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Wilmington (North Carolina)

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'''Westfield Independence Mall''' [http://westfield.com/independence/] off of Oleander Drive is a respectable mall. Its major department stores are Dillards, JC Penney's, Sears, and Belk's. There are a plethora of other shops to browse as well. The mall wasn't much to talk about before the renovation in 2000. They added the Dillard's and an entire new wing to the mall.
 
'''Westfield Independence Mall''' [http://westfield.com/independence/] off of Oleander Drive is a respectable mall. Its major department stores are Dillards, JC Penney's, Sears, and Belk's. There are a plethora of other shops to browse as well. The mall wasn't much to talk about before the renovation in 2000. They added the Dillard's and an entire new wing to the mall.
  
Also, a new shopping center is now complete off of Military Cutoff, near Wrightsville Beach.  This shopping center, '''Mayfaire''' [http://www.mayfairetown.com/], is all outdoor but very nice. If you are in good health, you should have no problem parking in one place and walking around the mall. It's sort of upscale (but not out of reach of the average family) with Belk and such. It also has an incredibly large and nice movie theater. Definitely the best in town. There are also condos located upstairs to some of these buildings. They are costly, but very beautiful. It is a gorgeous place to walk around and shop for the day.
+
Also, a new shopping center is now complete off of Military Cutoff, near Wrightsville Beach.  This shopping center, '''Mayfaire''' [http://www.mayfairetown.com/], is all outdoor but very nice. If you are in good health, you should have no problem parking in one place and walking around the mall. It's sort of upscale (but not out of reach of the average family) with Hecht's and such. It also has an incredibly large and nice movie theater. Definitely the best in town. There are also condos located upstairs to some of these buildings. They are costly, but very beautiful. It is a gorgeous place to walk around and shop for the day.
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==

Revision as of 17:21, 1 April 2008

View of Wilmington

Wilmington is a city in North Carolina, and is the county seat of New Hanover County. Located in the southeastern part of the state, it is home to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship Memorial, the Cape Fear Museum, Airlie Gardens, and a large historic district. It is convenient to nearby beaches, and is a relatively short drive from the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill), Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, SC, and the I-95 corridor.

Understand

Situated between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean, Wilmington is located at 34°13'24" North, 77°54'44" West

As of the census of 2005, there are 96,354 people, 40,649 households, and 19,398 families residing in the city; according to census bureau estimates, the 2004 population is 93,292. The population density is 714.2/km² (1,849.8/mi²). There are 38,678 housing units at an average density of 364.2/km² (943.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 70.57% White, 25.82% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 1.14% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. 2.63% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

With the influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, some 45-60 miles offshore, Historic Wilmington and North Carolina's Cape Fear Coast - Carolina Beach, Kure Beach & Wrightsville Beach enjoy a temperate subtropical climate year-round. Summer temperatures are usually in the 80s. Seasons are mild, with an average 212 sunshine days and a mean average temperature of 63.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The average winter temperature is about 50 degrees.

The city is famous for its breathtaking beaches, amazing seafood restaurants, and historic plantations; but this city's most enchanting quality are her residents. The people of Wilmington are kind, welcoming, and hardworking; they are proud to call Wilmington home.

The cultural opportunities in Wilmington are endless; aquariums, museums, historical sites, festivals, libraries, film studios, theatres, plantations and more can be enjoyed in this richly cultured city.

Get in

By car

From the south via I-95 N, or from the direction of Charlotte, you should take US 74 E (exit 14 in North Carolina from I-95). It will take you about an 1.5 to 2 hours to get to Wilmington from the junction of I-95 and US 74. If taking this route, you should be sure to stock up on snacks and drinks, use the restroom, and fill up your gasoline tank before merging onto US 74 E, because stops are few and far between until arriving in Wilmington. US 74 (running concurrent with US 17 and US 76 at this point) crosses the Cape Fear River Bridge into Wilmington just south of the Historic District. An alternate route to Wilmington from the south - if you are traveling north on I-95, or east on I-20 - is to catch US 76 E in Florence, SC. US 76 merges with US 74 in Columbus County, approximately 35 miles (56 km) to the east of Wilmington, and they run together into Wilmington as US 74/76.

