Social media makes it easier than ever to share your vacation experiences with friends and family, but you may be wondering where to find the perfect backdrop during your next visit to Wilmington. From natural oases and historic architecture to hand-painted murals and more, Wilmington offers plenty of scenic spots to snap your next Insta-worthy shot.
Read on to discover 11 of Wilmington’s most Instagrammable spots:
Start your tour of scenic, social media-worthy sites with a stroll along Wilmington’s Riverwalk, a nearly two-mile walkway situated along the Cape Fear River. Lined with a colorful assortment of independently-owned shops and restaurants, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for a photo opp. Time your visit just right to catch the glow of the sunset on the water behind you as you snap a selfie featuring the iconic Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.
The “Naley Bench”
Calling all “One Tree Hill” fans: Head along the Riverwalk to find the “Naley Bench,” where Nathan met Haley for their first (fictional) tutoring session. Real fans will want to embark on our full “One Tree Hill” Walking Tour to capture a shot of Brooke Davis’ house, Karen’s Café, the Tree Hill High School gym and more.
Sixth Street Bridge
For more than 106 years, the Sixth Street Bridge has connected Wilmington’s Northside community to the rest of the city. But in recent years, it has connected thousands of “One Tree Hill” fans that visit the bridge featured in the series’ opening scene. Bring along a Sharpie to sign your name or leave your favorite OTH quote for other fans to find – you can even bring along a basketball to recreate the opening scene for an unforgettable Instagram shot.
Southern Hospitality Venus Flytrap Sculpture
One of North Carolina’s most prized and rare species, the Venus flytrap only grows natively within a 60- to 100-mile radius of Wilmington. Snap a shot with the carnivorous species at the Southern Hospitality Venus flytrap sculpture found along the Riverwalk at the corner of Water and Market Streets.
Battleship NORTH CAROLINA
Moored across the Cape Fear River from the Riverwalk, add a little history to your feed with a panoramic shot of the more than 728-foot-long Battleship NORTH CAROLINA. Featured in one of this year’s most highly rated Hallmark holiday movies, “USS Christmas,” embark on a self-guided tour of the ship to explore nine levels of living spaces, mess halls, gun turrets and more. Today, the refurbished WWII battleship serves as a memorial for the 11,000 North Carolinians who died during the war.
Settle in under the shade of the towering Airlie Oak to show off one of Wilmington’s natural wonders. Located in the 67-acre Airlie Gardens, the nearly 500-year-old live oak offers the perfect backdrop for a romantic shot. Or, visit the stunning Pergola Garden that served as a filming location for a number of romantic scenes throughout the popular "Dawson’s Creek" television series. Plan your visit for the spring to capture more than 75,000 colorful azaleas in bloom in the gardens, or wander through the Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel made of hundreds of colored glass bottles, butterflies and other sculptures.
Second Street Mural
One of downtown Wilmington’s most popular selfie spots, pose in front of the “I Believe in Wilmington” mural featuring a scene of the Cape Fear River painted atop the North Carolina flag. You can find the mural at the corner of Second and Princess Streets in Downtown Wilmington.
Snap your best #TacoTuesday shot of the house-made Mexican dishes and quirky décor at Blocktaco. Located in the popular South Front District, you can pose for a funny photo in front of the restaurant’s station wagon, topped with a donkey and equipped with flashing neon lights that will be sure to brighten up your feed.
Bespoke Coffee and Dry Goods
Stop in for a pick me up at Bespoke Coffee & Dry Goods, where you’ll discover the perfect opportunity to Instagram a shot of your craft latte against the backdrop of the shop’s white-washed brick walls or eye-catching tile floor. Have the barista whip up a cold brew, chai tea latte or flat white to fuel the rest of your adventure.
Step back in time to snap a pic of the scenery at one of Historic Downtown Wilmington’s historic house museums. Bellamy Mansion Museum of History & Design, originally built in 1861 as a prominent family’s residence, shares elements of Greek Revival, Neoclassical and Italianate architectural styles. Visit the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens to snap a photo on the circa 1770 home’s expansive front porch. Or, explore Victorian-era Wilmington with a tour of the fully furnished Latimer House Museum.
Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar
Cheers to capturing an Insta-worthy shot at Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar. Visit the ninth-floor rooftop bar from March to November to capture sweeping views of the Cape Fear River complemented by local beers, robust wines and creative craft cocktails. Cozy up around the fire and savor a small plate featuring delicious local flavors.
Find even more Insta-worthy spots in our nearby island beaches – Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach.