Nestled along the scenic banks of the Christina River, Wilmington, Delaware, is a city that often surprises visitors with its rich history, vibrant cultural scene, and diverse array of attractions. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a foodie seeking culinary delights, Wilmington has something to offer for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore the top things to do in Wilmington, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this hidden gem on the East Coast.
- Discovering DuPont Mansions: Begin your journey through Wilmington’s history by exploring the opulent DuPont mansions. Nemours Estate, with its stunning gardens and French-inspired architecture, and the Hagley Museum, located on the site of the original DuPont gunpowder mills, offer a glimpse into the city’s industrial and aristocratic past. The elaborate interiors and picturesque landscapes make these estates a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.
- Wilmington Riverfront: For a blend of urban sophistication and waterfront charm, head to the Wilmington Riverfront. Stroll along the scenic boardwalk, lined with cafes and boutiques, or catch a show at the Riverfront Theater. The Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge is perfect for a peaceful escape, offering birdwatching and serene river views.
- Culinary Delights: Wilmington’s culinary scene is diverse and exciting. From upscale dining at Domaine Hudson to casual eats at the Wilmington Brew Works, there’s something for every palate. Don’t miss the chance to explore the local food scene at the Delaware Art Museum’s Thronson Café, where art and cuisine come together for a unique experience.
- Delaware Art Museum: Art enthusiasts will find solace at the Delaware Art Museum, boasting an impressive collection of American art. From the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to contemporary works, the museum provides a journey through the evolution of American creativity. Check the museum’s calendar for special exhibits and events.
- Brandywine Zoo: A family-friendly destination, the Brandywine Zoo offers an intimate and educational wildlife experience. Explore exhibits featuring animals from the Americas and Africa, participate in interactive programs, and enjoy the zoo’s commitment to conservation and education.
- Delaware Museum of Natural History: Delve into the wonders of the natural world at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. Dinosaur enthusiasts will marvel at the dinosaur gallery, while the interactive nature nook provides hands-on learning for visitors of all ages. The museum’s commitment to education and exploration makes it a fascinating stop for curious minds.
- Outdoor Adventures: Embrace the outdoors with a visit to Bellevue State Park. This sprawling park offers hiking and biking trails, as well as opportunities for fishing and picnicking. The picturesque grounds are perfect for a leisurely day in nature, providing a contrast to the city’s urban vibrancy.
- Delaware Children’s Museum: If you’re traveling with family, the Delaware Children’s Museum is a must-visit. This interactive museum is designed to engage and educate children through hands-on exhibits in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). It’s a fun and educational experience for young minds.
- Historic New Castle: Take a short drive to Historic New Castle, a charming colonial town that transports visitors back in time. Wander through cobblestone streets lined with preserved 18th-century homes, visit the Old Dutch House, and explore the historic Green. The Amstel House and Old Library Museum are additional highlights for history enthusiasts.
- Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library: Art and garden lovers will find joy in Winterthur, the former estate of Henry Francis du Pont. The museum showcases a vast collection of American decorative arts, while the stunning gardens are a delight to explore, especially during the blooming seasons. The estate often hosts special events and exhibits.
- Hiking at Alapocas Run State Park: Nature lovers can escape to Alapocas Run State Park for a day of outdoor adventure. Hike along scenic trails, explore the historic Rockford Tower, and enjoy the picturesque landscapes. The park provides a tranquil retreat within the city, offering opportunities for both relaxation and recreation.
- Local Breweries and Wineries: Wilmington has a burgeoning craft beverage scene. Explore local breweries such as Wilmington Brew Works and Stitch House Brewery, where you can savor a variety of craft beers. If wine is more to your liking, visit the nearby wineries like Chateau Bu-De Vineyard & Winery for tastings and vineyard tours.
- Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts: Art enthusiasts should not miss the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DCCA). This dynamic space features rotating exhibitions, showcasing cutting-edge contemporary art across various mediums. Check the schedule for artist talks, workshops, and other engaging events.
- Shopping at Trolley Square: For a blend of boutique shops, cafes, and a lively atmosphere, head to Trolley Square. This historic district offers a unique shopping experience, with a variety of stores selling everything from vintage finds to handmade crafts. It’s a great place to stroll, shop, and soak in the local vibe.
- Festivals and Events: Check the city’s event calendar for festivals and events happening during your visit. Wilmington hosts a variety of cultural and community events throughout the year, from music festivals to food fairs. Participating in local events is an excellent way to connect with the community and experience the city’s vibrant spirit.
Conclusion: Wilmington, Delaware, may be a compact city, but its cultural richness and diverse offerings make it a destination worth exploring. Whether you’re captivated by history, art, nature, or culinary delights, Wilmington has a little bit of everything. Embrace the charm of this East Coast gem, and you’re sure to leave with unforgettable memories.