Wilmington is a port city in and the county seat of New Hanover County in coastal southeastern North Carolina, United States. With a population of 115,451 at the 2020 census, it is the eighth-most populous city in the state. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes New Hanover and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, which had a population of 285,905 in 2020.
Wilmington's historic downtown has a riverwalk, developed as a tourist attraction in the late 20th century. In 2014, Wilmington's riverfront was ranked as the "Best American Riverfront" by readers of USA Today. The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Wilmington as one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations.
City residents live between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean, with four nearby beach communities just outside Wilmington: Fort Fisher, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach, all within half-hour drives from downt