United States / North Carolina / Wilmington Metro Area / Counties / Cities / Zip Codes

Review of Wilmington, North Carolina

Best Up and Coming City on the East Coast
Star Rating - 3/21/2018
Point blank, the best up and coming city on the East Coast.

My fiancée and I picked Wilmington, after an exhaustive search of the continental USA. Between us, we have lived in San Diego CA, Los Angeles CA, Austin TX, San Antonio TX, Raleigh NC, NY, VT, Washington DC, Tampa and Sarasota FL, Alexandria VA... the list goes on.

We were in search of an artsy city that supported small businesses... coffee shops over clubs, boutiques over strip malls, historic homes over Suburbia, a walkable downtown, cultured locals, a night life that included plays and funky restaurants.

Initially, Wilmington wasn’t even on our radar. We work in the music industry and in PR- neither of us had ever even heard of it. But with the price of housing surging in the more “popular” cities, we were struggling to balance quality of life with finding a home that packed personality and potential.

New Orleans offered an unmatched scene for foodies and a phenomenal music scene. But the oppressive summer weather, the high crime, and the cost of housing ($500k for 1500 sf that still needed work) made it a no-go.

Raleigh-Durham, while centrally located and growing, felt like suburban sprawl on steroids... the racial tension in areas that are undergoing gentrification, is palpable. As an inter-racial couple, we wanted to find a neighborhood that welcomed us both.

Savannah offered some of the most charming city squares we have seen, but a concerning lack of job opportunities.

Wilmington took us by surprise. We fell in love with the dog friendly downtown, the eclectic mix of locally owned shops and restaurants, the historic homes.

If golf is your thing, if you’re after good public schools and friendly suburban neighborhoods- while not necessarily our highest priorities, Wilmington has that in spades.

If you’re looking for a fun and funky beach culture, with affordable homes that are walking distance to the waves- Carolina and Kure beach have got you covered.

For cheap flights and great deals, the newly remodeled airport at nearby Myrtle Beach offers more travel options than the local airport.

As to the naysayers and the critics- every city has its drawbacks. But there’s a reason that Wilmington has been growing at such a fast pace- check the statistics.

While there are parts of the city that are transitioning, this has kept prices affordable. The moment that Wilmington ups it’s PR and gets ‘discovered’, you better believe that all the charming bungalows and the stately homes with the wrap around front porches... will be gone. And in about 5 minutes.

Buying in Wilmington is a smart move. With the third larges film industry in the USA, an incredible theater scene, and a series of neighborhoods that are protected by the National Register of Historic Places... prices are going to be ticking upwards.

As to the Riverfront, permits for luxury condos, conference centers and high rise hotels... they’re already approved and construction has started.

Visit. This. City.

Samira | Grand Isle, VT
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1 Replies

Thanks for your review. Do you still feel the same way about your choice? I'm 57, divorced and a clinical social worker in the Philadelphia area. I need to get out of Philadelphia winters and I'd like to be less than 2 hours from the beach. I'd also like access to local water (kayaking) and a smaller town feel (but not super small). I'm still working but hoping to get another job in health insurance, which lets me work from home. I'm also wondering if there's any diversity; though I'm white, I prefer a mix of cultures, people, etc. I'm from Philly, which is very diverse, liberal and tolerant. Thank you.
Michelle | Philadelphia, PA | Report Abuse
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