Wilmington, Delaware | Where to Live Next | Smithsonian
Current Issue
September 2014  magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Am impressive array of condominiums, shops, and restaurants, connected by a riverwalk, run along the Christiana River. (Courtesy of the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Wilmington, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

smithsonian.com

Population: 72,826 (2006 estimate)
Percentage of retirees: 13.4% in 2006
Cost of living index: Below average
Public libraries: 7
Public transportation: The DART bus system has regular routes in and around the city. DART also operates a trolley that takes passengers on a 10-minute trip from downtown to the Amtrak Station, to the Riverfront.
Access to airports: Philadelphia International Airport is about 20 minutes away.
Tax breaks: In Delaware, taxpayers under 60 may deduct pension amounts of up to $2,000 and those 60 or over, up to $12,500. Eligible amounts for taxpayers 60 or over include retirement income (dividends, capital gains realization, interest and rental income).
Number of museums: 21
Number of cinemas: 5
Cultural Highlights: Rich in museums and nearby historic estates and gardens.
Access to Healthcare: Fair, with several private hospitals; world class research hospitals in nearby Baltimore and Philadelphia
Climate: Moderate winters, hot humid summers.
Annual precipitation: 42.4 inches
Number of sunny days a year: 201
Useful links: Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau
Nearby Attractions: Brandywine Valley, Historic Newcastle, Delaware, both on the outskirts of town; Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pennsylvania Amish Country, and Atlantic beaches about an hour's drive away; Washington, D. C., and New York about two hours.
In the Know: "Wilmington is a great place to retire because of the beautiful Brandywine Valley, wonderful cultural opportunities, great Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey Beaches, and proximity to major cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and New York. Thankfully, we have access to all the cultural amenities of major cities without sales tax or higher crime rates."
-Renay A. Mercer Gore, Community Programs Manager, Delaware Art Museum

From This Story

This small city was always perfectly situated in the center of the Eastern megalopolis and right at the edge of the stunning Brandywine Valley. But beyond its stellar location and the respected Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington didn't offer a lot. The downtown was far from vibrant, and in places pretty rough. All that has changed within a few short years, and the decrepit warehouses, factories and mills along the Christiana River have been revitalized into an impressive array of condominiums, shops and restaurants, connected by a riverwalk. At its east end rises a historic train station, where frequent Amtrak trains stop on their way to and from Washington and New York.

North of the riverfront, in the center of downtown, the historic Dupont Hotel houses its own theater, and nearby stand the Delaware Symphony and Opera House, home to its own companies, and the Grand Opera House, with a calendar of pop and classical performers. Wilmington also likes its festivals, from the annual Italian and Greek festivals to the Delaware Shakespeare Festival to the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, one of the oldest in the East.

At the western edge of downtown, Route 52 heads through gracious but affordable old neighborhoods and into the fabled valley of the du Ponts-the Brandywine. The legacy they left behind in these rolling green hills includes the famed Longwood Gardens, the Winterthur Museum (the acknowledged premiere museum of American decorative arts), the Nemours Mansion and Gardens and the Hagley Museum, where the du Pont empire began with a gunpowder mill on the banks of Brandywine Creek. The valley also claims the famous Wyeth clan, three generations of artists whose works are always on display at the Brandywine Valley Museum, a restored gristmill as elegant in its own way as the opulence of the du Pont estates.

 

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus