Downtown Wilmington is Brimming with Holiday Activities for All

Posted Nov 27th, 2019 in Weekend Wish List

If you’re looking for a distraction from food and family this week, Downtown Wilmington has plenty to offer so you can roll right into the holiday season. And, guess what? On-street parking is FREE all weekend from Thanksgiving through Sunday.

Get in the mood for the holidays with a magical show full of finger-snapping, foot-tapping music at Cape Fear Community College’s Wilson Center. Manheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis brings the spirit of the season alive with distinctive classics and dazzling multimedia effects making this show one of America’s favorite traditions for over 30 years. Performances are on Wednesday, November 27 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


After Thursday’s feast you’ll be ready for some fresh air and a change of scenery so come downtown Friday and enjoy some quality time with your family. The Cape Fear Museum is open all day and is showcasing a cool exhibit that recently opened. To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA recognizes the 1969 Apollo 10 mission to the moon and the role the Peanuts characters played in the test flight that took place ahead of the historical one when the first man landed on the moon. Open hours: Mon-Sat, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sun, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving)


While you’re out and about, enjoy the beautiful weather with a stroll along the 1.75-mile-long Riverwalk. Visit The Cotton Exchange on Friday at 11:00 a.m. for Santa’s arrival. He will be available for photos until 4:00 p.m. so you can take your time, explore the many shops and have lunch at one of the restaurants.


At 5:30 p.m., gather with friends around the Christmas tree at the foot of Market Street for some musical and theatrical entertainment. Warm up with hot cocoa and sing Christmas Carols led by vocalist, Silivea Johnson. City dignitaries will lead the countdown to the lighting-up at 6:30 p.m. followed by a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.


Afterward, you can head back up the Riverwalk to the Wilmington Railroad Museum (WRM) for a special preview event for people of all ages. During the holiday season, WRM transforms into a winter wonderland with over 25,000 lights and festive decorations. Although the Annual Holiday Light Show officially opens December 13th, you can get a sneak peek this weekend, (November 29th and 30th) between 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Remember, Sunday, December 1st kicks off the first of the Polar Express readings. Reserve your golden tickets now and bring your children for a visit from Santa.


Downtown has everything you need to kick start your holidays and the merchants will have lots of exciting things in store for you on Small Business Saturday.

Parking is easy too—Park on-street for FREE all weekend or enjoy FREE parking for 90 minutes in the City or County parking decks located on North 2ndStreet (only $1 per hour thereafter up to $10 daytime maximum).

Private lots are also available—be sure to check the signs for rates. Once parked, ride the FREE Downtown Trolley to your destination.