Meet Bonnie Derks, Guest Services Coordinator, New Hanover County Parks & Gardens
Horse-drawn carriages still click down cobblestone streets, and mossdraped oaks canopy stately old mansions along downtown’s 200 historic blocks. Yet, Wilmington has a progressive vibe that captivates tourists, entrepreneurs and even residents who have lived here all their lives. Tucked between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River, Wilmington presents so many stunning vistas. To the east, the city overlooks sounds, barrier islands and the Intracoastal Waterway. The west borders the busy Cape Fear River. Downtown hosts a scenic, mile-long boardwalk, named The Riverwalk, which skirts the Cape Fear River. Tour a World War II battleship or take a scenic cruise. Bump into celebrities working with a movie studio 15 minutes from downtown. Local actors as well as internationally known musicians and actors perform at ornate theaters, worth a visit for their architecture alone. Contemplate myriad works at 20 galleries or tuck into downtown’s more than 100 distinctive shops. Refresh at some 50 delicious downtown restaurants, sweets shops, cocktail lounges and award-winning craft breweries. Downtown parking decks are centrally located and free for the first hour. Most city streets host meters, where parking is free after 6:30 p.m. Some venues have their own parking lots or neighbor public lots. A free city trolley traverses downtown, and wide sidewalks welcome pedestrians.