18 Best Things to Do in Wilmington, Delaware
The largest city in Delaware, Wilmington is home to great museums, beautiful gardens and family-friendly attractions. Explore the historic Nemours Mansion and its landscaped gardens, admire the art at the Delaware Art Museum, and stop by the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts. Best things to do in Wilmington, Delaware with kids include the Delaware Children’s Museum, the Delaware Museum of Natural History and the DuPont Environmental Education Center. Photo: pabrady63/Fotolia
» Delaware Museum of Natural History
The Delaware Museum of Natural History is the only museum of its kind in the state, and lets visitors learn about the natural world through discovery and exploration. The museum hosts a variety of on site exhibits, including permanent exhibits on dinosaurs, mammals, birds, and Charles Darwin, among others.
These exhibits are geared towards children and families, and they offer both interactive and interpretive activities to facilitate a fun learning environment.
The Delaware Museum of Natural History is one of the top Wilmington attractions. The museum also provides various temporary and traveling exhibits throughout the year, including holiday displays, seasonal outdoor exhibits, and a variety of special events, all of which are posted on the museum’s website.
Contact: 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-658-9111
Must see in Wilmington, Delaware: Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.
»Nemours Mansion and Gardens, Wilmington, Delaware
Once the home of Wilmington’s renowned du Pont family, the Nemours Mansion was modeled after a classic French Chateau and named for a town from which the du Pont’s descended. Today, the Nemours Foundation owns the home, and they restored its interior, exterior, and expansive grounds in order to provide visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the elaborate style and luxury the family once enjoyed.
The home is open to the public, and guests are able to tour the establishment and admire the preserved furnishings and rare artwork, along with the romantic gardens, one of which is similar to a famous Versailles garden. The Nemours Mansion and Gardens is one of the best things to do in Wilmington, Delaware.
Contact: 850 Alapocas Dr, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-651-6912
» Delaware Art Museum
One of the largest art collections in the state, the Delaware Art Museum is home to more then 12,000 pieces of work. The Museum is known for its collection of American art and illustrations, especially those dated between the 19th and 21st centuries. The museum also boasts an outdoor Sculpture Park, which expands almost 10 acres across the property.
Throughout the year, the museum presents a variety of special exhibitions, ranging from well known traveling displays to local folk art by Wilmington based artists. Over 100 workshops, classes, and sessions are offered throughout the year, and they are available to children, families, and adults alike.
Contact: 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-571-9590
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Photo: Greater Wimington CVB
»Delaware attractions: Hagley Museum and Library
The Hagley Museum and Library is a 225-acre compound that contains historical sites, heritage buildings, and various authentic artifacts all belonging to the established and influential du Pont family. The grounds, which sit alongside the Brandywine Creek, contain the first family of the du Ponts, as well as a 19th century machine shop and several powder yards.
A Renaissance-revival garden complete with statuary and terraces sits below the house. The Museum and Library are housed within the complex, and they provide education and insight on original artifacts pertaining to the early years of the du Pont family and their significant contribution to both Wilmington and the United States.
Contact: 200 Hagley Creek Rd, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-658-2400
Photo: Hagley Museum and Library
»Grand Opera House, Wilmington, Delaware
A well-known building in downtown Wilmington, the Grand Opera House, also known simply as The Grand, is a commanding and elaborate structure. Built in 1871, the property was initially home to a Lodge of Masons. Later, it played host a variety of performances including operas, Victoria melodramas, vaudeville, burlesque, and symphonies during before becoming a movie theater run by Warner Brothers.
Today, the building is host to a variety of community events, and it provides a scenic backdrop for some of Wilmington’s most talented to display their craft. For a calendar of upcoming events and ticket purchasing options, visit the Grand Opera House website.
Contact: 818 N Market St, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-652-5577
» Things to Do in Delaware: Brandywine Zoo, Wilmington, DE
The Brandywine Zoo in downtown Wilmington is situated on a 12-acre land parcel. Home to over 150 species, the Zoo is divided into three sections: the main zoo, the exotic animal house, and a petting zoo. Notable animal residents include red pandas, two toed sloths, and the largest known rodent, the capybara.
The museum also provides educational programs that provide informative and interactive features on a traveling rotation of species. A variety of events, including educational programs and seasonal features, take place on site throughout the year. The Brandywine Zoo’s website provides a calendar of upcoming exhibits and events.
Contact: 1001 N Park Dr, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-571-7747
»Wilmington and Western Railroad
In the 1870’s, the original Wilmington & Western route stretched through downtown Wilmington, and for decades the path way contributed to the economy and work force of the area.
