Zipping through the Mid-Atlantic states? Set up a little detour on your itinerary to check out all the best things to do in Wilmington, Delaware. The largest city in Delaware and the state’s major cultural hub, Wilmington might be one of the most surprising urban travel destinations in the Northeast USA.
With tons of culture, galleries, and natural spaces, Wilmington offers travelers plenty of love. The top tourist attractions in Wilmington, DE, include museums, art galleries, estates, and sprawling parks, allowing visitors to indulge in history, culture, and outdoor activities.
Not sure what to do in Wilmington? Pack your bags and plan the perfect Delaware itinerary with this complete guide to the best places to visit in Wilmington, DE.
Must-see places to visit in Wilmington, DE
Delaware Children’s Museum
Traveling to Wilmington, DE, with kiddos in tow? Ignite their curiosity with a visit to the awe-inspiring Delaware Children’s Museum.
Featuring rooms filled with interactive exhibits, designed to challenge and educate children in an entertaining way, the Delaware Children’s Museum gives you the best of both worlds: learning and fun!
With exhibits focusing on age ranges from toddlers to teens, your entire family will find something to inspire them here. Add into the mix the giant climbing structure, and your sense of adventure will be ignited!
It’s worth noting that the Delaware Children’s Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays; you’re going to have to schedule your visit around those days.
Looking to discover more about the history and industry of the Wilmington area? A visit to the Hagley Museum will help fill that hole in your Wilmington, DE, vacation!
Formerly the site of the original black powder works, founded by the DuPont Company in 1802, the Hagley Museum estate has seen plenty in its history. With a huge historic house and grounds, an old gunpowder mill, a library, and more, you can spend days exploring this Wilmington tourist attraction alone!
The Hagley Museum is nestled in 235 acres of gorgeous woodland, with the Brandywine River babbling alongside. This Wilmington tourist attraction offers a perfect day out for the entire family. Bonus: There’s plenty of parking and picnic areas available so that you can make a full day of it!
Always wanted to visit the beautifully manicured gardens of Versailles in France but haven’t had the chance yet? Experience the largest formal French gardens in North America at the lovely Nemours Estate.
Owned by the famous industrial family, the DuPonts, the Nemours Estate was built in 1910 to mimic a French Chateau in the heart of Delaware. Spend your time wandering around and admiring the 100-acre gardens, or journey inside and snoop around the 102-room chateau.
If you want to escape into a fancy and rich European fantasy, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better spot around Wilmington, Delaware, than the Nemours Mansion and Gardens.
Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library
Looking to check out some beautiful antiques and decorative arts? Head to the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library for a great day both indoors and outdoors.
Yet another top-rated Wilmington tourist attraction owned by the DuPont family, the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library was home to well-known antiques collector and horticulturist Henry Francis Du Pont. The result? An impressive art collection and gorgeous gardens.
As the Winterthur Library is a recognized research center, the site still contributes to the arts, culture, and history of the Wilmington area to this day.
Remember: The Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library is closed on Mondays; organize your itinerary accordingly.
Delaware Museum of Nature & Science
Interested in the history and inner workings of the natural world? Learn something new and fascinating at the Delaware Museum of Nature & Science.
Whether you’re into dinosaurs, fossils, birds, or shells, you’ll find a lot to love at this interactive museum. Enjoy the hands-on exhibits designed to be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. If you’ve got kiddos with you, the Delaware Museum of Nature & Science is a great stop on your Wilmington adventure.
You can also explore the more research-led exhibits detailing how we’re connected to nature and how we can improve our relationship with the environment for years to come!
Looking to wander out in nature while remaining in the center of Wilmington, DE? Hit up Brandywine Park and enjoy this beautiful city park.
As the oldest city park in Wilmington, Brandywine Park is a staple in the city. Home to the Brandywine Zoo, this park is hugely popular among tourists and locals alike. Take a walk or jog along one of the many trails and scenic tracks.
Alternatively, sit on one of the many benches running along the side of Brandywine Creek and listen to the serene babbling of the water. It’s a tranquil escape in the heart of the city and definitely worth a visit during your next Wilmington vacation.
Brandywine Creek State Park
Wanting more wide open space to explore outside of the city? Roam wild and fee at Brandywine Creek State Park.
Located just three miles north of Wilmington, Brandywine Creek State Park used to be part of a dairy farm and part of the DuPont estate until it became a state park in 1965. Across the 933-acre preserve, you can wander along Brandywine Creek, taking in your surroundings.
Enjoy the tulip field, check out the 19th-century walls, get lost in the impressive poplar forest, or learn something new at the nature center. Brandywine Creek State Park is fantastic for a full day out for any family!
Rockwood Park & Museum
Consider yourself a bit of an architectural buff? Be sure to add the Rockwood Park & Museum to your Wilmington, Delaware, itinerary.
As an excellent example of Rural Gothic Revival Architecture, the Rockwood Park & Museum was home to a Quaker banking merchant called Joseph Shipley. As the home was built in 1854, it’s no wonder that it’s been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Enjoy regular tours around the Victorian-era house, filled with artifacts and stories from years gone by.
When you’ve had your fill of the inside of Rockwood, head outside and enjoy the 72 acres of grounds and gardens encompassing the estate.
The Delaware Contemporary
Into contemporary art or just looking to inject some culture into your next Wilmington, DE, vacation? Either way, a trip to The Delaware Contemporary is a must.
