Historic District#2 in Best Things To Do in Wilmington, NC
The 230-plus blocks that comprise Wilmington's historic district are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and they contain everything from mansions to museums, as well as a host of restaurants and shops. One of the best ways to see the district's highlights is via a guided tour. Some traveler-approved operators include Haunted Wilmington and Wilmington Trolley Company. But you can also download the Wilmington.tours app to your smartphone, which includes four tours, including one with a pub crawl theme and another with a Civil War slant, if you'd rather take a self-guided tour.
One visitor says it well when describing Wilmington as a "fascinating" but "under-appreciated" Southern city, citing the history that occurred on the port city's cobbled streets. Others say the historic district is charming and quaint, yet still feels cosmopolitan.
The historic district is bounded by the Northeast Cape Fear River to the west, Wright Street to the south, South Seventh Street to the east and Harnett Street to the north. The area is free to visit but individual shops and restaurants operate different schedules. For more information, visit the visitor's bureau website.
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No trip to Wilmington is complete without a stroll along its mile-long Riverwalk. This wooden boardwalk that borders Cape Fear River is lined with popular restaurants and bars – and punctuated by stools and benches that are perfect for taking a break and taking in the scene.
One traveler who praised the Riverwalk's views also recommended taking a water taxi to the Battleship North Carolina. Another traveler said the Riverwalk encapsulates the local culture, from the smell of the salty sea air to the surrounding history to the buzzy nightlife.