Ten Fantastic Reasons You Should Move to Wilmington, NC

Ten Fantastic Reasons You Should Move to Wilmington, NC

Buildings in downtown Wilmington, NC

Moving to Wilmington, NC? You should know that Wilmington is located in southeastern North Carolina. A coastal city, it’s the state’s main seaport, and the growing population consists of around 115,000 residents. A variety of factors—such as affordability, location, and local colleges—make Wilmington, NC a good place to live.

1. Cost of Living

Before you make your moving checklist, know that relocation to Wilmington, NC is a great idea if you’re looking for affordability. The cost of living in Wilmington, NC is 4% less than the national average.

Housing is particularly affordable, at 23% less than the national average. To give you an idea of housing costs, the median rent is $1,057 per month, and the median price of a home is $347,654. 

Some other costs in Wilmington, such as the cost of transportation and utilities, are slightly more than the national average. Still, the highly affordable housing more than makes up the difference!

Beach in North Carolina

2. Seaside Perks

Wilmington, NC is a good place to live if you’re a fan of water. First up are the beaches. Located on the coast, Wilmington has plenty of beaches you can visit. 

One of the most famous is Carolina Beach. Carolina Beach features the standard attractions—such as fishing, swimming, sunset-gazing, and more. The Carolina Beach Boardwalk is full of shops, amusement rides, and food. There’s a state park there as well, with hiking trails and sand dunes to explore. 

Another beach in the area is Wrightsville Beach, a walkable island only 8.5 miles from Wilmington. If you like to surf, this beach is for you; National Geographic named it one of the best surfing towns globally. From the beach, you can also take a cruise to the nearby Masonboro Island, go fishing, or check out the local attractions like spas and restaurants. 

Beaches aren’t all! If you’re planning a relocation to Wilmington, NC, you’ll also be able to enjoy the downtown Riverwalk, which runs along Cape Fear River in Wilmington’s historic downtown. The city has invested recently in improving the Riverwalk, which provides great water-side recreation opportunities.

Water Street in Wilmington, NC

3. Things To Do

If you’re worried about moving to a new city alone, never fear! There’s plenty going on if you’re living in Wilmington, NC. 

For arts and culture, you can check out the Cameron Art Museum (CAM), one of the best art museums in the state. CAM’s collection includes many artists with ties to North Carolina and has a particularly large modern art collection. 

Another part of Wilmington that’s great for lovers of art is the Brooklyn Arts District, a neighborhood near the Cape Fear River. It has studios including Acme Art Studios, as well as a performing arts center in the former St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. 

There are other galleries in Wilmington as well, including the Art in Bloom Gallery. With Gallery Nights on the fourth Friday of every month, Wilmington, NC is a good place for art lovers to live.

Wilmington also has a variety of festivals. These include the North Carolina Jazz Festival in February; the NC Azalea Festival in April, a tradition since 1948; and the summer Carolina Beach Music Festival, one of the longest-running beach music festivals in the US.

There are other opportunities to hear live music in Wilmington, NC as well, including a summer concert series at the Airlie Gardens. To continue your night, Wilmington, NC has a strong nightlife, with speakeasies such as The Blind Elephant. There are lots of places to make friends in Wilmington!

Lastly, if museums are your speed, you can check out the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science, which has a variety of family-friendly exhibitions. 

4. Housing

As we’ve mentioned, a highlight of moving to Wilmington, NC is the affordable housing.

Beyond the low cost of housing, Wilmington, NC offers a variety of neighborhoods for renters and homeowners to choose from. One of these neighborhoods is Water Street, which contains the Wilmington Riverwalk. It has a variety of shops and restaurants and is great for younger people moving to Wilmington. 

There are also good options for families, including Sentry Oaks, which is close to schools and the Pleasure Island beaches. For people looking for character, there’s the Wilmington Historic District, which has historic homes and a low cost of living.

These are just some of the many neighborhoods that make Wilmington, NC a good place to live for people of all ages, whether you’re moving into your first apartment or your first home!

University of North Carolina, Wilmington campus

5. Education

Another highlight of relocation to Wilmington, NC is that you’re moving to a college town. Wilmington is the home of UNC Wilmington, a large public university with almost 15,000 students. The school is particularly known for its programs in fields like marine biology, nursing, and psychology.

This university brings vibrance, jobs, and research to the area, making Wilmington, NC a good place to live. It also gives you a great opportunity to catch a Seahawks game.

Also in the area is Cape Fear Community College, which enrolls almost 15,000 students as well and offers a variety of degrees. With these schools, Wilmington has been ranked one of the best small college towns in the country.

In addition, below the college level, Wilmington, NC has a strong school system, with its Isaac Bear High School ranking as the fourteenth best public high school in North Carolina and earning an A+ from Niche.

6. Economy

If you’re considering relocation to Wilmington, NC, you may be worried about finding a job. Luckily, Wilmington has a diverse and growing economy, with the metropolitan statistical area growing by twenty-five percent between 2010 and 2020. At 3.3%, the unemployment rate in Wilmington is below the national average and tends to remain at or below average.

Moreover, North Carolina as a whole is known for being a great state for doing business, winning CNBC’s award for America’s Top State for Business in both 2022 and 2023.

One of the biggest sectors in the area is health care. Novant Health in particular employs over 8,500 workers in Wilmington and the area. Wilmington’s strong tourism industry also boosts the economy. The city has many jobs in hospitality, service, and retail. Wilmington also has a variety of great non-profits.

