With the start of the new year, visitors look for new places to go and things to do. With exciting additions to up-and-coming neighborhoods, an expansion of the local beer scene, feature film debuts and more, there is plenty to consider adding to your to-do list in Wilmington. Whether a new visitor to our area or a frequent one, explore our vibrant riverfront city with a fresh perspective.

New to the Neighborhood

Discover what’s new in downtown Wilmington’s unique and trendy neighborhoods. New to the beer and wine scene in the Cargo District, Bottles offers a curated list of natural, organic wines and eight rotating draft beers to sip and savor, as well as a host of other unique selections to peruse.


Coming soon to Castle Street Arts & Antiques District, Castle Street Kitchen is a casual dining concept that will feature American classics with a new twist. Restauranteurs Lauren and Heather Rhodes plan to feature Southern-inspired dishes like heirloom tomato pie and a burger kicked up a notch with tomato bacon jam.


Offering fresh dishes highlighting traditional ingredients of the coastal and low-country Carolinas, Three10 recently opened in Brooklyn Arts District in the restored Allen-Oliver historic home. The family-owned restaurant shines with seafood- and vegetable-centric dishes, tasty bites from its raw bar, seasonal menu items, updated classic cocktails and rotating drafts.


The Kitchen Sink, a lunchtime soup and sandwich shop, also recently opened in Brooklyn Arts District. The new spot serves an array of small-batch soups including seasonal options, accompanied by house made breads like the pretzel bowl and sandwiches with delicious fillings like lavender chicken salad or classic New Orleans muffuletta. Enjoy delicious side items as well like salads, mac and cheese and candied bacon.


Cocktails, fries and beautiful sunsets take center stage at Sauce’d, a new restaurant calling Wilmington’s Riverwalk home. Fun, fanciful cocktails are perfect for sipping (or snapping pictures of) at the outdoor riverside seating. The curated fries menu features air-fried sweet potato, waffle, yucca and traditional crispy potato fries, all served with gourmet dipping sauces.


Coastal Beers & Bites 

Cheers to a new year in Wilmington. Catawba Brewing Co. recently opened its Wilmington taproom featuring 24 craft beers and hard seltzers on tap. Pair your brew with fresh fare from the on-site restaurant, Zombie Fresh Kitchen, enjoyed indoors or on the dog-friendly outdoor patio.  

Panacea Brewing Company, offering hard and non-alcoholic Kombucha, recently added beer to its lineup and is expanding in the new year with a large multipurpose space.


Several breweries have also seen recent renovations, further transforming Wilmington’s already booming craft beer scene. Wilmington Brewing Company recently debuted its new event space, The Venue, next to its renovated taproom. Wilmington’s first brewery, Front Street Brewery, also converted its upstairs event space into a taproom for patrons.


Mess Hall is relocating to a larger space on Wrightsville Avenue in 2022 to offer more seating for customers, a full-service bar and a dog park. Sample delicious smash burgers, chicken sandwiches, vegan burgers, loaded tater tots and more while the dog park attendant monitors your four-legged friend playing nearby.


Art to Explore

In November 2021, Cameron Art Museum unveiled “Boundless,” a sculpture honoring the U.S. Colored Troops who fought for their freedom on the site of the museum’s grounds during the Civil War. The state’s first USCT Park is anticipated to open in November 2022, with the new sculpture as its focal point. In addition, another exhibit from the same artist, “Stephen Hayes: Voices of Future’s Past,” will be open through March 2022. The new park will serve as a quiet space for reflection, healing and learning about the important role the USCT played in the Civil War.


Many other temporary exhibits are coming to Cameron Art Museum in 2022. Discover more information about upcoming exhibits like “Confluence” from Jan. 21 through May 31 and “Twenty Years” coming Feb. 25 by visiting our website.

Coming to the 67-acre Airlie Gardens this summer is a new rabbit-themed sculpture exhibit. Take in the new installation, as well as formal gardens, 10 acres of lakes, the Airlie Oak dating back to 1545 and more during your visit.

From Wilmington to the Big Screen

Currently playing in theaters, SCREAM 5! was filmed in Wilmington, as well as co-written and executive-produced by North Carolina-native Kevin Williamson, the newest installment in the horror franchise follows a woman returning to her hometown to try to find out who has been committing a series of vicious crimes.


Production for “The Black Phone” wrapped in Wilmington last year, and the horror film is set to debut in theaters this summer. The movie will follow a shy but clever boy being held in a basement by a sadistic murderer. When a disconnected phone on the wall begins to ring, he discovers he can hear the voices of the killer’s previous victims who are trying to help him escape.  


Netflix’s “Along for the Ride,” an adaptation of author Sarah Dessen’s novel, will be available on the streaming platform in early 2022. Filmed in Wilmington and its nearby island beaches, the movie stars newcomers Emma Pasarow and Belmont Cameli, as well as veteran actors Andie McDowell, Kate Bosworth and Dermot Mulroney.

Other productions filmed in Wilmington and scheduled to be released in 2022 include Hulu’s “Our Kind of People,” as well as “One Summer” and “Christmas in Harmony” from Hallmark. To get a first-hand look at “Hollywood East,” embark on a tour of Wilmington’s top filming locations with this guide.


Accommodations with Personality

Historic charm meets modern amenities at the new Aloft Wilmington at Coastline Center, located along the Riverwalk in Historic Downtown Wilmington. Take in the scenery at aView, the hotel’s rooftop bar and bistro, grab a craft cocktail in the WXYZ lounge or fuel up for the day at the on-site coffee shop. The Atlantic Restaurant & Loft, a fine dining restaurant, is slated to open on the ground floor in 2022. The chef-driven restaurant will feature Carolina-inspired dishes with a European flare served alongside an impressive wine selection in the indoor dining room, on the riverfront patio or in the private upstairs Wine Loft.


Wilmington’s longest continuously running bed and breakfast, the C.W. Worth House, is also now able to host intimate weddings in its charming, historic setting.


Anniversary Bash

The North Carolina Azalea Festival will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2022 with five days featuring some of Wilmington’s most exceptional artwork, gardens, rich history, culture and pageantry. The spring festival, scheduled for April 6-10, will showcase colorful parades, bustling street fairs, home and garden tours, art shows, fireworks, live performances from REO Speedwagon, Cypress Hill and Brantley Gilbert and the annual coronation of the Festival Queen and Princess.


Plan a visit to Wilmington this year to experience not only favorite staples but also its newest offerings, from award-winning breweries and brand new restaurants to art exhibits, historic attractions and more. While in town, be sure to also check out what’s new in our nearby island beaches – Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville.