Wilmington is ready to rock with concerts, festivals and other events that have been a trademark of the destination for decades. With so many exciting and varied events to choose from, a getaway here will certainly prove to be much more than just a typical coastal vacation.
Keep reading to discover live music, local events and more to explore on a getaway to Wilmington:
Music lovers, rejoice! Wilmington hosts plenty of live music throughout the year that is sure to excite visitors of all ages and tastes. Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park, a state-of-the-art riverside outdoor amphitheater, hosts a busy lineup of big-name bands and performers, such as Maren Morris, Darius Rucker, Widespread Panic and more. For all upcoming concert dates, check out the website.
Greenfield Lake Amphitheater hosts some of the best musical and theatrical performers from around the globe. This outdoor venue is situated in a basin of the Cape Fear River, surrounded by trees and water, making the perfect magical setting for a concert. Past notable acts include Umphrey’s McGee, Fitz & the Tantrums and more.
For some smooth jazz tunes, check out the Jazz Series at the Mansion. Held on the beautiful grounds of the historic Bellamy Mansion, this seasonal concert series allows you to bring the whole family to relax on blankets and chairs and enjoy your favorite snacks as you let the music carry you away.
Grab the family for some outdoor all-ages fun with fairs, festivals and celebrations.
For years, film enthusiasts have flocked to the Cucalorus Festival, one of the largest American film festivals in the South and recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” for three years in a row. Known for taking place in Wilmington’s gorgeous riverside setting and its laid-back, rock n' roll atmosphere, this festival comes to town each November. This non-competitive festival showcases more than 120 independent and international films, a diverse selection of stage performances (bold, original productions in dance, music, comedy and theater) and more than 50 Connect Conference events (entrepreneurship-focused panels, speakers and workshops).
When the flowers begin to bloom, you know the Azalea Festival is soon to arrive. Celebrating Wilmington’s outstanding artwork, gardens, rich history and culture, the festival is held over a span of five days each April. Visitors can expect pageantry, fireworks, garden tours, parades, nationally recognized artists performing live concerts and the coronation of the Festival Queen and Princess.
Sip Something Different
Whether you’re a craft beer connoisseur or just looking to try something new, Wilmington offers two annual festivals that are sure to please your palate, courtesy of Wrightsville Beach’s own Lighthouse Beer & Wine. The Voracious Rare Beer Festival, held each October, is the perfect event for those who are always searching for the latest and greatest beer. Try the private reserves of 50 of your favorite breweries featuring unique limited release beers you've never had (and some you've never heard of), complete with light appetizers, live music and brewers on hand to answer all of your questions. Always the day after the Voracious Rare Beer Festival, the Lighthouse Beer & Wine Festival offers the chance to explore the world of hops, grapes and grain, featuring more beer and wine than you could possibly sample. Live music, food vendors and the view of the river create a lively atmosphere for you to discover your next favorite beer or wine. Both events are held at Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park.
Wilmington is no stranger to the German tradition of Oktoberfest. In fact, many of the area’s breweries, like Hi-Wire Brewing, Waterman’s Brewing Company, Waterline Brewing Co. and more, host their own celebrations each year. Come for the seasonal brews, stay for the games, costume contests, food trucks, live music and friendly vibes.
Local chefs and breweries gather at Cape Fear Craft and Cuisine each spring to show off their finest fare paired with local brews. Visitors get the unique opportunity to meet the personalities behind the brews, and each beer is matched with a perfect pairing menu.
Discover arts and culture as you stroll the picturesque streets of historic downtown Wilmington at the destination’s largest downtown art festival. Check out exhibits and works of art of all mediums, from oil and watercolor paintings to pottery, jewelry, wood, glass and paper creations at the annual Orange Street ArtsFest. Old-fashioned fair food, live music, and a beer and wine tent make this a must-attend event.
During the American Craft Walk each fall, the streets of historic downtown are filled with colorful works of art during Wilmington’s largest outdoor art show and sale. Peruse creative works of all mediums and pick up some one-of-a-kind local pieces from more than 100 talented artists.
Even if you’re not in town for one of these events, don’t fret. Each month, galleries open their doors for Fourth Friday Gallery Nights. This after-hours celebration of art and culture invites you to take a self-guided tour of exhibitions spanning a variety of genres including oils, acrylics, watercolors, metals, ceramics, mixed media and more.
Steps From the Stage
Some of the best theaters and performance centers are all within reach in Wilmington. Catch a show at the historic Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts or The Wilson Center and enjoy the talent that graces the stage. Fans of live theater won’t want to miss shows like “Something Rotten,” “Misery” and “The Philadelphia Story” at Thalian Hall. Fans of ballet will be pleased to see performances such as “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Nutcracker” on the schedule at the Wilson Center, as well as more diverse offerings, like “Tootsie,” the comedy musical, and “Anastasia,” the new Broadway musical. Check the websites to see what will be playing during your trip to Wilmington.
You’ll find a variety of entertainment in this coastal destination, from tasting new craft brews to experiencing a musical with talented performers. What are you waiting for?