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A Breakdown of Wilmington's Neighborhoods

A guide to the small, distinct neighborhoods in downtown Wilmington

A Breakdown of Wilmington's Neighborhoods

According to Ben Mabry of the Wilmington band Beta Radio:

"Wilmington's a small town. While our sound, it's not a small sound, but it is an intimate sound. I've got to believe that some residue from growing up here has made it into that sound. We're subconsciously being inspired by what's around us."

In downtown Wilmington, smaller, unique pockets are popping up and forming their own distinct vibes and character. Here’s a guide to discovering the neighborhoods and hidden gems of downtown Wilmington, as shared by the locals who love it most and know it best.

Wilmington's Historic Downtown / River District

Wilmington's Historic Downtown / River District

Traditionally, the growth in Wilmington's Historic Downtown / River District has been located on Front Street and the Riverfront, says Mike Barlas of Flytrap Brewing.

“There's a lot of great shopping, dining, and drinking, with all sorts of microbreweries and beer and wine shops in downtown,” says Sam Cahoon of Savorez.

For a nice walk, the Riverwalk is a fifteen-year, ongoing project that “runs the whole length of the downtown area along the Cape Fear River,” says James Doss of Rx Restaurant and Bar.

Wilmington's Historic Downtown / River District remains a hub for many city-centric activities, including shopping, drinking, eating, and wandering around town!

Brooklyn Arts District

Brooklyn Arts District

The Brooklyn Arts District is a newly revitalized neighborhood, right next to downtown.

The area used to be filled with industrial buildings and old churches, says Dani Bearss of Waterline Brewing, but now, small businesses are coming in and helping to create a thriving arts scene. The Brooklyn Arts Center is a restored church that is a popular venue for events and one of the top spots to catch live music in Wilmington.

Many beloved restaurants like Savorez and breweries like Edward Teach and Flytrap Brewing are located in the Brooklyn Arts District.

South Front District

South Front District

Wilmington's South Front District has a lot of history, as seen in the old buildings in the neighborhood.

As with other downtown Wilmington neighborhoods, the South Front District is balancing its past with growth and revitalization.

Rhonda Bellamy, Executive Director of the Wilmington Arts Council, says, “The South Front District by Greenfield Lake includes the Artworks, which is a restored factory that has 50 artists residencies. I'd say Artworks has really anchored that district, including the redevelopment of some public housing areas and new restaurants, like Benny's Big Time Pizzeria. There's so much development going on there! We're finding that these art spaces are magnets for other types of businesses.”

The South Front District is also home to the super popular Satellite Bar and Lounge.

Castle Street Arts & Antiques District

Castle Street Arts & Antiques District

“The Arts & Antiques District is not newer, but it's newly blowing up,” says Jess Reedy, Owner of Pineapple Studios. “It used to just be where the antique stores were, but over the past few years, coffee shops and wine shops started popping up. We've got a new bakery and breweries opening up in the Arts & Antiques District. It's definitely a new point of interest in downtown Wilmington.”

If you're a foodie, you've got to visit the Castle Street Arts & Antiques District to stop at Rx Restaurant and Bar, which is one of Wilmington and Beaches oldest and best farm-to-table restaurants.