership and instructs them on how to take care of pets with opportunities to play groomer, trainer and more.

Roll Out Science

Cape Fear Museum of History and Science is taking their exhibits outdoors. A new cycle powered kiosk will roll out a mobile science program to area attractions like the Wilmington Riverwalk, Carolina Beach Boardwalk and area festivals and parades. Cape Fear Museum was also recently added as a Smithsonian Affiliate, allowing the museum to bring Smithsonian exhibits to Wilmington for display.

Tour one of America’s most Beautiful Theatres

Take a one-hour guided tour of Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, recently chosen by Architectural Digest as one of America’s Most Beautifully Designed Theatres in the Country. Be guided through the historic 1858 lobby and main stage, the historic gallery level, the ballroom and City Council Chambers, Studio Theatre and backstage areas.

Flip N Fly Trampoline Park

Flip N Fly indoor trampoline park and entertainment center brings high flying thrills to Mayfaire Town Center. Jump on one of the 40 trampolines, get competitive on the dodgeball court, fall comfortably into one of the five foam pits, try aerial obstacles and the professional ninja course. Flip N Fly also features a full café, lounge and games for all ages.

Axes & Allies

Get your strong arm ready for Wilmington's new ax-throwing bar, Axes & Allies. Guests can enjoy craft beer or wine in-between hurling short-handle axes. The decor and cozy cabin theme seems fit for a lumberjack while the four ax-throwing lanes feature two targets apiece. Throwers will first get instructions from an "axpert" who oversees the lanes and throwing.

 

Inland Greens Park and Golf Course

Come tee off at Wilmington's recently renovated Inland Greens Golf Course. This nine-hole, par three golf course is set within a 33-acre park. The public park also features a walking trail and bocce courts, with a playground coming late summer.

North Waterfront Park

Plans for the North Waterfront Park have been finalized. This urban green space will take advantage of views of the Cape Fear River and will be connected by the Downtown Riverwalk and two marinas. A playground with splash pad, shade trees and lush gardens will allow visitors to enjoy respite among the active downtown urban landscape. The park will also include a large open-air music venue managed by Live Nation.

Battleship NORTH CAROLINA

A new memorial walkway takes visitors on a half-mile tour of the hull of the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA along a timber boardwalk below the main deck. Areas around the walkway honor the five branches of the military.

Restaurants and Breweries

STALK + VINE

Located on the Riverwalk in Historic Downtown Wilmington, Stalk + Vine offers beautiful views of the Cape Fear River alongside a wide selection of local craft beer, wines on tap and menu items ranging from table snacks to large plates. Inspired by New Orleans, the menu features items like cajun red bean hummus, seasonal charcuterie options and a hazy cajun boil with andouille sausage, shrimp, crab legs and potatoes. Settle in for an evening on the patio and take in river views and majestic sunsets while sipping on local craft ales, high-end wine or craft cocktails. 

TASTE THE OLIVE & VINE

A new shopping and dining experience has opened in downtown Wilmington. Located in the historic Wallace Building, Taste the Olive & Vine showcases an extensive wine list alongside specialty olive oils and vinegar available for purchase in "The Olive" store. To further enhance your shopping experience, stop in for an assortment of sandwiches and salads for lunch or accompany your evening vino with tapas, cheese and charcuterie at the attached "The Vine" wine bar. Offerings include 50 wines by the glass, up to 300 selections by the bottle along with select craft beers. Stop by to shop and stay for a glass of wine while enjoying the unique atmosphere that's retained its original 1920's character. 

Dram Yard

Enjoy southern-coastal and global flavors at the Dram Yard, located in the new ARRIVE Wilmington boutique hotel. Dine at the cozy new neighborhood restaurant, tucked into Wilmington’s Historic District, for family-style shared plates prepared with locally sourced produce, meats and seafood. Innovative menu items include chickpea panisse "fries," Peruvian lamp chop, gin soaked olives and more. Décor and accompanying cocktails, like Topsy’s Revenge, dedicated to Topsy the elephant who stormed through the building in 1922, pay homage to the building’s storied past. Enjoy a pre-or post-meal experience in the Gazebo Bar where visitors relax by cozy fire pit nooks in a garden setting. Dram Yard restaurant is now open and located within ARRIVE Wilmington boutique hotel set to open soon.

