Everything You Need to Know When Moving to or Wilmington, NC
Wilmington, North Carolina is a beautiful town with a rich history and it's located right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, downtown Wilmington is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it a truly iconic place to call home. If you're thinking about moving to Wilmington, you've got plenty to consider, and our guys at College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving are here to make your transition as seamless as possible. In this guide, we'll discuss everything you need to know about Wilmington, so you can make an informed decision about whether you'd like to make this historic city your new home.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Wilmington's population is currently 115,451, and with a population density of 2,451 people per square mile, this large city still has a small town charm. The median income is $47,580, which is below the national average of $62,843, but overall living expenses are lower than the national average as well.
Wilmington is a predominantly White town, with 76.5% of its residents identifying as White, while 18.4% are Black or African American, 6.3% are Hispanic or Latino, and 1.3% are Asian.
Cost of Living
44.5% of Wilmington residents own their own homes, and on average, they pay around $246,400 for a mortgage. For reference, the national average price for a home is around $217,500. Monthly mortgage rates are on par with the national average at $1,576, and monthly rent rates are around $998 per month, just slightly under the national average.
Housing prices vary in Wilmington, depending on the neighborhood you choose and its proximity to the center of town as well as the Cape Fear Coast beaches. There is a wide range of residential neighborhoods in Wilmington that offer everything from starter homes with plenty of land to luxury beachfront homes with all the amenities you could dream of. Wilmington truly offers something for everyone who chooses to live in the city.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wilmington's unemployment rate was 3.9% in August 2021, which is well below the national average of 4.8%. There are plenty of employment opportunities available in and around Wilmington, especially if you have a background in education or medicine. The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce lists the following employers as the largest in the area, employing thousands of people who live in and around the city.
- New Hanover Regional Medical Center/Cape Fear Hospital: 6,123 employees
- New Hanover County Schools: 4,443 employees
- Wal-Mart Stores: 2,592 employees
- GE Wilmington: 2,175 employees
- University of NC Wilmington: 1,860 employees
When it comes to education, Wilmington residents take theirs very seriously, and many adults hold higher education degrees. Impressively, 92.4% of adults over 25 in Wilmington have received their high school diplomas, and 41.5% have gone on to receive their bachelors degrees. This is higher than the national averages of 88% and 32.1%, respectively.
If you decide to relocate to Wilmington, it's important to know how to navigate the city. Commute times, on average, are only 18.6 minutes, which is far below the national average of 26.9 minutes. This is due, in part, to the Wave Transit System that operates seven days a week to transport people throughout Wilmington and the surrounding area. Residents are encouraged to "catch the wave" by using the transit system to commute to work and other activities throughout the city. Adult one-way tickets are only $2, and if you're over 65 years old or if you're a student or a person with a disability, tickets are only $1. Day, week and monthly passes are also available at discounted rates. Check out the Wave's website for real-time bus information that is updated every 10 seconds or download the app.
The Port City Trolley is a free trolley that transports people throughout the downtown districts of Wilmington for easy access to shopping, restaurants, museums and other entertainment venues. Check out the online map to find the best place to hop aboard.
If you relocate to Wilmington, and find that you need to park in the city, you'll find plenty of places to safely (and cost effectively) park your car each day. This map provides a detailed list of metered street parking options, along with paid parking garages and special event parking lots.
Weather and Climate
Wilmington weather is pleasant year-round, making it the perfect place to spend your time outdoors hiking, biking and enjoying the city's beaches. Winters rarely dip below the mid 50s, and summers are very warm, peaking around 90 degrees in July. During the warmest months, residents can be found lying out in the sun while the Atlantic waves lap at their toes, or trying their hand at surfing or paddle boarding in the water.
With such lovely weather year-round, Wilmington residents spend a lot of time outdoors. There are several cycling paths throughout the city, including the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail, River to Sea Bikeway and Blue Clay Bike Park. Each trail system offers off-road paths for cyclists of all ability levels, and the scenary will take your breath away.
For those who enjoy camping, Carolina Beach State Park offers a great place to pitch a tent and spend a night under the stars, and with the proximity of sevaral local beaches, many residents learn to surf. It's become so popular, a Surf School was created on Carolina Beach to safely teach people who are ready to get their feet wet.
In addition to these activities, Wilmington residents enjoy hiking through local parks and trail systems, along the beach and down the Riverwalk.
Things to do in Wilmington
With big city options and a small town vibe, Wilmington is a great place to explore. If you're looking for a reason to move to this historic town, the endless options for fun should convince you to stay a while. Whether you're a young professional or if you have a family with small children, there's plenty to see and do in Wilmington.
