There are several elements that factor into a high quality of life for residents: comfortable homes, modern utilities, robust public education options, and access to commercial establishments that fulfill day-to-day needs.
Within a community, however, arts, culture, recreation and entertainment are also important contributing factors. Fortunately for those who live in Wilmington, Delaware, the Brandywine Valley, or surrounding communities, the area is brimming with fun events, enriching activities, and stimulating opportunities to cultivate and satisfy a range of tastes and interests, which make it a great place to retire. If you’re looking for things to do in Delaware, try out one of these activities:
1. Travel the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway
The approximately 12.5-mile scenic byway is comprised of two historic roads and divided into three main sections covering the City of Wilmington, Kennett Pike, and Montchanin Road. You can enjoy the sights of northern Delaware, including the Wilmington cityscape and rural countryside, and get a taste of the area’s industrial past.
2. Explore the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library
Located in Winterthur off Kennett Pike, this expansive estate was the former home of renowned antiques collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont. It was opened to the public about 60 years ago and currently hosts an extensive collection of American decorative arts. The property also includes a thousand acres of meadows and woodlands.
3. Tour Old New Castle
This activity is for anyone who loves history and architecture. Brimming with colonial charm, New Castle is home to the Old Court House, an original meeting place for the first state assembly members. It was at the New Castle Court House, which now facilitates a museum, that assembly members decided to break away from England – and Pennsylvania – in June of 1776, thus establishing the state of Delaware. The town also has a library and several iconic dining establishments that shouldn’t be missed.
4. Catch a show at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington
The Grand manages three venues that collectively feature about 120 shows per year that cover a range of performing arts, including dance, theater, comedy, and music. The organization’s Grand Opera House, which has operated for more than 140 years, remains one of the best places in Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley to catch a live show.
5. Enjoy the Delaware Taco Festival
A fairly recent addition to Wilmington’s event offerings, the Delaware Taco Festival takes place annually in August and features more than 25 restaurants and other purveyors serving their signature tacos. Other highlights of the event include a tequila-sampling expo and margarita beach bar.
6. Walk downtown Wilmington’s Riverfront
One of the best things to do in Wilmington, Delaware, is to simply take a walk downtown along the riverfront. Riverfront Wilmington merges the neighborhood’s rich history with a wide variety of recreational, cultural, retail and culinary attractions that can be enjoyed time and again.
7. Take a ride on the Wilmington and Western Railroad
Described as Delaware’s operating railroad museum, the modern-day Wilmington & Western route covers 10 scenic miles from Greenbank Station over the Red Clay Creek and through Brandywine Springs Park, Faulkland, Wooddale, Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove, Ashland, Yorklyn, and Hockessin. Western & Wilmington also provides excursion train rides on the weekends, and passengers enjoy the attraction to celebrate anniversaries, holidays, and other special occasions.
8. Spend a day at Hagley Museum and Library
Idyllically situated on 235 acres along the banks of the Brandywine River, Hagley Museum and Library was established two centuries ago as a gunpowder enterprise by E.I. du Pont. Today, guests can explore the ancestral home, restored mills, and expansive gardens of the du Pont family, get coffee at the Berlin House Cafe, and peruse Hagley’s library, filled with company records, individual papers, and other documents pertaining to business, innovation, and technology.
9. Attend the Brandywine Festival of the Arts
Say farewell to summer in style at the Brandywine Festival of the Arts. Occurring annually in September, the festival is a conglomeration of myriad unique art exhibits, delicious food and beverages from local vendors, and an open-air showcase of area musicians at Brandywine Park’s Josephine Gardens.
10. Get drinks at Hummingbird To Mars
Step back in time for a night on the town with friends or classy date. The sophisticated speakeasy-themed Hummingbird To Mars in Trolley Square is renowned for its elegant atmosphere, classic and signature cocktails, and live music.
A community to love
There’s never a dull moment in Wilmington, Delaware, and the surrounding area. From culturally and historically relevant attractions that operate year-round to numerous festivals and special events, Wilmington offers something to fulfill every fancy, creating a vibrant, enriching environment for residents to call home. Plus, if you find yourself in Delaware during the holidays, you can take a stroll through the best neighborhood Christmas lights!