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With miles of wide, sandy beaches located nearby, a temperate year-round climate and a vibrant downtown area, it is easy to see why Wilmington real estate is such a hot commodity. The range of experiences, sights and sounds in Wilmington are unattainable in many other parts of the country. Go kayaking on the Intracoastal Waterway, take a bike ride around Greenfield Lake, sample an award-winning craft brew or stroll the Downtown Riverwalk and enjoy riveting views of the Cape Fear River. 

As one of the largest port cities in North Carolina, as well as a base of operations for leading financial institutions, film studios and contract research organizations, Wilmington offers a variety of employment options. Far from an area that solely relies on tourism, Wilmington is home to numerous educational institutions, including the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College. Cultural opportunities are also abundant, as the Cameron Art Museum is located in Midtown and the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is just a short drive away.

Image by Benjamin Disinger

Things to Do in Wilmington

Spending a day on the beach is nearly always an option in Wilmington, as four small beach towns, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher are located within an average of a 25 minute drive away from the center of downtown. If being outside touring a lush botanical garden is more your thing, check out Airlie Gardens or the New Hanover County Arboretum.

Cycling enthusiasts will enjoy the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail for its off-street connections to many of the desirable amenities the city of Wilmington has to offer; mountain bikers should put Blue Clay Bike Park and Brunswick County Nature Park on their list of top Wilmington destinations. Boaters, fishermen and kayakers will find many options, as the city has a variety of waterways; outdoor enthusiasts of every kind will also find numerous opportunities to enjoy nature, as the Wilmington climate makes it comfortable to get outside most of the year.

Cultural Options in Wilmington

Anyone with an interest in seeing a live dramatic performance should visit Thalian Hall, a major performance venue that has been open since 1858. Opportunities to see live music abound, whether in a vibrant downtown club or concert hall, Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, the Brooklyn Arts Center, a historic, 125-year old building, or the brand-new Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College.

Wilmington is home to a number of large annual festivals, the most important of which is the Azalea Festival. There is also the Cape Fear Blues Festival, the North Carolina Jazz Festival and Cucalorus, a nationally recognized independent film festival that capitalizes on Wilmington’s prominence as a center of the film industry on the East Coast.

Unique History of Wilmington

History buffs will find a lot to see and do in Wilmington, as the city was first incorporated by the English in 1739. Though the Wilmington area was inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years, the first European to explore this part of Southeast North Carolina was Giovanni da Verrazzano, in the late 1500s. Considering that Wilmington has been a major port since its inception, the city has always been a vital center of economic activity as well as a critical piece on the chessboard in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

In the Revolutionary War era, Wilmington was an early center of resistance to the Stamp Act. During the Civil War, the city was home to numerous blockade runners, owned by both private individuals and the Confederacy, and tasked with navigating the Union blockade of the Cape Fear River, to deliver supplies.  Some other facts about the history of Wilmington include that it was the site of the only coup to ever take place in the United States, that it was a hub of railroad operations in the 1800s, site of a large POW camp for captured German soldiers during WWII, and home to the N.C. Shipbuilding Company, an emergency shipbuilding effort put forth by the federal government, also during WWII.

Those with an interest in Wilmington history should be sure to visit the USS North Carolina National Historic Landmark, Bellamy Mansion, Latimer House Museum and Wilmington Railroad Museum, as well as the nearby Fort Fisher Historic Area, Brunswick Town and Moores Creek National Battlefield.

Top Wilmington Neighborhoods

From relaxed beach towns to bustling downtown areas, Wilmington offers a plethora of lifestyle options and neighborhoods. Some of the top Wilmington neighborhoods include Forest Hills, Landfall, Porter’s Neck, Cedar Island, Autumn Hall and the new RiverLights development, to name a few.

With so much to see and do, from visiting Wrightsville Beach or the Masonboro Island Nature Preserve, the Downtown Riverwalk or the many great local restaurants, shopping centers, breweries and cultural destinations that call the city home, Wilmington is a great place to call home. To connect with a local expert and find the perfect home to fit your needs, or find someone to help you get the maximum possible return on investment, call or email me today.

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