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Arriving

By Plane -- Philadelphia International Airport (tel. 800/745-4283; www.phl.org) is about a half-hour from downtown Wilmington. Car-rental agencies at the airport include Avis (tel. 800/331-1212) and Hertz (tel. 800/654-3131).

Delaware Express (tel. 800/648-5466 or 302/454-7800; www.delexpress.com) offers van service from the Philadelphia airport to Wilmington for about $34. For the most prompt service reserve by phone or online at least 24 hours in advance. Otherwise, look for the phone near the customer service center at baggage claim.

By Train -- Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]; www.amtrak.com) serves Wilmington on its Northeast Corridor line, with Acela, Metroliner, and regional trains stopping here several times daily. The Wilmington Amtrak station is at 100 S. French St. (at Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.), on the Riverfront. There's a taxi stand outside.

By Car -- I-95 cuts across the city's center. The Delaware Memorial Bridge (part of I-295) connects Wilmington to the New Jersey Turnpike and points north. From southern Delaware and the Eastern Shore, Route 13 will bring you into the city.

By Bus -- Greyhound (tel. 800/231-2222; www.greyhound.com) and Peter Pan (tel. 800/343-9999; www.peterpanbus.com) provide daily bus service into the Wilmington Transportation Center, 101 N. French St. (tel. 302/655-6111).

Visitor Information

Information on Wilmington, the Brandywine Valley, and New Castle is available from the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, 100 W. 10th St., Ste. 20 (tel. 800/652-4088 or 302/295-2210; www.visitwilmingtonde.com). It's open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. For motorists, the visitor center at the I-95 Delaware Travel Plaza, south of town between exits 1 and 3 (tel. 302/737-4059) was torn down in late 2009 with a new center due to be open by summer 2010; it's open daily, except December 25, from 8am to 8pm.

Special Events

For 10 days in June, music lovers turn out for free jazz at the DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Visit www.cliffordbrownjazzfest.com for a schedule. The Delaware Antiques Show is held the first weekend in November. It is sponsored by Winterthur; go to www.winterthur.org for details.

City Layout

Three rivers surround Wilmington: the Brandywine, the Christina, and the Delaware. The downtown business area, wedged between the Brandywine and Christina, is laid out in a grid system, less than 20 blocks wide and long. Note: Though the downtown area is relatively small, the attractions, restaurants, and hotels are spread out, with most either south of downtown or in the northern suburbs. Aside from a few museums and shops along Market Street, you can't or wouldn't want to walk between major attractions.

Two areas of Wilmington also worth a visit are the Riverfront and the suburban north side. The Riverfront is about a 5-minute drive south of downtown between I-95 and the Christina River. To reach this home of arts venues, restaurants, offices, and condos, take Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd. to Madison St. and follow the signs. Or head back to I-95 and take exit 6. Riverfront has lots of free parking.

The north side of Wilmington (north of Rte. 52 and northwest of I-95) features modest-to-lavish brick houses, parks, the trendy Trolley Square neighborhood, and nearby Little Italy, with plenty of restaurants. The main thoroughfares are Delaware Avenue to Route 52 (also known as Pennsylvania Ave. and Kennett Pike); as you drive out Route 52, the city soon gives way to rolling hills of the Brandywine Valley.

Main Arteries & Streets -- Market Street runs north-south in downtown Wilmington. The east-west cross streets are numbered from First to 16th, with the lowest number on the southern end. The north-south streets bear the names of presidents and local heroes west of Market, and trees east of Market. Most streets are one-way, except for Fourth Street. I-95 enters Wilmington via two main avenues: Delaware (Rte. 52) at the north, and Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard at the south.

From I-95 and downtown, approach Wilmington's north side by using Route 52, which splits into Pennsylvania Avenue (Rte. 52) and Delaware Avenue about 2 blocks north of I-95. Both routes 52 and 202 take you out to Brandywine Valley sites.

Maps -- Greater Wilmington and Brandywine Valley: America's Cultural Gem, a booklet produced by the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, has detailed maps of downtown and the Wilmington region with major attractions marked.

Getting Around

By Bus -- Wilmington is served by the DART First State (tel. 800/355-6066; www.dartfirststate.com) bus system. Blue-and-white signs indicating stops are located throughout the city, and regular routes can take you to some hotels, museums, theaters, and parks, as well as to the malls and historic New Castle. Fares are based on a zone system; the minimum fare for one zone is $1.15. Exact change is required. For information on schedules and fares, call or visit the website.

By Shuttle -- DART also operates the Trolley, a 25¢ bus (exact change required) that takes visitors from Rodney Square to the Amtrak station to the Riverfront. The route goes up Walnut Street north via Rodney Square and West Street to 13th Street and down Market Street and King Street. Service is provided every 30 minutes. The whole ride takes about 15 minutes. Shuttles run Monday through Saturday from 7:30am to 7:30pm. Get a schedule from the visitor center or DART.

By Car -- Because Wilmington's attractions are scattered around town -- and because so many pair a visit to the city with Brandywine Valley attractions -- a car is necessary. If you aren't driving, rent a car from either Enterprise, 422 Delaware Ave. (tel. 302/425-4404), or Budget, 100 N. Walnut St. (tel. 302/652-0629).

By Taxi -- There's a taxi stand at the Amtrak station, across the street from the bus station. To order a taxi, call Yellow Cab (tel. 302/658-4340).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.