riverwalk in downtown wilmington nc

Wilmington NC Riverwalk

Wilmington Riverwalk

Street Address

Nunn Street to Isabella Holmes Bridge
Entrances at South Water Street & Market Street and other points
1.75-mile Riverwalk along Cape Fear River
Wilmington, NC 28401





Open 24 hours



Handicap Accessible


Wilmington Riverwalk Features

Nestled along the picturesque Cape Fear River, Wilmington’s Riverwalk stands as a vibrant hub of activity and ambiance, offering visitors a delightful blend of waterfront charm, historical significance, culinary delights, entertainment, and shopping.  Enjoy leisurely strolls along the riverfront.

  1. Scenic Cape Fear River Views

The Riverwalk’s crown jewel is undoubtedly its mesmerizing views of the Cape Fear River.  As you meander along the wooden and paved walkway, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramas of the river’s ever-changing moods, from tranquil mornings to sunsets ablaze with color.

  1. A Tapestry of Shops and Boutiques

Along the Riverwalk and its surrounding streets, a diverse array of shops and boutiques awaits your exploration.  Discover unique artisan crafts, stylish apparel, and charming souvenirs to commemorate your Wilmington adventure.

  1. Culinary Delights

The Riverwalk is home to a tantalizing array of restaurants.  Choose from casual cafes offering quick bites to upscale dining establishments.  Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, international cuisine, or classic American fare, the Riverwalk’s diverse culinary scene will tantalize your taste buds.

  1. Riverboat Cruises

Embark on a memorable journey along the Cape Fear River aboard one of the Riverwalk’s captivating riverboat cruises.  You’ll gain a new perspective of the cityscape, passing by iconic landmarks such as the Battleship North Carolina and the historic downtown district.

  1. Bars and Entertainment

After a day of exploring, unwind and enjoy a lively atmosphere at one of the Riverwalk’s many bars and entertainment venues.  From rooftop bars with panoramic views to lively music venues, there’s something for every taste and mood.  Dance the night away.

  1. Seasonal Events and Festivals

The Riverwalk comes alive with a variety of seasonal events and festivals throughout the year.  From the colorful Azalea Festival in the spring to the Riverfest the first full weekend of October, Oktoberfest, and art shows, there’s always something exciting happening nearby.

  1. Battleship USS NORTH CAROLINA

Across from the Riverwalk lies the USS NORTH CAROLINA, a historical landmark and national treasure.  Visitors can explore the battleship’s decks, sleeping quarters, and historical exhibits, gaining a deep appreciation for its role in American history.

  1. Historical Significance

The Riverwalk is steeped in historical significance, having served as a vital hub for commerce and trade since the city’s early days. The area has witnessed countless historical events, from the arrival of the first colonists to the Civil War and beyond.

  1. Convenient Parking

Parking is readily available at several close parking garages and surface lots.  Whether you’re driving, biking, or utilizing public transportation, getting to the Riverwalk is simple and convenient.

  1. A Vibrant Hub of Activity

The Wilmington Riverwalk is more than just a scenic walkway; it’s a thriving hub of activity that pulsates with energy throughout the year.  From early morning coffee to late-night celebrations, the Riverwalk offers something for everyone, making it a must-visit destination for any Wilmington traveler.

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–  Deep Dive  –

Wilmington Riverwalk
Where History Dances with the Cape Fear Current

Wilmington, North Carolina, isn’t just a coastal gem; it’s a city where history whispers from cobblestone streets and the Cape Fear River’s salty breeze sings its own vibrant song.  But to truly experience its soul, you must lace up your shoes and step onto the Wilmington Riverwalk, a two-mile tapestry of sun-dappled boardwalk, breathtaking views, and adventures waiting around every bend.

Unveiling the Cape Fear River’s Embrace:

The Riverwalk isn’t just a path; it’s a portal.  As you step onto its wooden planks, the Cape Fear River unfurls before you, a shimmering ribbon of emerald and sapphire, reflecting the Carolina sky. Sunlight dances on its surface, painting fleeting patterns like a celestial painter’s brush.  Watch graceful egrets skim the water, tugboats chug past with a friendly honk, or dolphins frolick in the current, their playful leaps a reminder of the river’s wild heart beating beneath the surface.

A Shopaholic’s Playground:

But the Riverwalk isn’t just about natural beauty; it’s a haven for the discerning shopper.  Quaint boutiques brimming with local art and handcrafted souvenirs tempt you with unique treasures. Discover nautical-themed décor, whimsical finds, or stylish apparel.  For the thrill of the hunt, venture into Chandler’s Wharf Warehouse Shops and Galleries, a treasure trove housed in a restored wharf building, where you might unearth a vintage gem or an antique with a story to tell.

Culinary Delights for Every Palate:

Hunger pangs?  The Riverwalk’s aroma is as intoxicating as the river’s views.  From waterfront cafes with al fresco dining to upscale bistros with panoramic windows, your taste buds are in for a treat. Savor fresh seafood, indulge in juicy burgers with a side of river breeze, or grab a picnic basket and find a cool spot in Riverfront Park to enjoy a slice of melt-in-your-mouth pecan pie.  For a sweet escape, ice cream awaits with cones piled high with colorful scoops and memories sweeter than summer.

Sail Away on a River Adventure:

The Riverwalk whispers of adventure, and what better way to answer its call than by setting sail on a narrated river cruise?  Glide past stately antebellum mansions, cruise beneath drawbridges, and listen to captivating tales of pirates and Civil War battles.  Learn about the Cape Fear region’s rich history, from Native American settlements to bustling port days, as the river unfolds its secrets like an ancient storyteller.  For a sunset sail, sip cocktails as the sky ignites in a fiery palette of orange and pink, creating a scene that will stay etched in your memory long after the boat docks.

A Walk Through History:

Just a stone’s throw from the Riverwalk, history comes alive aboard the USS NORTH CAROLINA. This WWII battleship, now a living museum, beckons you to explore its decks, peer into powerful gun turrets, and imagine the lives of the sailors who called this steel behemoth home. Interactive exhibits and guided tours paint a vivid picture of life at sea during wartime, a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made and the courage displayed.

Downtown Wilmington‘s Buzz Within Reach:

The Riverwalk is a gateway to the vibrant heart of Wilmington.  Within walking distance, you’ll find Front Street, a kaleidoscope of eclectic bars and restaurants serving up live music, craft beers, and international flavors.  Thalian Hall, a historic theater, stages Broadway productions and musicals.

A Calendar Sprinkled with Celebrations:

The Riverwalk is never just a path; it’s a living stage where seasons come alive.  Spring awakens with the vibrant blooms of the Downtown Riverfront Farmers Market, where local vendors tempt you with fresh produce, handcrafted goods, and the scent of blooming flowers.  Summer explodes with the electrifying energy of Live Oak Bank Pavilion concerts, where renowned artists fill the air with music and the riverfront with dancing silhouettes.  Fall paints the Riverwalk in golden hues as festivals like the Cucalorus Film Festival weave a tapestry of filmmaking, art, music, and community spirit.  Winter brings a cozy charm, with twinkling lights adorning the walkway and the aroma of hot cocoa wafting from cafes, creating a picture-perfect holiday backdrop.

Parking Made Easy:

No need to fret about wheels.  Multiple Wilmington parking decks and on-street spaces dot the downtown area, ensuring your Riverwalk adventure begins and ends smoothly. 

More Than Just a Walk:

The Wilmington Riverwalk isn’t just a path; it’s a heartbeat, a rhythm, a vibrant celebration of Wilmington’s spirit.

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Tourist Information