The nightlife in Wilmington is unique, and you'll be surprised at how much this town likes to party. If you enjoy dinner and a show, check out the Dead Crow Comedy Room for an evening that will leave you in stitches. If you like a good bar scene with an old-school vibe, check out 1900 Restaurant and Lounge, or grab a handcrafted cocktail at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
If you like seafood, check out Cape Fear Seafood Company. They specialize in regional American seafood and their freshly made desserts are divine. The Copper Penny is a restaurant located in historical downtown Wilmington that's been featured on The Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. If you'd like to try something more unique, visit Indochine Restaurant, boasted as the city's most acclaimed Thai and Vietnamese Asian Restaurant.
Moving to Wilmington means you've got centuries of history at your fingertips, and you'll never run out of places to explore. Battleship North Carolina is a historic site where you can walk the decks of the USS North Carolina and Airlie Gardens is a 67 acre public garden space that has been maintained since 1884.
For kid-friendly fun, explore hands-on exhibits at The Children's Museum of Wilmington, or try your hand at laser tag at Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park. Residents and visitors alike enjoy strolling along the Wilmington Riverwalk, a two mile scenic space along the Cape Fear River that's lined with unique restaurants and shops.
If you choose to relocate to Wilmington, you'll be able to take advantage of the resources offered by the New Hanover County Public Library System. Residents are able to check out books, participate in community events, and select online book from the system's eLibrary.
Best Neighborhoods in Wilmington
Wilmington has several neighborhoods tucked into its perimeters, and each has its own unique community and vibe. There are several highly-rated public and private schools throughout the city, and if that's an important factor in your decision, you'll want to choose a neighborhood that's nearby.
Rivers Edge is a neighborhood located on the city's southwest side and many families move here because of its unique location and safe environment. Just a short drive to downtown historic Wilmington, and close to Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beaches, this neighborhood has it all. You'll find affordable two-story single family homes and plenty of businesses nearby including boutiques, restaurants, a golf course and a community pool. Families especially love Rivers Edge because of its proximity to excellent public and private schools.
Located on the southwest side of Wilmington, this quiet neighborhood is situated between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic coast. The streets are quiet and residents enjoy a slower-paced lifestyle in The Cape. Although it's just a few minutes from downtown Wilmington and the beach, The Cape draws residents in with its quiet, strong community vibe. It's truly the best of both worlds -- a serene space just outside the hustle and bustle of the downtown scene.
Sentry Oaks is a residential neighborhood on the southeast side of Wilmington, and it's a great place for families to plant roots. Many homes in Sentry Oaks sit on large properties that are an acre in size, making it the perfect place to raise children. Additionally, this neighborhood is located near the Halyburton School Complex, which is highly rated.
Located on the west side of Wilmington near the central downtown area, the Historic District is a truly unique place to call home. Many of the homes in this neighborhood were built in the 18th and 19th centuries and the architecture is unlike anywhere else. Homes in this neighborhood are also a short distance from the Riverwalk, and this area is the most diverse in Wilmington. Additionally, the Historic District is peppered with mature trees and plenty of green space.
RiverLights is located along the Cape Fear River on the southwest side of the city and it's a great place to live no matter whether you're a single professional or if you have a family. There's a variety of housing options from single family homes to apartments and even a 55+ community for older adults to enjoy. RiverLights is located near a plethora of shops, restaurants, hiking trails, and plenty of activities on the River. Top-rated preschools, public schools and private schools are nearby, making it a great place to raise a family.
Whether You're Moving Across Town or Across the Country
According to the North Carolina DMV, if you're moving to Wilmington from out of state, you must change your address with the North Carolina DMV, get a new driver's license and obtain a new vehicle registration. If you're moving from somewhere within the state, the rules are very similar, and you'll have 60 days to get your documents and registrations transferred.
Important Things to Know Before Moving to Wilmington
If you're thinking about moving to Wilmington, it's important to consider every pro and con before finalizing your decision. Here are a few to think about.
- Wilmington is a historic city filled with historical buildings and sites to explore. If you're a history buff, you'll love the unique attractions this city has to offer.
- Winters are mild and it rarely snows. This makes it the perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities year-round.
- If you enjoy snowy winters, you may want to consider moving farther north.
- Wilmington is not as diverse as larger cities, so if this is important to you, choose a neighborhood that has a diverse population.
When you're ready to move to Wilmington, our experts at College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving will be here to help. Our crews will work tirelessly to get your belongings safely to your new home. For a free quote, contact us today