From the north via I-95 S, or from the direction of Raleigh, take I-40 E. Again, it will take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to get to Wilmington from the junction of I-95 and I-40. You should be aware that stops between I-95 and Wilmington are also infrequent, although there is a rest area near Warsaw, at the exit for NC 24. If taking this route, once you arrive in the Wilmington area, you should know that I-40 ends shortly before you are within the city limits. If you stay on I-40 heading into Wilmington, it will place you onto US 117 S/NC 132 S, North College Rd., which, after about 2 miles (3km), intersects with US 17, Market St., and then continues on into the city, where it becomes relatively busy and congested. A possible alternate route is the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Pkwy., which intersects with College Rd. approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) after the end of I-40. This parkway connects Eastwood Rd. on the east side of town, which leads to Wrightsville Beach and Landfall, with North 3rd St., on the west, which leads to downtown Wilmington and the Historic District.

US 17 runs from the northeast to southwest just north of Wilmington along the recently completed Wilmington Bypass and John J. Burney, Jr. Freeway. Between Interstate 40 and US 421, US 17 is duplexed with Interstate 140. Heading north, you can travel on US 17 to Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, New Bern, and points further north. Heading south, you can travel on US 17 to Myrtle Beach, SC, Georgetown, SC, Charleston, SC, and points further south.

US 421, the main route out of Wilmington to the northwest before I-40 opened in 1990. Unless you specifically want to avoid traveling on I-40, or unless you are going to Clinton or Dunn, or someplace else along the way, there's not much reason to choose this route over I-40, which also goes through Greensboro.

By plane

Wilmington is served by Wilmington International Airport (ILM) [1], located at 1740 Airport Blvd, to the northwest of downtown. Two airlines fly into ILM: US Airways [2], and ASA [3]. While there are some direct flights into Wilmington, most passengers will catch a connecting flight through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, GA (ATL), or through Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte (CLT).

By bus

Bus service to and from Wilmington is via Carolina Trailways, a subsidiary of Greyhound [4]. Buses connect Wilmington to Charleston, Goldsboro, Myrtle Beach, Raleigh and Savannah. The station is located at 201 Harnett St. in downtown Wilmington. Service is infrequent, with only four arrivals and departures per day, and the station is open for limited hours: 9AM-1PM, and 4PM-6PM.

Get around

By bicycle

The NCDOT Cape Fear Run Bicycling Highway 5 [5] connects Apex to Wilmington and closely parallels the RUSA 600km brevet route. The 300-mile Ports of Call Bicycling Highway 3 connects Wilmington to Bath, Edenton, New Bern and Southport. The River to the Sea Bikeway (signed route 1) runs for ten miles from downtown Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach along local streets and off-road paths. The Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization[6] produced a map of local bicycle facilities and routes in 2007.

By boat

There are two water taxi services that connect downtown Wilmington to the U.S. Battleship North Carolina [7] and connect Wrightsville Beach to the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve at Masonboro Island [8]. Many area attractions, including Carolina Beach, downtown Wilmington, and Wrightsville Beach are accessible by boat via the Cape Fear River and Intracoastal Waterway.

By bus

Local bus service is provided by the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority, which does business as WAVE Transit[9]. WAVE Transit operates eight local routes through the city of Wilmington and New Hanover County. Most of these operate every 30-minutes on weekdays. The authority also operates a free downtown trolley that runs every ten minutes on weekdays and infrequent service to the towns of Belville, Bolton, Hallsboro, Lake Waccamaw, Leland, Navassa, and Whiteville on the west side of the Cape Fear River. The base fare for a one-way trip is $1.00. The services that cross the river are more expensive.

By car

If you don't drive to Wilmington, it really is advisable to rent a car once you arrive, as travel in Wilmington is regrettably difficult without a car.

