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The picturesque city of Wilmington, North Carolina is famous for a lot of things like serving as home for the Battleship USS North Carolina and being featured as the backdrop for several popular movies and television shows like Dawson’s Creek, earning it the nickname, “Wilmywood.” But the town also holds one of the country’s best kept secrets – a beautiful, entertaining Riverwalk that was named the Best Riverfront in America by USA Today in 2015.
Following along the edge of the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington, the Riverwalk offers breathtaking views of the water, the river bridge and the Battleship North Carolina. With lots of benches and built-in stools, there are plenty of spots to stop and take in the scenery. But the Riverwalk isn’t all about the views. It’s also home to dozens of quaint shops, delicious restaurants and fun attractions for both visitors and residents alike.
The wooden walkway stretches for one mile along the riverfront and is in walking distance of some of the city’s most popular tourist attractions like the Cotton Exchange and the 1914 Murchison Building. It is also the loading spot for several river boat cruises including Wilmington Water Tours and Cape Fear Riverboats, where you can relax onboard with a drink in hand and listen to the history of the area told by the boat’s captain. You can also catch a sunset cruise and enjoy live music while you sail along the water.
Along the walk, you’ll also find plenty of cute boutiques, souvenir shops, gift shops and even a quaint French café that serves up fine wines and authentic French cuisine for lunch and dinner. But if international fare isn’t quite your style, there are also plenty of other restaurants along the boardwalk to choose from. The George on the Riverwalk offers an upscale dining experience with seafood and other American fare, while the Pilot House Restaurant serves seafood with a Southern flair in a restored 19th-century house. There’s also Elijah’s, a casual American grill and oyster bar and Nema Eatery and Lounge that offers innovative dishes including vegan options.
At the opposite end of the Riverwalk, you’ll find the newest assortment of restaurants and attractions, including Pier 33 – a brand new, open-air concert and event space, Blackfinn Ameripub – an American bar and restaurant, and the Mexican restaurant, Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina.
In addition to great shopping and dining, the Riverwalk is also home to numerous events throughout the year, including the city’s largest event – Riverfest, an entire weekend of art, food and entertainment, as well as the Azalea Festival in the spring and numerous wine and beer festivals during the autumn months. If you’re lucky, you may also encounter a local artist, musician or performer sharing their talents with visitors as you stroll along the walk.
The Riverwalk is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free of charge. Making it a must-see stop on your next trip to Wilmywood!