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.

 

Coming Soon

New Website

Look for a new Wilmington and Beaches Official Tourism Website to launch in January 2021. The website redesign includes custom interactive thematic maps, three beach microsites, a new blog program, advanced facilities and venues search, and a quick view of tourism partner listings and things to do.

Initiatives

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.

Attractions

H2O Today

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 will be on view beginning Feb. 20, 2021 - 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

On Sept. 2, 2020, to commemorate 75 years since the war ended, Wilmington became the first city in the country to be On Sept. 2, 2020, to commemorate 75 years since the war ended, 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. 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).

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 and Amphitheater

The North Waterfront Park and 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.

Restaurants and Breweries

Port City Taste Restaurant Week

Wilmington’s Restaurant Week is now Port City Taste. Hosted by PortCityDaily.com, Port City Taste is a celebration of the best specials and prix-fixe menus from local eateries and drinkeries. The event will take place from Jan. 25 through Feb. 7 and feature more than 25 establishments, offering both dine-in and to-go options. 

Hi-Wire Brewing

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.

CAM Cafe Restaurant + Bar

CAM Cafe Restaurant + Bar located in the Cameron Art Museum, recently welcomed a new chef. Le Cordon Bleu-trained Chef Jeff Gray has been cooking in kitchens as varied as Italian Trattorias, fine-dining steakhouses, white-tablecloth special occasion restaurants, and innovative farm-to-table Bistros for over 15 years. Eat creatively from brunch, lunch to dinner on dishes focused on community-supported agriculture and highlighting fresh local seafood.

Seabird

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. Seabird will be a community restaurant that celebrates the seasonality of the Wilmington area's diverse local seafood and is set to open in spring 2021. 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.

TRU Colors Brewery

TRU Colors, a local for-profit group whose tagline is Brewing Peace Through Prosperity, is renovating the old Century Mills complex in South Front District for a brewery and restaurant opening this year.

Bill's Brewing Company

Bill’s Brewing Company will be expanding to add a new 15-barrel brewing facility next to Capt’n Bill’s sand volleyball courts, with future plans for an adjacent taproom. 

Shopping & Entertainment

Independence Mall

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.

RIVER PLACE

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.

Lodging

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 in February 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 January.

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 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. The hotel is set to open in summer 2021.

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. As part of a partnership with the Arts Council of Wilmington, public art will be included in the expansion project.

Island Beaches

What's New

Exciting changes are always happening at our three island beaches. From new restaurants and island murals to 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