If you’re headed to or living on the East Coast and looking for something a little unexpected for the holidays, you’ll be delighted and surprised to see what Delaware has to offer. I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Wilmington, DE, just as holiday activities were kicking off across the area. Not only was I impressed by how much there is to do there, but everything is located just minutes from each other, making it incredibly easy to experience a lot of what Wilmington has to offer.
Where to Stay in Wilmington, Delaware
Homewood Suites Wilmington-Brandywine Valley hosted us for our weekend stay, with a suite that featured every comfort we could possibly want. Complimentary tea and coffee all day, paired with its central location, made it perfect for stopping back at the hotel to refresh and recharge between sightseeing.
Location is everything, and Homewood Suites in Wilmington places you just minutes from some of the area’s best attractions
What to see in Wilmington, Delaware
Winterthur Museum, Gardens and Library
Yuletide at the Winterthur estate, the childhood home of the late collector and horticulturist, Henry Francis du Pont, is a sight to behold. If you’re not familiar with the du Pont family, the du Ponts are to Delaware what the Rockefellers are to New York. As such, many of their estates and gardens have been turned into museums for the public to peruse.
The museum at Winterthur features changing exhibits, and I thoroughly enjoyed their current exhibit Treasures on Trial: The Art and Science of Detecting Fakes. From Birkin bags to artwork, the carefully curated exhibit presents forgery cases and explains how the fakes were detected. I especially enjoyed side-by-side comparisons of the originals versus the forgeries.
Fans of Netflix’s The Crown, the drama series depicting Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, will enjoy seeing the coronation dress used in the series, along with replica crown jewels used in filming. In keeping with the royal theme, Yuletide at Winterthur features recreations of the Christmas trees at Windsor Palace during Queen Victoria’s time.
After touring the museum and house, the gardens are a must-see. And while not much is blooming in the winter months, it’s fun to explore the Enchanted Woods, where the faerie world is also bedecked for the holidays.
A Longwood Christmas is a breathtaking spectacle of holiday lights and incredible horticultural displays. Leave plenty of time to visit the Conservatory and stroll the outdoor gardens, bedecked with a half million lights. Stop into The Café for their famous mushroom soup and finish things off on a sweet note, with one of the many beautiful desserts.
Get into the spirit of the season by ice skating at the outdoor Riverfront Rink. If ice skating’s not your thing, you can grab a hot cocoa and relax by one of the fire pits while your friends get their skating fix. Riverfront Wilmington hosts a collection of great restaurants, retail shopping (tax-free in Delaware!) and an IMAX theater.
Our weekend in Wilmington only begins to scratch the surface of what the area has to offer. For more information about spending some of the holidays in Wilmington, visit the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Accommodations and tickets to some activities were provided to me; all opinions are honest and my own.