The 10 Must-Do’s in Wilmington, North Carolina

  • Boardwalk - Wilmington, NC

  • WWII Battleship, North Carolina

  • Seafood Dish, North Carolina

  • Pilot House, North Carolina

I recently spent some time visiting my parents for the holidays in Wilmington, North Carolina. Working in the hospitality industry and being a travel enthusiast, I was compelled to soak up all I could about this unique city while visiting them. Known to some as the “Port City” and “Hollywood East”, to me, Wilmington’s charm resides in the beautiful beaches, historic attractions, and amazing seafood.

While in the downtown historic area, visit:


Latimer House: Built in 1852 for an upper-class merchant, Zebulon Latimer and his wife. Touring this 4 floor mansion is a step back in time showcasing the lifestyle of a wealthy Wilmington family and their servants. And, if you believe in ghost stories, this house is said to be haunted!

Trolley Tour: Gallivant downtown on a horse-drawn carriage while your costumed driver gives you the history of this port town that was once infamous for its pirates, sailors, settlers, and southern charm. Riding down the tree-lined streets dripping with Spanish moss, the charm and beauty of the city comes alive with the many stories told.

Ghost Walk: You haven’t experienced an old city until you learn about those that still haunt it. Wear comfortable shoes and enjoy this 90- minute walk through alleyways, graveyard and streets. Who knows, you may “see” someone that you weren’t expecting!

Gourmet Market: Located on Front Street, this is THE place to grab some ice cream. The creamy delicious ice cream is locally made by the Velvet Creamery and is worth a visit to have some.

The Pilot House: After a long day of shopping or right before the ghost tour, enjoy a sit-down dinner on the Riverfront. This historical restaurant overlooks the Cape Fear River and has outdoor seating. Be sure to try the Crab Melt.

USS North Carolina Battleship: A must see! As the first newly assembled battleship to serve in WWII, it was named after the state of North Carolina and is one of the most decorated American ships of the war. If you’re a military and/or history enthusiast, you’ll certainly appreciate exploring the 9 levels of this ship. This “living city at sea” is a true museum you don’t want to miss. It is docked on the Cape Fear River across from historical downtown Wilmington.

You can also stroll down the mile long Riverwalk and take in the picturesque scenery. Stop by the quaint shops surrounding the water or go for a boat tour.

Beautiful beach locations:

If you’re a beach person like me, Wilmington is unique in the sense that there are many beaches within a short distance from each other. My favorite is Wrightsville Beach for the family friendly atmosphere. Surfers love this beach and surf year round. The other close beaches include Kure and Carolina.

Seafood Spots you won’t want to miss:

If you’re looking for an oceanfront dining experience, you’ll want to visit the Oceanic in Wrightsville Beach. In warm weather, you can even dine on the pier overlooking the ocean. I recommend the crab dip as an appetizer and their raw oysters are extremely fresh. If you’ve never had an oyster shooter, definitely consider trying one here.

Another great restaurant to try is the Bridge Tender – also a waterfront dining experience. It’s located on the way into Wrightsville Beach at the Wrightsville Beach Drawbridge. It has a spectacular waterfront view with plenty of boats. They have the best shrimp and grits ever tasted. Paired with a glass of white wine, it’s heavenly!


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This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Megan M. Are you interested in traveling to Wilmington? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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