Located right on the mighty Delaware River, Wilmington is the biggest city in the state and is home to a curious blend of beauty and business. The city is known for having a strong financial sector, and many banks and financial companies like Bank of America, Capital One and Barclays have chosen to make Wilmington home for some of their major offices.
Wilmington made our list this year not only because of its business acumen, but also because it is a diverse and culturally rich city — with a 58% African American and 10% Hispanic population — making it a welcoming and diverse community. The city also scored points for its easy access to transportation and ease of travel, and specifically for its Amtrak station downtown that can take you to Philadelphia, New York, Washington D.C. and Baltimore in just a couple hours’ time.
Local Obsession: If there’s one point of pride that Wilmington has, it’s their abundance of grandiose (and Versailles-like) gardens in various points throughout town. Whether you’re marveling at the Nemours Mansion estate, visiting the Read House, or walking through the Longwood Gardens, you’re sure to get some major garden envy — and maybe gain some inspiration.
Climate Described in 6 Words Or Less: Comfortable summers with chilly winters
Top Industries and Employers: The top industries in Wilmington are finance and healthcare. The top employers in Wilmington are Christiana Care Health Services, DuPont, Barclays and Bank of America.
Local Dream Job: A tour guide for First State Brew Tours, which takes Wilmington beer lovers to craft breweries, cideries and meaderies around the area, offering both a designated driver and very important beer education along the way.
Quintessential Meal: When in the Mid-Atlantic do as the crab eaters do with a Chesapeake crab cake sandwich from Big Fish on the Riverfront.
Favorite Weekend Activity: Chugging (ahem, sipping) your way through the Brandywine Wine Trail, which runs along the Pennsylvania/Delaware border.
After-Work Meetup Spot: Clock in some time at the Oval Office inside the Dead Presidents Pub, which was named one of the best bars in America by Esquire.
Best Brewery/Local Beer: Bellefonte Brewing Company not only has some delicious brews — ranging from blondes to porters — but they also sell home brewing supplies and brew education for the beer connoisseur.
Free Way to Have Fun: Get panoramic views of the river and marsh at the DuPont Environmental Education Center, which also serves as the trailhead for the Markell bike/hike trail.
Truly Hidden Gem: No bouncers are needed at Hummingbird to Mars — patrons enter this modern speakeasy by pressing an intercom behind Catherine Rooney’s Pub on 16th Street
- Jamie Birdwell-Branson