Car rental is available at the airport from these companies:

  • Avis, +1 910 763-1993
  • Hertz Rent-a-Car, +1 910 762-1010
  • National Car Rental, +1 910 762-8000
  • Thrifty Rent-a-Car, +1 910 343-1411

Traffic can be heavy in some parts of Wilmington (i.e., South College Rd., Market St.), but on the whole, driving around town is relatively easy. For the most part, major thoroughfares radiate out from the historic downtown, and there are numerous streets that allow you to cut across these radiating thoroughfares. The new Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway provides easy access to downtown, the airport, Interstate 40, and the beach while bypassing the most congested parts of Wilmington.

See

  • Bellamy Mansion 503 Market Street, +1 910 251-3700, [10]. Tours on the hour Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Offices open M–F 9AM-5PM. Built for planter Dr. John D. Bellamy in 1859, the Bellamy Mansion is Wilmington's most spectacular example of antebellum architecture. Today, the mansion operates as a museum of history and design arts, and is owned by Preservation North Carolina. See exhibits on architectural history, historic preservation and design arts, and see the newly restored carriage house and gardens. Plans are being made at the moment for restoring the slave quarters. Admission for adults $7, Children (5-12) $3, Group tours $5 (20 or more persons with required advance reservations).
  • Burgwin-Wright House 224 Market Street, +1 910 762-0570, [11]. M-Sa, 10AM-4PM. M-F, tours hourly, with the last tour at 3:30PM. On Saturdays, tours on the half-hour, with the last tour at 3:30PM. From the house museum's own website: "Using the old jail as the foundation, the Burgwin-Wright House was built in 1770 by John Burgwin, planter, merchant, and treasurer of the colony of Carolina. In 1781, 'the most considerable house in town' was occupied by Lord Cornwallis as his headquarters shortly before his defeat and surrender at Yorktown, Virginia."
  • Cape Fear Museum 814 Market Street, +1 910 341-4350, [12]. Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the Museum is open M 9AM-5PM. The "Cape Fear Museum of History and Science collects, preserves, and interprets objects relating to the history, science and cultures of the Lower Cape Fear."
  • Cape Fear Serpentarium 20 Orange Street, +1 910 762-1669, [13]. M-F 11AM-5PM, Sa-Su 11AM-6PM. Hours may vary seasonally, so phone ahead for confirmation. The Cape Fear Serpentarium features more than 80 exotic snakes from around the world. Tickets are $8 and children under 2 years of age are free. Ask about special group or educational discounts.

Wilmywood
You see trailers and movie crews filming on location. When you walk down the street you run into a celebrity. Are you in LA? No. What about New York? Not there either. You are in Wilmington, the USA's third largest film and TV production site. Television shows such as Dawson's Creek, and movies, including The Crow and Blue Velvet filmed in Wilmington are making this area a major center of American film and television production.

  • EUE Screen Gems Studio, 1223 North 23rd Street, +1 910 343-3433, [14]. Tours are offered at 12PM on Saturdays from September to May and Saturdays and Sundays 12PM and 2PM from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tour of EUE Screen Gems Studios North Carolina takes visitors through North Carolina's film history. This one-hour walking tour includes visits to the sets of Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill.
  • USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial, +1 910 251-5797, [15].

Do

  • Airlie Gardens, 300 Airlie Rd, +1 910 798-7700, [16]. Airlie Gardens encompasses 67 acres of quintessential Southern gardens with 10 acres of freshwater lakes. Features include azaleas, camellias, statuary and the Historic Airlie Oak. This once privately owned garden was purchased for the public by New Hanover County in January, 1999. The gardens are located near Wrightsville Beach on Airlie Road.
  • Hit the beach! There are several beaches to choose from in Wilmington: Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach. Wrightsville and Carolina Beach are crowded in the summer, but there are always good views and good times. Wrightsville Beach (follow US 74 or US 76 east) has two piers, one owned by a restaurant, the Oceanic, and the other is a public pier. The original wooden public pier was destroyed by a hurricane in '98 or '99 and has since been rebuilt with cement pilings. This pier also has an arcade for those interested. Carolina Beach (head south on S. College Road) has a board walk with an arcade, several restaurants, an ice cream shop, and a pier.
  • Jungle Rapids 5320 Oleander Dr, +1 910 791-0666, [17]. Water park closed during off season but dry park open all year round, hours vary and park may close due to inclement weather so call ahead! Its main feature is the water park, but includes an arcade, mini golf, and go karts. Prices vary for admittance to the waterpark, but the best price is the 4PM-7PM $14.95 for all ages special.
  • Marrz Theatre15 S. Front St, +1 910 772-9045. Voted Best Live Music Venue by Encore magazine. Marrz offers live music from national and regional bands on one of the largest stages in any area club. Show dates and times vary, so check the schedule at their website or call. Marrz has all ABC permits and offers full bar services, beer and wine, but no food service. Some seating is available. The second floor houses a game room and features a pool table, Foosball and other games. Ticket prices vary according to the band. Municipal parking is available directly behind the club.
  • Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington, Riverfront at Market & Water Streets, +1 910 794-1866, [18].

Learn

  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 601 S. College Rd., +1 910 962-3000, [19].
  • Cape Fear Community College, 411 N. Front St., +1 910 362-7000, [20].
  • New Hanover County Public Library, 201 Chestnut St., +1 910 798-6301, [21].
  • New Hanover County Schools, 6410 Carolina Beach Rd., +1 910 763-5431, [22].

Buy

There is plenty of shopping to be done in Wilmington. Downtown has many neat clothing and shoe stores. Most notable is a cluster of eight historic buildings called The Cotton Exchange [23]. The Cotton Exchange offers a variety of shopping and dining opportunities all in a charming turn of the century setting. Parking for visitors to The Cotton Exchange is free.

Westfield Independence Mall [24] off of Oleander Drive is a respectable mall. Its major department stores are Dillards, JC Penney's, Sears, and Belk's. There are a plethora of other shops to browse as well. The mall wasn't much to talk about before the renovation in 2000. They added the Dillard's and an entire new wing to the mall.

Also, a new shopping center is now complete off of Military Cutoff, near Wrightsville Beach. This shopping center, Mayfaire [25], is all outdoor but very nice. If you are in good health, you should have no problem parking in one place and walking around the mall. It's sort of upscale (but not out of reach of the average family) with Hecht's and such. It also has an incredibly large and nice movie theater. Definitely the best in town. There are also condos located upstairs to some of these buildings. They are costly, but very beautiful. It is a gorgeous place to walk around and shop for the day.

Eat

Something Wilmington is not short on is restaurants. No matter what kind of dining you are craving, it can be found.

Budget

  • self-catering The local grocery store chains are Lowes Foods (some open 7AM-11PM, others open 6AM-12AM), Harris Teeter (24 hours), and Food Lion. All three stores have a rewards cards program so borrow another customer's card to get the discount! Of course there is the omnipresent Wal-Mart (24 hours) with two locations in Wilmington. One near the intersection of College and Market and the other on Carolina Beach Road.
  • Bear Rock Cafe 3522 Oleander Drive, +1 910 794-5551, [26]. Located in the Independence Mall complex. Breakfast until 11 AM. Serves soups, salads, and sandwiches. The $6.20 "choose two" combo has generous portions and will fill most people up. $6-$12.
  • Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn 4002 Oleander Drive, +1 910 799-2919, [27]. Mainly serves burritos and other Mexican style food. Advertises its food as "hot, fast, cheap and easy" and is a local favorite. Restaurant features a psychedelic theme. $7-$10.

Mid-Range

  • 'Dockside Restaurant & Marina, +1 910 256-2753 or +1 910 256-5379, [28]. Open daily 11AM-until. Located on the water just south of the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge. Locals' favorite "place to be" for friendly Carolina service, relaxed island lifestyle. Fresh seafood, famous drinks, families love kid's menu. Live music most weekends.

