So it’s a Friday or Saturday night (or Valentine’s Day!) and you’re sitting on your couch watching the same television shows you always do with your significant other, wishing there was something better to do. Lucky for you, you live in Wilmington, North Carolina, where there are tons of great places to eat, drink, and see! And since it’s February, the month of love, I thought it would be fun to pull together the best date ideas in Wilmington, NC for you and your significant other to experience.

Even after you’re married, it’s important to not forget to date each other! It’s not unusual for couples to actually sit down and look at a calendar and schedule out their date nights. I’m a firm believe that if you don’t plan for the date and schedule the date, then you probably won’t have the date. Amen? It’s so easy to get into a boring routine and not make time for time together, so today is a great day to start!

 date night ideas in wilmington nc


  1. Airlie GardensExplore the breathtaking gardens, as well as wildlife, historic structures, walking trails, and fresh-water lakes. And New Hanover County residents can get in free on the first Sunday of every month. Just bring a valid I.D. or piece of mail with name and address on it. During the rest of the week admission is just $5 for New Hanover County residents or $9 if you’re not a resident.
  2. The Arboretum: I love the Arboretum! It is free to get in and is such a gorgeous garden and beautiful place to tour and walk around with your loved one. They host a lot of great events throughout the year so check out their calendar of events!
  3. Fishing on Johnny Mercers PierExperience a relaxing, romantic sunset while tossing a line with your loved one beside you. It’s $1.50 to walk on the pier or $8 to fish. I kept this on the free list because it would be fun to just fish anywhere! Doesn’t have to be on a pier!
  4. Wave Watching: Wave watch at night in a life guard tower near Jonny Mercers Pier.
  5. Sunset Picnic: Rent a boat for the afternoon to watch the sunset. You can even make a trip to secluded Masonboro Island for a private picnic on the beach.
  6. Farmer’s MarketIndulge yourself into the Wilmington downtown farmers market every Saturday morning.
  7. Fort FisherTake a night walk and experience the water hitting the rocks on shore. You can tour the Fort and plan to have a nice picnic out by the beach.
  8. Bike or Walk around the Wrightsville Beach Loop: The loop at Wrightsville Beach is a local hot spot for people who just want to get out and enjoy nature as well as a little exercise. You can bike or walk around this 2.5 mile route located in the center of Wrightsville Beach.

Takes $$$

  1. Elijah’s RestaurantOn the River Walk in downtown Wilmington, enjoy coastal seafood alongside the Cape Fear River.
  2. Bluewater GrillExperience fresh and local seafood while dining right along the Intracoastal Waterway.
  3. Le Catalan French Café Wine Bar“Wine Down” on the River Walk looking over the Cape Fear river at one of Wilmington’s authentic French cafes and wine bars
  4. Ceviche’sExperience an inspired Panamanian Restaurant & Bar.
  5. Paddleboarding: Paddleboard in the Intracoastal Waterway of Wrightsville Beach. The couple that exercises together stays together! You can find many rental companies around Wrightsville Beach. Check out our fav, Carolina Paddleboard Co.!
  6. Thalian Hall Center for Performing ArtsExperience an abundance of shows and music at this historic theater.
  7. Battleship North Carolina TourTour the USS North Carolina and experience the history of Wilmington’s role in World War II. This one may be a sacrifice for the man in your life 😉
  8. Cape Fear River BoatsTake a boat tour and enjoy a dinner around downtown Wilmington during a gorgeous sunset.
  9. Circa 1922Experience fine dining in downtown Wilmington at one the town’s most romantic restaurants.
  10. Boca BayNear Wrightsville Beach, experience sushi, a raw bar, and steamers. They also host a great Sunday brunch!
  11. IndochineExperience an authentic Asian dining experience. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported somewhere else at this authentic Thai restaurant. They have great dining inside and a huge dining and patio area outside as well.
  12. The Cotton ExchangeEnjoy a shopping center in historic downtown filled with amazing shops and restaurants all while learning about the Cotton Exchange history.
  13. The Little DipperSatisfy your taste buds while dipping into luxurious chocolate and cheese.
  14. River Boat LandingLocated in Downtown Wilmington, experience an amazing dinner on a romantic balcony for two, looking right over the Cape Fear River. It’s an iconic restaurant in the heart of downtown and you can easily take a moonlit walk along the river afterwards.
  15. Brasserie du Soleil: Brasserie du Soleil is the perfect place to go for authentic French cuisine and a beautiful atmosphere that also has outdoor dining. Located in the quaint Lumina Station shopping center, you and your date can walk around and shop while you’re there.
  16. Downtown Carriage Ride: I’m a huge fan of the horse drawn carriage rides downtown! They are 30 minute narrated tours around downtown Wilmington. They have 6 different routes so you can do this more than once and get a different tour every time! And the best part, they rescue horses and take care of them with the ticket sales.

I hope you’ll put the effort forth to be more proactive about having quality time together, away from all the screens and distractions! I’d love to hear about anything you like to do around Wilmington together so I can add it to our list!