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Senior Living
Jan 30, 2023

Singing Our Praises: Wilmington Often Tops the Charts!

Sponsored Content provided by Michela Hochschild - Director of Marketing, Riverlights Living


While it may be polite to demur when receiving a compliment, when our city and state earn praise, we proudly own it!  With so many finding their way to Wilmington from points elsewhere, there is a certain pride when others recognize the allure. 


Our local tourism authority keeps a running tally of our earned accolades, covering attractions, food and drink, lodging and the area in general. Indeed, there are dozens of honors bestowed on every facet of our fabulous little town.  Here are just a few for those who want to keep score:   


When Condé Nast Traveler released its 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards curated from over 240,000 ratings from readers, Wilmington was voted one of the best U.S. small cities to visit. Our city, at number 10, was recognized for its picturesque architecture and pedestrian friendly Riverwalk, with acknowledgement that the Wilmington Historic District is a national historic district and encompasses 875 buildings.


The Riverwalk often shines as the star of Wilmington's revitalized riverfront. It was identified as one of USA Today 10 Best Readers' Choice 2021 Best Riverwalks. As it should! Our Riverwalk invites outdoor recreation, al fresco dining, nightlife, water tours, live music and unforgettable views of the sunset and July Fourth fireworks over the Battleship North Carolina.  Suffice to say, we concur.


USA Today also named Wilmington's Battleship North the Best North Carolina Attraction. (Though nothing was said about their fireworks.)


Other attractions earning a nod:

Architectural Digest included Wilmington’s Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts among The Most Beautifully Designed Theaters in the Country.

Airlie Gardens was named by Orbitz as the Best Place to Get Married in North Carolina. Which is also to say, it’s simply a beautiful place to be – regardless of wedding bells. 


Oprah Magazine included Wilmington in its 28 Best Christmas Towns & Villages Across the World highlighting Enchanted Airlie. where 35-acres of forest and beautiful gardens are covered in one million festive holiday lights.


But aside from attractions, is Wilmington’s overall vibe.  It’s the combination of all-good-things that earned this Southern Living acknowledgement in 2021: “Wilmington has stepped into the limelight with a burgeoning food scene, blossoming downtown, and enough cultural and outdoor activities to fill a weekend itinerary several times over. It’s why Southern Living magazine included Wilmington and Island Beaches in its list of The South's Best Cities on the Rise 2021.


The year before, Southern Living magazine asked readers to choose The South's Best Cities, and Wilmington's “beautiful waterfront city loaded with historic charm” made the list. Readers loved Wilmington's balance of big-city activity and dining, with a small-town feel that's manageable for a quick getaway. The article called out our two-mile Riverwalk and Historic District, “where beautiful Victorian-style homes make for many a photo op. Access to three island beaches adds to the attraction, making Wilmington a true southern gem.”


But aside from the beauty and attractions of Wilmington-at-play, is its energy-at-work. And here too the Port City shines. Earlier this year, Wilmington was ranked the #1 startup ecosystem in the US, among cities under 300,000.


No longer “up and coming,” the Port City’s ranking was on StartupBlink’s list of the best global (yes!) startup ecosystems.  Wilmington ranked No 2 worldwide, among cities with populations between 100,000 and 300,000.  But the city at the top was Cambridge, UK, so by default, Wilmington is the Number 1 startup ecosystem in North America. 


Also, it was also a delight to read a new analysis by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team that ranked the 15 U.S. metro areas showing the greatest increase in local tech talent over the past three years. Among the surprises:  Wilmington came in at #11, posting a 27.6% growth in tech talent from 2019 to 2022. We’ll take it!


A recent ranking that was altogether fun came from the fashion police.  North Carolina ranked as the best state in the South and fifth best in the nation in a study determining the best places for “street style," coming closely behind fashion meccas like New York and California.


"While it’s no surprise that New York and California take the top two spots, North Carolina is one of the breakout states on the list, even beating Texas to be crowned the best street style in the South,” said a spokesperson for boohooMAN, which conducted the study.


Yet, of all the rankings recently bestowed on Wilmington or North Carolina, the one that pleases me most is that of the North Carolina Community of the Year. That honor went to Riverlights at the 2022 North Carolina Home Builders Association Annual Awards Gala.  We did not demur.  On the contrary, our residents agreed with that exceedingly well-informed judgement!


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