Category Archives: Restaurants in Wilmington NC

Marina Life and Times

“Sailing is one of the greatest sports out there. If you grow up sailing, you’ll be a good person.” It’s a decisive, yet dreamy observation, the kind one might expect from Captain Herb Magney.

Living the good, seafaring, yacht captain life since the late 90’s, Captain Herb continues to hone his life philosophy across the world’s ocean and occasionally, in port, over the course of a long ‘layover’ in Wilmington’s Port City Marina. Continue reading

Life on El Galeon: An Almost Spanish Sailor’s Log

On May 10, 2016, El Galeon Andalucia maneuvered her majestic mast beneath the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and returned to Port City Marina, what last summer’s crew called the tall ship’s “most successful port visit.”

Indeed, record numbers of wannabe pirates, history buffs, and tall ship enthusiasts  flocked to Pier 33 to tour the 170-foot replica of the 16th century Spanish galleon.

“We had more than 2000 visitors each of the 10 days we were there,” shared Chef David Garcia Gallardo, one of the Spanish crew. “And Port City Marina was very comfortable, with nice bathrooms!” he said, with a laugh. “This is important to sailors arriving in port!” Continue reading

The Lollygagger’s Guide to the Wilmington Riverwalk

Cape Fear Memorial Bridge

Family Time on the Horizon

Winding along the Cape Fear River and dipping into Historic Downtown Wilmington, and now, stretching nearly two miles—from bridge to bridge—Wilmington’s extended Riverwalk offers an intimate look at life in the Port City. From sunrise to sunset, from merchant ships to tugboats to runners, bikers, and local fisherman, what happens in Wilmington truly happens along the banks of the Riverwalk.

Let’s start downriver and work our way uptown, to the extended pathways and the expanding riverfront. Continue reading

Macchiato by the Marina

“Today’s Special–Peruvian Mocha Au Lait” says the sidewalk sign on North 4th Street, right outside Folks Café. Just a few short blocks from Wilmington’s Port City Marina, Folks on Fourth houses the hungry, the friendly, those seeking quality caffeine and good conversation. Being so close to the Cape Fear River, the boats, yachts, and slips along the River Walk, Folks Cafe provides a warm, aromatic welcome to dry land.

Folks Cafe on North 4th Wilmington, NC

Foks Cafe on North 4th

“I still love the smell of roasting coffee,” says Tammy Pacini, nodding toward a little side room known as the Coffee Lab, where Juan Pacini roasts organic, fair-trade coffee.

Wafting through the walls, across the bike rack, then swirling around that sidewalk sign, the scent of fresh-ground Sumatra lures in passersby—cars pull over, bikers halt, pedestrians meander inside for a macchiato, an empanada, or a house specialty, straight from South America—el alfadore, a sublime mix of coconut, cookie, and dulce de leche. Continue reading

Rooftop Bars in Wilmington

Rooftop Bars in Wilmington NC

Rooftop Bars in Wilmington, NC

The view from the top is always the best! Add a little excitement to your happy-hour cocktail or night out by taking in the views of downtown Wilmington from one of our rooftop bars. You may choose to go early and grab a drink while you catch the sunset over the Cape Fear River, or venture out a little later and experience the city’s nightlife. An open-air, rooftop bar is also a great way to enjoy the fantastic weather we have in Wilmington. Below are a couple of great rooftop bars found downtown.

Level 5

Nestled high in the heart of historic Wilmington, at the top of an old Masonic temple, is one of the best rooftop views in town. Level 5 is a rooftop bar with live music and a fantastic open-air view of downtown Wilmington.  If you are looking to party, this bar has more of a ‘nightclub’ scene at night; with daily drink/shot specials, a DJ, and a dance floor.

Level 5 is open 7 days a week at 5 p.m. and is located at 21 N. Front Street in downtown Wilmington.

The Reel Café

This is a bustling three story bar and restaurant in historic downtown Wilmington. There are plenty of options for a fun night out at this establishment. Enjoy dining at the restaurant, listen to live music in the out-door courtyard, play pool on the second floor, and of course, take in the views from the  rooftop bar overlooking the Cape Fear River. Reel Café offers lunch, dinner and a late-night menu. They also have daily drink specials and live music.

Reel Café is open 7 days a week till 2 a.m. and is located at 100 S. Front Street in downtown Wilmington.

Tours in Wilmington, NC

Wilmington NC Tours

The City of Wilmington, North Carolina is known throughout the United States for historic attractions and beautiful scenery. Guided tours of the city offer a personalized experience that brings the century’s old history of Wilmington back to life. Below are some of the most well-known and unique guided tour experiences offered in our city.

Cape Fear Segway Tour

Probably the most innovative tour in town, Cape Fear Segway Tours offer fun way to see Wilmington. Participants cruise around historic downtown and the riverfront on a Segway. One-hour or two-hour guided tours are offered of the historic district. Along the way, you’ll learn about Wilmington’s storied history, its stately mansions, and its film and television locations. Prices range from $35-$55.

Wilmington Water Tour

The Wilmington is the first and finest state-of-the-art catamaran to serve Historic Downtown Wilmington, NC. The 46’ catamaran offers a variety of scheduled cruises and customizable private charters. Cruises and tours are offered mornings, afternoons and evenings throughout the year. Schedules and specific cruises vary by season. Choose between historic eco-tours, sunset cruises or narrated tours of the beautiful Cape Fear waterways. The Wilmington offers a full bar including beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Visit the website for varying ticket prices.

Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington

Ghost tours take participants through creepy tales of the city’s history. Nighttime visits to centuries old graveyards, along marinas and past historic homes thought by some to house the spirits of ghosts will have you entertained. Hear tales past and present, including the most recent encounters with these spirits. Tickets are $13 for adults and $11 for students, seniors and military.

