What better way to ring in 2019 than by celebrating with your friends and family on the N.C. coast? Wilmington, N.C. and its Island Beaches is hosting a plethora of festive celebrations that are sure to make your entrance into the New Year anything but average.

IOL New Year's Eve celebration

Shows, Galas and Parties

Kick off the New Year in your best dress at the New Year’s Eve Gala at Thalian Hall in Wilmington. This regal event, hosted in one of the most beautiful and historic theaters in the country, invites guests to enjoy dinner and a performance of Mamma Mia! After the curtain has closed, dance the night away to a DJ spinning tunes and toast 2019 with a glass of bubbly.

Bring back the roaring 20s with live music, comedy, vaudeville and other surprises at the New Year’s Eve Speakeasy Celebration at Wilmington’s TheatreNOW. Or, escape to Paris for the night at the Le Catalan Café and indulge in French cuisine, enchanting views of the River and champagne at midnight. Bon Année! If a masquerade is more your style, don your own mask at Waterline Brewing Co.’s Masquerade Party.

Ring in the New Year way before your kiddo’s bedtime during New Year’s Noon at the Children’s Museum of Wilmington. This kid-friendly celebration features crafts, singing, dancing and an epic confetti toss at noon.

Can’t make it to Times Square to see the ball drop this year? No worries, Kure Beach invites families to experience a beach ball drop at the Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Celebration. This event – free of charge – will have all the fixings for a fantastic New Year’s Eve including a DJ, dancing, refreshments and fireworks to ring in 2019!

For other beach celebrations, head to SeaWitch Café and Tiki Bar’s New Year’s Eve Bash at Carolina Beach. Make a reservation, this sell-out event includes dinner, drink specials and live music from the rock band Machine Gun. The Lazy Pirate Island Sports Bar and Grill hosts a Reggae Rockin’ NYE Party with Jahson and the Natty Vibez that includes a Jamaican dinner paired with tropical cocktails. To experience one venue with two different party experiences, set your sites on New Year’s Eve at Bluewater Waterfront Grill that is offering live music upstairs and a DJ, party favors and more out on the heated patio.

Sip on IPAs, craft beers, stouts and more while listening to live music performed by the Cosmic Groove Lizards at the Wrightsville Beach Brewery. The breweries along Wilmington’s Ale Trail will also serve up their featured brews.   

Change up your champagne for tiki rum delights at the Salt Fish Restaurant and Tiki Bar in Carolina Beach or be one with the locals at The Palm Room in Wrightsville Beach.

Cheers with Coastal-Style Spirits and Brews

For a festive night out that does not require all of the glitz and the glam, stop by one of Wilmington’s underground speakeasies. manna ave. 123, The Blind Elephant and Tails Piano Bar and Lounge all offer unique cocktails in an intimate atmosphere.

All in One Place

Sometimes a change of location for your annual house party is all one needs! Rent a beach house and cater in oysters and a seafood steam pot from the Cape Fear Boil Company at Carolina Beach or Topsail Steamer at Wrightsville Beach. You and your guests will feel right at home with these coastal bites.

If you’d rather not have to plan anything at all, The Embassy Suites along Wilmington’s riverfront has you covered. The new hotel is offering its guests a New Year’s Soiree event that includes a multi-course meal, open bar, valet parking, late night snacks and – of course – an over-night stay. This is the perfect package for a couple or group of friends looking to escape to the coast for the long New Year’s Eve weekend.

Cape Fear Boil Company