Splurge

  • Elijah's, 2 Ann St., +1 910 343-1448, [29]. Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, main dining room closed daily from 3PM-5PM, oyster bar open all day, reservations are recommended. Casual American Grill and oyster bar, downtown on the river. Sunset hues are said to be spectacular.
  • Port City Chop House, 1981 Eastwood Rd., +1 910 256-4955, [30]. M-F 11:30AM-10PM, lounge is open until 11:00PM, Sa 4:30PM-10:30PM, lounge is open until 11:30PM. Serves center cut beef, lamb, and pork, and serve only certified Angus Beef. Also offered are a variety of seafood and pasta dishes. Lunch and dinner specials are served every day.
  • Blockade Runner Resort and Restaurant [31] Located on the water at Wrightsville Beach. Jazz fans should take note of "Jazz Sunday." Brunch buffet is served Sunday from 11:30AM-2:30PM with live jazz.
  • Hiro Japanese Steak and Seafood House 222 Old Eastwood Rd., +1 910 794-1570, [32]. Lunch on Sundays 11AM-4PM. Japanese cuisine. Includes sushi bar and sashimi. Chefs prepare your meal right at your table.
  • Bluewater 4 Marina St. Wrightsville Beach, NC, +1 910 256-8500. American style grill.

Drink

  • Port City Java Wilmington, among other things, is known for their coffee. Port City Java, which was founded in this small town and has now gone global, has an excellent selection of coffee, bagels, and other varieties of cafe specialties. A local favorite.
  • Smoothie King If craving something fruity and refreshing, Smoothie King had smoothie flavors that will satisfy anyone's taste buds.
  • Lucky's Pub 2505 S. College Rd., +1 910 792-1812, [33]. Live bands.
  • Rum Runners: Dueling Piano Bar, 21 N. Front St., +1 910 815-3846. An exciting new addition to downtown Wilmington. A wildly tropical atmosphere with a high-energy show -- two baby grand pianos played simultaneously (dueling pianos) by entertainers who encourage the audience to request songs and sing along with tunes from the '50s to today. Advance reservations are highly recommended for their popular dueling piano show. Open Wednesday through Sunday until 2AM.
  • Hell's Kitchen 118 Princess St., +1 910 763-4133. Formerly a set for the locally filmed TV show Dawson's Creek, Hell's Kitchen has fast become a popular downtown destination for good times among friends. A pub-style setting and a menu of pub sandwiches, burritos and nachos. Full liquor bar available and offers a wide variety of draught and microbrew beers. Open in the afternoon until 2AM.
  • Haunted Pub Crawl, The Cotton Exchange, 321 N. Front Street, +1 910 794-1866, [34].

Sleep

Budget

  • Whitey's El-Berta Motor Inn, 4505 Market St, +1 910 799-1214 [35]. Amenities include a pool and a restaurant in hotel. $32-$75

Mid-Range

  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites 160 Van Campen Blvd, +1 910 392-3227 (fax: +1 910 395-9907, email: [email protected]), [36]. Amenities include swimming pool, wheelchair accessible, and broadband access. $77+
  • Jameson Inn, 5102 Dunlea Ct, +1 910 452-5660 (fax: +1 910 794-9251, email: [email protected]), [37]. Amenities include swimming pool, pets allowed, and fitness center. $68+
  • Sleep Inn, 5225 Market St, +1 910 313-6665 (fax: +1 910 313-2679) [38]. Amenities include exercise room, free continental breakfast, high speed internet, non-smoking rooms, and a pool. $66+

Splurge

  • Hilton Wilmington Riverside, 301 N Water St, +1 910 763-5900 (fax: +1 910 763-0038), [39]. Located on the riverfront, this hotel is on the pricier end of the spectrum. Rooms feature either a Historic View of Downtown Wilmington or a view of the Cape Fear River. Amenities include pool, business center, high speed internet access, meeting room, pets allowed, wheelchair access, and onsite dining. $69-$185
  • Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort 1706 N Lumina Ave, Wrightsville Beach, +1 910 256-2231 (fax: +1 910 256-9208, email: [email protected]), [40]. $70-220
  • Coastline Inn Best Western 503 Nutt Street, +1 910 763 2800, [41]. Featuring all riverfront rooms. Coastline Inn is located in the city’s Historic District offering several attractions for the whole family, from Cape Fear to Riverfest.