Tasting History

Experience the history and flavors of Pleasure Island with Tasting History Tours, a walking tour through Carolina Beach. Tasting History invites you to see historical landmarks, hear the island’s history and taste the flavors that local restaurants have to offer.  They stop at 5-6 restaurants for tastings and the tour is about 2 1/2 hours. Tickets are $32.

Haunted Pub Crawl

Drink a pint in old Wilmington’s most actively haunted pubs. This tours last two and a half hours and is open only to adults age 21 and older. The ghost hunting tours take participants through several haunted pubs while telling eerie stories of thievery and murder. Tickets are $17.50 

Horse-drawn Trolley and Carriage Tours

See historic downtown Wilmington the old-fashioned way – by horse-drawn carriage or trolley. Your costumed driver narrates your unique tour along the riverfront and past stately mansions of historic Wilmington with rescued horses. The tour company utilizes horses which have been rescued from abusive or neglectful homes to transport you around the historic city. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children.

Cape Fear Blues Festival


Cape Fear Blues Festival

Wilmington’s annual celebration of blues music, The Cape Fear Blues Festival, is an event featuring local, regional and national performers. The three-day all-blues celebration includes live concerts, a blues workshop, an all-day blues jam, and the ever popular ‘Blues Cruise’ aboard the Henrietta III riverboat.

When: This year’s festival will be July 26th-28th

Where: Wilmington’s premier blues music venues, the Rusty Nail Saloon (1310 S. 5th Street) and Ziggy’s by the Sea (208 Market St.), will host the Festival. Other various events are held in different locations throughout Wilmington; mostly located in the historic downtown area. See the schedule below for specific locations.

Friday, July 26

  • Cape Fear Blues Cruise on Henrietta III featuring Russ Wilson & His Mighty Mighty Men, The Rusted Rails, & Mojo Collins on board at 7:30; plus Randy McQuay II on the dock prior to boarding at 5:30. Cruise features 3 bands, 3 decks and 3 cash bars, with heavy appetizers catered by Angie’s. Tickets are $53 per person and can be purchased now at
  • Post Cruise Blues Party at The Rusty Nail with Cape Fear Blues Challenge champions Fat Bastard Blues Band. Cover charge applies. Begins around 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 27

  • Blues Workshop at Finkelstein Music with local Blues musicians Jake Horton & Vince Stout. They will demonstrate their techniques, talk about their influences and play some blues. Free to public. Info at 910-762-5662. 11 a.m.
  • Blues Showcase at The Rusty Nail. Outdoor event featuring local and regional players. 4 p.m.
  • Saturday Night Blues Party at Ziggy’s with James Armstrong and special guest Mojo Collin. 9 p.m. Advance tickets available now at Ziggy’s by the Sea.
  • Live Blues at 9 p.m. at The Rusty Nail featuring Brett Johnson’s Blues Revue. Cover charge applies.

Sunday, July 28

  • Free All-Day Blues Jam under the tent at The Rusty Nail hosted by the Cape Fear Blues Society. Beverages and food will be available for sale all day.  Free to public.

For more details about the Cape Fear Blues Festival, including tickets, times and locations, visit the festival website at or call 910-350-8822.

Wilmington Farmers’ Markets



Wilmington’s Local Farmers’ Markets

Wilmington has several great Farmers Markets where you can buy products and produce from actual local farmers and crafters. These markets serve as a seasonal destination for locals and tourists alike. Here you can meet local farmers and shop a variety of local produce and arts and crafts. The community setting and social atmosphere promote quality of life in Wilmington while offering a venue for local growers and crafters to sell their products.

Open air markets provide a unique summer shopping experience. Spend a few hours outside at one of the following Wilmington Markets browsing the freshest produce around, listening to music and checking out local artists work.

Riverfront Farmers’ Market

  • When: Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Where: Located along the Cape Fear River in Historic Downtown Wilmington in Riverfront Park; 00 block of N. Water Street
  • Info: Situated in Historic Downtown Wilmington along the scenic Cape Fear River featuring local farmers, producers, artists and crafters. Products offered include fresh vegetables, fruits and berries, herbs, flowers, plants, eggs, cheeses, farm raised meats, seafood, honey, baked goods and confections, legumes, pickled items, jams & jellies, arts & crafts, and more. Musical entertainment is provided to set the mood and customers can take advantage of special events, activities and seasonal projects.

Lewis Farms Market

  • When: Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Where: Lewis Nursery & Farms, 6517 Gordon Road, Wilmington NC
  • Info: This unique market features “pick your own” blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. You have the opportunity to pick the fruit fresh yourself. In addition to produce, the market also has a great selection of annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetable plants including gorgeous hanging baskets and potted plants. Before you leave, grab an ice cream cone or milkshake because this market is known for their homemade blueberry and blackberry ice cream (made with their own fresh berries).

Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market

  • When: Mondays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Where: Seawater Lane at the Town of Wrightsville Beach municipal grounds
  • Info: Provides an opportunity for residents and visitors of Wrightsville Beach to purchase fresh, locally grown produce and meet local farmers. Features vendors offering fresh and local produce, plus flowers, crafts, bread and other baked items, herbs, dairy products, meat and seafood, treats for dogs and more.

Carolina Beach Farmers’ Market

  • When: Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Where: Along the shores of Carolina Beach Lake; Highway 421 and Atlanta Ave, Carolina Beach NC
  • Info: This outdoor “island style” market is right on the shores of the scenic Carolina Beach Lake. There is an abundant selection of fresh and local fruits and vegetables, dairy products, wines, meats, baked goods and natural soaps. Local artists and crafters also have their items on display and available for purchase. Local musicians provide live music while you shop.