Rain doesn’t have to ruin your vacation. Check out these Things To Do When It Rains In Wilmington, NC, like Glow Golf, museums, music & more.
For more to do in the area, check out all these posts about Wilmington, NC.
Wilmington is a beach town. Kind of. There are beaches around Wilmington, NC, but not actually any in Wilmington proper. But people go to Wilmington on their beach vacations anyway. Even in the fall, you can still go to the beach.
But it’s also hurricane season then, so you may have to deal with the rain. Don’t worry. There are so many fun things to do when it rains in Wilmington, NC.
You won’t be beach bound, but you might actually even forget that you came for the beach originally.
If you’re visiting Wilmington, check out our Wilmington, North Carolina Travel Guide to plan things to do during your trip.
10+ Things To Do When It Rains In Wilmington, NC
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Blue Post Billiards
One of our favorite bars when we moved to Wilmington was Blue Post Billiards. It has been a staple in downtown Wilmington for over 20 years. Located down a small blink-and-you’ll-miss-it alley in Wilmington, Blue Post is the bar that you really only know about if someone tells you.
So I’m telling you.
There’s a bar, pool tables, and then a back half filled with arcade games and a second bar. That back part is so much fun, and a great excuse to go even if you don’t drink.
Blue Post is also haunted, so they say, and it’s part of the Haunted Pub Tour, so definitely check out the barcade if you’re into the paranormal.
Even though there’s an arcade with pinball, skee ball, and other video games, Blue Post in Wilmington is a 21-and-over establishment, so this isn’t not something you can bring the kids to.
Blue Post Billiards Information:
Address: 15 Water Street
Hours: Monday through Friday: 3 pm to 2 am; Saturday and Sunday: 2 pm to 2 am
Phone: (910) 343-1141
Mini golf always reminds me of being on vacation. Every year when we would go camping, we would end up at a mini golf course. You’d think that would have honed my mini golf skills, but no, I’m still terrible.
The good thing about Glowgolf is that it’s super dark inside because everything glows in the dark (like glow bowling, but with mini golf). So even if you’re terrible, no one will really see.
What’s great is that you can pay one price and play an unlimited amount of holes — on one visit, anyway. If you leave and come back, you’ll have to pay again. But if you stay inside, you can stay indefinitely.
That makes Glowgolf one of the best things for kids to do in Wilmington, NC when it’s raining. You just pay once and stay all day.
Address: 3500 Oleander Dr. (in the Independence Mall)
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 3 pm to 7 pm; Friday: 3 pm to 8 pm; Saturday: 11 am to 8 pm; Sunday: noon to 6 pm
Phone: (910) 791-8740
Admission: $10 for adults; $5 for children 5 and under. There is an additional fee for the laser maze challenge. You can get discounted admission for Glowgolf here.
Bowling is always a good, family-friendly indoor activity. So of course, going bowling when it’s raining in Wilmington is a good idea.
What’s cool, though, is Wilmington has a famous bowling alley. Ten Pin Alley (127 College Rd #1) was featured in the HBO show Eastbound and Down. So, not only are you going bowling, but you’re going sightseeing as well.
That’s not the only bowling alley in Wilmington. Cardinal Lanes runs two bowling allies in the area: Cardinal Lanes Shipyard (3907 Shipyard Blvd #6152) and Cardinal Lanes Beach Bowl (7026 Market St). What’s great is both Cardinal Lanes locations participate in the Kids Bowl Free program held nationally each summer. That link will tell you how to register for the program and will give you more details.
Check out some live music
Wilmington has so much live music every night, it’s incredible. You can go to a different place to see a different band every night for months.
During the summer, there’s a lot of outdoor and rooftop concerts. But once Labor Day hits, the majority of live music moves indoors. Which is what you’re looking for when it’s raining.
I don’t have a full list of music since, of course, that changes often. But you can do a quick Google search to see what’s going on tonight.
Some of the larger venues require advanced tickets, and big bands sell out quick, but a lot of other venues (like where we go on a random night out) allow you to pay at the door. And, so many of the bars here have live music nightly, so there’s no cover charge at all.