Sculpture at Airlie Gardens

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7. Food Scene

Living in Wilmington, NC will grant you access to a good food scene. In fact, Wilmington has ranked among the top small-town foodie cities.

You can visit a variety of areas for good food in and around Wilmington. These include Union Street, Market Street, and Historic New Castle. The best restaurants in Wilmington offer a variety of cuisines, from soul food to Greek, German, Italian, and Mexican food. 

In addition, for nineteen years, Wilmington’s City Restaurant Week has showcased local restaurants, with restaurants offering multi-course menus for fixed prices. 

Wilmington also has a great craft beer scene and hosts a yearly ten-day Cape Fear Craft Beer Week. This week features events such as a brewing championship. You’ll find many breweries after relocation to Wilmington, NC, including the solar-powered Mad Mole Brewing.

Interior of a brewery in Wilmington, NC

8. History

Wilmington, NC has a rich history. The local historical attractions provide lots of entertainment for people moving to Wilmington, NC.

In the precolonial era in 1524, Verrazzano explored the Cape Fear River. European settlers arrived in 1725, and Wilmington became the economic and cultural capital of the region. 

It underwent a variety of name changes, from New Carthage to New Liverpool and Newton, before becoming the largest city in the state by 1850. The city was the site of Civil War action, with the Battle of Forks Road contributing to Union control in the area. This battle took place in the same location as the modern Cameron Art Museum, and a sculpture commemorates the occasion. 

After the war and throughout the twentieth century, Wilmington had a strong economy and contributed especially to industry during WWII. After some economic trouble in the 1960s, Wilmington was revived. It was named the first American World War II Heritage City due to its efforts to preserve its WWII heritage. 

You can view history in the downtown National Register Historic District, which contains architecture from the Victorian and colonial eras. 

For other historic attractions, you can visit Battleship North Carolina, which participated in every major Pacific theater offensive in WWII. It’s located across from the historic downtown.

Railroads were one of the cornerstones of Wilmington’s economy for many years, and you can stop by the Wilmington Railroad Museum.

Lastly, there are many ways to learn about Black history in the Wilmington region, which includes the 1898 Wilmington Massacre and the Civil Rights Movement.  

USS North Carolina battleship

9. Outdoor Recreation

Relocation to Wilmington, NC gives you good access to outdoor recreation. 

If you like plants, you can check out the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden, which features many plants native to the area—including the Venus flytrap. There are also the beautiful Airlie Gardens, which span sixty-seven acres. 

For nearby biking, hiking, and walking trails, you can visit the 190-acre Greenfield Park, which has facilities including tennis courts, a skate park, and boat rentals as well. Cyclists can also use the River to the Sea Bikeway, which runs from downtown Wilmington to a nearby pier. These are just some of the great trails in the Wilmington, NC area—and obviously, Wilmington offers great opportunities for water recreation as well. 

If you’re moving to Wilmington in the summer, you’ll find hot and humid weather. However, the winters remain relatively temperate—perfect for people who like to be outside year-round. Wilmington also has more sunny days per year than the US average.

10. Location

Last but not least, Wilmington, NC is in a good location. 

It’s about two hours from the state capitol Raleigh, which is a great destination for day trips. It’s also within a few hours of Durham and Greensboro, as well as Charleston, SC. Charlotte, NC is also less than four hours away. Thus, living in Wilmington, NC gives you easy access to tons of major cities. 

Of course, Wilmington has the perk of being near the ocean as well; the famous beach town Myrtle Beach is only an hour and a half away by car.

Wilmington also has its own international airport, which offers direct flights to a variety of major cities, including Boston, Chicago, and New York.

Wilmington, NC Moving Company

UniMovers designing moving plan

Overall, there are lots of reasons to relocate to Wilmington, NC. If you’re ready to make the move, consider getting a moving company to help you out.

One moving company in Wilmington, NC is UniMovers. UniMovers is a labor-only moving company that relies on labor from local college students. We offer affordable, fixed hourly rates and can help you with all stages of the moving process while saving you money during your move. Thus, UniMovers is a great Wilmington, NC moving company!

Conclusion

We’ve covered the highlights of living in Wilmington, NC. There’s an affordable cost of living and all the perks of being right next to the ocean. You’ll find plenty to do in the area, including activities in arts and culture. Wilmington reaps the benefits of being a college town and has a variety of neighborhoods to choose from. 

There’s a growing economy and food scene, and a rich history, with tons of historic attractions nearby. In addition, Wilmington offers lots of spots for outdoor recreation, as well as being in a good location for travel. Thus, all in all, Wilmington, NC is a good place to live.

What are the benefits of moving to Wilmington, NC?

Some of the best parts of living in Wilmington, NC are the affordable cost of living; the proximity to the ocean; and the large variety of year-round events in the area.

Are there moving companies in Wilmington, NC?

There are several moving companies in the area. UniMovers is one moving company in Wilmington, NC that charges affordable hourly rates.

Is Wilmington, NC a good place to live?

All signs point to yes! Wilmington, NC has experienced a lot of population growth recently. It has a growing economy, plenty of outdoor activities and events, and strong schools and housing.

Sophie Pollack-Milgate has a day job as a bioethics research assistant. In her free time, she likes to read books critiquing psychiatry, complain about how either ice or heat are ruining her runs (depending on the season), and modify recipes beyond recognition.