Wilmington, NC - February is a month to indulge in arts and romance. It’s also the ideal time for a romantic getaway. Wilmington and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach provide a year-round coastal respite that beckons with stunning water views, gardens, parks, museums and a variety of arts, culture and Valentine-themed events.
What could be more romantic than a glorious ocean sunrise and searching for shells along wide, sandy beaches? Or how about a leisurely stroll at sunset with dinner and drinks along an award-winning Riverwalk? All this and more await visitors in Wilmington and its island beaches. February arts and romance-inspired happenings include theatrical productions, big-name concerts, symphony performances and signature events such as the 37th Annual North Carolina Jazz Festival (Feb. 2-4); the Wilmington Wine & Chocolate Festival (Feb. 3-5) and the Wilmington Wine & Beer Walk (Feb. 25). Accommodations in all price ranges include oceanfront and riverfront hotels, vacation rental homes and more than a dozen cozy bed-and-breakfast inns. Enticing shoulder-season rates make Wilmington and its beaches an affordable winter getaway. For seasonal specials and more winter highlights, visit www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/seasonal-page.
Here’s a sampling of February Arts & Romance-inspired events:
FEB. 2-4: 37th NORTH CAROLINA JAZZ FESTIVAL. 14 traditional jazz artists perform in a cabaret-style setting. Admission charge/advance reservations. Hilton Wilmington Riverside, 301 N. Water St, Wilmington. 910-793-1111; www.ncjazzfestival.com
FEB. 3-5: WILMINGTON WINE & CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL. See website for full schedule of events. Pick your pleasure as participating regional vintners and chocolatiers offer their best for sampling and sale! Tickets required. Coastline Conference & Event Center, 503 Nutt St, Wilmington. 910-512-9948; www.wilmingtonwineandchocolatefestival.com/
FEB. 3-4; 10-11; 14; 17-18: “I’M WITH CUPID”- DINNER THEATRE. Romantically themed comedy alongside a delicious three-course meal. Tickets required. TheatreNow, 19 S. 10th St, Wilmington. 910-399-3669; https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=tnow
FEB 9-12; 16-19: “THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG”- THEATRE. A funny, romantic show about an established composer and his relationship with an aspiring young female lyricist. Tickets required. Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St, Wilmington. 910-632-2285; www.thalian.org
FEB. 10-14: VALENTINE HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDE. Moonlight carriage ride with private French evening coach, rose, chocolates. Admission charge. Reservation only. Downtown Wilmington. 910-251-8889; www.horsedrawntours.com/id2.html
FEB. 10 & 11: HUGS & FISHES VALENTINE’S DAY LOCK-IN. 6pm-9am. Do mom and dad need a romantic evening? Bring the kids (ages 5 to 12) to the aquarium for a Valentine’s sleepover with games, crafts and animal programs. Dinner, snacks and breakfast provided. Children must be comfortable being away from home overnight without parents. Admission charge; prepaid reservations required. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach. 910-458-8257; www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher-special-events
FEB. 10-12: VALENTINE CRUISE. Cruise, chocolate & beverage. Admission charge; advance reservations. Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours. Departs from dock at 275 Waynick Ave. (across from Blockade Runner Resort), Wrightsville Beach. 910-200-4002; www.wrightsvillebeachscenictours.com; www.facebook.com/WrightsvilleBeachScenicTours.
FEB. 10: BIG & SMALL FAMILY BALL. 5pm-7pm. Dancing, Valentine's treats, crafts and a family photo booth station. Children’s Museum of Wilmington, 116 Orange St. 910-254-5354; www.playwilmington.org.
FEB. 11: WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH VALENTINE 10K. 9am. Run a 10K or walk The Loop with your favorite Valentine. Pre-registration required. Wrightsville Beach Park, 1 Bob Sawyer Dr., Wrightsville Beach. 910-256-7925; http://its-go-time.com/wbvalentine10k
FEB. 12: VALENTINE’S SUNDAY BRUNCH CRUISE. 12pm-2pm. Narrated brunch cruise of the Cape Fear River. Admission charge; advance reservations. Dock: 212 S. Water St., Wilmington. 910-338-3134; www.wilmingtonwatertours.net.
FEB 16-19; 23-26: CRIMES OF THE HEART - THEATRE. Thurs.-Sat. 8pm; Sun. 3pm. Admission charge; advance reservations. Cape Fear Playhouse, 613 Castle Street, Wilmington. 910-367-5237; www.bigdawgproductions.org.
FEB. 18-19: ART FOR ALL 7. 12pm-6pm. The event will feature a marketplace of local and original artwork, raffle, courtyard vendor tent, food trucks, and BAC cash bar. Admission charge. Brooklyn Arts Center, 516 N.4th St, Wilmington. 910-616-9882; www.brooklynartsnc.com/index.php?c=concerts
FEB. 24: FOURTH FRIDAY GALLERY WALK. 6pm-9pm. Self-guided tours of galleries and receptions are held on the fourth Friday of each month. More than 20 galleries in Downtown Wilmington participate in this event that is organized by the Arts Council of Wilmington/New Hanover County, 221 N. Front St., Wilmington. 910-343-0998; http://artscouncilofwilmington.org/?page_id=907
FEB. 25: 66th ANNUAL TIDEWATER CAMELLIA CLUB SHOW & SALE. 1pm-4pm. An American Camellia Society juried show. Free admission. New Hanover County Arboretum, 6206 Oleander Dr., Wilmington. 910-798-7660; www.tidewatercamelliaclub.org
FEB. 25: WILMINGTON WINE & BEER WALK. 1pm-6pm. Self-guided bi-annual tasting tour of downtown Wilmington's finest popular restaurants and drinking establishments. Tickets required. Starts at Throne Theater, 208 Market St., Wilmington. www.wineandbeerwalk.com/info_wilmington.html
ONGOING: THE WILSON CENTER PERFORMANCES
Feb. 1: 42nd Street musical
Feb. 9: N.C. Symphony – Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade
Feb. 10: Comedienne Paula Poundstone
Feb. 11: Symphony POPS! Linda Lavin & Friends with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra
Feb. 16: Riverdance 20 on tour
Feb. 17: Justin Haywood in concert
Feb. 22: Pippin! Broadway musical
Feb. 24: The Midtown Men in concert
Feb. 26: Michael Bolton in concert
Feb. 28 & March 1: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA musical
Admission charge; tickets required for all events. CFCC Wilson Center, 703 N. Third Street, Wilmington. 910-362-7999; http://cfcc.edu/capefearstage/
City + Beaches: Trade your winter blues for water views in Wilmington and our island beaches. For a complete calendar of happenings in February and beyond, visit www.WilmingtonAndBeaches.com/events-calendar or call 1-866-266-9690 to request a 2017 Official Visitors Guide. Events often change without notice. Prior to travel, please confirm details with event organizer. For seasonal specials and featured events: www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/seasonal-page.