Groups meeting in Wilmington, N.C., will be in for a surprise, as the city’s new Convention District, located within the city’s River District along Cape Fear River, continues to evolve.
Ever since the 2010 opening of the Wilmington Convention Center (WCC), the largest along the state’s coast, several projects are coming online to attract groups. New hotels, restaurants, retail, an event pier, marina and riverfront park will help redefine the city’s River District, connected by an about two-mile scenic Riverwalk. The 186-room Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront Hotel will open adjacent to the WCC in the fall, while a new 92-room Hampton Inn Downtown just opened in April. Undergoing an $8.5 million renovation, the Hilton Wilmington Riverside will also debut revitalized spaces and two new restaurant concepts when completed in spring 2018.
Pier 33, another waterfront venue for private events, can host more than 4,000 attendees. It is located on the water at Port City Marina, a 204-slip, full-service marina adjacent to the WCC, which makes it easy for groups to get out on the water before or after meetings. New riverfront restaurants also make meeting and eating here easy, with Blackfinn Ameripub opening last month and Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina expected to be completed later this summer.
As if that’s not enough transformation, the city’s Riverwalk underwent major improvements this spring that created a new streetscape near Market Street, and future work on Riverfront Park will help expand the Riverwalk beyond its current two miles. Lastly, North Waterfront Park will undergo a major redesign that will begin this summer and include everything from beer gardens and lawn space to a splash plaza and inland boardwalk. Its biggest highlight will be a performance space that will be available to rent for outdoor events.