Delaware Today, a local publication, annually announces their list of Delaware’s best of the best when it comes to shopping, fun & leisure activities, food & drink, and more based on both editors’ and readers’ opinions.
Off the beaten path, down the narrow lane, and mere minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Wilmington, Delaware and the Brandywine Valley prides itself on being an oasis of genteel living along the I-95 corridor, with a pace, a history and a beauty all its own. Whether you're coming to town for a long weekend, a week-long stay or just a night in the city, you'll find Delaware attractions bursting to life in all parts of the region, from internationally renowned museums and gardens to family-friendly attractions that will keep everyone entertained and moving.
Here’s your “Best of” checklist:
Fun & Leisure Activities
A year in Wilmington brings more than 100 festivals to the area. According to readers and locals... the best annual Festival is the St. Anthony’s Italian Festival. Typically held in June, the festival celebrates the many facets of Italian culture, music and food.
The Jack A Markell Trail was named the best bike trail in the area. This 7-mile path is a long-awaited connection between the Wilmington Riverfront and New Castle’s Battery Park along an off-road pathway consisting of elevated boardwalk, paved pathways, and one on road section through Historic New Castle.
The entertainment and performing arts scene in Wilmington comes to life with live music, Broadway plays, comedy shows, opera and more. The area is home to both professional and community theaters as well as historic music venues. Named the best community theater is the performance venue located in downtown Wilmington for more than 100 years - The Grand Opera House. The Candlelight Theatre, located in Arden, was named best dinner theater and for best music venue there was a tie between The Grand and the historic Playhouse on Rodney Square.
After an exciting adventure through Greater Wilmington we are sure that you’ll need to rest your head. Named the best hotel stay is the HOTEL DU PONT, a famed, award- winning hotel in the heart of downtown Wilmington.
Part of America’s Garden Capital, the mid-Atlantic region is home to several garden attractions. With over 2,000 acres of gardens in a 30-mile radius, Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley takes pride in their garden. Named best garden tour is Nemours Estate. Nemours Estate a 77-room Mansion, is the largest formal French gardens in North America.
Rockwood Park and Museum, a rural Gothic mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places is also known for being haunted. Hence why it’s been named the best ghost tour in Delaware. Whether you are ready to take on a spooky adventure or just in the mood for touring the museum and its 72 acres of serene parkland, you’ll want to add it to your next getaway.
Brandywine Creek State Park has been named the best hiking spot and best state park in Delaware. Whether you are taking on those new year’s resolutions or just want the perfect picnic spot, the Wilmington Park is one of the many state parks perfect for hiking trails, bird watching and more. Another state park named in Delaware Today’s list of the best, is Lums Pond State Park. Known for campgrounds, Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park, fishing, and horseback riding, Lums Pond is also known as the best spot in Greater Wilmington for kayaking.
Known for its Pre-Raphaelite collection and voted best museum in the area is the Delaware Art Museum. Reimagined art galleries, a spacious sculpture garden and labyrinth, and spectacular special exhibitions are only the beginning for your next getaway.
While the area is full of gorgeous gardens, art museums, historic sites and more, the area is also known for minor league sports! The Delaware Today Reader’s pick is Daniel S. Frawley Stadium, home to the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Editor’s Pick is the Chase Fieldhouse known to house the 76ers affiliate team, the Delaware Blue Coats.
Now that you know where to go and what to see while you’re here, it’s time to scope out the best of the best when it comes to restaurants, breweries and local favorites. The restaurants of the Wilmington, Delaware and the Brandywine Valley draw influence from the farm-to-table values of the Pennsylvania Dutch to our north, the seafaring coastal communities of the Chesapeake Bay to our south, and the global connections forged through the corporate offices and busy ports of the city of Wilmington.
Food & Drink: Editor’s Choices
- Beer Slushy – Wilmington Brew Works
- Date Night Specials – Stone Balloon Ale House
- Draft Beer – Washington Street Ale House
- Gourmet to Go – The Back Burner Restaurant
- Guest Bartending Night – BBC Tavern and Grill
- Historic Hangout – Booth House Tavern
- Outdoor Happy Hour – Park Café
Food & Drink: Reader’s Choices
- Al Fresco Dining – Banks Seafood Kitchen and Raw Bar
- American Restaurant – Home Grown Café
- BBQ Place – Limestone BBQ & Burboun
- Brewpub – First State Brewing Co.
- Brunch – Kid Shelleen’s Charcoal House & Saloon
- Burgers – Kid Shelleen’s Charcoal House & Saloon
- Centreville / Greenville Restaurant – Buckley's Tavern
- Chef – Andrew Thorne, Home Grown Café
- Crab Cakes – Banks Seafood Kitchen and Raw Bar
- Date- Night Restaurant – Harry’s Savoy Grill
- Farmers Market – New Castle Farmers Market
- Fine Dining – Harry’s Savoy Grill
- French – Le Cavalier at the Green Room
- Happy Hour – Two Stones Pub
- Hockessin / Pike Creek Restaurant – The House of William and Merry
- Ice Cream – Woodside Farm Creamery
- Late – Night Menu – Kid Shelleen’s Charcoal House & Saloon
- Mexican – Santa Fe Mexican Grill
- Microbrewery – Wilmington Brew Works
- New Castle / Historic New Castle Restaurant – Jessop's Tavern
- Newark Restaurant - Café Gelato
- North Wilmington Restaurant – Snuff Mill Restaurant, Butchery and Wine Bar
- Salads – Home Grown Café
- Sushi – Mikimotos Asian Grill & Sushi Bar
- Townsend Reataurant – Cantwell's Tavern
- Vegan / Vegetarian – Home Grown Café
- Water-view Dining – Banks Seafood Kitchen and Raw Bar
- Wilmington / Riverfront Restaurant – Big Fill Grill on the Riverfront
- Wilmington/Trolley Square/Highlands/Rockland Park Restaurant – Trolley Square Oyster House
- Wine List – Harry's Savoy Grill
With amazing shopping, grand estates, historic sites, and award-winning restaurants a plenty #VisitWilm weekend getaways are in your future for 2023. Who do you think will win in 2023?
Several winners are named above but to check out the entire list be sure to visit- https://delawaretoday.com/best-of-delaware/best-delaware-winners/