Area Overview

The Wilmington Blue Rocks Frawley Stadium CityThe region that is now Wilmington, Delaware was settled by Peter Minuit, former Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam, on March 29, 1638 as the Colony of New Sweden. Wilmington is the first permanent Old World settlement in the Delaware Valley, and the place where the first log cabins were built in America. Multi-national and multi-lingual from the beginning, the first group of 25 settlers included Swedes, Finns, Dutch and Germans, and a black freedman from the Caribbean known as "Anthoni, the Black Swede."

Situated between the deep-water, slow-moving Christina River and the shallow, rapidly flowing Brandywine Creek, the city's economy developed from fur trading and agriculture, to milling (grain, paper and then gunpowder), to ship and railroad car manufacturing, to modern chemical and banking industries. Today, a majority of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Wilmington, the "Corporate Capital of America."

Centrally located between Washington, D.C., and New York City, it is said that more than one-third of the nation's population lives within a half-day drive of the Brandywine Valley

  • HISTORIC NEW CASTLE: Delaware River town founded 1651 by the Dutch; Delaware's capital from 1704 to 1777; lovely shops, restaurants, beautiful historic homes, gardens and churches, cobblestone streets, interesting museums
  • LONGWOOD GARDENS: One of the world's great year-round horticultural venues; at 1,077 acres, Longwood is larger than Central Park; four acres of gardens under glass, spectacular fountains
  • THE BRANDYWINE RIVER MUSEUM of Art: Paintings by three generations of the Wyeth family in a great old mill converted into an art showplace facing the famous stream; tours available of N.C. Wyeth's house and studio and the Kuerner Farm
  • Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library: A premier collection of 85,000 American antiques (1640 to 1860); hosts internationally touring exhibits; beautiful gardens, including the Enchanted Woods Children's Garden
  • THE DELAWARE ART MUSEUM: 12,000 works of art including American artists from Edward Hopper to Howard Pyle and modern works; a gorgeous window of Chihuly glass; home to the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings outside the U.K.
  • THE HAGLEY MUSEUM: One-time home of the E.I. du Pont Gunpowder Works (1802-1921); beautiful stone buildings along the Brandywine include the family's original mansion, gardens, 18th- and 19th-century technology exhibits and demonstrations
  • NEMOURS MANSION AND GARDENS: A.I. du Pont's opulent French chateau, with acres of fountains, sculpture, gardens; neighbor to the world-renown A.I. du Pont Institute Children's Hospital
  • MT. CUBA CENTER: Botanical garden with a focus on native plants and ecosystems; over 50 acres of display gardens and over 500 acres of natural lands; guided tours of the grounds offered seasonally; reservations are required
  • The Tall Ship Kalmar Nyckel: Full-size re-creation of the ornately carved ship that brought the first permanent Old World settlers to the Delaware Valley in 1638, founding the Colony of New Sweden
  • OLD SWEDES CHURCH AND THE HENDRICKSON HOUSE: Beautiful stone and brick church; one of the nation's oldest houses of worship in continuous use as originally built (1698); next to a Swedish stone farmhouse from 1690
  • THE DELAWARE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: Home of a nationally recognized collection of seashells as well as a permanent, impressive dinosaur display, with exhibits of the region's flora and fauna

Professional performances are enjoyed at:

  • THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE: 1100-seat hall built in 1871; one of the great cast-iron facades remaining in America, beautifully restored in the 1970s; presenting over 100 performances annually, including the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, OperaDelaware, nationally-known comedians and music from jazz to contemporary singer/songwriters
  • THE QUEEN Theatre: Two stages for music in a fully refurbished, century-old theater in downtown Wilmington
  • The Playhouse on Rodney Square: Delaware's Broadway Experience in continuous operation since 1913. Presenting a professional Broadway series and an acclaimed Children's Series, in addition to other special presentations.
  • THE DELAWARE THEATRE COMPANY: 400-seat regional Equity acting company on the Wilmington Riverfront.
  • THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE (15,000 students) is located in the nearby City of Newark.

Millions of out-of-state shoppers visit the area annually to take advantage of the lack of sales tax in Delaware. The Delaware lodging tax is 8% to 10% and the rental tax is 2%, among the lowest in the nation.

Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley offers hundreds of RESTAURANTS - with James Beard-nominated chefs, regional specialties, and the birthplace of the one-and-only Capriotti's Bobbie. With more than 6,000 HOTEL, MOTEL and B&B ROOMS, our meeting facilities can accommodate up to 1,600 people in a single room.