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View over the water in Downtown Wilmington, NC.

30 January . 2022

Top Things to Do in Wilmington in 2022

We've officially launched into the new year which means it's time to take a deeper dive in Wilmington's top places, events, and festivals to attend! Read along for a full breakdown of our team's must-dos for 2022. And don't worry- there's something for literally everyone. 


Cameron Art Museum: Located only a few miles from Riverlights, the Cameron Art Museum is a wonderful place to spend the day. Grab lunch at the CAM Café, or stroll through their “art park” and historic nature trails. With rotating exhibits and frequent events, there is always something fun for everyone to enjoy. Current exhibits include Stephen Hayes: Voices of Future’s Past, The Shadow We Create, and Pinkie’s Memories. Beginning in April, the CAM will feature a State of the Art exhibit focusing on contemporary art from local North Carolinian artists. 

Thalian Hall: The Historic Thalian Hall Center is a must visit in Wilmington. Since it opened in the mid 19th century, the Thalian Hall has been a focal point of the Wilmington community. Each year visitors and locals attend shows and learn of its long-lasting history. Check out their upcoming shows here. 

Local Art Walks: On the fourth Friday of each month, the Arts Council of Wilmington and NHC hosts a self-guided gallery night from 6 to 9 p.m. in downtown Wilmington. Stroll through over 20 galleries, studios, and businesses and explore local artisan’s work. The event is fun, free, and fun for the entire family. A full list of participating artists and galleries can be found here. 

Made in NC at the Brooklyn Arts Center: This year’s Made in NC craft show will feature over 50 local vendors with unique, handmade creations from the region’s best artisans. Local food trucks and BAC full-service bar will be serving each day so you can enjoy food and drinks while you shop. 


Airlie Gardens: Visit Airlie Gardens and explore 67 acres of formal gardens, explore 67 acres containing formal gardens, wildlife, ten acres of lakes, more than 75,000 azaleas, and a seasonal butterfly house all located two miles west of Wrightsville Beach. 

Fort Fisher: Tour Fort Fisher State Historic Site, the Civil War’s largest land and water battle site. There are numerous ocean front walking trails to explore. Open Tuesday-Saturdays, admission is free and it is a wonderful activity for the entire family to enjoy. 

Music & Nightlife 

Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park: is Wilmington’s latest and greatest spot to see your favorite band in concert. The breathtaking riverfront views will be home to a wide variety of concerts this year, including Bon Iver and Leon Bridges 

Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College: Another great place to catch a Broadway show or concert is the Wilson Center- the largest and most technically advanced performance center in Eastern North Carolina. Feature shows in 2022 will include CATSHairsprayTrace Adkins, and Patti LaBelle. 


Azalea Festival: This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Azalea Festival, Wilmington’s trademark event that happens each spring. Feature concerts this year will include Brantley GilbertREO Speedwagon, and Cypress Hill. Check out the official NC Azalea Festival website for exclusive and up to date information on the exciting events to come. 

Carolina Beach Street Arts Festival: As part of an annual fundraiser for the Island Arts Council, the Carolina Beach Street Arts Festival offers live music, visual, and culinary art from local vendors and artists. The festival will be held in Carolina Beach this year on Saturday, May 7. 

Cucalorus Festival: Each November for an entire five days, the Cucalorus Film Festival premieres indie films paired with deep discussions about justice and the future. The 27th annual non-competitive festival will showcase over 90 films from all over the world. MovieMaker Magazine named this Wilmington festival one of the Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World! 

Riverfest: On the first full weekend of October, the Riverfest takes over Historic Downtown Wilmington on Water Street from the foot of Market Street to Cape Fear Community College. The two-day event draws tens of thousands of people for a free, family-oriented celebration. Last year Trips to Discover voted Riverfest as one of the top 7 festivals to visit in North Carolina! 

Poplar Grove Herb & Garden Fair: Enjoy activities and exhibits on nature, gardening, and related topics at the 30th annual Herb & Garden Fair. Home to the area’s largest garden filled with a local selection of herbs, perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, shrubs, native plants, house plants, and more. The fair will include all-natural products and local foods. 


Port City Taste Restaurant Week: Local Wilmington news source, Port City Daily, is hosting a restaurant week February 14-March 6. Head to one of the participating locations, ask for the special restaurant week menu, and enjoy! Follow the event’s Facebook page for updated information. 

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival: Enjoy over 60 beers, 40 bourbons and lots of North Carolina barbeque on March 12 at the Live Oak Pavilion! The festival will feature a local beer garden with all of the area’s top craft brews. Check out the featured menu here. 

Cape Fear Craft & Cuisine: On April 2, the Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance is hosting a premier beer and meal pairing event at NC Aquarium of Fort FisherFlytrap BrewingNew Anthem Beer ProjectWilmington Brewing CompanyMad Mole Brewing, and several other local brewers will be featured at the event. Each beer will pair with a delicious local food. Tickets for this event can be purchased here 

We hope you find you found this guide helpful in mapping out your must-see for this year! Wilmington is growing at a rampant rate, which brings new and exciting events for all to enjoy. If you have any questions about the area, or things to do in Wilmington, feel free to contact us at (910) 405-1234 or riverlights@brookfieldpropertiesdevelopment.com.