Getting Around in Downtown Wilmington

Posted May 3rd, 2019 in Weekend Wish List

Transportation is a hot topic in cities everywhere because of the increased number of cars on the road. Cars were a rarity when most of the buildings were constructed in Downtown Wilmington and walking was the primary mode of transportation. Once automobiles began dominating the transportation system, parking decks were constructed in most downtowns to accommodate all the vehicles.

The mobility system is beginning to re-balance as historic downtowns are expanding and cities are seeking alternative ways for people to get around. Fortunately, locals and visitors to Downtown Wilmington have options that include parking, walking and riding.


There are several options for public parking. You can park in any of the four public decks, at City-owned surface lots, or on the street. Parking is free for the first 90 minutes in the two City decks on 2nd Street or in the New Hanover County Library parking deck. It costs $1 per hour thereafter up to an $8 daily maximum. The Convention Center Deck on Nutt Street is $3 for the first hour and $2 per hour thereafter. Parking on-street is $1.50 per hour Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Many privately-owned surface lots also allow public use. Be sure to check rates and payment options at nearby pay-stations.


Being a riverfront city, Downtown Wilmington is very walkable. With Market Street at its center, shops and restaurants are to the south and the north. You can also enjoy a stroll along the recently expanded 1.75-mile-long Riverwalk. Both the Brooklyn Arts District, which stretches along several blocks of North 4th Street, and the Castle Street Arts and Antiques District are very pedestrian friendly.

Ride the Downtown Trolley

You can hail a trolley in most areas along its designated route and ride for free. The trolley starts on North 4th Street and heads west to join North Front Street where it continues south to Castle Street. The trolley goes up Castle to South 5th Street and then heads two blocks south to Greenfield Street to loop back around to South Front Street. From there, it goes north along Front Street and back up to where it started on North 4th.

The trolley is operated by Wave Transit. New trolleys will hit the streets in the fall and a renaming contest is underway. Wave received 300 suggestions from the community for the new name and invite you to vote your favorite from the shortlist here.

Ride a Bike

Bring your own bike or rent one. May is Bike to Work Month and Saturday, May 4th is the 30th Annual River To Sea Bike Ride so be sure to sign up. The Be A Looker campaign was also recently launched by Go Coast to encourage drivers to look out for cyclists and pedestrians.