In the 1960’s, the once active train transitioned into a tourist attraction, and for more then fifty years it has functioned as a relaxing and scenic way to tour the surrounding area. Today, visitors can ride the train and travel down the heritage tracks to learn more about the site’s impact on Wilmington’s economical development and historical contributions, all while taking in the scenic rural views.
Throughout the year, the train hosts seasonal events and exhibits, and is available for personal rides, parties, and gatherings.
Contact: 2201 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-998-1930
Photo: Wilmington and Western Railroad
»Things to Do in Delaware: Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge
Downtown Wilmington is home to the Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge, a unique urban green space designed to act as an environmental preservation and visitor recreation center.
The preserve itself is located directly on Wilmington’s Riverfront, and it is one of the few urban wildlife zones in the country. The land now features a tranquil sanctuary that provides both fish and other wildlife habitats along the waterfront and throughout the surrounding wetland marsh.
Raised wooden walkways, trails, and viewing platforms allow guests to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying the scenery and wildlife of the refuge.
Contact: 1400 Delmarva Lane, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-425-4897
Photo: Craig A. Mullenbach/Fotolia
»Delaware Children's Museum
Open to children of all ages, the Delaware Children’s Museum has a mission of inspiring exploration, discovery, and self-efficacy in the lives of children through the use of interactive learning and hands-on experiences.
With permanent exhibits and activity centers based on topics such as science, technology, arts, engineering, and math, the museum is geared towards facilitating fun learning opportunities with a range of engaging and interpretive-based activities.
Throughout the year, the Delaware Children's Museum also hosts a variety of temporary and traveling exhibits and seasonal events, all of which are outlined on their website.
Contact: 550 Justison St, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-654-2340
Photo: Delaware Children's Museum
»Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts is the only contemporary art museum within the state. Established in 1979, the museum is host to a range of local and regional artists, and it is focused on establishing a community center that thrives on the celebration of creativity.
The museum is considered non-collecting, meaning its priority is exhibiting a variety of new artists and their artwork instead of acquiring permanent pieces. As a result, the museum is a vibrant and inspirational setting within Wilmington. The Center also hosts a variety of workshops, classes, and camps throughout the year for both artists and non-artists who wish to learn more or find outlets of expression.
Contact: 200 S Madison St, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-656-6466
Photo: Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
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»Brandywine Creek State Park, Wilmington, Delaware
Just north of Wilmington sits the scenic Brandywine Creek State Park. This nearly 1,000-acre plot contains a series of nature preserves, including the first two nature preserves to exist in the state of Delaware.
The park features nearly 15 miles of trails, both paved and gravel. The Rocky Run Trail and the Greenways Trail are two of the most well known paths; they are loops that are several miles long. The park is also home to Brandywine Creek, which is known for its bountiful population of bass and trout and serves as a popular fishing spot.
The Brandywine Creek Nature Center provides an educational site for natural history and environmental features, and offers programs, literature, and interactive exhibits.
Contact: 47 Adams Dam Rd, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-577-3534
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»Delaware attractions: Bellevue State Park
The Bellevue State Park is located in the suburbs of Wilmington on the grounds of Bellevue Hall, a former mansion once belonging to the famous du Pont family. The park now offers a recreational green space for visitors to enjoy the scenic surroundings and partake in outdoor activities year round.
Attractions on site include a running track, a stocked catch and release fishing pond, hiking trails, cycling paths, and paved walking trails that weave throughout the space. Picnic tables, both indoors and out, are available, along with tennis facilities and equestrian areas. The park also hosts a variety of seasonal events, which are listed and detailed on the park’s website.
Contact: 800 Carr Rd, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-761-6963
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»Things to Do in Delaware: DuPont Environmental Education Center
This urban green space is open year round to the public, and it provides free access to nature and natural educational in downtown Wilmington.
The education center is posed on a ten-acre park space, which includes a quarter mile-walking loop that meanders through a freshwater marsh, a flower garden path, and a modern educational center with literature, activities, and interpretive information.
The Nature Center is park of a 200-acre tidal marsh and a wildlife refuge on the Christina River, and it is home to a variety of species of animals, birds, and insects. The center offers numerous educational programs throughout the year designed for both student groups and families.
Contact: 1400 Delmarva Ln, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-656-1490
Photo: gabylegeai - Fotolia
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»Delaware Children's Theatre
This community-based theatre provides Wilmington with a variety of shows and productions throughout the year. Local children and young adults star in the majority of the performances, but adult wing shows also occur during the year.
