Downtown Fourth of July: Where to park, watch fireworks (UPDATED)

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Image source: City of Wilmington
Image source: City of Wilmington

UPDATE: 7 a.m. July 4

Wilmington police will shut down Front and Water streets–between Red Cross and Dock–at 6 p.m. Saturday.

All parking decks–except for the Water Street parking deck–will still be accessible, according to a notice from the Wilmington Police Department.

“Second Street will remain open as a north-south route through downtown,” Wilmington Police Department Spokeswoman Cathryn Lindsay said. “Police would also like to remind the public that the Third Street Bridge downtown is still closed, and will make the exodus from downtown even more difficult than usual.”

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Water Street will be a major destination for Wilmingtonians and tourists alike this Independence Day, with the food and entertainment starting at 5 p.m. and the fireworks show planned for 9 p.m.

But plan accordingly. City officials expect one- to two-hour delays for traffic downtown.

To help ease congestion and alleviate traffic, the City of Wilmington has a few recommendations for parking downtown. They are as follows:

  • Arrive early and consider your exit strategy prior to parking.
  • Park on the side of Red Cross Street (North or South) that you plan to go when you exit.
  • Avoid parking decks if possible; parking on the street will be free.

If you’re parked on the south side of Red Cross, then the police department will divert traffic toward Market Street, Dawson Street and the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. This includes City parking decks in the 100 block of Market St., the 100 block of N. Second St. and the Water Street parking deck, as well as the county deck in the 200 block of N. Second St.

If you’re parked on the north side of Red Cross, then the police department will divert traffic toward MLK Parkway and the Isabel Holmes Bridge. This includes the Wilmington Convention Center parking deck and the CFCC parking deck.

If you do choose to park in one of the following parking decks, the fees are as follows:

  • 115 Market St. – $7 event fee
  • 114 N. Second St. – $7 event fee
  • 212 N. Second St. – $7 event fee
  • 515 Nutt St. (Wilmington Convention Center) – $8 event fee
  • 200 N. Water St.  – $10 event fee
  • CFCC decks – $5 event fees

Helpful downtown Fourth of July tips from Port City Daily:

Don’t park anywhere close to Third St. Instead – still using Red Cross as your dividing line- consider parking on Fifth Street and upward. While you will have to walk a few extra blocks, you’ll hopefully avoid some major headaches. However, consider parking here earlier in the day and enjoy some of what Wilmington has to offer before the Water Street festivities begin. Or, don’t drive at all. Walk, bike, or arrange for a taxi service to drop/pick-up somewhere outside of the congestion.

If you plan on boating downtown, authorities will maintain the safety zone around the firework launch site for 30 minutes after the show is over. No through boating traffic will be allowed.

WAVE Transportation will not be running during the holiday weekend, but will resume regular service on Monday morning.

If you would like more information regarding traffic patterns and street closures, you can visit the City of Wilmington’s Fourth of July page.