Music venues in Wilmington, NC:
There are a bunch of music venues and bars that have music in Wilmington, NC that you can check out. To get you started, here are three of the most popular in the area:
Go out to eat
There are so many restaurants in Wilmington. And good, small, local restaurants too. It’s not a city filled with chains. So if you are visiting the area, you’ll probably want to check them out anyway.
A rainy day is a good excuse to do just that.
Just, obviously, make sure to sit indoors on a rainy day. We dined outside on a deck with umbrella’d tables once and that was just as wet as if we didn’t have an umbrella.
Restaurants in Wilmington, NC:
There are a bunch of restaurants in Wilmington, NC that you can check out. To get you started, here are four that we like:
We actually have a full list of Must Try Restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Click that link to check them all out.
Visit the Museum of the Bizarre
If you’re looking for something that you can’t find anywhere else, head to the Museum of the Bizarre. It’s filled with oddities (and then a whole wall of conspiracy theories).
It’s pretty interesting, if only for its bizarreness. Plus, it’s only $3 to enter. So that’s a good price to kill a little rainy time. The entire museum is indoors, so it’s perfect for a rainy day.
It’s actually an offshoot of the Serpentarium, which closed due to the owner’s sudden death (that’s a story you might want to Google because it could, honestly, fit right in the Museum of the Bizarre).
Museum of the Bizarre Information:
Address: 201 S Water St.
Phone: (910) 399-2641
Hours: 11 am to 8 pm from Memorial Day until Labor Day; 11 am to 6 pm from Labor Day until Memorial Day
Admission: $3 (children under 3 are free)
Stop by the Cape Fear Museum
If you’re visiting, you might want to learn about the Cape Fear region. The Cape Fear Museum teaches you about that. You’ll learn a ton in the museum, from the way early settlers got here to what trees are indigenous to the area.
There’s an entire section dedicated to Michael Jordan because the basketball great grew up in Wilmington. And you know that famous story about how he was cut from the basketball team? Yup. That happened at Laney High School, here in Wilmington, NC. Although, to be fair, that story isn’t entirely true. He wasn’t cut. He was just left on the JV roster instead of making Varsity as a sophomore.
So there’s that. And a section about dinosaurs. And a very cool area about space where you can actually put on space suits. So definitely something for everyone.
There is a section of the museum that’s outdoors, but that part is free, so you won’t feel like you are missing anything if you go when it’s raining.
Cape Fear Museum Information:
Address: 814 Market St.
Phone: (910) 798-4362
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday: 1 pm to 5 pm; Closed Monday
Admission: $8 for adults; $7 for seniors, college students, and military members; $5 for kids ages 6 to 17; free to children 5 and under. New Hanover County residents are free on the first Sunday of each month, only.
Visit the Wilmington Railroad Museum
The Wilmington Railroad Museum was one of two local museums that were giving free admission during the most recent Smithsonian Museum Day. It was limited and sold out so quickly. So that should tell you just how popular the museum is.
The museum has a children’s area, model room, workshop, and more. And it has been around for 40 years!
In the winter, the museum sets up Polar Express Family Days with visits from Santa, hot chocolate, and more.
Besides one train outside, everything else is inside. So it’s perfect for a rainy day in Wilmington.
For more, read our full Wilmington Railroad Museum review.
Wilmington Railroad Museum Information:
Address: 505 Nutt St.
Phone: (910) 763-2634
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 10 am to 4 pm (Labor Day to Memorial Day); Monday through Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm (Memorial Day to Labor Day)
Admission: $10 for adults; $9 for seniors and military members; $6 for children 2 to 12; children under 2 are free.
Check out an art gallery
There are so many art galleries in Wilmington. You can stop in on your own, but if you happen to be in town on the fourth Friday of the month, you’re in luck. That’s when the Arts Council of Wilmington hosts the Fourth Friday Gallery Walk.
You can head over to the Arts Council’s website and see the list of participating galleries.
One of the largest in the area is the Cameron Arts Museum (3201 S 17th St.), which is over 42,000-square-feet, and filled with exhibits. At Christmastime, Cameron Arts Museum hosts the Festival of Trees. For that, the arts museum is filled with trees that are decorated by local businesses. That’s so pretty to see.