Located on Wilmington’s iconic riverfront, the city’s only contemporary art museum isn’t in the business of building collections. Instead, The Delaware Contemporary has a few rotating exhibits, including some by local artists that change throughout the year.
Every visit to The Delaware Contemporary is completely different and you’re always likely to find a new favorite. You’ll also find some of the artists there in person, as The Delaware Contemporary also has a series of artists’ studios attached to it.
Bellevue State Park
Want to check out a state park that’s a little bit different? Gather up your friends and family and head to Bellevue State Park.
Donated to the city by the DuPont family, Bellevue State Park was once a family estate before becoming a state park. What sets Bellevue State Park apart from other Delaware state parks is that it features stables complete with a 1-and-1/8-mile horse track. You can even saddle up and ride around this historic track!
Away from the stable, you can also take advantage of tennis courts, fishing ponds, and fitness tracks.
Looking to visit and spend the day in a historic city park? Rockford Park ticks all those boxes—and more!
Located in the Highlands neighborhood of Wilmington, DE, Rockford Park is characterized by rolling green hills that give way to expansive views of the Brandywine River.
That’s not the park’s main attraction though; that honor goes to the Rockford Tower. Erected over 100 years ago, Rockford Tower is an iconic historic water tower sitting in the center of the park.
Once you’ve seen Rockford Tower, you can hit up the tennis courts, running and cycling trails or wander through the woodland areas of Rockford Park.
Have a green thumb or have an eye for landscaping? Or maybe you just want to see a spectacular garden? Whichever it is, the Longwood Gardens is one of the must-visit Wilmington points of interest.
The location of Longwood Gardens is a little bit contentious, as it spreads out over 1,077 acres. Parts of Longwood Gardens are in Wilmington, DE, but a large portion is in Pennsylvania. No matter which state you’re in, the Longwood Gardens are an astounding addition to your trip itinerary.
Filled with beautiful plants, flowers, and foliage, Longwood Gardens is a horticulturalist’s dream. The showstoppers? The fountains that explode out of the ground, catching the light with every water stream. Simply magical!
Brandywine River Museum of Art
Looking for a niche art museum nestled in the beautiful Brandywine Valley? The Brandywine River Museum of Art won’t disappoint!
Celebrating the works of the American realist painter Andrew Wyeth and his family, the Brandywine River Museum of Art is home to still-life, pastoral art, as well as early American portraits.
Housed in an old stone mill, the art museum’s building itself is outstanding, unleashing expansive views of the valley through large windows.
Of course, the natural surroundings in the Brandywine Valley make the Brandywine River Museum of Art an ideal day out for the entire family and a great escape from the city.
Alapocas Run State Park
Looking to enjoy some outdoor adventuring during your next trip to Wilmington, DE? Grab your kit and your friends and beeline to Alapocas Run State Park.
Housed in an old quarry, Alapocas Run State Park is a 415-acre state park built with outdoor pursuits in mind. As the state’s only natural rock climbing wall, it’s become a haven for rock climbers of all styles; if this is your thing, make sure to pack your cams and ropes!
Back down on solid ground, Alapocas Run State Park is home to hundreds of snaking trails that are suitable for hiking, running, and cycling. Choose your difficulty level and go from there. With accessible trails all the way to scrambling, you’ll find a vast choice of routes here.
Fox Point State Park
Want to chill out by the water outside the city? Enjoy the calm of the Delaware River at Fox Point State Park.
Featuring the start of a 90-mile-long trail called the Coastal Heritage Greenway, Fox Point State Park is a great spot to hang out with family and friends along the riverfront. Along the well-maintained bike path, you can follow the river and take in your surroundings.
After you’ve tired yourself out, set up camp at one of the many picnic areas or BBQ spots and refuel before your ride back into the city. A perfect Delaware day with family or friends!
Delaware Art Museum
Looking to inject some art and culture into your next trip to Wilmington? Add the Delaware Art Museum to your itinerary and get inspired.
Housing some of the Pre-Raphaelite masters of art within its walls, the Delaware Art Museum has something to suit all tastes in its permanent collection. If you prefer your art to be more physical in medium, head outside to the Delaware Art Museum’s nine-acre outdoor sculpture garden.
Want to discover the next big artist? The Delaware Art Museum also displays work from the Brandywine school illustrators, bringing local artists alongside iconic pieces by Edward Hopper and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
The Grand Opera House
Want to enjoy a grand night out at the theater? Dress up and head out to The Grand Opera House for a night out on the town.
This opulent and beautiful four-story building was opened all the way back in 1871 and has been dazzling audiences ever since. Despite the name, The Grand Opera House isn’t just about opera, although you can still find performances throughout the venue’s calendar of events.
With performances by musicians like Gary Clark Jr., touring musicals, and comedy acts to choose from, you’re bound to find something that excites you at the Grand Opera House.
Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park
Looking for a historic Wilmington park that celebrates two American heroes? Look no further than Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park.
Located on Rosa Parks Drive, the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park features statues and memorials to both Harriet Tubman and Thomas Garrett, who worked together on the iconic and world-changing Underground Railroad.
Perched on where the city meets the river, the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park is a beautiful and poignant place to spend some time relaxing and reflecting on your next trip to Wilmington, Delaware. You’ll also find live music and concerts taking place, often free of charge, so it’s well worth stopping.