Contact

Area Code

The area code for Wilmington is 910.

Internet

Internet access is available at Bella's Sweets & Spirits 19 Market St. Historic Downtown Wilmington, NC, +1 910 762-2777. Bella's Sweets & Spirits [42] is an Italian-style coffee bar that offers free wireless high speed internet access and allows use of their in house computers for a fee. Prices range from $1.25 - $6.75.

Do not go to the public library for internet access if you are not a New Hanover County resident. Library cards, required for internet access, are free for New Hanover County residents but non-residents must show ID and pay $30.00 a year for a library card [43].

Additionally, there is a new Internet Cafe adjacent to the public parking lot below the Pier Arcade in Wrightsville Beach. This is at approximately Public Beach Access entrance 15.

The City of Wilmington also offers free wireless internet access in several areas of downtown. Citi Port Wireless Internet access is a free service provided by the city for citizens along Riverwalk, restaurants and businesses in central downtown. The service is accessible along the central part of Water Street and the foot of Market Street. [44]

Stay safe

Beach/Water safety

  • Wrightsville Beach Fire Department, 321 Causeway Dr., Wrightsville Beach, +1 910 256-7900, [45]. Includes the Ocean Rescue Squad (beach lifeguards).
  • Carolina Beach Lifeguards Information, [46].

Tropical storms

Because Wilmington is on the coast, there is a possibility that a tropical storm system could affect the Wilmington area during hurricane season (June 1 - November 30). Stay informed about any systems and be prepared if one is expected to make landfall in the area. For hurricane safety and preparation tips pick up a hurricane tracking map at a local grocery store.

Stay healthy

Hospitals

  • New Hanover Regional Medical Center, 2131 S. 17th St., +1 910 343-7000, [47].
  • Cape Fear Hospital, 5301 Wrightsville Ave., +1 910 452-8100, [48].
  • Medac Convenient Medical Care, [49]. 3 locations:
    • 3710 Shipyard Blvd., +1 910 791-0075
    • 1442 Military Cutoff Rd., +1 910 256-6088
    • 8115 Market St., +1 910 686-1972

Pet health

Just in case a non-human companion needs medical treatment or to be boarded during your travels:

  • Coastal Carolina Animal Hospital 5650 Carolina Beach Rd., +1 910 792-9600.
  • Needham Animal Hospital 1531 S 41st St., +1 910 799-2970.
  • Wrightsville Beach Pet Hospital 6324 Oleander Dr., +1 910 397-7770.
  • Banfield the Pet Hospital 4715 New Centre Dr, +1 910 796-0401

Get out

  • Fort Fisher [50]. If interested in Civil War history, drive south on College Road (I-40) until it dead-ends to check out Fort Fisher. This was a major stronghold of the confederacy. The ocean has eroded much of this fort but there is still quite a bit left. Visitors walking around may find a bullet casing from the war! Additionally, before the Civil War, the area was inhabited by Native Americans so it is not uncommon for someone digging around to find an arrowhead from the Indians.
  • Southport Take the ferry on a daytrip from Wilmington to this quaint little town. Stroll along the sidewalks, check out the antique shops, historic homes, grab a bite to eat, and experience true southern hospitality. Unfortunately, with the plans to build a new port and the building of condos and strip malls, this gem will eventually go the way of the dodo bird. See it now before its gone.
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand are just one hour away by car. Check out the the Myrtle Beach article for what to do in the area.



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