Wilmington is the largest city in Delaware with a population of 71,948 (2015 estimate). It is located in the Brandywine Valley where the Brandywine and Christina Rivers meet. The city occupies 17 square miles (6.2 of which is water) and is the seat of government in New Castle County. Its motto: “In the middle of it all.”
Wilmington’s recorded history begins in the 1600s with colonization by Swedish, which named it “New Sweden.” The Dutch also claimed control for a period before British influence won out. Known as “Willington” after Thomas Willing, who drew up the city plan, the name was changed to “Wilmington” in 1739 when the King of England granted a borough charter. The borough officially became a city in 1832.
Wilmington’s climate comfort is typical for a U.S. city, with summer high temperatures a degree or two below the average, and winter lows a few degrees above average. However, expect more precipitation; annual rainfall is 46.5 in. compared to 36.5 average for all U.S. cities. By contrast, you’ll see fewer snowflakes, with 17.8 in. of annual snowfall compared to 25 in. for the U.S.
Wilmington is approximately halfway between Washington D.C. and New York City. Using I-95, you can reach either city by car in a little under two hours. Visitors and commuters enjoy daily rail service via Amtrak, and SEPTA operates regional commuter trains with direct links between Philadelphia and Wilmington. For air travel, the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is but 30 minutes from the downtown.
Wilmington Cost of Living
Overall, living expenses in Wilmington are on par with national averages, although there are some pretty big differences for some categories. Housing is available at about 30 percent less than you can expect to pay in a typical U.S. city. But you’ll pay almost 30 percent more for your utilities. While Delaware collects a 6.0 percent income tax, there is no sales tax. How far will your paycheck go in Wilmington? Use the references below to see.
Public education in Wilmington is provided by the Red Clay Consolidated School District (27 schools, grades PK-12) and the Christina School District (30 schools, PK-12). There are 60 private schools in Wilmington, including 35 preschools and 30 Catholic schools operated by the Diocese of Wilmington. According to College Simply, there are 93 colleges and universities within 50 miles of Wilmington. The Delaware Technical and Community College offers vocational programs and two-year study paths; it advertises that 70 percent of its students graduate debt-free.
Wilmington is situated within 30 miles of 78 hospitals. St. Francis Hospital in the city is a 330-bed Catholic facility operated by Trinity Health. The Nemours Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children (196 beds) is nationally ranked in six pediatric specialities, including a number five ranking for orthopedics.
Wilmington Real Estate
Based on 2010 U.S. Census figures, Wilmington has 32,820 housing units with an owner-occupied rate of 46.4 percent. The median value of owner-occupied homes is $171,400 and median monthly costs of ownership with a mortgage total $1,374. The median gross rent is $909.
Whether you are in the mood for the luxury suite or basic bed and bath, whether you plan to stay a night, a week, or a month and longer, Wilmington offers a host of comfortable choices for your stay. For an extended visit, you might consider the Luxia Suites. These fully furnished apartments are within easy walking distance of fine dining. If you are on a budget, the Clarion Hotel The Belle offers affordable modesty with free WiFi, free breakfast, and an outdoor pool.
The diversity of menus in Wilmington guarantees something for every palate. You’ll find farm-to-table fare, fresh seafood, traditional twists, and ethnic fusions at restaurants throughout the Brandywine Valley. For Italian dishes, sample the very special lasagna at Ristorante Attilio, a family-owned restaurant catering to families. They say Mikimotos Asian Grill has the freshest sushi around. You be the judge. If your hunger comes with a hankering for craft beer, check out the taps at Chelsea Tavern for the perfect brew to complement the Chelsea Cheeseburger.
Wilmington Things To Do
Give yourself plenty of time because you’ll need it to scratch the surface of all that Wilmington has to offer. For a family outing, consider a visit to the Delaware Children’s Museum with nearly 40,000 square feet of interactive amazement and learning. Perhaps you’ll meander one of the wine trails and sample the nectars of the Vintage Atlantic Wine Regions. An no matter what time of year you happen to be here, there’s a good chance you’ll find a festival taking place, whether the focus be music, the arts, film, Shakespeare, ice cream, or Italian culture.