Wilmington, North Carolina Neighborhood Guide

Known for strong surf and beach-related activities, the long boardwalk and the Riverwalk, Wilmington offers residents and visitors plenty of shops, restaurants, and activities.

Wilmington is a port city along the eastern coast of North Carolina, serving as a gateway to Cape Fear and Wrightsville. Known for strong surf and beach-related activities, the long boardwalk and the Riverwalk, Wilmington offers residents and visitors plenty of shops, restaurants, and activities. 

Like most cities on the East Coast, Wilmington has a long history that helped shape and constructs the city boundaries over centuries. Wilmington’s history reaches as far back as the 1720s as a colonial settlement along Cape Fear. 

The city’s population density is about 130,000 residents living in an area between the coast and the river, with four designated beaches in the area; Wrightsville Beach, Fort Fisher, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach 30-minute drive downtown Wilmington. The average family size is 4 persons per household, with the median income at $47,000, which is below the federal average for a family of similar size. 

The Community

As a community, Wilmington, North Carolina, is home to a diverse population of young professionals, families, and retirees. Still, the most dominant age demographic is a person in their mid-30’s with some college education. Known for a laid-back atmosphere, residents enjoy the benefits of multiple beaches and green areas, as well as top-notch local restaurants. 


Wilmington is relatively safe even though it reports approximately 440 violent crimes per year, almost double the national average for cities of proportionate size. 

There are multiple police stations and dispatches throughout the city, with the majority located toward the western border along the river. The Wilmington Police Headquarters is located along the city’s northwest quadrant with the Highway Patrol and Pinnacle Special Police, and Wrightsville Beach Police along the eastern coastline.

There are 18 fire stations in and around the city of Wilmington to provide fire suppression and emergency rescue services. 

The Schools

Schools in the Wilmington area are highly regarded. There are 27 elementary schools for residents, highlighted by top-ranked Walter L Parsley Elementary School and Ogden Elementary. 

For middle schools, M.C.S Noble Middle and Roland-Grise Middle headline options for locals for preparation to enroll in any of the 8 top-notch high schools led by either top-ranked Isaac M. Bear High School or the highly-regarded John T. Hoggard High School. 

Wilmington is home to over 7 universities and colleges, most notably Eastern Carolina University and the flagship University of North Carolina, Wilmington. 

The Culture

Based on the deep south traditions, the culture of Wilmington, North Carolina, is best described as laid-back, friendly, and engaging. The city tends to lean more moderately in its political views than the rest of the state, perhaps due to a more significant percentage of higher education achieved. 

The Lifestyle

The small port of Wilmington supports a very vibrant local arts community that hosts events almost daily, from performing arts, music, visual arts, literature festivals, and more. 

Outdoor and water activities are the overwhelming favorites of locals and visitors alike, making Wilmington a vibrant city. 

Here are a few of our favorites

For the curious and adventurous, the Shallotte River Swamp Park & Outdoor Center engages the interested while giving a breathtaking view of the wonder that is the Shallotte River and Swamp. Choose between zipline tours, the Aerial Adventure Park, or the Swamp Boat Tour and see Wilmington in a way most never get to experience. 

Take a trip back in time with the Cape Fear Riverboats. The paddle boats take you back to the 18th and 19th century to explore the area as residents of the time period did, but this time in the comfort of a climate-controlled boat! Immerse yourself in the history and pageantry of a bygone era while learning all about the ecology and rich wildlife that makes Cape Fear such a fantastic place. They offer daily guided tours, sunset and moonlight cruises, cocktail tours, dinner boats, private charters, and twice-monthly nature tours along the Black River. 

Elegant dining with a family atmosphere on the waterfront is known for Michael’s On The Waterfront. Contemporary American cuisine with a southern twist, Micheal’s is best known for its scallops served with broccolini and couscous, or the fantastic flounder stuffed with blackened shrimp. For the “turf” options, the short ribs with mashed potatoes are a sure-fire hit! 

If you’re looking for downhome, southern fried chicken, and BBQ close enough to the riverwalk, look no further than Rooster & The Crow, located at 225 South Water Street in Wilmington. They are known for unique cocktails, especially the bloody marys at brunch or the creamsicle cocktails. In addition, Rooster & The Crow offers up American staples like Fried Chicken, the hoop cheese Mac n Cheese, and their famous shrimp and alligator cheesecake appetizer. 

Downtown nightlife you’re looking for, in a place with great drinks, friendly service, and an opportunity to relax and people watch? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is the bar for you! Passionate about craft cocktails, try the signature Fired Agave, a habanero infused tequila that is part refreshing and part stimulating. In addition, WTF, as it’s commonly known, offers live entertainment and karaoke to increase your people-watching pleasure. 

Swanky and elegant is the best descriptor for the shopping experience you’ll have at Lumina Station, located minutes away from Wrightsville Beach. Designed to highlight locally owned businesses, Lumina Station will have you going crazy over all the knick-knacks and trinkets offered by the small businesses that make their home here. Spend an hour or a whole day checking out all the unique shops and offerings by some of Wilmington’s top shops. 

Real Estate

The majority of Real Estate in Wilmington, North Carolina, is detached, single-family homes, though close to small downtown apartments in mid-rise buildings are an option.

The average home has a median list price of a little over $300,000 for a detached, single-family home that comes with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms on average, with the average square footage being just under 2,000 per unit. Homes stay on the market less than 60 days, with multiple offers being the norm. 

For the luxury market, detached single-family homes with over 3,000 square feet on a ⅓ acre offer 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, priced at $1.5 million, but these homes and properties are rare. 


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