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01 December . 2018

5 Top Places in Wilmington to Celebrate the Holiday Season

From the historic Southern mansions to the twinkle light-filled riverfront, Wilmington is full of idyllic holiday charm. And this winter, there are a number of ways to spend an afternoon or a night out and about. Whether you’re looking for a romantic date night or an event that the whole family can enjoy together, there’s something in this roundup for everyone. Check out seven of the top Wilmington spots to hit this holiday season:

1) Holiday Open House

DATE: December 1, 2018


From 12 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 1, you can jam to live music from the Uncle Hairy Band, sip hot chocolate, visit with Santa, and tour beautifully decorated model homes in RiverLights. Plus, later that evening at 5 p.m., the annual Dashing Thru the Glow 5K will take place! It’s a fun way to get moving while wearing festive costumes and soaking in all the sparkling holiday lights.


2) A Christmas Stroll Through the Past

DATE: December 8, 2018

ADMISSION: Adults: $20, Children (3-18): $10, Children (Under 3): Free

For all the quintessential Christmas charm you can handle, head to historic downtown Wilmington on Saturday, December 8, for this festive event. Take a step back in time — perhaps with the Ghost of Christmas Past — to experience an old-fashioned Christmas celebration. The evening will be complete with period-themed decorations, costumed interpreters, and a miniature animal petting zoo.

The fest stretches between the Burgwin-Wright House Museum,

the Bellamy Mansion Museum, and St. James Episcopal Church.

As part of the event, you can enjoy a trolley ride or a candlelit stroll through downtown Wilmington as you move between locations!


3) Christmas by the Sea

DATE: December 8, 2018


Christmas by the Sea, set for Saturday, December 8, at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, will feature visits with Santa, storytelling, caroling, pony rides, arts & crafts, puppet shows, and hot chocolate.


4) Floating Lantern Ceremony

DATE: December 9, 2018

ADMISSION: FREE, but lanterns are $15

Express your gratitude for another year and take part in the magical experience of the Floating Lantern Ceremony on Sunday, December 9. This event, held at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, offers a unique chance for you to make a wish on a lantern and release it to float on the museum pond. Lanterns will be available for purchase on-site during the event.


5) Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Celebration

DATE: December 31, 2018

This sparkling event is sure to light up the night and start 2019 with a bright beginning. The Island of Lights New Year's Eve Celebration takes place on Monday, December 31, at the Kure Beach Boardwalk and features a giant lighted beach ball drop at midnight. Following that, a fireworks display will dazzle all in attendance. Come for a fun event that will be filled with dancing, a DJ, raffles, and refreshments that are available for purchase.

It’s shaping up to be the holliest, jolliest holiday season yet. No matter which event you choose, it’s bound to be a festive holiday happenin’ in Wilmington. We’ll see you there!