On a bend in the Christina River, Wilmington has built brick-and-board walkways with views both urban and wild. Beginning at the train station and ending at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge, this 1 1/3-mile path takes visitors past shops, museums, and a series of signs illustrating Wilmington's history. Watch a rowing team glide by, discover a Canada goose on the shore, or catch a ride on the River Taxi.
Start at the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, at Water and South French streets. Twenty-one placards spaced along the walkway tell the history of the Christina River and the city, beginning with the development of industry, shipbuilding, and other transportation here. The Underground Railroad, which ran through Wilmington, is remembered as well, as are efforts to restore wetlands and excavate archaeological sites. Sometimes you can also see the Kalmar Nyckel, a reproduction of the ship that brought Wilmington's first settlers. Dravo Plaza, lined with huge cranes, recalls the city's shipbuilding history and its contributions to World War II.
Hungry yet? The number of restaurants just keeps going up. Among them are Harry's Seafood Grill, 101 S. Market St. (tel. 302/777-1500) and Iron Hill Brewery, 710 S. Madison St. (tel. 302/658-8200). If you just want a sandwich or snack, stop at the Riverfront Market, 1 S. Market St. (tel. 302/425-4454), where you can also pick up meats, fish, and produce to take home. It's open Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 7pm, Saturday from 9am to 6pm.
The Delaware Theatre Company and Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts are resident arts organizations here. The Riverfront also hosts festivals and concerts at Dravo Plaza and along the walkway. Sports fans can see the Blue Rocks play minor-league baseball at Frawley Stadium, a short walk off the Riverfront.
If you get tired of walking, the River Taxi (tel. 302/530-5069) will take you to your next stop for $3. From April to November, the 40-passenger pontoon boat shuttles passengers along a 30-minute loop. Call in cooler weather if you don't see the taxi.
Visitors who make it to the end of the Riverfront will reach the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge. The 225 acres of marshland have become home to many birds and other creatures. Newly opened in late 2009 is the DuPont Environmental Education Center, with touch-screen exhibits, free weekend nature activities, a boardwalk across the freshwater tidal pond, and a colorful garden path. The center is open Tuesday through Friday 11am to 3pm, Saturday 10am to 3pm, and Sunday noon to 4pm. Admission is free.