Bill's Brewing Company

Bill’s Brewing Company, the brewery for Bill’s Front Porch and Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill, is quadrupling their brewery production. A new 20-barrel system with 20- and 40-barrel fermenters is in the works. Visitors will be able to visit an attached tap room to taste the new offerings.

The Second Glass

Step into the serene, relaxing atmosphere of Wilmington's newest wine bar located in the South Front District, The Second Glass. Browse from more than a thousand bottles of wine, carefully stored in their temperature-controlled wine cellar, or choose from signature cocktails, eight rotating drafts and a plethora of bottled and canned beers from the full bar. Order from a rotating seasonal menu featuring entrees crafted from fresh, local ingredients.

Flying Machine Brewing Company

Aviation meets Steam Punk at Wilmington’s newest and largest brewery. Centrally located near the Gary Shell Cross City Trail, the 16,600-square-foot brewery is a project three years in the making. Inside, you’ll find a two-story taproom and downstairs bar with 20 draught lines. Climb the free-standing staircase to access the second story including a ten-draught patio bar. From classic table beer, imperial stouts, IPAS, to experimental and sours; an array of choices promises a perfect palate fit for all beer drinkers. Non-beer drinkers can indulge in NC-based Counter Culture Coffee and a concentrated wine selection. Enjoy indoor bocce ball, live music and food trucks.

Rolled & Baked: Biscuits for the Bold

Rolled & Baked isn’t your average biscuit and they say so in their slogan, “Biscuits for the Bold.” Fitting in with the charming yet quirky vibe of the Castle Street Art and Antiques District, this new kid on the block features an array of homemade biscuits and libations. From sweet biscuit bread pudding French toast, a southern take on lox with a fried green tomato included, to a simple ‘Southerner’ featuring a sweet tea brined fried chicken, all ingredients are locally sourced and delicious. Don’t skip out on libations, especially the ‘snowmosa’ a frosty take on the classic brunch beverage.

Love, Lydia

Wilmington's South Front District has a new neighbor. Love, Lydia bakery and cafe is now open, serving up fresh-made pastries created by Lydia Clopton, pastry chef for the award-winning PinPoint restaurant. Unique offerings at the bakery include gluten-free and vegan options along with their selection of traditional baked treats, like sticky buns, brownies and muffins. The bakery and cafe join Benny's Big Time Pizzeria, Satellite Bar and Lounge and Axes and Allies in the eclectic and fast-growing neighborhood near downtown Wilmington.

Skytown Beer + BBQ

Attention beer and barbecue lovers, there's a new player in town. Beer Bario's sister restaurant, Skytown Beer Company + BBQ is now open and adds fresh flavors to Wilmington's active beer and barbecue scene. Diners can enjoy barbecue from across the U.S. with dishes featuring Texas-style brisket, Alabama style chicken, St. Louis style ribs, and of course, North Carolina pulled pork. Enjoy a beer brewed on site or choose from a variety of local craft beers on tap.

Mad Mole Brewing

Wilmington's newest brewery, Mad Mole Brewing, joins the ever-growing Wilmington beer scene. Mad Mole Brewing is Wilmington's first brewery featuring an electric barrel system partly powered by solar panels. The brewery focuses on Belgians and IPA's but will feature a variety of beer styles in their Midtown tap room.

New Anthem Beer Project

New Anthem Beer Project is set to open a second location in the South Front Area. Renovations to the old CAPPS Industrial Supply warehouse will include a production brewery, barrel aging facility, and taproom. The brewery will be in good company, on the same block as Satellite Bar and Lounge and Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria.

Rebellion NC

The Washington D.C. based restaurant and bar, Rebellion, has traveled south to open a location here in Downtown Wilmington. Rebellion NC bar and restaurant opened in April 2018 on Front Street. Their specialties include beer, burger and bourbon.

Shopping & Entertainment

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.

Awards and Recognitions

The South's Best Cities

Wilmington was voted one of the "South's Best Cities" during Southern Living magazine's 2019 South's Best readers' choice awards. Visitor favorites include the two-mile Wilmington Riverwalk and the 230-block National Register Historic District, both lined with boutiques, galleries, restaurants and historic architecture. Access to three island beaches adds to the attraction, making Wilmington a true southern gem.

