Tag Archives: Airlie Gardens

Wilmington’s Summer Concerts

Outdoor Concerts Wilmington NC

Wilmington’s Outdoor Summer Concerts

Most people will agree that enjoying live music at an outdoor concert is one of the best ways to spend a warm summer evening. Luckily, summertime brings a variety of free concert series to Wilmington, NC. So pack a cooler, grab your beach chairs and head outdoors to listen to some great local music. Here are a few suggestions of places to find outdoor concerts in Wilmington this summer…

Downtown Sundown Concert Series

  • Where: Held at Riverfront Park in Downtown Wilmington. Located at 5 N. Water St.
  • When: May 24th-August 30th, every Friday evening; Music starts at 6pm
  • Info: This popular Friday night live music entertainment takes place on the riverfront in downtown Wilmington. They usually feature cover bands of various musical genres (Journey, Led Zeppelin, Eagles, etc.). Coolers are not allowed but there is beer and wine available for purchase onsite. This is a picturesque concert venue, as listeners can watch the sun set over the Cape Fear River while nestled in the center of the ‘downtown’ scene. Admission is free.

WECT’s Sounds of Summer

  • Where: At the Wrightsville Beach Town Park and Recreation area; 321 Causeway Drive Wrightsville Beach, NC
  • When: June 13th-August 8th; Thursday Evening from 6:30-8pm
  • Info: The WECT Sounds of Summer Concert Series features live music at the Wrightsville Beach Park. Pack a picnic, bring your beach blankets and chairs, and enjoy an evening of local music with family and friends. Admission is free.

Mayfaire’s Music on the Town

  • Where: Bands set up on the Mayfaire Event Field located directly behind Ulta and World Market in the Mayfaire Shopping Center; 6835 Main St.
  • When: May-July; Every Friday evening from 6pm until dark
  • Info: The series delivers a tremendous line-up of bands appealing to all ages and musical tastes from Classic Rock, Beach, Blues, 80s, funk and everything in between. The kids can enjoy several moon bounce castles, cotton candy and snow cones for a small fee. Additional activities and goodies weekly for all. Bring a blanket or chairs and pack your picnic basket or cooler with whatever you please. You could also grab some food from one of Mayfaire’s restaurants afterwards or catch a movie at the nearby Mayfaire Cinemas. Admission is free.

Airlie Garden’s Summer Concert Series

  • Where: On the Oak Lawn in Airlie Gardens; 300 Airlie Road
  • When: May-September; the first and third Friday of every month from 6-8pm
  • Info: Relax under the oak trees in Wilmington’s historical treasure and well-known formal Garden while the area’s premier musicians perform. The Airlie Gardens Summer Concert Series offers wonderful music, including beach music, dance bands and jazz. It also doesn’t hurt that the setting (Airlie Gardens) is arguable one of the most beautiful places in Wilmington. Picnics, chairs, coolers and blankets welcome. Admission ranges from $2-$8.

Airlie Gardens

Airlie Gardens

A quiet oasis in the middle of a bustling city, Airlie Gardens is a historical treasure in coastal North Carolina. One of the most beautiful places in Wilmington; it is a great way to spend a leisurely morning or afternoon. Located on Bradley Creek, this 67-acre garden is full of native plants, numerous gardens, a bottle house sculpture, a chapel, a butterfly house, the historic century old Airlie Oak and hosts many great events.


In 1886, affluent couple Pembroke Jones and his wife Sarah bought a 150-acre piece of land in Wilmington. The Joneses named their estate “Airlie,” after the ancestral Scottish home of the family.

Socialite, Sarah Jones, began planting the property and in 1906 hired German landscape architect Rudolf Topel to transform her land into formal gardens. At the height of the garden in the 1920s, over half a million azaleas and 5,000 camellias were planted on the property, where the Joneses hosted elaborate parties. The wealthy couple frequently entertained friends on the expansive estate and were known for their extravagant entertaining. They used Airlie as a way to accommodate their parties and treat their guests.

The Airlie property was bought by the Corbett family in 1948. The Corbetts allowed the gardens to be viewed by the public and it was an attraction for many years. The gardens were sold to New Hanover County in 1999 at a cost of $10.5 million. The lands have since been restored and preserved and the County now opens the property year round as a public park.


  • Over 100,000 azaleas, a sculpture garden, tranquility garden, spring garden, pergola garden, and camellia garden.
  • A magnificent 462-year-old Airlie Oak, one of the largest trees of its kind in the Carolinas
  • A self-guided .9 mile walking tour; or a tram service for those who would prefer transportation
  • The Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel, constructed with over 4,000 recycled glass bottles, metal sculptures and mosaics. Dedicated to the popular African American folk artist who served as Airlie’s gatekeeper when it was a private estate.
  • The Butterfly House, a 2,700-square foot open-air structure where hundreds of butterflies can be found flying about inside.
  • The Tranquility Garden surrounded by private spaces and areas for reflection.
  • The Pergola Garden built of coquina and surrounded by seasonally changing flowers.
  • The Camellia Garden, a vast collection of antique camellias planted in the 1900s.
  • The Spring Garden, featuring spring flowering bulbs, colorful azaleas, towering oaks and a fountain.
  • Mount Lebanon Chapel built in 1835 by Dr. Thomas Henry Wright.
  • Bradley Creek and Airlie Lake, featuring a tidal creek ecosystem on one side, and a freshwater lake on the other.


The staff at Airlie Gardens offers cultural and environmental education year-round in this natural learning space. Airlie’s Environmental Education Program provides learning opportunities for both youth and adults. The garden’s website explains that the program “teaches concepts in horticulture, wildlife, soil stewardship, water quality, sustainable development, citizen science, history and more. Education offerings are diverse and range from curriculum correlated field trips to summer camps, from kayak tours to bird hikes.”


  • Airlie Gardens Concert Series– Bring a blanket and a cooler and relax under the trees as the area’s premier musicians perform every first and third Friday, May through September from 6-8pm.
  • Enchanted Airlie Airlie’s annual holiday light show begins the Friday after Thanksgiving and runs select days until the Saturday before Christmas. Enjoy beautiful holiday flowers, festive lights, and live musical entertainment.

General Info

The Gardens are open 7 days a week during regular season hours from 9am-5pm. If you can schedule it, the best time to visit is in the spring when thousands of azaleas are in bloom.

Located at 300 Airlie Road, Wilmington, NC 28403

Admission: Adults $5, Children $3 (6-12 years)

You can contact 910-798-7700 for more info or visit their website.