There’s no better place than Wilmington to soak up the summer sounds of live music. The local music scene overflows with coastal flair, and famous national acts take center stage at waterfront venues. Plan a vacation to this must-see Southern destination and experience its exciting summer lineup.
Wilmington’s concert venues thrive throughout the summer with frequent performances. Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park, managed by Live Nation, hosts national acts such as Phish and Darius Rucker. This state-of-the-art outdoor amphitheater is located on the northern end of the Riverwalk, hugging the scenic Cape Fear River. The open-air venue’s seats and lawn can accommodate up to 7,200 concertgoers. Check out Live Oak Bank Pavilion’s upcoming concerts.
Friday Night Live! on the Pier brings riverside festivities to The Pier at Port City Marina on select dates Memorial Day through Labor Day. Enjoy free concerts featuring local musicians and touring tribute bands, all with incomparable waterfront views.
Take to the Cape Fear River for an unforgettable sunset cruise with Wilmington Water Tours. The comfortable catamaran serves up a one-of-a-kind experience with a full bar and live acoustic music on most Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer.
Nestled further inland, Greenfield Lake Amphitheater provides a magical lakeside concert setting surrounded by hundred-year-old cypress trees. This scenic outdoor venue, also managed by Live Nation, spotlights well-known artists like Stephen Marley and Morgan Wade against a stunning backdrop. Save the dates for upcoming performances when planning your trip.
Even Wilmington’s historical treasures offer outdoor summer entertainment. The Bellamy Mansion Museum hosts its annual Summer Jazz Series at the Mansion on the second Thursday of each month from May to September. Bring the whole family to hear smooth jazz on the historic home’s magnificent grounds.
Savor musical sounds and floral sights during the Airlie Gardens Summer Concert Series. With performances held on select Fridays from June through September, this season-long series invites families to relax to live tunes surrounded by 67 acres of picturesque Southern gardens. Pack a picnic, set up your lawn chairs and experience the best of coastal music and culture.
Music with Flavor
Many of Wilmington’s popular restaurants and bars frequently host live music. Overlooking the river, Reel Cafe's rooftop bar is known for specialty drinks and bar menus that pair perfectly with music. At Marina Grill, take in live music on the dockside covered patio as you relish craft cocktails and sea-to-table dishes like the Crab Stuffed Salmon or Fisherman’s Platter.
Dine on delicious seafood, smoked meats or barbecue at Smoke on the Water, a New Orleans-style restaurant offering Cape Fear River views complemented by live music performances on select dates. Check out their social media channels for updates.
During Satellite Bar and Lounge’s live bluegrass jams, guests dance and drink on the outside patio and in the funky indoor space, which features salvaged materials from the original 1940s structure. Choose from a selection of over 200 craft beers in addition to gose, cider, hard seltzer, hard kombucha, champagne splits and a full bar in the dog- and family-friendly atmosphere.
Find your next favorite artist at Bourgie Nights, an intimate venue equipped with state-of-the-art audio and a bar serving curated craft cocktails. On select Friday and Saturday evenings, Bourgie Nights Concerts offer an exceptional lineup of local and traveling musicians. Located on eclectic Castle Street, Live at Ted’s comes to life with jazz, folk and other genres performed by local and regional musicians. The cozy, small-capacity venue serves beer, wine, kombucha and coffee to sip during live sets that feel like intimate studio sessions.
End of Days (EOD) Distillery, the city’s first craft distillery, regularly hosts live music performances and food trucks from Wednesday through Sunday. Many local breweries, such as Waterline Brewing Co., Edward Teach Brewing and Hi-Wire Brewing, also offer live music throughout the summer.
Visit the CAM Café at Cameron Art Museum for live music Thursday evenings and Saturdays at lunch from May through July. Indulge in fresh fare and eclectic cocktails while jamming out to local musicians.
Performances for the Whole Family
In addition to concerts and local music, Wilmington offers a myriad of live Broadway shows, symphonies and other indoor performances. The Wilson Center, one of the region’s most technologically advanced performance spaces, welcomes notable acts like Travis Tritt and Kenny G. The venue also proudly presents performances from the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra.
Plan an evening at Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts, one of the oldest theaters in America. This historic venue hosts new performers and Broadway shows every year. Families and musical theatre enthusiasts can secure tickets for summer productions, including “The Little Mermaid” and “The Prom.”