Best North Carolina Weekend Getaway

Wilmington and Island Beaches was voted "Best North Carolina Weekend Getaway" during the 2018 WRAL Out and About Voters' Choice Awards Contest. Awards were divided into eight main categories with the "Best Of" contest reflecting audience votes on their favorite in each category. After votes were tallied, Wilmington and Island Beaches won as "Best Weekend Getaway." WRAL is the NBC affiliate that serves the Raleigh/Durham area in North Carolina.

Wilmington Restaurants Selected for Award of Excellence

Grand Cru Food & WineRuth's Chris Steakhouse and Sweet n Savory Cafe have each been awarded Wine Spectator magazine's prestigious Award of Excellence. Out of only 2,453 global restaurants awarded the prestigious designation, Wine Spectator's Restaurant Awards recognizes restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.

Wilmington Selected a Top Travelers' Choice Destination

Wilmington has been selected by TripAdvisor as a 2018 Travelers’ Choice Top Destinations on the Rise. Wilmington is ranked #3 among all U.S. destinations on the list. The Travelers’ Choice Awards, chosen by millions of travelers, represent the very best of travel.

 

Three Wilmington Businesses Receive AAA Four Diamond Recognition

Three Wilmington hospitality businesses have once again received the coveted AAA Four Diamond recognition from AAA Carolinas. The Graystone Inn is being honored for the 19th time, The Verandas Bed and Breakfast Inn for the 16th, and manna, a Wilmington restaurant, is being honored for the fourth consecutive year.

These are just a few of our newest accolades, read more Wilmington Accolades here.

Lodging

Aloft Coastline Hotel

Another hotel is coming to the award-winning Wilmington Riverfront. The seven-story, 125-room Aloft Coastline Hotel is under construction. Amenities will include a full-service restaurant, ground-level bar, rooftop bar, meeting rooms, banquet rooms, guest services, outdoor terraces, a fitness center, service kitchen 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 adjacent to the 100-year-old historic Coastline Conference & Event Center, which will be renovated as part of the project. The existing building will house an additional 3,000 square feet of meeting space, all within walking distance of the Wilmington Convention Center.

ARRIVE Wilmington

Formerly the Wilmingtonian Inn, the new 36-room boutique hotel, ARRIVE Wilmington showcases all-new guest rooms renovated with a clean, modern design and subtle luxury in mind. The neighborhood hotel located in historic downtown Wilmington is anchored by Dram Yard, a restaurant and bar featuring southern-coastal and global flavors. Guests and visitors can enjoy The Gazebo Bar with cozy fire pit nooks and a courtyard garden with two large brick fireplaces. 

Between the Covers Literary Bed and Breakfast

A new bed and breakfast perfect for book lovers, Between the Covers Literary Bed and Breakfast, recently opened in the historic Carolina Heights neighborhood. Choose one of the rooms named after famous writers Maya Angelou, Zelda Fitzgerald, Nicholas Sparks or Tim Robbins. Your stay includes a three-course breakfast, coffee, and snacks all day.

Hotel Ballast Wilmington, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Hilton Wilmington Riverside is now the Hotel Ballast Wilmington, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. The fully renovated hotel offers guests a truly local experience, with a focus on Wilmington's unique culture and maritime history. Renovations include upgraded guestrooms, meeting spaces, pool and lobby, which features a communal library and art gallery. A new indoor/outdoor restaurant, Board and Barrel Coastal Kitchen, joins Ruth's Chris Steak House. The new restaurant and bar sources local ingredients for its coastal Southern cuisine menu.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront

Located by the scenic Riverwalk lining the Cape Fear River and adjacent to the Wilmington Convention Center, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront features spacious suites, made-to-order breakfast, Steam Restaurant & Bar and Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar with expansive views of the Cape Fear River.

Transportation

New Routes/Connections coming to ILM

Wilmington International Airport (ILM) is proud to welcome United Airlines to Wilmington. United began service with two new non-stop routes from Wilmington (ILM) to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Dulles/Washington DC area (IAD). These non-stop routes to and from two of United’s hub cities benefit a broad segment of our traveling public, including vacationers and visiting family and friends.

American Airlines also expanded its service at ILM beginning with a daily non-stop flight to Reagan National (DCA). American Airlines is now offering daily non-stop flights to DFW.

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 underway 2020 – 2022 will see five additional gates, a restaurant, concessions and more added to the terminal.