Art Galleries in Wilmington, NC:
There are a bunch of art galleries in Wilmington, NC that you can check out. To get you started, here are three that we like:
Wilmington is home to the Independence Mall (3500 Oleander Dr.). For now, it’s still a traditional mall with stores and hallways covered by a roof. But wings of the mall were knocked down to make more of an open air market. So right now, it’s a hybrid.
There is still a traditional food court and rides and play areas inside. Plus a train that drives kids around the mall. So, if you’re looking for some fun things to do with kids in Wilmington, the mall has a bunch.
If it’s a sunny day, you could go shopping at Mayfaire Town Center (6835 Conservation Way), but that’s an open air market. It has a lot of great shops and restaurants, but don’t head there when it’s raining.
See a movie
We don’t go to the movies very often, mostly because we can stream them in our garage-turned-home theater and get the same experience at home for free. But, when you’re on vacation and it’s raining, the movies are a good choice.
Of course, different theaters have different showtimes, so be sure to check online before you go. And double check the theater too because you don’t want to shop up at the wrong one.
Tour the Bellamy Mansion Museum
Nights of Lights is a self-guided tour and volunteers do sit in each room and will answer any questions visitors have.
The Bellamy Mansion Museum does give daily, paid guided tours. Those are a great way to learn the history of the home and the back slave quarters. The home actually has an interesting story, since it was occupied by the Union soldiers during the Civil War before going back to the Bellamy family.
If you want to learn about the area, and it’s raining, this is a great way to do just that.
Bellamy Mansion Museum Information:
Address: 503 Market St
Phone: (910) 251-3700
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm
Admission: $14 for adults; $12 for seniors, college students, and military members; $7 for students 6 to 17; children 5 and under are free
Learn and Play at Children’s Museum Of Wilmington
So we’ve been to the museum a lot, and I can guarantee if you’re looking for something to do with your kids when it’s raining, this is it. There’s a play kitchen, a dentist’s office, a VR room, a water table, and more.
Children’s Museum Of Wilmington Information:
You can spend hours here with your kids, and if it’s raining, you might as well.
Address: 116 Orange St.
Phone: (910) 254-3534
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday: 1 pm to 5 pm; Closed Monday (Labor Day to Memorial Day). Monday through Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday: 1 pm to 5 pm (Memorial Day to Labor Day).
Admission: $9.75 for adults and children; $8.75 for military members and seniors; children under 12 months are free
Throw axes at Axes & Allies
Wilmington’s first axe throwing bar, Axes & Allies, opened last year and it is fantastic. I honest didn’t think I would like it, and, instead, I absolutely loved it. So much so that I actually wrote a full Axes & Allies review.
You pay a set fee for 30 or 60 minutes. And then drink beer and throw axes. It’s the perfect way to spend a rainy day. With adults anyway.
And if you finish and it’s still raining, you can just stay and drink some more.
Axes & Allies Information:
Address: 1122 S 3rd St.
Phone: (910) 833-5863
Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 5 pm to 10 pm; Saturday: noon to 10 pm; Sunday: noon to 9 pm; Closed Monday.
Admission: Admission is free, but prices for throwing axes start at $15 per person for 30 minutes
Other Indoor Activities in Wilmington, NC:
There are a few other things to do when it rains in Wilmington, NC, that we haven’t personally tried but you might enjoy:
- DEFY. Gravity trampoline park (get discounted admission here)
- Flip and Fly trampoline park
- True REST Float Spa (get discounted admission here)
If you’re looking for some date night things to do indoors, check out our Romantic Things To Do In Wilmington, NC for ideas.
Planning a trip to Wilmington, NC?
If you’re planning a trip to Wilmington, NC (and you’re not planning for rain), we have a ton of posts about the area that can help.
Eat In Wilmington:
Drink In Wilmington:
- Best Cups Of Coffee In Wilmington, NC
- End Of Days Distillery
- Hi Wire Brewing Wilmington
- The 10 Best Breweries In Wilmington, North Carolina
- The Complete Guide To Distilleries In Wilmington, NC
Which of these things to do when it rains in Wilmington, NC would you do first?