Things To Do In Wilmington, North Carolina

I’m Anna.
Newly wed, pup mom to Ozzy, living off the coast of NC. Sharing capsule wardrobe tips, renter safe home projects, recipes & more! Here to share the alternatives for living simply and sustainably
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Things to do in Wilmington: Food, Bevs, Bops, and so on

As an official “wilmy local” I have spent the last 2 years discovering and falling in love with this incredible town I get to call home. It might seem silly to create a travel guide for my home town but I’m convinced it’s the best place in the whole world and everyone should come visit at least once so here are all of my top recommendations. These are my favorite things to do in Wilmington, and things that I do with my friends when they come to visit. I’m not a party girl or keen on spending tons of dollars on food and drinks when I travel so consider this a “cozy girl’s guide to Wilmington” 

Our Town is split into 5 categories somewhat:

  1. Beach (Wrightsville Beach) 
  2. Downtown (One Tree Hill fans prepare yourself) 
  3. The Cargo District
  4. Campus area (UNCW) 
  5. Mid/Up Town (also know as everything else & Ogden) 

Starting with COFFEE: 

We are lucky when it comes to having a great variety of coffee shops in town, here’s a list of my go-to’s

  • Bespoke (downtown) 
  • Blue Cup (cargo district) 
  • Sundays (beach) 
  • The Roastery (cargo district) 
  • Social Coffee (campus area. Oriole location) 
  • Casa Blanca (mid/Up town) 
  • Drift (There are a few locations but we’ll say mid/up town)

Casa Blanca Coffee Shop Wilmington North Carolina
Casa Blanca Coffee @casablancacoffeeroasters
Social Coffee Shop Wilmington North Carolina
Social Coffee @socialcoffeesupply


You know when you’re traveling and you just want a quick bite to eat before heading to the sites. Here’s a few recs: 

  • Cava (mid/up town) 
  • Drift (mid/up town) 
  • Adapt (beach) make sure to time it right with their hours of biz
  • Harris Teeter Grocery store (Beach) trust the process, go make a custom sub from the deli. $6 for lunch and you’re good to go. 
  • Sea level Diner (campus area) Vegan Diner
  • PT’s Grille (campus area) 
  • Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn (campus area) 
  • Islands (campus area) make sure you go after 5pm for the $1 taco special
  • Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria (downtown) 
  • Mellow Mushroom (campus area) order to-go 
  • Taste Of Italy (campus area) if you love an Italian deli sandwich
Adapt Juice Bar Wrightsville Beach
Adapt Kitchen & Juice Bar @adaptkitchenjuicebar

On to proper “RESTAURANTS” 

Ya know, take a shower, sit down type restaurants 

  • Ceviches (Beach) this is my favorite…10/10
  • Bento Box (mid/up town) best sushi 
  • Tower 7 (beach) OR K38 (campus area) same restaurant different name 
  • Seabird (downtown) 
  • Mess Hall (cargo district) 
  • Indochine (mid/up town) 
  • Osteria Cicchetti (mid/up town)
  • Fish House (Beach) 
  • Wrightsville Beach Brewery (beach) 
  • Yosake (downtown) 
  • RumCow (downtown) 

If you want to meander down to Carolina beach, I recommend the SeaWitch Cafe & Tiki Bar but you gotta go when there’s live music and order the mahi-mahi nachos. 

Ceviches Wrightsville Beach
Ceviche’s @wbceviche

Now for “DRINKS”

Like I said, I’m a cozy girl and prefer a low-key and laid back vibe. Here are my picks 

  • Starling: whisky/wine bar (cargo district) stunning new spot with great ambiance and open space
  • Palate Bottle shop/wine bar (downtown) great place to go with a group and pups are always welcome
  • End Of Days Distillery (downtown/cargo district) beautiful ambiance, especially after dark
  • Hopyard (downtown) $2 mystery beers 
  • Wilmington Brewing Company (campus area) 
  • Hi-wire Brewing (downtown) get a group together to play ping pong while you sip
  • Satellite Bar & Lounge (downtown) grab some tacos from Block Taco and enjoy live music on the weekends
  • Dram Yard (downtown) go for drinks… or dinner if you’re looking to splurge. 
  • Sauce’d (downtown) new spot for cocktails, and it’s popping so be prepared to wait a little longer than usual
Starling Whiskey & Wine Bar Wilmington North Carolina
Starling Whiskey & Wine Bar @thestarlingbar


More things to do in wilmington, North Carolina- that isn’t just food

  • Mayfair Outlet (mid/up town) all the outlet mall faves
  • Boombalattis (mid/up town) homemade ice-cream
  • TUSC (mid/up town) boutique 
  • Local Shade (downtown) beautifully curated sustainable and ethical shop with wide variety of home goods and apparel
  • Threve Mercantile (downtown) stunning home interior shop
  • Tap Tea Bar (campus area) bubble/boba tea
  • Auggie & Zo (cargo district) boutique 
  • The Plant Outpost (cargo district) indoor plant boutique 
Local Shade Shop Boutique
Local Shade @localshade


The biggest piece of advise I can give you is to go to the beach in the morning and the evening…you know why? FREE PARKING. We have the privilege of paying $5 an hour to park to go to our beach from 9am-7pm during peek season. buuuut in the summer time, you can catch sunrise and sunset at the beach for FREE (jokes, but that’s how we do it around here). Just be prepared to have to pay OR uber to the island if you plan to spend the day (You can also pay $25 parking for the day, but who wants to do that?).

Our beach is small, make a right turn after the bridge and you’ll head to south end, left turn, to north end. 

To walk and grab a coffee I recommend south end. To lay out and spend the day I recommend north end/shell island.

Wrightsville Beach North Carolina
South End Wrightsville Beach Sunrise


We have a slew of airbnbs and hotels but these are my top favorites:

+ Dreamers Welcome

+ The Hive

+ Wrightsville Beach Abode


Wilmington is my favorite place ever and I still can’t believe I get to live here. I hope these recommendations allow you to curate the perfect trip or time visiting here. But I will warn you, this place has a special way about it and I can’t promise that you won’t fall in love and decide to stay forever.

See you soon!

-Anna Comer

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