The performances and rehearsals are held at the theatre company’s building, the New Century Club building, a historic space constructed in 1893 that has hosted a variety of notable tenants over the past century.
A calendar of upcoming shows and information regarding workshops, private classes, and auditions are all posted on the Delaware Children’s Theatre website, along with ticket purchasing information.
Contact: 1014 Delaware Ave, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-655-1014
Photo: Delaware Children's Theatre
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»Delaware attractions: Rockwood Museum
Based just outside of downtown Wilmington, the Rockwood Museum is a historic estate turned museum. Originally built in the early 1850s, the home was constructed as an elaborate country house for an English banker. Passed down through several generations of descendants, the home now belongs to a non-profit organization that restored the building, developed an internal museum, and opened the interior and grounds to the public for tours and educational programs.
The home is available for self-guided tours throughout the gardens and rooms of the house, in addition to guided ghost tours, a farmers market, and a variety of seasonal events.
Contact: 610 Shipley Rd, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-761-4340
Photo: Rockwood Museum
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»Sullivan's Steakhouse, Wilmington, Delaware
Sullivan’s Steakhouse, a fine dining favorite in downtown Wilmington, is known for its high quality cuts of meat and upbeat environment. Serving dinner throughout the week, Sullivan’s offers a variety of classic American dishes as well as an expansive cocktail menu.
The eatery provides delightful and modern fine dining in an appealing locale; the mahogany tables are lined with crisp black tablecloths, while the walls are adorned with black and white prints and floor to ceiling bookshelves. Live music during the week contributes to Sullivan’s high-energy vibe.
Contact: 5525 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-479-7970
Photo: Sullivan's Steakhouse
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»Big Fish Riverfront
Serving lunch and dinner, Big Fish Riverfront is known for its large, platter served seafood, family friendly atmosphere, and idyllic riverfront location. This Wilmington staple is known for its generous helpings of fresh, locally caught seafood, and it also offers a variety of other meals ranging from lunch and dinner favorites to more eclectic offerings.
The restaurant is casual and has an impressive nautical, fish themed décor, creating a laidback ambiance. Outside, guests can dine on a sprawling covered patio with an expansive view of the surrounding greenery and the sparkling river.
Contact: 720 Justison St, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-652-3474
Photo: Big Fish Riverfront
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»La Fia, Wilmington, DE
This globally infused bistro, market and bakery is known for its variety of flavors and flexible eating environment. Open from late morning through the evening, La Fia serves both lunch and dinner in the bistro and has a menu that features classic American favorites fused with international tastes, all comprised of fresh, local ingredients.
In the market, guests are able to sit counter side to enjoy coffee, baked goods, and other market fare, or pick up one of the shop’s various meals made to go. The eclectic and vintage space utilizes warm colors, contrasting wood tones, and historic décor to create a warm and comforting atmosphere that is casual and welcoming.
Contact: 421 N Market St, Wilmington, Delaware, Phone: 302-543-5574
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Photo: La Fia
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18 Best Things to Do in Wilmington, Delaware
- Delaware Museum of Natural History, Photo: Courtesy of phaitoon - Fotolia.com
- Nemours Mansion and Gardens, Wilmington, Delaware, Photo: Courtesy of daisy_y - Fotolia.com
- Delaware Art Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Greater Wimington CVB
- Delaware attractions: Hagley Museum and Library, Photo: Hagley Museum and Library
- Grand Opera House, Wilmington, Delaware, Photo: Courtesy of asdeaws - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Delaware: Brandywine Zoo, Wilmington, DE, Photo: Courtesy of Saskia - Fotolia.com
- Wilmington and Western Railroad, Photo: Wilmington and Western Railroad
- Things to Do in Delaware: Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Courtesy of Craig A. Mullenbach - Fotolia.com
- Delaware Children's Museum, Photo: Delaware Children's Museum
- Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Photo: Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
- Brandywine Creek State Park, Wilmington, Delaware, Photo: Courtesy of mari1408 - Fotolia.com
- Delaware attractions: Bellevue State Park, Photo: Courtesy of anatoliy_gleb - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Delaware: DuPont Environmental Education Center, Photo: Courtesy of gabylegeai - Fotolia
- Delaware Children's Theatre, Photo: Delaware Children's Theatre
- Delaware attractions: Rockwood Museum, Photo: Rockwood Museum
- Sullivan's Steakhouse, Wilmington, Delaware, Photo: Sullivan's Steakhouse
- Big Fish Riverfront, Photo: Big Fish Riverfront
- La Fia, Wilmington, DE, Photo: La Fia
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of pabrady63 - Fotolia.com
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