Must see things in Wilmington, NC
February 15, 2017 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Any suggestions on places to stay/eat or things to do in Wilmington, NC?

We're planning a trip to Wilmington - is there anything we shouldn't miss while we're there?

We'd like to stay on the water - we're currently thinking either on the riverwalk or Shell Island/Wrightsville Beach areas.

We'll probably do a ghost tour, museum of the bizarre, some fun shopping while we're there. And pressed pennies, but I know how to track those down!

We'll just be there a couple of days - probably drive up Thursday and back on Sunday.
posted by needlegrrl to Travel & Transportation around Wilmington, NC (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My family has had great luck with AirBnb and being able to stay right on Wrightsville Beach. There's also lots of condos on the north end that are rented out as well.
posted by raccoon409 at 12:20 PM on February 15, 2017

The history bits of the Cape Fear Museum ( are really great. Battleship North Carolina ( is a must. And we recently had a spectacular brunch at Betsy's Crepes.
posted by joycehealy at 12:55 PM on February 15, 2017

If you're OK with grunchy granola takes on pescetarian food, I enjoyed Sealevel City Gourmet as something a little out of the ordinary when I visited a few years ago.
posted by Candleman at 1:39 PM on February 15, 2017

Best answer: Ohhhhhkay! Maybe the weirdest museum I've ever been to is in Wilmington, right near the water. The Cape Fear Serpentarium. It's both a poisonous reptile museum and a journey into a mind that has slipped into madness. Amazing, really! Chemtrails + poisonous reptiles + giant parrots that are unfriendly. I can't recommend it enough.

Also, maybe my favorite Thai restaurant in the United States is in Wilmington. A few miles off the beach, but worth it for the food and the fact that the interior looks like a set from a 60s Bond movie. Indochine. Maybe not super authentic, but delicious and an amazing atmosphere. Great cocktails, too. If it's warm enough, try to sit outside.
posted by rachelpapers at 1:41 PM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hi I've been here for about 9 years. The Holiday Inn on WB is fairly cheap right now. Blockade Runner is expensive, and I think the Holiday Inn is nicer. If you want to stay downtown, the Hilton is okay. Downtown gets kind of rowdy on weekend nights, and the city is crawling with tourists.

The battleship is great, the serpentarium is cool. There are a lot of new breweries around town if that's your thing. The ghost walks are fun, and usually there's a pub crawl somewhere.

Food. If you stay on WB, the only place worth eating at is Tower 7 (Baja mex); don't waste meals on the island - all of the food is overpriced and locals don't eat here. Other restaurants: Indochine is awesome (expect a wait), Jamaica's Comfort Zone is a hidden gem, Cape Fear Seafood Comapny (either location) or Heironymous for seafood, Salt Works for a good breakfast, Boca Bay for brunch (omg their brunch), Copper Penny is hands-down the best restaurant downtown (upscale pub food), Jerry's for a good splurge (best chateaubriand I've ever had), and PTs is a good local burger place (local chain). Lighthouse on the island has excellent wine and beer. If you go to Carolina Beach, check out The Fat Pelican for a beer and The Deck House has good food.

I can't help with the shopping - I travel to Charlotte to shop.

If I can answer any questions, feel free to ask.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 4:39 PM on February 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Ohhhhh and I forgot to mention Our Crepes and More on Oleander. If you can catch them open, they're pretty great.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 4:42 PM on February 15, 2017

Definitely do the Ghost Tour! It was an absolute blast!
posted by Bacon Bit at 5:01 PM on February 15, 2017

Best answer: I'm originally from Wilmington - great recommendations above! I'm also a big fan from way back of the Fort Fisher - Southport ferry. You can do the aquarium at Fort Fisher while you're there, too, if you're into that sort of thing, and grab a hot dog at Trolly Stop in Southport before turning around to go back.

Other restaurant thoughts: k38 on Oleander (parent restaurant of above mentioned Tower 7) for Baja-style Mexican food. It's a must-stop every time I'm back home!
posted by marmago at 5:49 PM on February 15, 2017

Is Jackson's Big Oak BBQ still good? It's been a few years since we were there.

Greenfield Park was pretty nice. We went to a soccer game and enjoyed it.

Loved the historic district homes.
posted by sevenstars at 6:03 PM on February 15, 2017

Ehhhhh. Not a fan of Jackson's. if you want good NC BBQ, go to The BBQ House on Oak Island if you take the ferry to Southport. Never had a bad meal there, and they have Eastern, Western (YUM), and SC styles with cole slaw (ew) and red alas (perfect!).
posted by sara is disenchanted at 6:10 PM on February 15, 2017

Best answer: Crap I keep forgetting stuff. If you stay on the island, check out The Workshop for coffee in the morning. The owner is from Quebec and she and I always are jabbering on about restaurants. She also has a great dog who will provide lots of kisses and snuggles. Her food items are mostly locally sourced and she uses a local coffee provider. Tower also has a coffee shop, Cafe Del Mar, and it is also good. Breakfast burritosssss
posted by sara is disenchanted at 6:15 PM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Jacksons is good for eastern style bbq.

Serpretarium is fab.

Love Jerrys if you have the urge for delightful expensive food.

Walk through the historic district if the weather is nice.

Blue Moon gift shops on Racine Dr is full of local artisan booths.

The Railroad Museum is good if there are younguns in tow.

The arboretum or Airlie are great during Spring.

Stay away from downtown on Saturday evening when the bars get full.

Hugh Macrae park has a good playground.

Brits doughnuts isn't open in winter but a must nom otherwise.
posted by mightshould at 6:41 PM on February 15, 2017

Best answer: If you like architecture, you might check out St. Mary's Basilica, designed by Rafael Guastavino, a Spanish architect who also did a lot of work in New York City, and also designed St. Lawrence Basilica in Asheville NC. He's noted for his unsupported domes. I grew up in Wilmington in the historic district (509 Orange St.) and now live in Asheville. Airlie is gorgeous but think about Orton Plantation across the river in Brunswick Co. which was a rice plantation, not cotton.
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:35 AM on February 16, 2017

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