Wilmington is located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Designated as North Carolina's “Port City,” Wilmington has a sizable seaport. The city itself has an approximate population of 100,000, with a overall metropolitan population of 363,980. Wilmington's main tourist attraction and business center is its historic riverfront downtown, featuring specialty shops and restaurants along tree-lined avenues. Most of the shops, bars/music venues, businesses, and restaurants are concentrated along Front Street and Water Street, where locals and visitors enjoy cocktails and fresh seafood or exquisite Southern cuisine while overlooking the Cape Fear River. A few popular downtown restaurants include Elijah's and The George, both of which are on the riverfront, and Circa 1922 on Front Street.
Permanently anchored in the river, and viewable to those dining or strolling along Water Street, is the massive Battleship North Carolina. Tours are held daily aboard the ship, which is rich with haunted wartime history. While there is much to do in the beautiful, classically Old South setting of downtown Wilmington, Wrightsville, Carolina, and Kure Beaches are only minutes away. Each year, the beaches of the Lower Cape Fear region draw slews of tourists. These small, yet bustling beach communities feature many of the amenities of downtown, only centered around a more modern beach lifestyle. There are plenty of bars and restaurants within walking distance to the beaches, keeping the masses entertained during the warmer months. Visitors and locals alike enjoy trips to Airlie Gardens, a massive sanctuary of flora surrounded by marshlands that merge with the Intercoastal Waterway, just minutes from Wrightsville Beach.
Wilmington has become a major American film and television hub, serving as the backdrop for motion pictures such as The Crow and Blue Velvet, as well as popular television shows such as "Dawson's Creek" and "One Tree Hill." Home to UEU Screen Gems production studios, approximately 200 movies and television shows have been filmed in and around Wilmington. This beautiful historic city is the perfect Southern destination for those seeking a mix of activities, a gorgeously diverse landscape, and a relaxed state of mind.