5 Best Things To Do In Elizabeth City, North Carolina

This Inner Banks town is the ideal place to spend a day or two.

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Jennifer Prince

Just west of the Outer Banks lies North Carolina's inland coastal region, appropriately known as the "Inner Banks." To some, it may just be a stop on the way to the beach, but for those that enjoy community and history, the Inner Banks town of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, is worthy of a weekend trip in its own right. Located just over an hour from popular vacation spots Duck, Nags Head, and Virginia Beach, Elizabeth City is a waterfront getaway on the Pasquotank River. Here are our favorite ways to spend a day or two in this quaint North Carolina town.

Learn North Carolina History

The Museum of the Albemarle is an excellent introduction to the area's history. A 1904 shad boat hangs in the atrium, paying homage to early life on the waterways. The museum hosts events and features permanent and temporary exhibits covering history, local wildlife, and the people who shaped the Albemarle into what it is today. Additionally, the city has several walking tours available. So whether you want to focus on aviation—including the Wright brothers—the Civil War, or architecture, you can immerse yourself in history while exploring the outdoors.

Learn North Carolina History, Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Jennifer Prince

Experience Local Art

A drive through Elizabeth City reveals the creativity of the artisan community as some of the abandoned buildings showcase paintings on boarded-up windows. Not only can visitors see a variety of murals throughout downtown, but a trek to visit the Pailin's Alley art installation is a must. The large mural adds vibrancy to the pathway, and the alley is also a gathering spot for those who patronize the adjoining establishments.

One of the highlights of the art scene is walking through the Arts of the Albemarle gallery, where you can pick up a locally-made souvenir. From large-scale paintings to finely crafted jewelry, there's something available at just about every price point. In addition to visual arts, Arts of the Albemarle also features other art forms, so you can see a play or listen to live music if you schedule your trip during one of their many events.

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Jennifer Prince

Eat Regional Delights

For a place with under 20,000 residents, Elizabeth City has a remarkable variety of cuisines. One local favorite is Paradiso Roma Ristorante, where you can dine waterside on delectable dishes, such as housemade pasta, lasagna made in a skillet, or classic shrimp scampi. Hoppin Johnz' has outdoor seating along Pailin's Alley and offers a fresh take on Southern cuisine with unique variations on crawfish, pulled pork, and black-eyed peas. 

Whether you head to 2 Souls Wine Bar before or after dinner, order the charcuterie to snack on while you sip wines from around the globe. To satiate your sweet tooth, plan to go to The SweetEasy where you can start your day with coffee cake or a blueberry muffin and pick up cookies and lemon bars to consume after dinner.

Elizabeth City, North Carolina food

 Jennifer Prince

Drink Area Brews

Elizabeth City's brew scene—both coffee and beer—is thriving. With several folks passionate about their craft, you can drink your way through the city from morning to night. Muddy Waters Coffeehouse and The Kraken Coffeehouse both feature colorful murals and are ideal choices for getting a cup of Joe as you start your day. To sample locally brewed beers, go downtown to Ghost Harbor Brewing Company, where you can play board games or participate in trivia contests as you sip, or head to veteran-owned Avdet Brewing Company, less than a mile away.

 Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Jennifer Prince

Explore The Waterfront

In addition to eating by the water, the city also holds other opportunities to experience the waterway. Summer Saturdays boast the Downtown Waterfront Market, an open-air experience that offers produce, meats, and artisan goods for sale. The riverside area is also very walkable, so you can exercise, enjoy the views, and stop to read the historical markers at your own pace.

Elizabeth City, North Carolina waterfront

Jennifer Prince

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